The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that about 10 percent of the overall workforce is self-employed, and that number continues to grow. Being self-employed means you have more independence and greater flexibility. However, the downside is that all of the responsibility is on you, and this work style often comes with long hours. There are lots of ups and downs in the world of self-employment, which leads to a fair amount of stress. Practice these self-care tips to enjoy the accomplishment of being your own boss.
Schedule Some “You Time”
It’s a common misconception that people who are self-employed are lazy or don’t want to work. Nothing could be further from the truth. People who are self-employed — especially those who are just starting out — may work harder than they ever have before. When there’s so much to do, you might have a tendency to work around the clock rather than punching out at 5 p.m. Working nonstop for an extended period of time is a surefire way to reach burnout.
Be sure to schedule some “you time” to relax, unwind and do activities you enjoy. Do you like spending time with family and friends? Walking outdoors? How about just sitting on the couch and binge-watching movies? It doesn’t matter what activity you choose; just take a mental break from your work.
Join a Co-Working Group
When you’re self-employed and work from home, it’s easy to feel isolated. That can be especially true if you’re coming from a work environment where you interacted with clients or colleagues all day long. While you might still communicate via e-mail, telephone or chat, face-to-face time is crucial to reducing seclusion. Join a co-working group or look for a co-working space in your town. This gives you an opportunity to get out of the house and work around other self-employed people.
If there isn’t a co-working space within a reasonable distance, take your laptop to a public library or coffee shop once a week. You’ll have access to free Wi-Fi and a nice change of scenery.
Be Prepared for Rejection
One of the hardest things to deal with as a human being is rejection. If you’ve worked in sales or another similar career, then you’ve probably dealt with your fair share of rejection and can handle it well. However, if you’re coming from another field, you might not be mentally ready to hear people say “no” or be critical of your work.
It takes a lot of self-discipline and resilience to continue pushing forward after getting knocked down. Use each rejection as a learning experience to help yourself improve. If you have trouble coping, it might be a good idea to talk with a therapist on a regular basis. A therapist is also helpful in providing you tools and tactics for dealing with other stressful aspects of being self-employed.
Learn How to Say “No”
No matter how hard you work or how well you can multitask, you can’t handle everything on your own. Learning how to say “no” is important self-care for everyone, especially if you’re self-employed. This includes things in your work life as well as your personal life. Delegate tasks when possible so you have fewer things on your plate, but say “no” to tasks that’ll leave you over-extended. Trying to do too much means you won’t be able to give it your all.
Choose the Right Gigs
Perhaps one of the more stressful aspects of being self-employed is the inconsistent revenue. Some businesses are seasonal, meaning you’ll have tons of clients knocking on your door asking for your services during some months. Other times, you might find yourself scrambling to find enough clients to cover your bills. This inconsistency can lead to desperation.
Avoid taking on just any gig that pays. Make sure the job pays within your expected range and is within the realm of your expertise. Prepare for the ups and downs of your business. Once you build a steady stream of clients, you won’t be as stressed out by the lulls in your work. You might even be able to learn to anticipate and plan around them.
Go Easy on Yourself
How would you rate yourself as a boss? Many people think not having a boss to answer to every day removes most of the stress from a job. Unfortunately, sometimes you work yourself harder than any boss in a workplace would. Remember to be kind and forgiving to yourself.
Jumping into the world of self-employment is far from easy, but you’ve got this. Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. Be proud of your accomplishments and enjoy every minute of watching your business grow.