1st Year in Self Employment!
One year old and what a first year! There were times I never thought I'd make it!!
In the spirit of why Lantern was created in the first place, I thought I'd mark my first birthday by sharing some of the things I've learned this year in the hope that it helps someone else, so here are my five thoughts for today:
1. Define what, how and why
Everyone tells you to define what you're going to do and how you're going to do it before you start your business, but nobody explains the importance of understanding WHY you're doing it. If you understand your needs and drivers you will be more likely to get pleasure and satisfaction form your work which also keeps your resilience and motivation levels up. Also, when you're introducing yourself or your business, if you explain why you do what you do, you get the opportunity to share a bit of yourself which creates interest and the basis of a more productive relationship.
2. Go with your gut
There are so many people out there doing things you don't agree with, working in ways which don't sit right with you, telling you what you “should” be doing to succeed or grow your business. In the early days it's difficult to hear your own instincts because you are clouded with self-doubt or feel you lack the experience to make a judgement. Well by all means seek out the wisdom from as many people as you can, we all have our two-penneth we're willing to share but remember you've got to kiss a lot of frogs! Eventually you will form your own opinions but don't discount your gut instincts, they're often proved right in the end.
3. Balance is all
Finding the right work / life balance is the key to happiness, maintenance of both energy and resilience levels and absolutely essential for your business health and personal wellbeing. Doing too much will burn you out, doing too little will lead to apathy and ill heath, but we're all different so no one size fits all. Allocate and schedule your time evenly between the activity required to keep your business healthy and the activities which will recharge, relax and keep you healthy.
4. Find your tribe
Your tribe can be family, friends, work colleagues, associates old or new; anyone who fits the bill! Surround yourself with the people who share your values and drivers, those who have the same sense of vision and purpose. They will provide support and advice when required both from a professional and personal capacity and also meet the need for social connection and sharing. That is what true networking is all about, not trying to sell your products and services to each other in a 2 minute awkward introduction, but the opportunity to identify at least one person with whom you would like to have a coffee and a chat to learn more about what they do and who they are.
5. Smile and be happy
If you can't reap the benefits of self-employment - why bother? The difficulties and challenges of working for yourself are many and varied but the benefits are fantastic! Freedom to define your own working patterns, to do what you're best at and makes you happy, to define who you do and don't want to work with! If you're so busy that you don't get time to spend with your family and friends or are too tired and stressed to do the things you love then what's the point?! All the areas mentioned above may help you but if you need further support, all you need to do is ask, there are plenty of us out there who love to help.
On that note, it's time I switched off and went for a walk in the countryside - it's 12 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, why not?!
Happy birthday to me and happy Wednesday to you (or whatever day you're reading this!)
All the very best
Phil @ Lantern