Over the years, I've journaled my experiences going from the land of traditional employment to running my own show as a self-employed consultant, AKA solopreneur. Here's what the very first 3 months looked like...
I just realized that it’s been three months since i went into business for myself. I know! Only three months! But dang, it feels like a century since I was doing the regular bike commute and I have learned SO much about myself, and the process of running a business in general.
My network is invaluable – for candidates, clients, business practices, and more. I love them!!!
I’ve done work in my newly designed office exactly four times. Most of my laptop work is done sitting in my big comfy chair in the living room. But it’s still a nice quiet separate place to keep all my files, equipment, etc., right?
Health insurance is officially a thing of the past. I’ve been rejected by my former health insurance company for a private plan, and by a benefits broker. One year & two months til they can’t screw over people like me anymore for preexisting conditions, thanks to ObamaCare. But it’s okay – I’ve got Planned Parenthood and ZoomCare nearby along with a great naturopath & acupuncturist & massage therapist in the neighborhood. This website has great tips to keep in mind too.
I’m learning to separate personal from professional in a new way. In the office environment, you share with your coworkers. They know what’s going on in your life. But I’m learning that the consultant/client relationship is not like that. You share, and assumptions can be made. It’s hard for a chatty person such as myself, but I’m learning to temper my sharing tendencies while still keeping the “me” in Aimee 🙂
Working 80+ hours a week like my last job? It’s a thing of the past. That’s awesome. Not that I don’t work my ass off – I definitely do. But in this new role, I’m not forced to be working at times that make no sense for the kind of work I do, I don’t have to go to meetings that are irrelevant to the bottom line, and I can focus on one of my biggest strengths – organization. I get sh** done.
I’ve been asked by some when I plan on growing my business because of how busy I’ve been, and know one thing – it’s never gonna happen. I have no desire to hire employees, get office space, et cetera. This gal is perfectly happy staying small. Why? Freedom. I don’t have any desire to be anyone’s boss. Growth is not the only determinator of success, people. Peace of mind is more important as far as I’m concerned. I’m so un-capitalist 🙂
I’ve learned that when I reduce my value, I’m the one who suffers most. Therefore, the lesson has been learned – just like in life – that my instincts are always right and that there’s nothing wrong with sticking to your guns when it comes to the important stuff.
I’ve found that I am learning from each client experience about how to be better at what I do, whether it be in how I negotiate to how much work I take on initially to how confident I am in communicating my expertise.
Even when I do well financially, I still don’t spend any more on myself. Every extra cent I’ve made has gone to pay off my credit card (done!) and student loans (85% done!). My splurges? A roof on my home that was badly needed, and a properly working, energy efficient dishwasher. This girl don’t wear Manolos.
I am, as in the rest of my life, focusing on trying to be gentler on myself. Just stepping back to evaluate these first three months has been so good for me – I’ve accomplished SO much, and allowing myself to own that success (rather than attribute it to luck) has been a constant challenge. As I’ve never seen this level of financial success or overall happiness doing what I’m really good at in a way that is way more effective, I am careful I don’t take anything for granted – but have to remind myself to also celebrate the little wins that come along. As those close to me know, I’m very hard on myself, and am incredibly sensitive to mistakes I’ve made along the way.
But I’m learning – always learning. Here’s to the next three months!
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” ~ Salvador Dali