I had an intervention last week.
Actually a couple of them.
The best part of having mentors who are further along in their career is that they can see your obstacles much more clearly than you can see them yourself.
Last week, I got into a debate over one of my blog posts with a mentor-friend of mine. She texted me late that night, “I have been reading your blog, and I can tell you are stressed the f**k out.”
She was right.
Here is the thing. Self employment is hard y’all.
I want to tell everyone to quit their job, stick it to the man and build a career that makes their life great. We are living amidst the gig economy where freelancing has never been more possible.
But I know why you don’t make the leap.
Steady paychecks are nice. A luxury, even.
Living in an “eat what you kill” mindset is HARD.
At any given time I’m thinking about…
- Drumming up new business
- Keeping up with current projects
- Drafting invoices to send out
- Connecting with new people on social media
- Paying this week’s bills
- Paying last week’s bills
- How are those going to get paid?
- Remembering the boys start soccer camp next month.
- Thinking that it’s time to put new tires on the car, isn’t it?
- Trying to put aside enough money to pay rent on the first
The idea of “balance” is nice. But the fear of failing, going bankrupt and living on the side of the road is REAL.
So I took the weekend off, and started thinking about how I could manage my career in a way that didn’t push me over the edge.
Here is what I learned:
1. Assess your income from the past few months.
I took a step back and looked at my earnings from the past few months.
I consistently hit all of my sales goals for the past three months. But then I got bored and changed my focus and my sales reflected that.
Instead of realizing what was happening, I freaked out and spent a week totally stressed and completely unfocused. I did all of this without even realizing it was happening.
Once I recognized the changes in my income, I pinpointed where I needed to focus more of my time and put the plan in action.
Look at your earning. Identify the trends and learn from your mistakes.
2. Optimize your side projects
After assessing my income, I realized I have been focusing a ton of effort into building a portfolio of courses, writing consistently and building relationships online.
The problem is that all of these things take a ton of time and make me very little money. They mostly just make me happy. Instead of giving them up, I found ways to optimize these projects so they took me less time and made me more money.
I killed all of my existing courses, and started focusing on creating larger more effective programs that include experts that span way beyond just me.
My first course is all about building a career that works for your life, and includes some of my favorite career experts online. (you can get all of the details here)
This new format makes the courses more interesting for participants, and gives me more time to line up amazing presenters.
Win win for everyone.
3. Give yourself a break.
It’s really hard to take time off when you are self-employed.
You spend all day measuring your time in relation to money, which easily translates to your personal life. Suddenly, you find yourself coming up with sneaky plans to do work while you are supposed to be doing family/life stuff.
You are going to burn out.
Assessing your income and killing the project that aren’t working is best way to increase your earnings. Giving up your life for work is not.
Take a step back. Asses where you are and refocus your efforts.