The Value of Being Authentic In Business

Authenticity When The Focus Is On YouStarting your own business, or becoming a solopreneur or freelancer, isn’t unique. Thousands of people embark on this journey every day. Some succeed, and some fail. It’s this possibility of failure that holds so many people back from pursuing their dreams. And it’s the mystery of success that holds back others.

Dreams and Ideas

People like guarantees. But when you have your own business, certainty is a luxury. Competition is tough, and always will be. Even if you come up with an idea that no else has, a first of its kind, whether an idea for a new product or a new service, it’s ephemeral. If you do nothing with your idea, you’ll wake up one day, weeks or months later, to read about it being launched by someone else on the other side of the world. If you move forward and action it, and start your own business around this one killer idea, you’ll wake up weeks or months later to discover a dozen competitors have sprouted up around you, seemingly out of thin air.

Anyone can have a great idea. Many people have great ideas every week. Successful business are never about the idea, and always about the execution. Before Facebook, there was MySpace. Before Google, there was Yahoo.

Execution and Outcomes

The thing about execution, is that it resonates on so many levels. Product, marketing, sales, engagement, delivery, strategic, tactical. There’s no single magic combination of elements that consistently produces a sucessful outcome. What works for one business or industry doesn’t work for another. That’s the risk that every entrepreneur and solopreneur takes on a daily basis.

Yet there exists a whisper of commonality that gives rise to a certain flavor of ‘survivalism’ among our ilk. And it has nothing to do with stockpiling food and living “off the grid”.

A Single Thread

Whether you’re an entrepreneur running a funded start-up company or a solopreneur paying your bills with income created from your own business, you are the beating heart of your company. You determine the paths taken, the values adhered to, and the boundaries respected. You decide how far you’re willing to go for success. For profit. You decide how far is too far, or not far enough.

In a global marketplace of tough competition, it’s all too easy to crack beneath the overbearing pressure. To imitate your competition, rather than admire them. To follow the trends, rather than define them.

Don’t be a poor imitation of someone else’s value proposition.

Being authentic is not determinant of success for a business. Indeed, in some circumstances, it may mean choosing failure rather than compromising too much, too far, too deep. Choosing to be authentic means refusing to be something you’re not.

So, yes, authentic businesses fail.

But authentic founders are strong. They’ve had their strength tested, and persevered.

They move forward, knowing there’s never a need to look back.

They look straight ahead, knowing they have no reason to look down.

They are the survivalists in a world of change and uncertainty.



Time Stopped, But Just For Me

If someone had suggested to me a month ago that I could take a few weeks off, without planning it, just disappear one day and not return for several weeks, I would have laughed in their face. Are you kidding? Spontaneously walk away from my work, from my business, from my clients and committments, for almost a month? Insane! I have so much to do, so much to juggle, so many people counting on me, there’s no way I could possibly shut it all down on a moment’s notice.

Then my father died.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I didn’t think about it, at all, of course. My dad was sick, and then he died, and then arrangements needed to be made, and there were things to do, and people to tell, and an obituary to write, and a funeral to be planned. There were pictures to go through, and clothes to be packed away, and memories to be remembered.

It never once occurred to me that the world did not in fact stop spinning. That work continued, without me. That time passed, without my notice.

But it did. And once again, I’m struck with enormous gratitude that I’m a solopreneur. That I wasn’t constrained by the limited number of bereavement days a corporation determined was appropriate for my grief.

And how immensely thankful I am that I was able to take the time I needed to take, without severe professional consequences. That I had a safety net that I could rely on when I needed it most. That no matter how busy I am, I can pause, prioritize, and re-set.

Life goes on, it always will. But how comforting to know that I can occasionally stop time, when I need to.

Making The Switch From Employee to Solopreneur, Part 4

You have to get along to go along. A familiar expression, often quoted, the meaning of which is clear. Best not to cause waves.  Smooth water, smooth sailing, right?

After you’ve made the switch from being an employee to self-employment, this concept will dominate your thoughts more frequently than you could ever imagine.

What Are the Rules When You’re Self-Employed?

Knowing when to compromise, and when not to, is a delicate balance when you’re trying to establish yourself and your new business. The goal is to build a loyal customer base, and grow relationships. The last thing you want to do as a self-employed individual is burn every bridge you walk over.

And make no mistake. The pressure to make money – to generate your own income – is enormous now that you’ve left the world of pay-checks behind. If you can’t find a way to make money, you can’t pay your bills. The math never changes.

So yes, there will be customers and projects that demand more than you’d prefer to give. And yet you do. There will be customers and projects that you regret ever taking on. And yet you have.

But there are boundaries.

There must be boundaries, for without them, what remains?  You’re a solopreneur. A business of one, but still a business.  Self-employment does not equal servitude.  You’re not a servant-for-hire. You have boundaries.

And the customer is not always right. In fact, sometimes the customer is so wrong, so very, very wrong, that you may have a professional obligation to protect them from themselves. If you’re a service provider, like I am, then customers purchase not just your services, but your expertise.

They’re engaging you because you offer a skill set that they don’t have, experience that they haven’t acquired, training that they need to leverage. It’s your duty to provide them with the best of those abilities. That’s your value proposition.

Invariably, you may find yourself in a situation where your customer insists on taking a course of action that you know will result in a poor outcome for them. What do you do? Shut your mouth, do what they want, take the money and run? Or use your expertise to guide them in another direction? What if they insist? What if the choice is do as I say, or don’t get paid?

Never forget who and what you are. You embarked on this journey for a reason. Did you give up being an employee who answered to a manager just to be a servant who answers to yet another master?

People will mistakenly assume that now that you’re in business for yourself, you’ll take on any job because you ‘need the money’. Even if you don’t need the money, they’ll assume you do. And if you do need the money, the worst thing you can do is reinforce the belief that you’ll do anything for it.

While your building up a customer list and growing your professional network, you’re also establishing your reputation. Saying yes to work you should say no to, or allowing a customer to suffer poor outcomes that you could have prevented, do nothing but provide short-term solutions when what you want is a long-term strategy.

Don’t allow yourself to be nothing more than a commodity.



Making The Switch From Employee to Solopreneur, Part 3

I don’t consider myself a particularly rebellious person. I cross the street when the light says “walk”. I stop at red lights even though it’s the middle of the night and the streets are empty. I don’t park in ’no parking’ areas (unless it’s cheaper to pay the parking ticket than it is to pay for suitable parking). I don’t spend all of my energy raging against ‘the system’.

But I am infinitely curious. And I as much as I’ve tried, I can’t stop myself from continually asking the question “why”. I realized very early on in my career that this is not a character trait that bosses or corporate executives welcome.

“All employess shall follow the dress code”. Why? Can’t they be trusted to dress appropriately for their circumstances without needing to follow a ‘code’? Do employees need to be indistnguishable in order to be effective?

“Employees are not permitted to work from home”. Why? Because if they’re working from home, how do you know they’re working? How do you know they’re not? How do you know if they’re working while they’re at the office? Are they monitored every minute of every day? Presumably they need to produce results. If those results are produced, does it matter from where?

Why do organizations create so many rules geared towards dictating the behaviour of employees? Is it because there are always a few people who make poor decisions, and organizations don’t have the courage to deal with those people directly so they make blanket rules to save themselves from having awkward conversations? Could it really be sometime as simple as cowardice?

For some of us, myself included, transitioning to self-employment is like finally finding your way home. It just “fits” better than the master-servant world, with it’s rigidity, rules and expectations. Where trust is an anthem that never manifests.

Nevertheless, freeing yourself from that world isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. Through your employment years, you’ve become indoctrinated with the rules and regulations of the corporate world. One of your first goals as a solopreneur is to shed those chains, and break free. The longer you’ve been an employee, the more you’ll need to unlearn.

Unlearn: 8 Hour Days

When you work for yourself, you don’t have an eight hour work day. Some days will be 12 hours. Some days will be 3 hours. Trying to sculpt this into a more predictable pattern is a losing battle. You’ll need to be flexible. For some, this flexibility will be jarring. But there are two sides to every coin. You need to be flexible, in order to meet the demands of your clients and customers. But you also get to be flexible, and enjoy the benefits of a more integrated work-life schedule. You’re no longer obligated to work from 9am to 5pm. You may find yourself working from 8am until 1pm, then spending your afternoon at the beach or the golf course or gardening or working on the next best seller, and then working again from 6pm to 10pm.  And the next day, your schedule may be completely different. Be disciplined, but enjoy the flexibility.

You are not an employee.

Unlearn: Waiting for Direction

Your days are no longer dictated by direction from those above you in the food chain. There is no one above you. You may have clients and customers that you interact with, but it is not their job to manage you, nor is it your job to “report to” them. Be proactive. Take the initiative, and ensure that you’re continually driving things forward. Don’t sit and wait for a client to get back to you. Follow-up, clarify, communicate. You’ll make mistakes. Own them, learn from them, and move on. Always forward.

You are not an employee.

Unlearn: Validating Your Decisions

You and you alone are responsible for your business, and the decisions you make. You’ll neeed to make decisions constantly, every day. Be thoughtful, but don’t let yourself get dragged down by ‘analysis paralysis’. Overthinking, stalling, second guessing yourself, and deferring decisions will cost you more time, money, and opportunity than a bad decision. You will not always have all of the information you want before executing. Decide, take action, and then manage the outcomes of that decision, whatever they may be.

You are not an employee.

Unlearn: Working Hard

First of all, let’s get this out of the way: yes, of course, working for yourself is hard work. But don’t use “hard work” as the solution to every problem.

If a customer demands more than you have agreed to, or is looking for you to meet a deadline that you know isn’t reasonable, don’t delude yourself into thinking that you can “work hard” and get it done. Nor that you should just work hard and get it done. In most cases, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Even worse, you may succeed, resulting in raised expectations, more demands, and an unsustainable cycle that leads you straight to burn out. As a solopreneur, no one is going to intercede on your behalf, or protect your interests. Ever. You need to protect your own interests, and sometimes this means saying no, setting boundaries, and managing difficult conversations. Sometimes it can even mean ‘firing’ your client.

You are not an employee.

Unlearn: Putting Yourself Last

Employess are used to waiting their turn. Some patiently, some resentfully. They’re trained to have lowered expectations. Not enough money this year for professional development? Wait until next year. Not enough money this year for bonuses (for everyone)? Wait until next year. Overdue for a promotion but no career path available? Wait until it’s your turn.

As a solopreneur, you’re only competing with yourself. Make sure you develop your skills, manage your career, and explore new challenges. It’s all too easy to become completely consumed by the demands of customers and clients. It’s important to carve out at least a little bit of time to invest in yourself. It will make you a better professional, which will be reflected in the engagement and enthusiasm that you bring to your daily work.

Just like an employee.



Making The Switch From Employee to Solopreneur, Part 2

One of the first challenges you’ll face when you decide to work for yourself is coming to terms with the realization that you are now truly on your own.

Your days are no longer structured. You don’t have a boss or a manager. You don’t need to submit a vacation request or get a doctor’s note because you’re sick. You don’t have to ask permission to wrap up work early. Freedom!

You’ve also separated yourself from the crowd. Unless you’re running with a particularly entrepreneurial group of friends, there’s a good chance that most everyone you know is an employee who works for someone else. They have a day job. And you, now, do not.

What Your Friends Will Think When You Quit Your Job

Most everyone will think that you’re crazy. Basically. Or in need of some serious counselling. Or “going through a phase” that undoubtedly will and should pass in due time, and gee, they sure do hope you don’t ruin your life in the meantime.

In some respects, they’re not entirely wrong. It does seem a little crazy to give up a situation where you are guaranteed to receive money every two weeks just as long as you show up and do a good job. Hell, some jobs just require that you show up and not offend anyone. It’s a fairly simple formula really.

So why would anyone reject that? Why say no to a sure thing? Why become a solopreneur at all? Well you already know why. The frustration of being constrained by someone else’s rules and priorities, the desire to be your best self, the need to have an impact, the fear of becoming a mindless drone, the dismay of every day being the same as the last.  And, freedom!

The problem is, your friends and family won’t see it that way. They may not experience the same hopes, fears, desires that you do. Or they may, but they lack the courage to act on them and can’t understand how you could possibly do so. Not that they would admit this to themselves. That’s not how fear works.

Change is different. Different is scary. Scary is wrong. Different must be wrong. Change must be wrong. What if you fail? What if you don’t? What does that mean for them?

What You Will Know That They Don’t Know

Every fear and negative belief that has stood in the way of your friends’ secret, unacknowledged dreams will be thrown at you as definitive proof that you’re crazy.

Sometimes it will be wrapped in the trappings of proffered wisdom and passive aggressive condescension. “You’re planning to start your own business?” “I’ve seen statistics on how many small businesses fail, it’s pretty scary, how do you know yours will succeed?”. The implication of course is that you are uninformed and unwise and impulsive, otherwise you wouldn’t consider such a crazy idea.

Luckily for you, your wise friend who has never had the courage to make the leap that you’ve just made, and has zero experience with what you’re about to do, can guide you back to the safe and sure path of biweekly pay-checks. Right. So you can be just like them. Because different is wrong.

But you have a secret weapon.  You know what they have yet to discover. What they may never discover.

You know that you’re not 100% sure that you’ll succeed, because no one can ever be 100% sure of a future that has yet to reveal itself. But they too can’t really be 100% sure that their job will still exist five years from now.

You know that you don’t need guarantees, because you’re willing to face things as they come, and take on each obstacle at a time. You don’t need a boss or a manager to tell you how to do that or make those decisions for you.

You know that you’re passion and positivity will fuel you, and your work ethic and commitment will buoy you. You don’t need someone to tell you when to show up to get the job done.

You know that one failure doesn’t end you. It doesn’t define you. It gives you the resolve to do better next time. Because there will always be a next time.

And most importantly, you know that no one ever makes their dreams come true by not even daring to try.

What You Will Do That They Will Never Do

As much as we all want the people in our lives to support our dreams, sometimes they just can’t. That doesn’t mean that you should give up. People fear what they don’t understand. They envy that which they don’t believe they can ever have. And they disparage that which they envy.

These are observations, of course, not absolutes. But the point is to look beneath the surface. Consider some of the motivators before you accept your friends’ criticism as truth. Because the only truth you’ll find there is evidence of their fears and what’s been holding them back.

At the end of the day, the only person that needs to believe in your chosen path is you. Because the only person walking that path is you.


Making The Switch From Employee to Solopreneur, Part 1

By far, the most frequent questions asked of me, professionally, have to do with making the switch from employee to solopreneur. Or from employee to contractor, or freelancer, or entrepreneur, or self-employed, and so on. Whatever your perspective. It transcends demographics, industries, skills, and experience levels. People at every age and stage of their life, in a variety of careers, are inquiring about leaving the world of employment to strike out on their own.

In fact, I know so many people who are thinking of making the switch from employee to solopreneur, or independent contractor, or freelancer, that I often think the world of employment is on the brink of being decimated by mass resignations of the workforce any day now.

Of course, that’s not even close to reality. For a couple of reasons.

Employees – No Longer First Choice?

First, corporations aren’t desperately seeking to hold onto their employees these days. In fact, the trend is just the opposite. Organizations are looking for contractors and freelancers more often as a means to get the job done. (Intuit 2020 Report: 20 Trends That Will Shape The Next Decade) The world economy continues to shift more toward a “gig” economy, where resources are hired to deliver tasks and projects, rather than hired to fulfill the role of “employee of company x”. In many situations, this is a less expensive option for organizations, even though contractor rates on the surface seem high in comparison to employee salaries. But beneath the surface, it’s the associated expenses related to staffing employees that drive companies to engage “per project” resources more frequently. Employee benefits, paid time off, sick leave, overtime pay, on-boarding investment, professional development and training costs, off-boarding investment, and more add significant bloat to the salary line item. With contractors and freelancers, what you see is what you get. Work is estimated, budgeted, contracted, delivered, and paid for. The end.

The Courage to Change

Second, of the many people who are thinking of making the switch from employee to solopreneur, most will fail to pull the trigger. It’s not so much that they’ll fail at their attempt, it’s that they won’t even try. A small tragedy, really, for those who have the desire and likely the capability, but simply lack the courage to realize their dreams. On the other hand, for those of us who pulled the trigger years ago and make our day-to-day living as solopreneurs or contractors, we needn’t ever really worry about a flooded market. There will always be just enough fear to hold back just enough people.

At the same time, a few will certainly dare to take the leap, and so I’ve decided that the next few posts are for them. Or for you, if you count yourself among them. There are all kinds of “how to” and “tips and tricks” posts out there on the interwebs which can give some great tactical examples of steps to take to make this transition. For my part, I’d like to focus on sharing some thoughts and experiences about what it’s really like to live without a pay-check. Because all of those people who are to afraid to pull the trigger? Well, they have a point. It’s terrifying.



How To Manage Yourself

As an employee, you report to someone. Doesn’t matter what your title is, or where you are in the corporate hierarchy, everyone reports to someone. Even the CEO. Up through the food chain, each link is accountable for their actions and must account for them to the links above.


When you work for yourself, who are you accountable to? Your customers? Not really. At least, not in the same way. Self-employed people are accountable to themselves.

If you’re self-employed like me, you develop your own business strategies, and then are solely responsible to execute them. You alone determine your business goals, sales targets, marketing plans, and deadlines for achieving results.

So how do you hold yourself accountable? How do you motivate yourself to get those results?


The biggest motivator, of course, is failure. Or, failure avoidance. It’s an even bigger motivator than the concept of “success”. Success can be such a broad concept, so intangible in tactical application, that it begins to lose meaning. It becomes the elusive pot of gold at the end of a rainbow you’re always chasing.

But avoiding failure? That’s real. That’s tangible. Not being able to pay your bills every month is a failure. Generating income avoids that failure. Being able to pay your bills every month is very motivating! It’s also very urgent. It’s top of mind. Most people aren’t able to ignore finanical obligations and not think about them for months on end. You’re less likely to procrastinate when you know that doing so will have very tangible, and potentially catastrophic, results.


The fact that not generating an income results in a failure to pay your bills may be motivating, but it doesn’t automatically empower you with the ability to create money from thin air. It does put a lot of pressure on you, and potentially create a never-ending stressful lifestyle. If you allow it to.

This is where you need to provide yourself with the support you need to get the job done. Again, another responsibility for you, the solopreneur, because you’re doing this on your own. If you’re wondering why at the moment, take a few minutes to remind yourself why it’s better to be self-employed.

Continue reading for some quick tips on how to provide yourself with the necessary support to stay motivated, accountable, and delivering results.

Top 5 Tips To Managing Yourself

1. Once a month, set aside 3 hours to review your business plan (yes, you should have one!). Confirm or modify your plan as needed.

2. Every three weeks, review your CRM and note which key contacts you haven’t connected with recently. Identify 4-5 contacts and reach out to them to re-connect. Businesses are fuelled by relationships. And if you’re only reaching out to people when you need to make a sale, you’ll find that people will soon stop taking your calls. Reach out to your contacts to keep in touch and see what they need. Helping others also helps yourself, in the long run. And yes, you should be using a CRM system. There are many free or cheap options available for small business.

3. Every two weeks, set aside 1 hour to update and reconcile your budget vs your actuals, both your personal budget and your business. Yes, you should have your budget written down and be tracking what you make and what you spend. Never go more than 2 weeks without reconciling.

4. Every week, set aside 2 hours to review how many of your objectives and obligations you successfully met; how many did you fail to meet; and what are the outcomes from failing to meet those objectives. Did it matter? What did it cost you?

5. Every day, take 15 minutes to setup the top 3 goals that you need to accomplish. Use whatever task or ‘to do’ system or app that works best for you. Make your 3 goals bite-sized; they may be small individual accomplishments, or they may be steps to achieving a larger objective. For example, if your goal is to write a book in 90 days, then a daily goal may be “write for one hour”, or “write 1000 words”.


Be focused on what you’re trying to achieve, both long-term and short-term. Be ultra-aware of your financial position, always. Stay connected to past customers and potential customers. Focus on delivering results every day, both for your customers and for your own business goals. Don’t just plan, analyze. Review actual outcomes, continually, to measure and monitor your likelihood of meeting future goals.

Manage yourself proactively. You aren’t just central to the success of your business, you ARE its success.


Top 5 Reasons Why It’s Better To Be Self-Employed

Working for yourself isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. It requires effort, committment, flexibility, and tenacity. But the pay-offs just can’t be denied. Why go through all of the effort? I compiled this list as a constant reminder for myself, and perhaps some insight for those on the fence about taking the next step.

Why Being Self-Employed is Better Than Being an Employee

1. More Money

Your earnings are limited only by how hard you work. Yes, this means that you may work harder when you are self-employed, but you’ll make significantly more money than a salaried employee. And potentially have significantly less free time. On the other hand, you may also choose to work less and enjoy a better work-life balance. You set your price, and you set your work hours.  Your choice.

You also typically realize more money from a similar amount of income. It varies by location, so you need to investigate the laws that apply in your area, but there can often be beneficial tax and expense implications from operating as a business.

Fewer Out of Pocket Expenses

In addition to the bigger profitable picture, small savings can also add up. This can vary a bit depending on your work, but many solorpreneurs and freelancers have fewer expenses than employees, especially if they work from home or another location of their choosing. Not having a lengthy commute means less gas and no need to pay expensive monthly parking (or less spent on public transit). Fewer meals out means more money in your pocket.

2. More Control

You are your own boss. You approve your vacation. You approve your sick days. You approve your expenses. You approve your work schedule. You choose your work location. You decide how and when you do your work.

More Flexibility

In addition to determining your own day-to-day schedule, or not following a specific schedule if that works for you and your work, you also have the ability to take on a variety of work. You aren’t pigeon-holed into one niche that you can’t get out of. You can stretch your wings, develop new skills, send yourself on training, take on new work using your new skill set. All without begging for approvals or competing with co-workers year over year to see who gets what slice of the professional development pie. Only to realize that it doesn’t even matters in the end because after the training ends, employee so often never get chance to use their new skill set because they’re just so good at X, their employer will never let them try to do Y.

3. No Bullshit

Well that’s blunt. But it’s accurate, right? Any workplace, even the best, has a certain amount of bullshit to contend with. Co-workers mired in gossip and drama. Colleagues smiling at you while they step on your head in their quest to climb that corporate ladder as high and as fast as possible. Toxic people whose consistently negative disposition can immediately suck the oxgyen out of any room they enter. Managers and executives who push their problems down the food chain with the oh-so-helpful mentorship of “just get it done”.

And everyone competing for the same small slice of the promotion-and-bonus pie.

4. Best Work Environment

When you’re your own boss and you run your office, your work environment is dictated only by you (and your budget, of course). Mac or PC? iPhone or Android? Tablet or laptop? You can use the technology you like, set up the way you like it. The downside obviously is that while the decisions are yours, so is the execution. You need to be your own IT support and take the appropriate precautions to secure and maintain your systems. But again, the payoff is worth it.

How about a new office chair? Or maybe you’d like to try a standing desk for a while? Go for it. If you have the budget, you simply buy what you need. And expense it to your own company, of course. Aside from the tech toys, how about having the freedom to work away from those horrible cubicle farms? Priceless.

5. Ability To Be Yourself

Perhaps more so than any other reason, this is what I love about being self-employed. It’s only since I’ve been self-employed (over 12 years now!) that I truly feel that I’ve had the ability to do my best work. Not the best that I’m allowed to do; but the best that I’m able to do.

No Discouragement

Performance reviews are like the modern day equivalent of a whip. Ok, maybe that goes a little far. But let’s face it, the aim of most performance reviews is to keep employees in their place. The organization already knows how much money is allocated for bonuses and promotions. The performance review process is simply a rationalization, on paper, of how they’ve decided to divvy up the goods. It’s top down, not bottom up. If there are 5 bonuses available for 100 people, then 5 people get rewarded. It doesn’t matter that perhaps 75 of those 100 people truly went above and beyond in their daily jobs. It doesn’t matter how dedicated or how hard 70 of those people worked, they’re staying exactly where they are. Status quo.

Is anything more discouraging than knowing that none of your efforts matter? That no matter what your commitment, dedication, late nights, weekends, none of it has value because it’s all pre-determined anyway?

When you’re self-employed, every reward is yours. Every ounce of effort that you put into your work is returned back to you in the form of customers, sales, opportunities. No effort is ever wasted.

No Conformity

Are you an introvert that constantly gets pressured to attend office social events and engage in silly employee ‘reindeer games’? Does your refusal to participate somehow make its way into a discussion with your boss around performance review time?

Are you an extrovert who is constantly silenced and stifled from sharing your views in group meetings? Does your propensity to speak up somehow make its way into a discussion with your boss around performance review time?

Does your organization talk a lot about maintaining its “culture”, or hiring people who are a good “fit” with its culture?

It all amounts to the same thing, and none of it involves being accepting of different personalities and perspectives.  A consistent, uniform “type” of staff?  Easy to manage, easy to control.

No Costumes

This is a very minor convenience, but an enjoyable one none the less. Whether it’s a uniform or a dress code, employees often have to spend money on clothes that they wouldn’t otherwise wear, because their organization mandates that’s how they should look. It seems like such a bizarre concept when you write it down, but it’s an accepted fact of the business world.

One of the many small pleasures of working for yourself is simply that you get to choose what to wear every day. Almost like…a grown-up.

It Begins and Ends With Ego

It All Begins and Ends With Ego

Egos and icons. And wannabees. Every organization has them, and those that profess the opposite, usually have the steepest and deepest politics of all.

Navigating shark-filled waters is a survival skill of anyone in the business world, whether you’re a freelancer, consultant, solopreneur, or entrepreneur.

You can’t ignore it, but that doesn’t mean you need to indulge it.

3 Things To Remember When Dealing With Office Politics

1. Be sensitive enough to the political agendas swirling around you to avoid being pulled under by the currents. You don’t need to play the political game, but you should at least be able to recognize when one is being played around you. The only way to steer clear of land mines is to know where they’re located.

2. Avoid trying to pick potential ‘winners’ for the purposes of aligning yourself with them. Winners and losers ebb and flow and you’ll never be able to match their pace. Today’s “winner” could be tomorrow’s sacrificial lambs. Don’t take sides. Staying neutral will eliminate a lot of potential stress and unecessary strife.

3. Manage yourself with consistency and transparency, and never give your clients a reason to question whether you have a hidden agenda. Stay focused on delivering the highest quality of service possible. Don’t waste energy trying to figure out why a request was made; zero in on what the request is and whether you can meet it.

That’s it. Keep it simple. Rise above.


Burn Bridges

Never burn bridges is a frequently quoted mantra.  Keep connections open, maintain relationships, get along with everyone.

Don’t have standards. Don’t have integrity. Don’t have an opinion. Don’t have boundaries.

Don’t burn bridges.

Don’t stand up for yourself, for others, for anyone, for anything.  Don’t draw lines in the sand.  Don’t know your boundaries.

You can choose a lifetime of compromising yourself for every opportunity.

Or you can choose a lifetime of authenticity among the wins and the losses.

The choice is always, and only, up to you.