Are you "driven" enough to be self employed?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.)
  11. Your gut. Listen to it. Ask: Is this just fear, or a truly bad decision?
  12. 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.