What It’s Like Working Full-Time For Yourself
Everyone seems to think that working for yourself is the easiest and more freeing experience ever. Let me tell you, it's not easy at all. And it's definitely not freeing to the degree people think it is. While it is amazing to be an entrepreneur and run your own business, it is hard work 24 hours a day. I eat, sleep, dream my work. There's nothing I can do to stop that given it's my baby, and it's all mine. Working for a corporate job, most people end up taking work with them sometimes but it's not nearly the same level or capacity as when you own your own business. You can't shut off completely for days at a time. It simply doesn't work that way. Your team depends on your response, and when you owe a business, you still have to hit deadlines whether you're on vacation or not.
You have to manage a lot of people.
I have a full team of amazing creatives who helped my brand become what it is today. Not only do you have to manage yourself, you have to manage a lot of other people. Basically any one who works with you is someone you have to manage to some degree. Some people need little to no guidance (they just understand you) and others need more guidance and follow-up. So while you're managing yourself and your timelines, you also have to manage others. It becomes a lot of management.
You never stop working.
When you work "for the man", let's be honest. How much time do you actually put in the business? 8 hours a day? 10 hours a day? When it's your own business, you will never say no. You'll get it done. This means you're always working. It's not a 9 to 5. It's from the moment you wake up, to the moment you fall asleep. All of your casual "personal" conversations become about your business. I honestly don't know a single conversation that happens that doesn't have something to do with my work.
You deal with a lot of BS.
A lot of idiots will try to scam you, take you for granted or try to sell you something you definitely don't need. Just today I got a message from a group of girls who told me they want to "quit their corporate job and mentor bloggers for a living." I looked at their accounts, and none of them have any substantial blogging knowledge. Just because you're in marketing doesn't mean you know shit about blogging, or being a social media personality. It's quite comical how little people actually know, and you all know I will tell it like it is. Do not fall for stupid courses, silly business antics or anything else that seems fishy.
Your boss is a tough critic.
We are our toughest critic. Every single day. Your girlfriend tells you you look great, and you don't really believe her because you think you should've done those 20 extra squats at the gym this morning. Can we give ourselves a break ladies? We deserve to think highly of ourselves once in a while, so come on! I give myself very few days to celebrate and actually enjoy a win. I'm always on to the next thing. The next collaboration, the next podcast, the next interview and this year I really want to focus more on celebrating all the little victories. I know a lot of my friends are the same way. We congratulate everyone else, but we don't congratulate ourselves enough.
If you're not working, you feel anxious.
If you're not doing something to further your business, you start to get anxiety over time. You feel like you're wasting time. I have a really bad problem with this. If I'm not working (photographing, editing, writing, compiling content and so forth) I start to feel like I'm not working enough and that I should be doing more. This starts to wear down on me over time, and it becomes stressful to say yes to social activities. Most of my friends are those I work with in some shape or form, because they understand the struggle with this particular industry. It's hard to turn off, and if you do, you just feel worse. You're probably thinking, what's wrong with you? But honestly you've likely fallen victim to it too, even in a corporate job. Some weeks you work 50 or 60 hour weeks to stay above water.
No one understands your business like you do.
This is the one that makes me so frustrated with a lot of people in my life, from time to time. Everyone thinks you're being a jerk for saying no to this or no to that. They don't understand that your deadline isn't like a school paper deadline. That deadline is literally your name and your business on the line. If you don't deliver, the repercussions are worse than not turning in your school paper. Because people don't understand, they think you've decided they're not important. You don't want to text back, you never call them and so forth. It's ended a lot of friendships (candid as always) and that's okay. I'm not a flake or a liar. I just tell everyone in my life when I have a deadline. In some cases my deadline can hold off a few hours for someone or a specific event, but usually most things are not worth the stress of being late to a deadline. I can go to happy hour another time. This campaign can't wait. Sorry to say no to an event!
There's a lot more I can say in regards to this topic and not everything will come to me for this post, but honestly let's leave it here.