We have all seen the entrepreneurs who are constantly posting about #hustling or being a #bosslady who is working 24/7 to become the next billionaire.
I hadn’t even planned on being an entrepreneur.
Shocking, I know.
The truth is that I just always wanted to a writer. And I didn’t much care HOW it came about, I just knew that I have considered myself a writer since somewhere in elementary school — and I wanted to get paid for it so I could have an excuse to write all the time.
Of course, now I AM a full-time writer and editor and it is nothing like I imagined.
What is it like being a writer and business owner?
There is little to no sitting in nature in quiet contemplation. There is a distinct lack of novel writing. There is very little money from book sales.
There are also about a billion other writers and editors, so it can sometimes feel like an over-saturated market or like you might need to cut your prices in half to get work (you don’t!).
What is there, you might ask?
There is a constant internal pressure to earn more money, get more clients, and #hustle harder. There is so much flexibility in my schedule and I have a lot more choices and time and tasks to manage.
There are also occasional bad clients or ones who don’t want to pay you (make sure you have a contract!). There is loneliness and isolation working from home alone all the time. There is sometimes a feeling of not being productive or useful. There is a greater feeling to prove myself over and over again. There is no paid time off or paid sick days!
There is also a joy and a buoyancy in doing something I love. There is more opportunity to travel and just take my work with me.
There is a global interconnectedness in my business. I have clients in Asia, all over the US, Ireland, the UK, and more. There is a sense of community with other writers and editors I’ve had the pleasure to meet.
The Myth of the #hustler
As a freelancer or entrepreneur, we are constantly told to always be hustling, working harder, or by contrast — working just a few hours per week.
It’s not about being a #hustler. Hustling is so overused and misused and it drives me crazy. #Hustling doesn’t mean working 24/7 and that it is the only way to be successful.
In reality, it’s all about finding a balance.
There are times I am extremely busy and working very hard and late hours. Those are the times I need to remember to breathe and take some “me time.”
There are times I am in a lull and need more clients and am killing myself with marketing all the time and looking for clients. I’m putting a ton of pressure on myself to get clients and make more money, just stressing out and not able to get everything done.
Those are the times I have to chill out. Take a short break. Stop putting so much pressure on myself and allow myself the space I need to still enjoy what I do.
You are not able to hustle all the time. It’s not possible.
And if you allow yourself to get to the point where you’re just stressed out and pushing too hard ALL the time — you aren’t going to be enjoying what you’re doing anymore.
And isn’t that why you started the business in the first place? To be your own boss, to do what you love, to focus on your passion?
Do What Needs To Be Done
Running a freelance business comes down to time management, organization, and priorities.
If you find yourself in a lull, finding new clients may be your main priority. Allocate a portion of your day to focus only on that.
If you are extremely busy, time management and identifying deadlines and top-priority tasks may be your focus.
If you are just starting out, looking for clients and selling yourself may be your main priority.
It is about figuring out what needs to be done first and then second and then third, and giving yourself enough time to do each one. Instead of trying to split your focus and do 10 things at once, do one thing well and then move on.
Give yourself space to be okay with where you are right now. If you stress too much, you’ll find yourself not accomplishing anything and the frustration will mount. Take a break, even a short one. Breathe. Figure out what you need to do FIRST, not just everything that needs to get done.
You’ve got this!