The #1 Mistake I Made On The Road To Working For Myself
As you know, I recently quit my job and am currently in Australia getting reenergized. Recently I realized that I didn’t really mention what my plan is for the immediate future is in my “I quit” post.
I will be working for myself and my primary focus will be lending support to local businesses and non-profits. I am very passionate about helping small businesses thrive and move to the next level. I also have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Non-Profit Organization Management. So I understand many of the issues that non-profits are faced with in working their mission and helping their clientele. I am writing a post about this and will have it up in the next week.
I thought that I would spend some time today talking about the #1 mistake that I made on the road to working for myself because I want you to avoid making this mistake if this is this is something that you’re considering.
In the 2 years before I quit my job I started blogging pretty seriously, in addition to the blogging I was also: Side hustling, running events for the organization that I worked for, commuting 20 hours a week (about 4 hours a day) and trying to spend time with family and friends.
By the way, I was blogging around 20 or more hours a week. So, needless to say-I was freaking tired. In fact, before I hit the peddle to the metal and added the blogging I was already bone wearingly tired from years of commuting.
The #1 Mistake That I Made:
Was underestimating how tired I was and taking on too much. I started taking on clients and also writing for other people. The thing is, there is a breaking point and I was beyond that point when I started adding these jobs to already full plate.
This meant that the level of consistency and quality in my work wasn’t as high as I or my clients would have like. And, no-no one said anything to me but I used to manage people so I know what I used to look for in people who worked with/for me or collaborated with me and I was way too tired to do 1/2 of the things I was trying to do in the way that I would have liked others to manage projects when working with me.
Being tired affected the following:
- Communication-Often, I would fall asleep on the bus during time that I had allocated to answering emails, etc. While emails would get answered the same day-I was probably not answering emails as quickly as clients would have liked.
- Focus-I was too tired to focus.
- Consistency-Because I was so tired I would forget things-I mentioned in my I quit post that I slept for 3 weeks straight after I left my job and that I haven’t felt this mentally sharp in YEARS.
- Energy-I didn’t have any energy and it was a daily struggle just to function normally.
While this level of exhaustion only really affected 2 of the clients that I was working with, I want to be known for a high quality of work, professionalism, and consistency by ALL my clients. In those two clients’ experience with me while I was professional-consistency was an issue.
It is not a coincidence that I have increased my productivity since I got some much needed rest. It’s also not a coincidence either that I relaunched Colorado Luv Hub. I have the time and clarity of thought to really focus and work on these projects.
Some Things That I Did Do Well:
I did do some things well on the road to working for myself.
- Took time off to rest-I did take a lot more vacation in 2014 than I had been in the habit of doing. I used those days to rest, catch up on projects, umm and to rest!
- Took A Time Assessment-I took a time assessment in the Spring that told me that I was so over committed that I couldn’t possibly keep up. I wish that I had actively applied that knowledge to how I was adding clients.
- Worked on small projects-I took small projects a did those really well. Where I felt I struggled was in communication with my clients.
- Asked Questions-I am pretty good at asking questions and by asking questions I was able to clarify some stumbling blocks that would have come up on some projects.
If You’re On The Road To Working For Yourself:
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What can I realistically do in the time that I currently have and ROCK what ever commitment I’ve made to my client and myself?
- What can you give up in order to make what you want happen? I worked at this pace for many years but the last 2 years were brutal. Finally I had to let some duties go at my day job. I was open to other people planning events for our clients at work and that did free up time that had been previously allocated to work. I didn’t resist this change and was happy to see some of my work responsibilities shift to other people.
- How long can I take this pace? I worked at a pace that was not healthy for way too long. One year was probably manageable but the number of years that I did it was not. If you’re increasing your work load be honest with yourself about how long you can manage a brutal pace.
- Work An Exit Strategy-Part of why it took me so long to leave was I didn’t have a clear exit strategy in mind. Sometimes this happens. But, once I figured out my plan I focused in on it and that really helped keep things in perspective.
How To Recover When You Stumble Towards
I was being pretty hard on myself and then I thought, it’s better to learn these lessons in the beginning than further down the road. I have regrouped and started with a clean slate for 2015. One of the biggest things that I will be focusing on is consistency and communication. In my previous job I was known for both (and was dealing with foreign embassies and the U.S. Government) so I will be applying those old skills to my new business.
I Will Regroup in The Following Ways:
- Set protocols and best practices for business communication and make sure that these are clear to my clients.
- Be careful about taking on too many projects. I want to be known for a high quality of work. I used to work with 100’s of people everyday. Now I want to work with a much smaller number of people so that I can serve them really well in the whatever capacity that we’re working together in.
What Was Your #1 Mistake To Self-Employment?
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