28 November

Dessert Before Dinner: What is Your Business Style?

The one thing I’m learning about being self-employed and running my own business is that I have—seemingly simultaneously—too much control over my daily tasks and no control at all.  Let me explain.  When I worked in a law office, someone else (my boss) decided how much work I should have and generally the hours I had to be working there.  Even if I did not have much to do, I still had to show up at work.  In the office, we used to call this ‘face time’.  If you didn’t appear to be just snowed under with work, you soon would be, so while you had to be at the office, you also might lay low to avoid a big file landing on your desk at 6:00pm on a Friday.  But if you had too little work, then you weren’t going to make your billable hours that month which would hurt your plan to ask for a raise at contract renewal time.  So stressful!

Sam thinking

Now, no one sets my hours, and I don’t have to do face time.  But ironically, no one tells me when it is safe to quit working either.  Weekends?  What are these days of the week called ‘weekends’?  Oh sure, you are saying, you don’t need a weekend because you can just pack up and go to the mountains any time you want!  But it is not that simple.  When you run your own business, you do the work of 10 staff people.  You are not just a photographer, writer and teacher, but you are also your own secretary, ad-man, graphic designer, copy editor, CEO, COO, CMA and, well, you get the idea.  There is always something to do which means you have to physically book your time off (and then not cancel on yourself when a big problem lands on your desk at 6:00pm the day before your scheduled day off).  It is harder than it seems.