Working for yourself will sound appealing to many people out there. What could be better than being your own boss, and keeping everything you make for yourself? Lots of people do this, but it isn’t easy. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got what it takes to make this work in the long run. Here are some pointers I’ve found have helped me over the last few years:
Do Something You Enjoy
The most important thing is to make sure you’re doing something you’ll enjoy for a long time. If you want to make enough money to live off, then doing something you enjoy is essential. This could be writing, teaching a language, gardening – anything you think will give you a sense of satisfaction every day. And of course something you’ll make money from. If you start doing something for the wrong reasons, e.g. the money, then it’s unlikely you’ll stick at it. You need to be passionate about something for it to work in the long run.
Set a Schedule
When working for yourself, you’ll need to set a schedule. The schedule will largely depend on what you’re doing, but either way it will take discipline for you to get it right. Let’s say you’ve started laying down deckings on client’s gardens: you will need to book them in for a certain time, know how long it’ll take you, and show up on time. However, if you’re writing from home, with absolutely nobody to answer to other than yourself, you’ll need to stick to a schedule to get things done. It can be easy to think ‘I can start whenever I want’, but in hindsight this is a bad idea. By getting your work done as early on in the day as possible, you have the rest of the day to yourself. You don’t want to end up working late into the night. I know I wouldn’t anyway! Even if you set a loose schedule, for example making sure you’ve started between 8.30 and 9.30, you still have a little freedom to play with.
Set a schedule when it comes to your meal times, and break times too. Try to finish by a consistent time each day, for example 4pm. If you finish your work for that day early, great! Enjoy the rest of your day. If you need to carry on working after 4pm, do so, but make sure you have a cut off point. For example, a rule that you’ll never work after 6pm.
Working for yourself can be hard, as there’s nobody to tell you when to start or finish. However, setting yourself little rules like this will make sure you get all of your work done, without tiring yourself out. You may find it helpful if you rent an office to start with. This will get you out of the house, so you’ll feel as if you’re actually at work. You have the choice of all kinds of London offices, so you can work in the ideal location for your business.
Staying focused while you work is very important. There are a number of things you can do to help keep your mind on your work until break time:
- If working on a computer, block any social media sites that you frequently visit. There are many sites that will do this for you, and keep them blocked until a certain time. This will give you nothing else to think about but your work.
- Keep your mobile in another room. At the very least, leave it on the other side of the room and only pick it up if it rings.
- Play some music that won’t distract you too much. Some people can’t work while listening to music at all, as they find it gets too much for them. Some people can work while listening to pretty much anything. I find that playlists specially created to help focus are good to work to. This can be classical, or minimal tunes with no words to them. Rap music and the radio can be distracting, as they have a lot of words that can help to muddle your brain up. It depends on what you’re doing though!
- Set a timer if you want a project finished by a specific time. This will help you to work at a good pace, as you’ll know that the timer will go off when you should be finished.
Make Other Plans
As discussed before, you should have set a finish time that you need to try to stick to. To further encourage you to stick to that finish time, make other plans. If you’ve planned to visit your grandma, or even have dinner with friends, you’ll need to be finished on time so you can stick to these plans. I find that having nothing to do at the end of the day will mean a lot of procrastination. Working way longer than you should be isn’t good for anybody!
Work out how much you’re earning on average per hour by taking into account your start and finish times. Is it worth it? If not, you need to start being more efficient with your time. Each day will probably be different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the time you have.
Always Do Your Best
Always do your best. No matter what you’re doing; laying down decking, ghostwriting product descriptions, cleaning houses – do the best you can possibly do. If you work hard, this will shine through in your results. People will come back to you, or want to work with you again. You’ll get repeat business, which is the key to making a living when working for yourself. Be professional, hard working, and go out of your way to help somebody. Take pride in your work and it’ll shine through!
If you apply these principles when working for yourself, you’ll reap all kinds of benefits. There’s no better feeling than working for yourself. Good luck!
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