Working for Yourself is Hard: A Short List of Grievances

Wifi

Being an Entrepreneur

I’m brand spankin’ new to working for myself, and it’s harder than I thought. I’ve spent some quality time with my self-employed brethren (and other hipster-folk) in 47 San Francisco cafes, running my business one day at a time, and 94 lattes later, I have a few grievances I’d like to air.

1. Calls are hard. Before you get on the phone, know exactly what you want to get out of every phone call. Write it down. Say it out loud to yourself. If nothing comes to mind, cancel the call or keep it under 5 minutes.

2. To-do lists are hard. When it’s just you, or you and a partner, the list of things you need to get done never ends. Be thoughtful about what you want to accomplish every week, and break it down by day. I like to ask, “If I only get one thing done today, what should it be?” You’ll quickly find you’re creating noise and busy work for yourself. Do stuff that matters — only.

3. Partnerships are hard. You need to build partnerships in a scalable way. That means boiling down your pitch and re-purposing it where you can, consolidating your marketing materials, and knowing like the back of your hand the criteria that define a strategic partner for you.

4. Budgeting is hard. Spending money isn’t as much fun when it’s your bank account, not a big corporate budget, at stake. You’ve got to choose where to invest and where to be frugal, so know well the difference between shopping and working.

5. Networking is hard. Set a goal of reaching out to 3-5 new people every day. Scour your CRM, your LinkedIn and social media profiles, and think about your business & personal past. You’ll come up with some smart, well-connected folks who can probably help you (and you can likely help them, too). At least one of them, every day, will write or call you back.

6. Integrity is hard. But you need to have it. Do what you say you’re going to do and hold yourself accountable. Deliver for your customers and partners, even when it hurts. Be respectful of your vendors. Your business, like your personal life, runs on values.

You know as well as I do that the list goes on. We grapple with focus, begrudgingly accept that building things takes longer than we want it to, and occasionally make a mess. I don’t have the answers — far from it — but I’ve found it helpful to be honest with myself and others, create a culture of discipline, lean heavily on values and ask questions.

Please submit your complaints to the complaint department (read: leave them in the comments :)).

This is a guest post by Igor, check out our guest posting guidelines to submit a post.

Image Credit: Rojojam .

Article by Igor Belogolovsky

Igor has written 1 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Phil@Truck Magnets St Pete June 21, 2011, 1:58 am

    Hey Igor,

    I agree with you, being self-employed is hard decision but on other hand you are your own boss, also get good money compare to doing job for the companies. Only thing is you have to promote yourself in the market and make people believe that you are providing better service.

  • Igor B. June 21, 2011, 11:15 am

    Agreed, Pete! Lots of advantages.

  • ZK June 21, 2011, 12:07 pm

    these are six , I can add another sixty 🙂 …but the passion for your venture will make you overcome all grievances no matter what the number

  • Jake June 21, 2011, 3:50 pm

    Self employment and working from home seems like a great goal for everyone in many industries, but the reality is that you must be a driven person, who is very disciplined. You are spot on with these issues.

  • Web Developer June 22, 2011, 12:14 pm

    Sack your boss, kill the cubicle 🙂

  • John@Income Instruments June 23, 2011, 12:35 am

    Don’t forget its possible to outsource all tedious work. I find working for myself easier, just need to be smart and enjoy doing what you are doing 🙂

  • Sam @ Swarovski Bouquets June 23, 2011, 11:22 am

    Hi Igor,

    Great list, honestly saying those people who find all this difficult are either lazy or cannot be bothered working for themselves and always need someone to follow or be spoon-fed. Interesting blog post!

  • Jon C. Coward June 27, 2011, 6:37 pm

    For me Integrity is the easiest part! I left where I was working and founded a whole company based on integrity and doing business that way.

    Perhaps the day where come where the potential for money and integrity will cross, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

  • Frank June 28, 2011, 4:51 am

    Great stuff here, I like it because I’m also new and yes, working for myself is tough.

    Something important that I’ve learned is that we all have to admit to ourselves that we have strengths and weaknesses and to be honest with our weaknesses so we can compensate for them somehow.

  • james smith August 20, 2011, 1:59 am

    Hey Igor,
    Thank you for the hard posting.I totally agree with you that most of step you do in the business will be hard and need planning that is why most of the people give up and loose their business.It is passion and hard working that lead the leaders to be there.It is also being patience , planning for long and for everything , resisting criticism and rejection and the most having that look that you are achieving something special for your future.So let’s get going and do the hard working .