I’m writing this post on a Saturday night after doing 13 straight hours of work, with only one break to inhale a few pieces of peanut butter toast.
It was a beautiful sunny day outside, and I didn’t see any of it.
This is not how I want to run my business.
All hustle, no balance.
It’s taking a toll on me.
Luckily, I am smart enough to realize when I’ve made some pretty awful mistakes and how to fix them. Today I want to get a lil’ personal with you and share my biggest struggles and failures over the past 6 months and how I’m overcoming them to become a better blogger and business owner.
I hope you can learn something from this post. Here goes.
1. No time for fun.
Talk about overscheduled.
Even my husband knows that if it’s not on my Google calendar, it’s not happening.
I’ve lost touch with several friends. Some of them understand, and others don’t. I even feel bad with how little time I’m spending with my dog.
It’s super depressing.
I ended up getting so burnt out, I didn’t want to do anything.
And that was my solution.
I realized that I procrastinate a lot. Not because I dislike my work, I love it, but because I’m too much of a perfectionist and I want “the perfect idea” before I start working.
Well, that just doesn’t exist.
I’ve learned to just start, and edit shit later. I’ve learned to be more productive with my time so that I can get more done in less time.
Ya know what the big magical secret to all that is?
Put your phone in a different room.
Shut down all non-work related browser tabs.
Disconnect your email.
If your work doesn’t rely on the internet, disconnect your WiFi.
And just START.
Seriously. Starting a project is 99% of the battle. By the time I’m into it, I’m off to the races for several hours of productive work. It works every time!
2. Giving too much for free.
I love to surprise my clients.
But there’s a fine line between surprising and giving away too much for free. It’s hard for me to get used to.
When you work as an employee, you get paid the same amount no matter how much work you deliver to a client. I’ve always prided myself on going above and beyond to blow people out of the water.
I’ve brought this to my freelancing life too.
A recent client of mine paid for a 2,500 word blog post. Guess how much I wrote?
Yeah, 4,895 words. 🙄
To them, longer was better, so they were thrilled, but I spent an entire extra half a day working on that post… essentially for free. Not so great for my sanity as a time-strapped freelancer, or my cash flow.
I need to remember that what I’m delivering within scope is already valuable enough.
I don’t need to give MORE just to feel like I’m valuable.
I is smart.
I is important.
I is… going to deliver within scope from now on.
3. Not sleeping enough.
This one is probably true of all bloggers, especially if you’re balancing a full-time job or other responsibilities.
Which, unless you’re living on a trust fund, I assume you are.
Lately, I go to bed around 12:30am-1am and am up for 6:30am. I actually fall out of bed at 7:30am after 14,017 alarm clock snoozes, but you get the idea.
5 hours just isn’t enough sleep for me and I can’t function. I keep doing it anyway, because deadlines. I need to learn to stop doing this and give my body the rest it needs.
Staying up all night working?
4. Too much multitasking.
Ermahgerd. Between my procrastination of looking at house listings, or the 14 tabs open for my latest freelance article research, or this blog window, or my email… it’s a lot o’ tabs.
Last week, I was writing 2 freelance articles and a blog post when I decided to send out my weekly enewsletter in the middle of it. I opened up ConvertKit, wrote my email to my list and sent it off.
One big problem? THIS.
UHHHH quell nightmare! (Bonus points if you know what movie that line is from. Comment it, yo! 👇🏼)
What an embarrassing mistake. It happens to everyone at some point I think, but it’s totally avoidable with a bit of focus, proper testing and not being in a rush.
Sometimes we’re in such a rush to get things done that we forget to do our best work, right? Well, never again for me.
I have now switched over to time blocking my schedule. I just use Google Calendar, and block off specific time to work on specific things. It’s like a super firm to-do list.
Sometimes I move things around if something takes longer than I expected, but I try to stick to my week as closely as possible.
Here’s an example:
5. Comparing myself to others.
Oy vey, as my grandmother used to say.
Who doesn’t do this at some point? Especially anyone who struggles with confidence, insecurity or imposter syndrome… Asking for a friend, right?
I’m really happy with where my business is.
I have this blog, my freelance writing biz (which is boomin’ off the chaaain), and plans to launch some really cool other stuff this year.
But it’s hard not to look around the interwebz and think, “Wow, that girl really has it together!”
There are the iconic idols of online biz, like Melyssa, Regina or Allison (and countless others), or even newer bloggers and businesswomen who have amazing brands and have built en empire in a day it seems like.
But it’s not like that for anyone.
We’re all working hard to achieve our goals. I’m sure even the most successful of the big names has a long to-do list of tweaks to make and things he/she doesn’t like about their website, social media or whatever else.
I guess what I’m trying to say is… we’re all in this together!
Yeah, cue the kumbaya around the campfire…
Maybe not everyone thinks this, but I think there’s plenty of room for everyone to be successful online.
Related: Embracing Failure as a Digital Project Manager (And Human Being)
So, don’t worry about comparing yourself to other people and just do you. Make smart decisions about your own business and do what feels right to you.
You’ll get to all those to-do list items one day.
6. Doubting myself.
Ah yeah, biggest and best for last.
Everyone doubts themselves sometimes. It’s normal. But you can’t let it get you down or stop you from making anything.
I’ve let myself get paralyzed by doubt several times over the past few months, and ended up accomplishing nothing for days or weeks. Ugh.
There’s nothing worse than procrastinating and then feeling like crap all day. Especially when it’s because you don’t feel good enough.
Like why would anyone want to read my stuff?
But then I realize, hey, I know what I’m talking about. I have stuff to say and teach that’s cool. People like it (well, I hope… lol).
When I’m feeling down, a quick pep talk is usually all it takes. Sounds simple and kinda hokey, but it works. You’re your own worst critic, and best cheerleader.
Be kind to yourself. Be forgiving.
I’ve made the same mistakes a few times. But, it doesn’t help to beat myself up and feel even worse.
Next time you feel down about what you’ve accomplished, take a break.
Do something you like. Go for a walk. Make a drink. Whatever.
Just relax, and the confidence will come back. 😎
What have been your biggest business lessons this year? Share in the comments!
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