There are numerous pros, cons and assumptions for those who work for themselves or at home. To some extent there are some perks, but assuming we sleep in everyday, wear pyjamas and really “not work too hard” is the furtherest from reality. Odds are if work life looked like that everyday not much work get done, being your own boss and running a business requires you to be a “jack of all trades”. If something needs to get done there is no one else to rely on but yourself and actually I wouldn’t have it any other way (for now). Whether you work alone or for someone else here are my top tips for being the ultimate girlboss and getting sh*t done.
When it comes to running a business not all of it is exciting, especially when you want to do the ‘fun stuff’, but majority of the growth of a business comes from the administration. Being the accountant, going to and from meetings (or what people think are just going out for “coffee”), the sales person, creating briefs and the constant emailing 24/7. I would say a large percentage of my week goes into doing the above, with some days I don’t even touch my camera or open Photoshop to do my actual ‘creative work’. Multitasking all these roles is something that needs to be learnt early on in order to have a great functioning business.
LEARNING TO SAY NO
It took me a long time to do and is still sometimes hard to do, but learning to trust your gut. Know the difference between the feeling of that ‘I’m scared' and ‘It’s not right’, being scared of a job is totally normal, but to actually taking it head on and challenging yourself is part of learning. Our intuition is usually right, when it comes to a particular job you know just isn’t a great fit you can say no and it’s completely fine. We also always have those jobs that are not always of interest or a client that you can’t stand, but you need to pay the bills - sometimes you just have to take what you can get!
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE, SAY YES TOO...
Once you have learnt to say no, learn how to say yes too, on more occasions. More recently I have being saying more ‘yes’s’ than ‘no’s’ in order to put myself out there more. Take on something more challenging and take risks. Obviously I would never say yes to a prospective client or project I didn’t think I could achieve, but if it means learning something along the way in order to achieve the outcome, it’s a positive step towards broadening my abilities. Saying yes to more opportunities or pushing through with a new idea is one way in order to grow and expand whether it be a saying yes to a coffee catch up, to network more or a new venture, you will never know until you try!
Having spent the last 10 years working from home and alone I've learnt how to work efficiently and productively on my own terms. I love the situation where I have the ability to work the hours that suit me best, with whatever ‘qwerky’ habits I may have, without the constant banter of co-workers. Whilst I do love spending time on my own there are definitely time where I do get lonely. Where having employees or partners to bounce ideas off and collaborate would be ideal at times, or the day to day sounds around a typical workplace. I particularly like having the ability to work at my own pace, play music at full blast, listen to podcasts and YouTube all day whilst I work. However, I have also realised being alone all the time is never a good thing, I take all opportunities to ‘get out’ as much as I can so I don’t isolate myself, like going for coffee with a client, networking at an event, collecting and mailing postage and little jobs that get me out of the office.
When you are the boss of all aspects of your business the downside is that you only have yourself to report to and be accountable to, which means there is no one else to keep you on track. Being organised and staying on top of things is key, from keeping up with your accounts and emails to a clean workspace will save you sleepless nights and any slip-ups so that you have more time to explore, get creative and do the fun stuff.
Where there are moments when working for yourself can be pretty overwhelming and you wish you had clones of yourself to get everything done. Part of it comes down to juggling your time and being as prompt as possible with things that matter the most and are going to benefit your business. As simple as emails, I always make sure this is one of my top priorities, getting back to someone as efficiently as possible not only saves time (and stops them from stacking up) but can also be the make or break of a potential job or opportunity. That also goes for meetings and deadlines, never be late, you want to always make a positive first impression and let the client know that the job will get done effectively and efficiently.
THE OFF BUTTON
Whilst running a business on my own and taking full responsibility for all aspects means I’m never ‘not working’. I may not be at my desk 24/7 but I am constantly using every opportunity for ideas and inspiration or a chance to meet someone new. Being your own boss is being accountable for all parts of the business which never stops, but in saying that there are times where you do need to ‘switch off’ to keep your sanity or reap the rewards of your hard work with (a planned) holiday!