That’s how long I lasted on a desk job.
Two months of forced interactions, terrible coffee, robotic movements and intelligence-depleting tasks …
It was the most lethargic and humdrum experience of my life.
Yes, I did meet some beautiful and inspiring people who love their work and left me with a good bit of workplace wisdom.
But ultimately, I knew that I wasn’t cut out for the perfectly boring and unfulfilling 9-5 existence.
Since then I’ve been doing that fierce, fearless Pasodoble with entrepreneurship. I anticipated that it would be hard work but some of the lessons that I have learned came as a complete surprise. I’m sure some of you can relate.
Lesson #1 Deadlines still apply
While you may think that you have all the time in the world to complete your tasks, it is vital that you set deadlines for yourself. These don’t have to be set in stone, but they provide you with some structure and discipline, particularly in times when motivation hasn’t exactly pulled up on the scene.
I found that without deadlines, it is much easier to lose momentum and regress into a state of procrastination.
… and we all know what a crippling toxin procrastination is.
So please, get a calendar and a notepad, and create some structure for your life. You need it.
This post on striking a balance between creativity and structure will help you out immensely.
Lesson #2 There’s no such thing as free time
Considering that you may be home most of the time, appearances may be the last thing on the agenda. This will create the illusion of infinite time and endless possibilities.
When you work from home, your work life and personal life become linear extensions of each other.
The monumental amount of work that you need to put into the initial stages will require that you use every bit of time to plan and execute your vision. This translates to lots of late nights and a complete restructuring of your sleep cycle. Trust me, the only amount of free time that you may have will be used for absolutely necessary bodily functions.
Lesson #3 You still have to wake up, dress up and show up.
When you are self-employed, the little things may appear to be inconsequential. While you can get some real work done in your PJ’s, motivation is particularly difficult to come by without the added pressures of traditional employment.
On those days, you need to make a conscious and deliberate effort to ensure that you’re channeling the right physical and intellectual energy to get your work done. If you need to put on some heels, some professional attire or some makeup to give you that extra oomph, Do it baby!
Which brings me to the next lesson…
Lesson #4 Your friends and family will question your sanity
If you get all dressed and made up only to sit at your desk all day, your loved ones will worry about your mental health.
Your friends may not understand exactly what it is that you’re doing and your parents may begin to wonder why the heck they spent all this money to send you to college in the first place. Don’t worry … after a ton of question & answer sessions, and the tangible fruits of your labor begin to come to light, they’ll get it.
Lesson #5 You do not know everything
Having the guts to be self-employed does not equate to knowing all the answers or having every tool in your toolbox. Approaching this journey with a know-it-all attitude is the surest way to crash and burn. You need to do a fair amount of research- articles, blogs, YouTube vids, books – to ensure that you’re as well equipped as possible to take care of business.
The more time and energy that you invest in educating yourself, developing your craft and knowing the workings of your business, the more fruitful it will be.
And remember, the learning process should be continuous and dynamic because as an entrepreneur, no task is off limits.
Lesson #6 You do not have to do everything yourself
To reiterate my previous point, you do not know everything and you do not need to know everything. While in the infantile stages you may have to do the bulk of the work, as time goes on, you can build your own team and outsource work to persons who are masterful at what they do.
This is one of the most fulfilling parts of self-employment. You get to network and amalgamate your talents with the genius of others. It is astounding the caliber of work that can be produced when great minds fuse for a common goal. So please don’t make the mistake of believing that self-employment is anti- everybody else. You will need others and vice versa.
Lesson #7 You still have to answer to someone
Complacency is the natural tendency when there’s no helicopter boss to light fire under your rear end. If you’re going to quite a stable job or whatever sacrifice that this bold move entails, you need to be accountable to yourself. At the end of the day, you do not only want to survive off your business, but you want to thrive.
Achieving stratospheric success comes with heightened responsibility and accountability. You will also have to answer to your clients. Whether you’re distributing a product or providing a service, it is only fair that you deliver consistently superior work to those who are paying for it. It will position you on higher ground and you will gain the respect of your clients and your peers.
Lesson #8 You do not need a big budget to start
The most significant investment that you can make is to educate yourself. If you start with small and consistent steps, you do not have to break the bank to make real progress.
There are tons of free resources available on-line, and with the right combination of ideas and strategies, you can start with little to no money. Particularly when you’re starting a service-based business, money is a non-issue in the beginning. It would be wise to invest money as the business matures, but it is not the end-all, be-all.
Lesson #9 Self- Employment is the most fulfilling and exhilarating thing you can ever do
There is nothing more fulfilling than achieving success on your own terms.
The independence, sense of defiance and adventure is exhilarating.
You will be dancing to your own rhythm with the knowledge that your own two feet are all you need to create a meaningful life. If you’re looking to dislodge yourself from the mundane 9-5 existence, Go for it! The hard work, late nights and weekends in, are totally worth it.
This post was first published on Conscious Livity.