Do you ever wonder if your inherent nature isn’t conducive to self-employment?
I did for a long time because I suspected that, deep down, I'm just too lazy to be successful.
There, I said it. Ick.
The honest truth is that if I had the option to laze on a tropical island for months and sleep late every day, I wouldn’t get bored.
My natural rhythm is a little less “driven” than many of the people I know. I’ve always beat myself up for not being someone who’s jumping out of bed each day to kick the world’s ass.
But I’m not out to build an empire or make a zillion bucks. So, it was scary when I left my structure-filled corporate gig 11 years ago -- because I know I’m not the best at self discipline, nor am I brimming with all-day-ass-kicking-determination.
Yet I've made it this far, so now I know it's possible to succeed without being "driven."
So today’s post is for the more laid back among us…
I have found that we can work with our natural slant—not against it. Here are 12 tips that have worked for me:
- Acceptance & Gratitude. I sorta think that if we banished our “weaknesses,” we might also banish our strengths. So maybe the stuff that makes us more chilled-out is also the stuff that makes us awesome and creative. Let’s just accept who we are and be grateful.
- Customization. Yup, go as wild as you want! Respect your rhythm and work smarter, shape your business around your quirks and have a laundroffice if you want to.
- Daily Max: 3. I try not to have more than three things I really need to do on my calendar each day. More than that is overwhelming. Two is even better. I know your friends are getting 20 things done, but comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t sweat it.
- You don’t have to be constantly motivated. You can just be motivated in little spurts. That’s plenty. Little spurts have helped me do good work and have a successful business for 10+ years—and manage to accomplish things like sending 65 un-newsletters/blogs.
- Sleep & Self-care. I can’t function on six hours of sleep. I’ve tried. Give yourself what you need: time to sleep, rest, be creative, do absolutely nothing—and you’ll be stronger for it.
- Positive, human-based accountability. I have a trainer at the gym. She ensures I go at least twice a week. And let me tell you—I really wouldn’t otherwise. It’s the people that make the hard stuff enjoyable. For years, I’ve gotten through this nutty adventure of self-employment with the consistent help of some amazing people: Jeanine Davis (my money buddy), Conrad Winter (my outreach butt-kicker) and Katy Davis (my newsletter buddy). And of course, Ilise; I’d wouldn’t be here without her!
- A canine time-keeper. She barks to wake me up. She barks when it’s time for her walk and time for food. She forces me to maintain a schedule…even when I’m struggling. I go to the dog park most afternoons for an hour; her impending bark and excited face forces me to get my work finished before then.
- Mind tricks & Self-imposed deadlines. Want to waste time watching YouTube videos? That’s fine, you’ve got 10 more minutes. Feeling like a big-ole loser? That’s fine. Wallow until Noon, then get your rear in gear. Set timers and use alarms.
- Maximize with systems and tools. When you get organized once—with estimate templates, outreach emails, creating packages, invoicing through FreshBooks—it makes life easier every day.
- Say no to things that zap your time and energy. (It’s why I quit Facebook years ago and why I get dresses delivered from short distances.)
- Your gut. Listen to it. Ask: Is this just fear, or a truly bad decision?
- Do one thing. Really stuck? Do one thing. Send one outreach email. Do one push up. Introduce yourself to one person. Write one word.
This journey of self-employment hasn’t just been a professional victory, but it’s forced a lot of personal growth and acceptance as well.
You CAN do it.
Have any tips that work for you? Please email them to me.
Hi, I’m Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide). To keep in touch, sign up for my un-newsletter here and get my freebie download, 12 Sparks to Write Sizzling, Audience-Attracting Website Words.