Working For Yourself: My Journey From Baby Business To Six-Figures+
Working For Yourself With A Toddler
When started working for myself I started my online interior design business. The goal was to stay at home with my daughter and build it up so that when she went to school it would be running like a well-oiled engine. LOL, pipe dreams are amazing, aren't they?
Little did I know that I would most days would be spent stopping what I was doing and come see what that little fuck Caillou was doing. It was hard to explain to my daughter that Caillou was a whiny prick and if he was real he I would never let him be your friend.
This led to long hours in the beginning of my business. I worked when she napped or was really into some cartoon (yes, she probably watched more TV than some super mom would allow, but they can suck it). I worked when she went to bed. I worked on weekends when her dad would hang out with her.
I invested a lot of time to build my business around her schedule and sacrificed time with my husband. It was what was necessary to create a business that was profitable.
But it wasn't running like a well-oiled machine, yet.
Working For Yourself When They're In School
When I put her in pre-school I did it for three reasons. One, she was an only child and she needed to figure out how to socialize with other kids. Second, the elementary school made it sound like that all children needed to go to preschool first or they would be doomed when they entered school (an over exaggeration to say the least). Third, a couple hours to myself sounded really good.
When full-day elementary school happened, that was awesome. Yes, we all love our kids, but to get a break for hours is glorious! She went to school, made friends and I got some precious quiet time.
I made it a point to put on clothes, not just schlep around in standard lazy people clothes. I made work hours that allowed me to pick up my daughter and help her with homework. After homework, I went back to work.
I used that time to grow my business. To do the things that required me to have quiet time. Like blogging, list building, sales, and bookkeeping. Those hours were precious although I know I sometimes used those hours for napping. Adult napping is just sooooo good. Right?!
During these years is when I finally had a business that almost resembled a well-oiled machine. I was able to reinvest my income back into the business to get software to help me grow my business and hire coaches to help me grow faster.
Working For Yourself Means You'll Actually Miss Human Interaction
Working for yourself means that you don't get out much. And I still don’t. My husband works full time outside the home. For me to go anywhere requires me to find others who can pick up my kid from school and bring her home because my mother got lost dropping her off at the school which is exactly .7 miles from our home.
My lunch time is usually at 1 until 2. I watch adult shows that I can’t watch when my daughter is home. Then I head out to pick her up, often standing in 100 degrees plus heat for 20 minutes and getting old people heat stroke just so I can socialize with the moms. That and my morning trip to Starbucks are my only interaction with adults outside my family on most days.
You need to make a point of hanging out with adults (even when the anti-social gremlins tell you that it's okay if you wanna stay home). If you don't, your partner is going to want to poke out their eardrums listening to how you grew your email list by 100 people. They will not care. Nor understand.
Working For Yourself Means You'll Work Weekends (Sometimes)
Often I find myself working weekends. Sometimes it is because I get inspired or other times something pops up that I need to take care of. Basically, when you work for yourself you're never really off the clock.
Working For Yourself To Hit Six-Figures
Hitting that income goal was a goal I had for 5 years. For years I stagnated around $60-$75k and it was frustrating. I fell into the comparisonitis trap. I wanted to earn as much as my husband did and I felt that income proved that I "made it" out of the baby business world.
Like so many others working for themselves, you realize that a) six-figures isn't a whole hell of a lot b) you pay a shit ton of taxes c) you need to make a new scary goal and d) if you focus on the money goal you'll lose sight of your mission.
Don't forget to celebrate your successes, not just hitting your income goals, but when you close a really fantastic client project or whatever goals you write down.
Working for yourself means it’s all on your shoulders
When you hit the six-figure mark, you're going to need to get help. You can't hustle enough to keep up. Unless Meth and losing your teeth seems like a viable option.
You'll need to document your processes and learn to let go when you hire your first assistant. Your new assistant will make mistakes (usually because you left a step out of the process for them to follow). Just make sure to hire someone that has the same values and drive that you do.
And yes, it's always on your shoulders - the buck will always stop with you.
Working for yourself means you're going to sacrifice
You're going to work long hours. And you're going to do it for the rest of your life because you can't imagine letting anyone else chart your future.
Alycia Wicker is a business coach for creative entrepreneurs. Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.