Choose a Job You Love…
Let’s start off straight forward, there are many things to know about being your own boss and I’m going to just tell you the first few. We’ve all heard the phrase “choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. HA! What it should say “ Choose a job you love and you’ll work more than you ever have and take everything personally”. That’s the nature of being a business owner, especially in the creative field.
Entrepreneurs on average work well above 40 hours a week. It has a lot to do with how many hats we wear in our own businesses because we don’t have a full-time staff to do it for us. In my high season as a wedding photographer, I probably shoot anywhere from 8-24 hours in a week and spend even more time on back end business work. As I’ve developed my business, I’ve been able to outsource more work, but that took time to do.
Boundaries & Balance
Being that you are your own boss, you set the rules, the business hours, and the boundaries between you and the job. It’s crucial that you start with as much structure as you can until you get the hang of it. If I could go back in time to when I first began, I would set strict business hours (when I would physically be in my office, behind a computer) and better expectations on my website for when clients would hear from my on a daily basis. You can’t live your whole day in your inbox and you can’t ignore your computer either. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it.
Other boundaries that you’ll need to tackle are between personal and professional business life. One key example that I know the majority of creative entrepreneurs face is “the family discount”. If you’re talented at what you do, OF COURSE, your family is going to want to utilize that talent. However, I learned very early that you should never do a “family discount”. Either work for free or do it for full price but anywhere in the middle gets really messy. Keep the boundaries clear because more than likely your family will be happy to financially support your business and pay you for your talent.
We’re All a Little Crazy Here
There are so many moving parts to running a business. From creating and developing a website, increase its SEO so clients can find you, creating and crafting your actual product, to having a social media presence, to paying your taxes every year on time…it’s a lot. And in the early days of solopreneurship, you do a lot of it yourself.
Get ready to really dive deep into a lot of varying topics because you’ll need all the knowledge you can. As soon as you can, I highly recommend outsourcing items like CRM workflows, accounting, and editing (if you’re a photographer). If you’re a small products creator, outsourcing your shipping and inventory management.
Sweat Pants & Swivel Chairs
Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your laptop in your sweat pants. Lots of business is done online and even if you have a brick and mortar store, all your customers still want to see, track, and share all you have to offer online and on social media. If you’re not tech-savvy, find someone you trust and can afford to pay to help you.
Also, get a good chair. Not something cute off Etsy, a real chair with real support because you will be spending a real amount of time in it.
You’ll Reap What You Sow
If you put in the hard work, get scrappy, keep pushing, and deliver a good product with high customer service, you will reap a high reward. I’m not a magic 8 ball and I cannot guarantee that result for every person, but being your own boss means putting your own power behind that engine driving you to success.
Nobody besides YOU will be setting those deadlines. Nobody besides YOU will be out there tracking down the next opportunity. Nobody besides YOU will be responsible for your success for failure. Get ready to work harder than you ever have because it will be beyond worth it.
Being your own boss entails a lot of different moving parts. Not everything will be perfectly operating 100% of the time and that’s okay. As ONE person, you can give yourself some grace if you can’t get it all done, all the time. BUT, you are the only person in your universe who can pick up the bootstraps that will lead you to where you want to go. Dig deep, work hard, and keep pursuing what sets your heart on fire.
If you liked this article, be sure to head back and check out the Top 7 Must-Haves for Your Business Website.