While observing the entrepreneurs I work with, I get the impression that many are not aware of the freedom that comes with entrepreneurship.
Many entrepreneurs work and live as if they were still working for someone. Here is a list of 10 things that you have to consider doing when you are self-employed.
First of all, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO do anything.
That is exactly why you became an entrepreneur. You are free to do whatever you want.
It is your responsibility as an entrepreneur to win your entrepreneurial freedom. There is a saying that „freedom is never given, it is won.“
Here are the things I suggest you consider doing to own your entrepreneurial freedom.
1) Be your authentic self
You are self-employed. Now, you are your own boss. What exactly does that mean?
It means that you can do things in your own way.
Although subconsciously you choose entrepreneurship partly because you are fed up with people constantly telling you what to do, I often observe entrepreneurs running back into the safety of having their clients, partners, family or their fears tell them what to do.
Entrepreneurship is your chance to be your authentic self; your chance to sing your own song.
For that to happen, you have to patiently discover that voice that is your own.
If you are self-employed, but keep acting like an employee, you are missing out on a chance to let your light shine.
When you work for someone, you fulfill their vision.
This can have a very strategic dimension but it can also be implemented in simple areas of your service delivery.
For example my cosmetician is all into health. She is a very competent beauty angel (she is hairdresser, cosmetician, make up artist & nail designer). But, she is also a natural hostess.
She found a great way to become a great hostess for her clients. She has created 3 very simple but healthy welcome drinks that she calls beauty drinks. Every time you go there you are offered a beauty drink that you can take or refuse. It is really simple.
She would have been top, by just offering water thus being a great hostess (because it is not offered in most salons). However, she has thought further of how her clients could benefit from other things she values (in this case healthy drinks). And guess what, her clients LOVE it!!!
2) Say no even to a client
Entrepreneurship is a career of endless possibilities!
The more possibilities you have the more it is important to make conscious choices.
You have to learn to say no to people who want you to take actions you cannot identify with.
You have to say no to projects that do not match your vision.
You have to say no to money that you will not earn on your terms.
Most people are afraid of saying no. We grow up thinking that „no“ is „negative“.
I had a client whom I allowed to work with me on call. At the beginning of my self-employment I didn´t see how much energy it would cost me. For a few months in the year, I was at the disposal of that client whenever they needed me on the project. It became more and more uncomfortable for me to make space for that client.
With time I realized that the worst thing I could do in business is give away control over my time.
I am the captain on my ship. I decide when I work and whom I work with. Not the other way round. It took me some time and frustration to get there. Then, I announced to my client the specific time I was available for their project. The curious thing is that, the client was chocked only for a day. The next day they said they can live with my decision! Of course they can.
By avoiding saying no, you secretly hope that the world needs you so much, it will crash without you. The reality is, nobody needs you that much.
3) Invest in yourself!!!
Often when you hear the word investment you think about money. Well, there are many other things to invest.
Employees have training offers throughout the year depending on the company they work in. They have several days of paid leave per year. They have lunch time…etc That is the company´s way to invest in his employees.
As an entrepreneur you also have to invest time, energy and money in yourself.
– Time: for self-reflection, training, but also for filling your batteries. You must take time to do the things that recharge your battery and fill you with energy.
Another aspect that requires time is your social support system. You have to find time for your love ones. And if you have no one to love, then make time to meet people.
Most successful entrepreneurs know the value of having an immediate social environment. It is difficult to be fully happy if you belong nowhere!!!
– Energy: for the things you believe in. Your business might not flourish from day one. It takes you a lot of energy to keep trying. Even when you are successful, stagnation is not a friend of entrepreneurship. You will need the energy to always go one more step.
– Money: for your personal and business development. It can be in form of equipment, seminars, mentoring or coaching, business or personal development events, vacation or free time activities…etc. Everything that helps you focus on what you can do best is worth your money.
You have to treat yourself as such.
4) Take time off!!!!
It is crazy how many self-employed work 365 days a year. Of course when you are the captain on your ship it is very tempting to work non-stop.
You have to train yourself to spend time away from work and switch off. Why?
First, because the quality of your work suffers otherwise. When you are exhausted the work you deliver is „exhausted“ too. You do not want to serve that to your clients, do you?
Second, breaks fuel your creativity. You don´t have to go to Hawaii for 4 weeks (even though I can recommend it as one of the best holidays I´ve had). It is enough to switch off for a few days. You can take some holidays and explore your city for example.
Third, if you are constantly busy with the same things, you develop a tunel vision very quickly. You will feel stuck more often. It is important to take some distance and come back to work with fresh ideas.
Here are a few more fun things many entrepreneurs do not even consider doing.
5) Start your week on Tuesday.
You don’t have to work Monday to Friday 9 to 9:-). Another way to use the freedom you have gained is by creating working hours that work for your customers and that are inline with other priorities in your life.
If you have a beauty center for example, your customers might be happy to have your services rather very early in the morning & very late in the evening. You could therefore open from 7 to 12 and from 6pm to 9pm for example. And in between, you are free to run some errands and relax. Just an idea.
6) Work outside when the sun shines.
If your work is tied to a computer, this is a perfect option.
You might not be able to do all types of work outside your office. However you can split your tasks in a way that every now and then you can work away from your office.
It gives you a sense of freedom. And a lot of Vitamin D. Working outside of your normal work environment can also boost your creativity tremendously.
I love to get out of my office every now and then. I then work in different places: some very noisy places or some very quiet. I experiment with that and use my freedom.
You can do the same.
7) Make the events in your private life a priority
There is one experience from my time as an employee that I will never forget. The year my mom turned 50. My parents live in Benin (where I come from). My siblings live all over the world. That year, we decided to all travel home and celebrate with mom. Her birthday is in July. Summer being the peak season of the company I just started working with, there was a no-holidays-rule in summer. It was my first year at the company and I thought that for such a special occasion I could negotiate a leave. Nope.
I didn´t celebrate my mom´s 50 with her.
As an entrepreneur you have the flexibility to make the events in your family´s life a non negotiable part of your schedule. Use that flexibility!
8) Sleep until 10 a.m on a traditional week day
If you are anything like me: you hate to wake up early. As an entrepreneur you don´t have to show up at work at a certain time. You only have to get your work done. So, why not allow yourself a late morning every now and then during the „traditional“ week? Ain´t nobody´s business.
Besides, what is the definition of a work week? The traditional one, would be Monday to friday or sunday to friday or another combination depending on where you live. Like suggested in point 5, you are more flexible as an entrepreneur.
9) Meet friends for lunch. Your current friends can’t? Make new friends
Many self-employed work alone. You do not have to do that. Unless you are part of a mastermind group or have another support system, you will feel a lot alone.
Use your lunch hours to meet friends.
I remember when I was an employee, the companies I worked for were in very remote areas. The lunch time was never enough to get in town and meet friends.
One thing that you can allow yourself to do as a self-employed is decide on your lunch time (no restriction to 1 or 2 hours anymore). You decide.
10) Travel and work
When you are an employee, ideally holidays mean you put your mobile phone in a grave and forget that you even have to ever go back to work.
As an entrepreneur however, traveling can always become a very happy and great mixture of work and pleasure.
Thank to modern technology you could be in NY and work 4 hours every day and enjoy the city afterwards. How awesome is this?
To finish: question the status quo. Learn to use your entrepreneurial freedom. You are paying a price for it, that only few are willing to pay!!!”
NOW IT´S YOUR TURN
What are a few ways you have found to live your entrepreneurial freedom? Post your number one in the comment.