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How to Break Free and Own Your Bossness

So, you just handed in your resignation letter. 

The office politics, the rigid 9-5, the monotony – it’s all behind you now. 

You’re stepping into a world where you call the shots, set your hours, and pick your clients. But wait…things aren’t quite as smooth as you thought they’d be. 

All of the sudden, you’re the boss, and that comes with its own set of challenges.

It was certainly a challenge for me, having been conditioned for half a century that I need to just put my head down and “do what the boss tells me to do..”. I’m sure if my parents (may they rest in peace) knew that I was freelancing now, they would come up with ALL of the objections. 

Overcoming the First Hurdle

The first few weeks of freelancing can feel like you’re in over your head. As an employee, you had a boss to answer to and a set list of tasks. Now, the freedom is both exhilarating and stress-inducing. You’re responsible for everything – from client acquisition to project management to finances. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed.

When I started, I was so eager to land my first client that I accepted a low-ball offer. This client was a micromanager, breathing down my neck and questioning every detail. I found myself resenting the work and the client, which defeated the purpose of why I became a freelancer in the first place.

By the end of the project, I knew I had to release her as a client to protect my sanity and my business. Here’s what I learned from that experience:

  1. Know Your Worth: The allure of landing a client – any client – can lead you to undervalue your services. Remember, you’re offering specialized skills and expertise. Stand firm on your rates and the value you bring.

  2. Establish Clear Expectations: From the onset, set clear expectations about communication, deadlines, and deliverables. This will help manage the client's expectations and prevent them from overstepping boundaries.

  3. Trust Your Gut: If a client seems to be more trouble than they’re worth, trust your instincts. It’s better to say no upfront than to deal with ongoing stress and resentment. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Setting Boundaries

Next comes the tricky part of setting boundaries. Without the structure of a traditional job, it’s tempting to work around the clock or let clients dictate your schedule. Remember, you’re not just a service provider; you’re a business owner. Setting clear boundaries is a MUST.

💡Here’s a tip: Define your working hours and stick to them. Communicate these boundaries to your clients from the get-go. It’s all about respecting your time and teaching your clients to do the same. And trust me, the right clients will respect this.

Boundaries also extend to your personal life. When your home becomes your office, carving out time for yourself and your loved ones is essential. Here are some strategies to help:

  1. Designate a Workspace: Create a dedicated workspace that you can physically step away from at the end of the day. This helps create a mental separation between work and personal life. (Try not to work at the kitchen counter or living room on the couch.)

  2. Schedule Breaks: Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks. Schedule regular breaks to recharge and avoid burnout. Use a Pomodoro timer that lets you know when to take a short break every 25 minutes. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in 25 minutes, by the way.

  3. Communicate with Family and Friends: Let your loved ones know your work schedule and boundaries. This will help minimize interruptions and maintain a healthy work-life balance. In my case, I bought a mini stoplight (no joke) to let me son know that he should only interrupt when the green light is on. Otherwise, it better be broken or bleeding… if you know what I mean. LOL

Owning Your Status as a Business Owner

Transitioning to freelancing means stepping into your power as a business owner. This isn’t always easy, especially if you’re used to being an employee. 

You need to own your status, value your time, and understand your worth.

Recently, I had what seemed like a dream client. We were in sync, the project was exciting, she initially suggested retainer work and then – silence.

I was ghosted.

I followed up several times, but nothing. Now, understand that business owners do get busy and forget to respond, but she was happily posting on social media all the while, yet ignoring my emails. 

It was frustrating, much like being stood up on a date. But here’s the thing… Just like in dating, you have to just say “NEXT!” and move on. Plenty of other clients will value your work and appreciate your style.

Owning your status as a business owner means:

  1. Being Selective with Clients: Not every client is the right fit for your business. It’s okay to be selective and only work with clients who align with your values and respect your work.

  2. Continuously Marketing Yourself: Always be on the lookout for new opportunities. Keep your portfolio updated, network with other professionals, and showcase your expertise on social media. Engage in the comments you get and don’t be afraid to get in the DMs.

  3. Embracing Failure as a Learning Opportunity: Not every project will go as planned. Learn from each experience, and use setbacks and feedback as a chance to improve and grow.

Solutions to Combat These Challenges

To combat these challenges, it’s so important to develop a robust support system and a strategic plan:

  1. Network with Other Freelancers: Join communities and forums where you can share experiences and gain insights. You’ll find that you’re not alone in your struggles, and there’s always someone who’s been there before. Networking can also lead to referrals and collaborations, which can be invaluable as you grow your business.

  2. Invest in Yourself: Take courses, attend workshops, and keep improving your skills. The more you invest in yourself, the more confident you’ll become in your role as a business owner. This confidence will translate into higher rates, better clients, and a more fulfilling freelance career.

  3. Keep a Positive Mindset: It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go as planned. Keep a positive outlook, learn from every experience, and keep pushing forward. Remember, every successful freelancer has faced challenges and setbacks. What sets them apart is their resilience and determination.

  4. Establish Clear Contracts: Protect yourself with clear, detailed contracts. Make sure everything is in writing – from payment terms to project scope. This will save you a lot of headaches down the line. A solid contract sets the tone for a professional relationship and ensures both parties are on the same page.

  5. Seek Feedback and Iterate: Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from clients. Use this feedback to improve your services and processes. Iteration is key to growth and success in any business.

  6. Develop a Routine: While flexibility is a perk of freelancing, having a routine can help maintain productivity and balance. Establish a daily schedule that includes work, breaks, and personal time. Psstt.. And it does NOT have to be 9-5. 😉

The transition from a 9-5 job to freelancing is a challenge. It’s about learning, growing, and adapting. Grab the challenges, set your boundaries, own your status as a business owner, and watch your freelance career flourish. 

Once you get that mindset shift that you are a business owner and are working WITH companies, NOT for them, then you’ll feel so much more confident.

And remember, every setback is just a setup for a greater comeback. Keep moving ahead with your badassedness and you’ll find success you never thought possible. 

You got this babe!

Your journey as a freelance boss is just beginning, and the best is yet to come. Be mindful of every moment, learn from every experience, and never stop striving for the freedom and fulfillment of being your own boss.

Go out there and crush it! The world needs your unique skills and badass contributions.

If you need help changing that mindset, giving you a little push or any other freelancing advice, feel free to book a call.

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