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The Loneliness of the Self Employed

I went full-time as a self-employed person about 2 years ago, and I can testify first-hand to how lonely a career it can be. Being a freelancer/self-employed person usually means you work from home alone, and some days can be a lot harder than others, even for the introverts.

 

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I have always been an introvert, I am very comfortable being by myself, and I do enjoy being alone most of the time. But sometimes I miss the chit-chat and the buzz that goes on in a regular workplace; being able to have meetings, bounce off ideas, and just the usual office banter. Just so you know, I was not a fan of any of these things when I had my normal job, but I guess sometimes we humans miss things we don’t have, even if we don’t really like it. Why we do, I don’t know, we just do.

The loneliness of being a freelancer is real, so I won’t advise anyone who enjoys being in the company of others to go self-employed, except you have a form of working arrangement that involves working or meeting regularly with other self-employed people in your niche.

There are ways to deal with the loneliness and frustrations of the self-employed world, here is how I deal with them –

 

Have a sounding board

Having a sounding board is very important when you are self-employed. A sounding board is someone you trust who would listen to your achievements, frustrations, and just someone you can have a chat with about your work, and who can offer you good advice as well. The more sounding boards you have, the better. I have one main sounding board, and a few others. They all help keep me sane. Whenever I feel like having a rant, I know I can trust them to listen. It also feels great to share milestones and achievements with them.

 

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Take regular breaks

Regular breaks are very important when you work alone from home, because you can easily find yourself working continuously on your coach, without taking a break for hours. Taking breaks means you get to do other things which is great for your mental health and fitness life. Taking regular breaks also means you can leave the house for a walk, which is great because you get to interact with others while you are at it.

I try to go for long walks everyday, and I love how fit I am. My Fitbit stats speak for itself.

 

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Working in coffee shops

Working in coffee shops also help combat the loneliness and isolation. I personally find working in coffee shops very distracting, so I tend not to do this, but I know many who do and enjoy it.

 

Joining Facebook groups and Twitter chats

I have joined a couple of Facebook blogging and freelance groups, and I also try to take part in as many Twitter chats as I can. These groups and chats help combat the isolation.

 

Overall, working from home works well for me. I won’t change my flexible working conditions for anything, but some days I need to have my Spotify playlists on repeat to get rid of the silence.

 

Do you work from home? How do you deal with the loneliness?

 

 

 

 

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This Thing Called Blogging

I fell in love with blogging many years ago, and I don’t see myself every falling out of it. I have always been a lover of reading and writing, for as long as I can remember. And that is what blogging to me is really all about. Everything else is an add-on; social media, making money, receiving product samples, going to events, and the likes. But sometimes I find myself feeling very frustrated with this thing called Blogging.

I started Fashion and Style Police because I needed a creative outlet. I was stuck in a career I hated with a passion, and I saw no way out. Plus I wasn’t a very happy person at that point in my life, so blogging kept me sane.I wrote a bit about this in my How to Cash In as a Blogger.

After setting up the blog, I thought of monetising it at some point but was not my main focus back then.

 

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I am now a full-time blogger, freelance writer and PR. I work from home, and I need to make a full-time income from these jobs, so making money off the blog without selling out is now a main focus for me. I love my blog and I can’t see myself ever not loving it, but some days, especially these last couple of days, I have struggled to stay motivated. On these days, I have zero interest in blogging, and I have no desire to do any online related work.

Obviously as an online entrepreneur, I can’t afford to continue to have days like this because nothing would get done, and there will be no money in the bank.

 

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Some of the annoying emails I get, offering me $20 for a guest post, also make my bad days even worse. And I am beginning to get more and more of these cheeky emails, many with even no budget.

The truth of the matter is many people underestimate the amount of work it takes to run a blog. Most times, you have to be in it to fully understand it, so I try not to let such requests bother me. I just politely decline and move on. After all, they are probably only the messenger, but sometimes it does annoy me. I do blogger outreach, and I won’t dream of contacting a blogger without offering a form of compensation. And $20 is not a reasonable compensation. No blogger should be accepting that, even if you have a domain authority of 1.

But then again, I have great collaborations I am currently working on so it is not that bad. The pros of blogging outweigh the cons massively so it is really not an issue.

Do you blog? How are you finding it? If you don’t blog, do you enjoy blogs? What sort of blogs do you enjoy reading the most?

 

 

 

 

3 Productivity Hacks for Online Entrepreneurs

Time is the most valuable commodity we living beings have. We all have the same amount of time everyday; 24 hours. Whether we are healthy or ill, tired or strong, rich or poor, young or old, we all have the same amount of hours each day, and none of us can buy time back. What we do with our time is what makes the difference in our lives. Since we can’t go back in time to make amends or do things right, we have to make sure we are maximising the most of our time every day regardless of our situation.

For us online entrepreneurs, managing our time and being as productive as possible is so important. Especially as most of us work alone and we are our own bosses.

 

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Many people wonder how I get “the time” to do all I do – juggling my twin toddlers pretty much by myself all day, and running my online projects. When I wrote my book – How to Cash In as a Blogger, many asked how I found the time for that. I found it so weird that I kept getting asking the same question over and over again. Well, when there is a will, there is a way, and there is always enough time to get done all that needs to be done.

Here are 3 productivity hacks that have worked for me in the past 5 years, you may work for you as well:

 

Guard your time

Now this is the first productivity hack I am mentioning for a reason, and that is because without having the time, you can’t get anything done. So you need to ensure you guard your time jealously.

In 24 hours, I need to sleep at least 7 hours so I don’t get grumpy, I need to eat my meals, I need to feed my family, I need to get my kids to pre school and get them back home in time, I need to write, I need to get blog work done, I need to attend to my freelance clients, and so on. So with all the various tasks that need to be done, I can’t afford to speak on the phone for hours, to be on Whatsapp chatting endlessly, watch all the series on TV or lie in bed all day. I need to guard my time.

Once you guard your time, you will find that you have more time than you thought you did.

 

Set a routine

Once your time has been guarded, then you need to set a clear routine so you know what needs to be done daily and in what order, leaving a bit of room for flexibility. Having a to-do list helps massively as well. I tend to be on top of my day when I stick to my to-do list.

The beauty of having a routine and to-do list is that you don’t need to think of what needs to be done because you know that already. It helps you become more efficient.

 

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Work hard

Many people say it is work smart and not hard. I tend to disagree with this many times depending on the situation. In order to be productive, you have to be hard-working. Yes you will need to work smart too but you will have to work hard first for your work smart to work for you.

Imagine if BeyoncΓ© was “working smart” from her days in Destiny’s Child? Do you think she would be where she is today? No I don’t think so. For you to relax on your hustle, you have to put in the work in the foundation days.

 

Do you have a productivity hack to share? Please drop it in the comment box below.

Thanks for reading.