This week marks one month of self employment. When I dove into this whole new world I honestly had no idea what I would be getting myself into. I’ve been blogging for the last 6 years but always in a way that moved around my life – aka nights & weekends. So much of the work was the same yet my timing was all off. The only thing I assumed was that in quitting my full time job, I would have more time to blog. That has been true in ways but not how I initially imagined. I’m starting to figure out what self employment looks like for me and I am excited to continue walking in this opportunity!
Find a Routine that works for you
It didn’t take me long to fall into a new routine. As a creature of habit, I knew I needed some kind of consistency in my new life. What I didn’t realize is how much better I would feel (and how much more I would get done) when I took mornings slow. Previously my mornings were a mess. Consisting of me hitting the snooze button too many times, throwing dry shampoo in my hair, and rushing out the door to work. I typically always walked in a couple minutes late (my coworkers can all confirm) and my breakfast (and coffee) was always made at work. My mornings were not my favorite.
These days I am allowing myself to wake up without an alarm (letting my body get the sleep I need), I head downstairs to make breakfast & my coffee, I sit on my back porch for my quiet times, water my plants, get ready, pick up the kitchen, and pretty much do whatever I want until my 10am start of work. I am a night owl (always have been) and in this season where I work from home and don’t have kids waking me up at ungodly hours of the morning I am fully taking advantage of these slow mornings.
The rest of my day isn’t super strict. It consists of emails, blog photos, photo shoots, and whatever else needs to get done. I want to work more on a routine here but I’m not rushing things. I’m figuring things out as I go.
Give yourself Grace
So much extra has gone on this last month since I started working from home. We went on vacation, I caught a terrible stomach bug that knocked me out for a couple days, and I’ve had lots of opportunities to spend time with friends and family. Working from home and being self employed is a unique opportunity. I have the ability to take my niece to the pool with my mother-in-law, spend time with my sister, meet friends for lunch, go to the grocery store when it is not packed (oh man! This is the best!), and spend time outside.
At first it was weird to say yes to afternoon pool dates, spend full days packing, and not turn on my computer for three days in a row. Sometimes life happens. Just because you work from home and CAN work whenever doesn’t mean you HAVE to work all the time. I find myself answering emails in the evening or taking pictures for a blog post with my husband over the weekend. I have random hours and it is okay that all my work doesn’t get done in a typical 8-5 schedule. It is important to give yourself grace and flexibility.
Don’t overbook yourself
This one was huge for me. I have been working full time and blogging for years so I figured that cutting out a good 40 hours was going to leave me with so much time. I started posting every day, making lists miles long, hanging out with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, and wondering why I was still feeling as insane as I was before. I would make huge “to-do today” lists and get five things crossed off of them. I was discouraged & overwhelmed. Isn’t this why I quit my job? To not feel this way?
I needed to take a step back and remind myself I was still the same person. I need to set reasonable goals & action steps to get there. I need to be in control of my schedule and know when to say yes & to say no. It is still just as important as it was when I was working full time to manage my time.
I have time to think
This ties in with the last one. When I started I wanted to go, go, go. I thought all I needed was time and I could get everything I wanted done. I was quickly overwhelmed by it all and at the same place I was blogging & working full time. For so long I was living in what I like to call “survival mode” now that I am able to focus on blogging full time, I didn’t want to get wrapped up in the same mindset. Taking a step back and allowing myself to write smaller to-do lists and not tackle everything has given me time to think. Am I writing about things I love to write about? Where do I see myself in 5 years? What else do I want to offer the Oak + Oats community? What direction is this blog going in? How do I want to grow and connect?
It’s not all about the money
I felt a huge pressure to prove to myself (and everyone else) that I could make it as a blogger. That when I had time to spend on my blog the money would just pour in and I would be able to work even harder on monetizing and growth. I quickly realized that a money focused heart is a mess. Yes, I realize this is my job and yes, I do want to make money blogging but I do not need to blog for the money or consume myself with making money.
After several big cries about fear, money, and if I am doing the right thing; I realized that I just have to trust the Lord and be faithful. It is so obvious He opened the doors to allow me to blog full time. I have a beautiful audience and a platform that I want to steward well. I may not make tons of money but the Lord is faithful to provide. And when I am focused on the money making, I find myself not as focused on the content, the community, and the purpose. Focusing on the latter things before money keeps Oak + Oats a place worth reading & a job worth having. The money will come as it comes. It is more important to take time reflecting, creating quality content, and connecting with others.
These are 5 of the things I’ve learned this first month. It is still very much of a journey, but I am becoming more okay with that! What are things you have learned being self employed? Or what are things you are learning recently? Do any of these resonate with you?