A guest post by Cori Padgett from Big Girl Branding..
Being self-employed, whether you’re a Ghostwriter like me, a ProBlogger like Darren, or a Funny Entrepreneur hating on cockroaches, things can be unpredictable. There are ups, there are downs, there are in-betweens, and there are twisted pretzels that have you walking sideways up long dark alleys. Echoing with all the things you’ve done, plan to do, or are thinking about doing someday. Whew.
Regardless of how well-intentioned your plans are, or how meticulously your create some sort of “schedule” for yourself, or how on fire you are to “do the damn thing”… there are always days your plans get thrown out the window or shot out of the sky and you’re left wondering what the heck made you think you could do THIS (whatever this is for you) all on your own anyway? Sheesh. You MUST have been crazy when you made THAT winning decision. (That was good-natured sarcasm btw.)
Working for your self can be lonely. As a freelance writer and “tadpole” blogger myself eighty percent of the time I’m pretty much immersed in my own mind and my own thoughts, left with my own company. And trust me, too much of my company is NOT a good thing. I get cranky. Everything falls on me in my business and if I don’t do the damn thing then it just doesn’t get done. Period.
The problem is… life happens whether you like it or not. Sometimes, regardless of whether it’s all on you or not life happens and getting it done just isn’t in your cards at the moment.
It could be an illness that strikes, a family emergency, or maybe just plain ‘ole lack of motivation and focus. It happens, and you just sort of have to accept that it happens, hitch up your socks… and keep moving forward.
Like this TV show…
Maybe you’ve seen this show, maybe you haven’t… either way, here’s the skinny.
A mom gets prego’s in high school by the school jock with a baby girl… never tells him and gives it up for adoption, then goes about her merry (or not so merry) way.
Fast forward 16 years later and the kids been in and out of foster care, bounced from crappy home to crappy home and the mom is a high-profile radio DJ. Oh, and the dad’s a loveable but overgrown man-child who runs a bar with his equally overgrown man-child mates.
The baby girl tracks down her biological units seeking emancipation so she can live with her foster buddies as an “adult”. Only instead of that happening the court awards the biological parents joint custody, denying emancipation. Ouch.
Long story short?
The two kids that “were” are now two parents that “are” to a 16 year old baby girl that isn’t a baby anymore… and none of them have a clue what to do next. Ready or not, parenting here we come!
Working for your self is a bit like becoming a parent. Expected and planned, or unexpected and unplanned, the only thing you can REALLY plan on… is nothing going according to plan!
Life unexpected. Ready or not.
So what can you do to cushion the blow when life doesn’t go your way, or business doesn’t stay on track, or your blog doesn’t seem to be going anywhere? Whatever your situation happens to be?
A few things actually.
Just because things rarely go according to plan, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. That old saying “Fail to plan and you plan to fail” should be your MANTRA when it comes to your goals.
Write it on your white board, paint it on your wall, or stamp it on your forehead but never forget that while even the best laid plans can go off the rails… if you don’t have rails in the first place how do you know where you’re headed? And forget fixing it because you won’t know what’s broke.
Oh, and don’t count on the North Star either because guess what boys and girls? This isn’t a hike in the hills, not if you’re serious about your road to freedom. Financial freedom, personal freedom, freedom of speech… whatever.
This is your life and your business.
Make a plan, find a direction, create a goal. Then get to work and make it happen. Like Nathan Hagen says, elbow grease is how you succeed.
When you hit a roadblock go over it or around it or plow right through it if need be. Whichever suits your personal style but don’t let it get the best of you or beat you. Don’t let it derail you from what you want to accomplish. Do the damn thing.
So that’s first. Make that plan.
The second thing? Make a back-up plan!
Sure it’s kinda boring making all these “plans” and maybe your more a “fly by the seat of your pants” guy or gal but trust me when I say… having a back-up plan doesn’t make you boring it makes you smart.
NOT having a back-up plan makes you dumb. Or lazy.
Or maybe just overwhelmed, which is totally OK as long as you know that you NEED to get that back-up plan in place and it’s on your priority to-do list.
For instance, I recently had a client that pretty much kept me busy for 7 months straight with fairly large projects that paid my bills quite nicely. I got comfy and lazy andthe way I did before and guess what? That job came to an end and I was stuck with no back-up plan in place. Bills unpaid, stress and worry, hard lesson learned.
Or an even more recent moment… just this past week I was sick as a dog. Which meant no writing got done and my blog mojo I’d been trying so hard to keep flowing dried right up because I didn’t have anything planned for when I wasn’t up for writing. No blog mojo= no blog visitors= no blog growth. Equals BIG bummer.
So make that back-up plan, whatever it needs to be.
Get some support. Find some friends.
Build some relationships that can help keep you going through hard or scary or exciting times. Build a network that can help you leap over those roadblocks and set-backs and kick your butt into gear should you need said butt kicking.
Stepping out on your own is an amazing journey. Working for yourself and nailing it is a special kind of freedom you have to experience to fully appreciate. And doing it yourself gives you a killer feeling of satisfaction. But you can’t do it completely alone.
Look at it like this.
Sure it’s fun and exhilarating to parachute out of a plane all on your own, especially if you’ve never done it before. You’re “The Man”! (Or “The Woman”!)
Maybe it’s common sense, maybe it’s the mom in me. But the first time I step out of a plane, I plan on going tandem… not on my own!
Life unexpected ain’t got nothing on me, how about you?
Cori is a freelance ‘ghost’ for hire and the creative brains and dubious brawn behind her blog Big Girl Branding. She’d also like to note that ‘big’ does not mean what you think it means. It was meant to indicate being a grown up. Sigh… Of course you probably didn’t get that, and it totally loses its effect when she has to explain it. So I guess she’ll just have to put on her ‘big girl’ panties and deal with it. She’ll feel better about the whole misunderstanding though if you just visit her and say hello. Don’t be shy!