Self-Employment Staying Power and Knowing When to Call It

My pal Dan had a post that really spoke to me over on his microblog today. Dan’s a great, multi-talented guy that I’ve known for something like 25 years, and I was really happy to see him taking up blogging again like me.

And then there are days like today. Where you feel like crap, but not crap enough to just bail. You almost want to convince yourself that you feel a little bit worse that you do to give yourself permission. But you can’t. You just have to grit your teeth and do the damn work.

Dan Beeston

I really feel this comment. Being self-employed has this paradox at the heart of it (and I know Dan is self-employed too). On one hand, you are your own boss. On the other, it feels like every client you have is a boss, and we often have dozens, if not hundreds of clients that we work for in small amounts in order to stitch together a full time living.

It’s easy to blow off a day of work when you feel like utter dogshit, but the hard days, the really hard ones, are when, as Dan says, you feel like crap, but not crap enough. Sometimes it’s hard to know which the day really is. But I’m getting better at knowing when I’ve hit the wall.

You can keep working after you’ve hit the wall, but the quality of work is shit. This past week was incredibly stressful for me for a variety of reasons, and by Friday morning, I knew I had hit the wall. I had my hours in, and I could have gotten ahead on things, but what I really needed was sleep, and lots of it. So I got it, and I slept good chunks of the weekend. Today, I feel much better than I did last week, which is good, because the work never ends.

Days like the ones that Dan describes above are sometimes sign posts on the road towards hitting the wall. Getting to know your limits is an important part of this self-employed life. Nobody’s going to tell you to take the time off but yourself. So I say to my fellow freelance types – take care of yourselves. Nobody is going to do it for us.

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