Three years ago, virtually to the day, I made the decision to leave my full time job as a town planner and pursue the crazy world of working for yourself.
Although in some roundabout way this had always been the plan (both my parents run their own businesses), it wasn’t something I was thinking about at the time. I was pretty much forced into it because I wanted to write my book and my job at the time wouldn’t let me split my time between work and writing. And I’m so glad they took that stance! Because it was the best decision I’ve made to date.
Almost regardless of how successful your business becomes (fingers crossed for all of you it’s very, very, very successful), the discoveries you make when you become your own boss – about your abilities, what you do and don’t know, and the business market you’re in – are some of the most valuable life lessons you’ll ever have. Take away the safety net of a company set up, and a boss that settles the pay check at the end of the month, and you’re out on your own in the big blue. Believe me when I say it’s exhilarating! As part of Dr. LeWinn’s new ‘I Discovered’ campaign – an initiative encouraging everyone to share what they are most passionate about – I thought I would share with you a few of the key discoveries I’ve made in the last few years. Cheers to becoming one’s own boss!
Wearing my uniform of silk tank, DIY lace bra and J Crew utility jacket, during one of my days working ‘ON’ my business a few months ago – it’s always nice to get out of the office for that!
1. Remember to dream, but don’t forget to be practical
I believe, more than anything else, that it’s important to love what you do. That said, I’ve also learnt that it’s essential to be pragmatic about your situation – most of us can’t afford to ditch our full time jobs to pursue our passions. I couldn’t! The catalyst for change for me was the advance I received on my book, which gave me a small amount of flexibility. Anddddd, that advance came after 2 years of working full time and creating my blog content at nights and on the weekend. I believe that, if you put your mind to it you can become your own boss, but sometimes you have to start small and be consistent with what you want to do. And grow it to the point where you have the critical mass or momentum to become your own boss. Because, above all else, a girl’s gotta eat!
2. You need to make goals and answer to them
When you become your own boss you’re probably moving away from the corporate world, but it doesn’t hurt to put in place a few of the structures that exist in big companies, and put them to work for you. One of these is the review process, but instead of being reviewed by an employer you can review yourself. Make yearly and monthly goals and take the time to analyse how successful you were in retrospect. Give yourself a rating if you must, anything that makes you answerable to your goals!
3. Spend 4 days working in your business and 1 day working ON your business per week
It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day to day of running a business that you forget to plan and strategise the long term evolution of what you are doing. Unfortunately, in this fast moving world (particularly blogging or anything online related), it’s not simply good enough to do what you’ve always done, your goal needs to be to improve with every day, or at least make steps towards evolution and improvement. By devoting one day per week working ON your business instead of in it (think: doing strategy instead of answering emails), you can see real change over time. I still struggle to get the balance of strategy vs. day to day right, but am trying to improve every day!
4. If something isn’t working, change it
Learning to admit when something isn’t working is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but the reality is that not everything you embark upon when you’re your own boss is going to be successful. I had to decide whether I wanted to devote more time to writing another book or work on the digital marketing side of my blog (i.e. creating content for other companies behind the scenes), and I chose the latter, because I realised that the Internet is the way forward (although I haven’t written off another book completely! :)). And even when most things generally work out, there’s a need to decide what activities are the most successful/profitable/enjoyable, so you can do more of those ones and leave others behind. Learn to call it early, so you don’t waste time doing things you don’t love, and that aren’t paying off.
5. Remember to look after yourself
I’m not going to sugar coat this, but working for yourself is going to be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Chances are, at least to start with, you’ll do everything by yourself, so you’ll be working harder than you ever have before. That new boss of yours (you) cracks the whip! In my first year, I certainly saw the negative effects of working too hard. For the first year I was just on high speed and never bothered to get a massage or take some time out, and that took a major toll on my health. It also wreaked havoc on my skin! So it’s important to give yourself a break and look after yourself (a few of my other tips here, here and here) – for the last few month’s I’ve been using Dr. LeWinn’s new Private Formula Day Cream Moisturiser LIGHT, Eternal Youth Day & Night Cream and new Insta-Perfector Blur Cream, and have discovered just how useful a regime like this can be. The day cream has made my skin softer and the blur cream is great at minimising pores on those days when I’ve been up all night working (another lesson from becoming your own boss!), as the old adage goes – look good, feel great! And regardless of how busy you become, don’t forget to exercise – it’s important for your mind as much as it is for your brain.
As part of Dr. LeWinn’s ‘I Discovered’ Campaign, I’d love you to share your own personal discoveries with me on Instagram. You’ll be in with a chance to win a $270 Dr. LeWinn’s product pack, with 10 runners up prizes available as well. Make sure to tag in @DrLeWinns and use #idiscovered. See full T&C’s here.
This post is in Collaboration with Dr. LeWinns.