Instead of letting life happen to you, you get to decide what you want from life. Did you know that?
Do you always get what you say you want? No, not always. Sometimes, you say you want something but don’t hang on to the desire and focus and work required to get it. Sometimes, you get something else that’s actually better for you.
You do, however, get to choose how to set up your business.
When most business owning moms go into business, at least the ones I’ve been working with, they’re combining a dream and a necessity. These are women who have always wanted to own their own business, but they haven’t felt the time was right, or had been scared to make the leap. When they had children, it became obvious how challenging it was to stay in a corporate environment while parenting, and they jumped into business.
Not everyone makes the jump to self employment or business ownership. Not everyone has the dream of running a business, and some people have enough of a support system around to help with childcare. Some adore their corporate careers and do whatever they can to make those work and some don’t have the kids who need to see many doctors early on.
My group of women, though, wanted to run the show.
Too often, though, they set up their business like another corporate job. I did the same thing – in fact, I considered one of my strengths and selling points. But what that does is makes us employees again, just working for ourselves.
At first, the term, self-employed, sounds awesome and powerful. But self-employed is a dirty word. It makes you think you’re an employee.
Business owning moms sometimes forget that they’re the boss and they get to decide what they’re going to do. No one else. Not their clients, not their spouses, not their kids, not the latest Internet marketing guru, not me!*
Did you know you can arrange your business to fit your life? Or more magically, you can arrange your business to fit the life you really, really hope and dream for.
If this sounds like wishful thinking, start with something easy and change it. It’s amazing how small changes can really make a big difference in your happiness.
- Pick your most despised thing about your business. Do you hate it when you have to work on Saturdays?
- Brainstorm ways to eliminate it from your business. If you don’t want to work Saturdays, you could ignore all phone calls and emails, set expectations by clearly stating your no-Saturday policy on all audience & client communication, hire someone or an agency to answer phones for you on Saturdays, hire a Saturday manager.
- Pick the solution that makes the most sense for your business. Decide that while your business must answer phones on Saturdays, you can hire someone else to do it.
- Now, think of your next least-favorite task and go about changing it.
If you want to take a more positive path, build something into your business.
- Start with something you’ve always wished you could do, and decide to do it. Have you always wanted to write, but never got around to it?
- Make a list of all the ways you could get that thing done. Set aside one day a week to write, block off 1 hour every morning to do it, get a speech to text program and dictate while you do chores, hire someone to put together outlines and prompts to get you started.
- Pick the solution that works for you and promise yourself to stick to it for a set period of time. Block off 1 hour every weekday morning immediately after your kids head to school, before you check email.
- Now, work on your next dream.
Here are some easy places to start to design how your business runs to create the life you want.
Daily start and stop times – you control the hours you work. Set expectations early and often and then stick to your policies.
Your pricing – you also control your pricing. Your pricing can dictate what you deliver. Pick the prices that you want to earn, and then deliver enough value for that price.
Your products & services – you can offer a comprehensive service, or a small, specialized product.
Your process – you can dictate the way you do things, so do it the way you want to do it. Set expectations and keep everyone informed. A lot of what your clients are buying is your unique process.
The people you work with – you are under no obligation to work with anyone. You may decide that you don’t want to work with certain industries, or you may decide that you turn down anyone who yells at you on the initial call (hint – red flag).
A word about this one, though this topic could be a book! If you do end up working with people you’d prefer not to, just because you have to pay some bills, don’t grouse that you were forced to do so. Remember that was a choice you made. You accrued those bills. And you made the choice (a valid choice) to take a sub-par client in order to pay those bills. Remembering that you are ultimately responsible and you have the power to make choices can help you in two ways: it makes it easier to power through the not-so-great project, and it helps you make better choices in the future.
Always remember that you’re not an employee, you’re the boss. Be the boss of your business and set it up so you can live the life you want to live.
Don’t make things harder than they need to be. I know I do this, and I think it’s a modern-day employee trait. So let’s get out of that employee mindset. And get in the business owner boss mindset instead!
* Though they will have to face the consequences of what they decide to do or not do, but I’m sure you knew that.