I Believe In The Dream Chasers

There’s a quote I love from the movie, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”:

There are some people into whose laps good things fall.
I am not one of them.
I must go out and get it myself.

So much wisdom in just a few sentences. The first sentence is something that we all know to be true. How often do we look at an acquaintance, friend, colleague, or celebrity and think, “must be nice”.

The second sentence in the above quote, if left unqualified, smells a lot like self-pity.

“I am not one of them”.

If only I had their luck.
If only I didn’t have so many obstacles.
If only my life weren’t so complicated.

But it’s in the last sentence that the seeds of wisdom are planted. “I must go and get it myself”.

Yes. So much yes!

There will always be people who have it easier than you. Just as there are always people who have it harder. But human nature seems to concentrate its focus on the shadier side of the street. It’s so very easy to forget to be grateful for what we have, and focus on what we lack.

Yet gratitude and ambition are not mutually exclusive. Being grateful for today shouldn’t prevent us from striving for something different, something better, tomorrow.

Yes, other people may have it easier. They may get all the lucky breaks. They may be born under that proverbial lucky star. So what? Just because something is hard to do, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be attempted. At what point might the odds change in your favour? You may never know if you give up the pursuit too soon. Imagine if having given up, you later discover that you were on the verge of catching what you were chasing, around the very next bend.

If you don’t like what you’re doing with your life, the very least you owe yourself is to give your very best effort toward changing it. If not now, when? In your next life?

You may feel like your circumstances in life are patently unfair. But fairness is a misunderstood concept.

“Fairness isn’t equality of fortune. It’s equality of chance.”

Take your chance. Be a dream chaser. You never know what you might catch.

Dream Chaser

 

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Getting Back On Track

Expect the unexpected

This is my first post after a bit of a reprieve. I’ve been sitting here for about 15 minutes, trying to think of what to write. I was 2 minutes away from shutting down the laptop and letting another day (or week) drift by, when it finally occurred to me. That’s what I should be writing about. Because that’s something we can all relate to, right? Trying to get back to some sort of normality, some sense of self, after life unexpectedly side-swipes you and drags you miles off course.

Expect the Unexpected

I loathe the expression ‘expect the unexpected’ because it’s so completely useless. While the intrinsic meaning is well-intentioned, it’s clearly not something that any of us can truly master. We can’t anticipate every possible event and circumstance, nor can we predict with any degree of reasonableness how we’ll react when the unexpected happens. Even if you think you know, you’re probably wrong.

As a solopreneur, it’s incredibly challenging to effectively manage time. Juggling sales, networking, marketing, and professional development, all while trying to ensure customers and clients receive the absolute best that you have to give, can be a recipe for a perfect storm. Keeping all of those balls in the air requires constant vigilance.

Then the unexpected happens.

Something you aren’t prepared for, and couldn’t have prepared for, not in any meaningful way, and you just have to cope.

There’s no magic button, no playbook, no step-by-step script to follow.

Reinventing Normal

I’ve always been a bit hyper-focused on time. Ironic, considering how much of it I seem to waste. One of my favorite things to do, in fact, is nothing. Not only do I enjoy doing nothing, but I excel at it. Lounging in a chair, staring up at the sky, watching the clouds float by. Yet I have so many things that I want to do, so many ideas that I want to test, so many new skills that I want to learn, that I always feel like I never have enough time to do it all. Which of course is true. None of us ever have the time we want, or need. So we prioritize, the best that we can, and more so, we muddle through. We establish our routines, constantly balancing too little time with too many tasks, and invariably end up sacrificing what we truly want on the altar of obligation.

When you experience a loss of someone close to you, I think your mind naturally drifts to thoughts of mortality and the countdown of a running clock. When you’re with someone at the moment of their death, thoughts that were previously abstract concepts, philosophizing best saved for a dreamy summer day, suddenly crystallize into something tangible. As if you could touch time itself.

And when that happens, when time becomes something you can viscerally feel, when it becomes that definitive and finite thing, you start to realize that perhaps watching the clouds float by on a bright sunny day isn’t time wasted at all.

Perhaps getting back on track isn’t about finding a way back to the normal you used to know.  Perhaps it’s about embracing a new normal, whatever that turns out to be.

 

Believing These 5 Myths About Solopreneurs Is Holding You Back

It’s one thing to be held back from pursuing your dreams because of some very real risks and a sincere fear of the unknown. It’s another thing altogether to be held back by false assumptions.

How myths start is a topic for another day, but I think a good deal of misinformation is spread, if not created, by those who need to reconcile their own fears with some sort of external validation. And so the narrative changes from, “I’m afraid to do this because”, to “No reasonable person would do this because”. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

But that’s just one perspective. Gathering more perspectives can allow you to see something you were missing before.  Everyone has the power to write their own story. And if you’re writing your own story, wouldn’t you want to be the hero?

It’s important to be realistic when considering whether solopreneurship is right for you. Leave your rose-colored glasses on the desk and take a clear look around you.  Just don’t forget that also means having enough perspective to rise above the naysayers and fearmongers.

These are some of the more common ideas about solopreneurship that I’ve heard, but have never really experienced in my career as a solo.

1. Solopreneurs don’t make enough money

Not all solopreneurs fit the ‘starving artist’ category, though some probably do. And of course how much money is “enough” differs by geographic location, personal needs, and lifestyle choices. But that much is true whether you’re self-employed or other-employed.

One thing I know for sure – a salary is an earning cap. Even with an annual increase, and taking into account performance bonuses, there is a set maximum amount of money that you can earn every year.

As a solopreneur, your earning potential isn’t predetermined. As long as you continue to generate value, you continue to make money.

2. Solopreneurs are always desperate for work

Nope. I suppose if you’re perptually lazy and a committed procrastinator, this will indeed become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But many of the solos that I know end up referring work to trusted colleagues, because they have more than they can handle.

Now, that’s not going to be the case when you first start out. But once you’re established, and if you’re engaged in your business, you can build a customer base and can have consistent work year over year.

3. Solopreneurs go through long stretches of unemeployment

Maybe? I have no idea. For example, in the last 12 years, I’ve had two dry spells. One where I decided to take a couple of months off and just enjoy the summer. The second was self-imposed as well, when I decided to devote all of my energy into building a software startup company. During that time, my solo business took a backseat.

Aside from these two exceptions, I’ve always had consistent streams of income. The volume of that income fluctuated of course; some months are extremely busy, others are a bit leaner. But I’ve always been able to cover my expenses.

4. Solopreneurs are sales and marketing experts

I suppose there are solopreneurs out there who definitely fall into this group, especially those solos who are experienced marketeters who have transitioned into a solo career advising other solos how to market their own businesses.

But for many of us, sales and marketing are parts of the job that were completely new and uncomfortable for us when we launched our solo careers. We learn as we go, and we improve as we grow.

I’m still very much a novice in this area, and I’m constantly looking for learning opportunities and ways to improve my skills. Luckily, customer satisfaction and referrals still count for a lot in business!

5. Solopreneurs are just getting by until they can find a ‘real’ job

None of the solos I know, myself included, would give it up by choice.

Going back to a life spent working for someone else just isn’t a scenario I can even imagine at this point in time. Maybe that will change in the future? But at this point, being a solopreneur isn’t just what I do; it’s who I am.

And that may very well have been the tipping point. When I first started working for myself, for the first few years, I did wonder whether I could continue to make a living like this, or whether I would be better off – safer, more secure – returning to the fold and working for a large corporation.

I never pulled the trigger, because every time it crossed my mind, what inevitably followed was a flood of memories recalling everything that I hated about that world. The amount of conformity required; the micro-management; the politics; the biases; having my work hours dictated by someone else; not having a choice in work assignments; being at the mercy of corporate quarterly targets that I had zero influence on; and the cubicle farms. Rows and columns of tiny gray boxes stuffed with human captives for 8+ hours a day. Ugh.

So as scared as I was of the future, I couldn’t bring myself to return to the past.

And then, as happens, time meandered on. Two years turned into four years which turned into six years. And by the time I hit that 5-6 year mark, I started to realize that I wasn’t just “lucky”. Yes, luck sometimes played a part.  But to be successfully self-employed for that long meant that I was also capable of pulling off this solopreneurship stuff. Imagine my surprise! Introverted, a complete lack of sales skills, no safety net, and yet I was able to find customers and generate income.

I slowly started to realize that I was actually good at my job. And my job was my business. And my business was completely integrated with my life.

Being a solopreneur isn’t my 9-5 job. It’s who I am.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Why A Lifestyle Business is Better than a Startup

Lifestyle-Startup InfographicStartups get all the glamour, especially these days. Even the language of the startup scene is sexy. VCs, Angels, incubators, acquisitions and exits. Exciting!

But that’s only some of the story. What about stress, sleeplessness, failure, debt, dependency, despair. Hmm. Less sexy.

So what is a lifestyle business? It’s the definition and epitome of professional independence. A lifestyle business is a business that you build on your own terms, which allows you to earn money while living your life.

How do I know it’s better to start a lifestyle business than a startup? Because I’ve done both. The startup is long since dead. And the lifestyle business is still going strong (12 years later)!

There’s nothing like experiencing both sides of the fence to help you see the light, and without any future ‘grass-is-greener’ pondering to keep you awake at night.

It’s all about the end game.

Yes, a startup holds the promise of reaching epic levels of financial reward that most of us can’t even imagine. But the chances of getting there are infinitely small. And the price you pay for just the slimmest chance to play is huge. You give up all of your free time, all of your money, most of your relationships, and some of your sanity for as long as it takes to reach that goal, or more commonly, for as long as it takes to fall into the abyss. Then you get to ‘enjoy’ the challenge of climbing out, on your own, with nothing and no one to help you and no safety net in place if you happen to stumble again.

With a lifestyle business, you’re highly unlikely to become a member of the billionaire club. But you risk little to nothing for a reasonable shot at creating a comfortable lifestyle for yourself, while still living your life, enjoying your friends and family, getting a good night’s sleep, and answering to no one. Think about that. Answering to no one. Imagine not having to ask permission to take a day off. Imagine not having to ask permission to work different hours just because you feel like it. Imagine being able to work from the beach. Or the park. Or the coffee shop. Whenever the hell you want. Without worrying about bosses, or employees.

Lifestyle business vs Startup. What is the life that you truly dream of living?

 

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 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.

 

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.

Accountability

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?

Motivation

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.

Support

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”.

Conclusion

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.