Sometime in mid-October, I wrote about bouncing back from a failure after losing some of my projects. I had to act as fast as I could to keep my business afloat. Not that I had doubts about ever winning projects again, but it really made me feel extremely insecure. So, while I was competing for projects online, I made sure I was being extra productive by actively blogging about my business experience, travels and sharing stories as a parent. It kept my mind off the worries and allowed me to focus on the important matters.
Today, although I am still halfway through reaching my self-imposed revenue quota, I could feel that I am in the groove again. It just feels so different in these past few weeks. Yes, I am overworked and I know any day from now I might feel the burn, but instead I focus on what else I can do to continue my focus and energy to do what I do. My goals are clear although my eyes are at times blurry from lacking sleep. I don’t normally count the hours of work I do in a week, but for the purpose of this blog, I did. And guess what, ever since I started working for myself, more or less I am doing 88 hours a week of work while being around my daughter, doing the usual bounding time with her. Believe me, I still have tons of things to do, but setting aside a few hours to write about my experience and learnings help a lot in regaining my energy to move forward.
Here they are:
The importance of ‘working with my clients’ rather than ‘working for my clients’
I learned about the term “order taker” when I had my first-hand experience in working in a company that has an ‘agency-ish’ set up in managing projects and clients. It simply meant agreeing with everything and anything that a client tells you to do without sharing your recommendations. To be honest, I had a hard time learning this valuable lesson. I had to go through hell just to get this simple lesson stuck in my head and it took me sometime again to actually practice it. The thing is sometimes when we are almost drowning in stuff trying to keep our head above the water to breathe we neglect the other important thing and that is to provide extra value to our clients. By simply keeping the conversation alive, updating them with industry news and making them feel that you are just “hey are you there” away gives them the security that they have that another person with the same interests willing to look after the things that they just don’t have time to handle.
Quick break from work
Always thinking about the same thing every minute of every day, though not doing an actual work, it really has that burn effect. So what I would normally do is schedule short travels with my daughter, a visit to a family abroad or do some creative work just to keep things interesting for me. Recently, my daughter and I participated in two trick or treating events, one in the mall and another one in our village. It’s tiring for sure! But really you can’t trade the good fun memories and the fun times you had in doing those preparations and having those experiences. You’ll really be surprised to feel the effects of having a fresh mind when you go back to focusing on doing your work again.
The Drive to Win and Thrive (repeat 100x)
I always believed that your drive to do great work is always based on how bad you want to achieve your goals. That’s what keeps me going. I could feel that my eyes are drooping from lacking sleep but my drive to achieve my goals is what keeps me sharp. But not all days are the same. Sometimes you just need to get the full 10 hours of sleep to refresh your mind. Sometimes you won’t feel like working for an entire day. Sometimes you’ll feel your lost. All of those downtimes are fine. It happens. What you have to do is analyze yourself as to why you’re feeling down and try to think of a solution to improve your mood. For me watching inspirational videos always help. Learning something new about the industry gives me tons of ideas. Looking at how happy and funny my daughter, reminds me that I am the number one role model to a tiny human so I cannot afford to fuck up.
I love what I do and when you have so much passion and faith in the industry that you chose, you’d be wishing for more opportunities to work rather than asking for more breaks from work. However, it doesn’t mean that I want to spend the rest of my life working. Everything has an ultimate end goal. For me, it is to have more time enjoying some fun and silly moments with my daughter. So maybe a year from now, my 88-hr work week will be reduced to 8-hr a week only because I have a bigger and stronger team to delegate most of my tasks.
There! Back to work.