Do you feel like throwing in the towel,
giving up on your design biz and going back to working for the man?
Wait! Step away from the ‘apply now’ button and read this first. Here are 5 things you could be doing wrong to make you feel overwhelmed, resentful and ready to give up.
You are working with the wrong clients.
Working with clients will always be an up and down experience. But if you’re cursing every time you receive an email, stewing silently when a client calls or flipping the middle finger when you see a client request, it’s a clear sign that you’re working with the wrong clients.
Think about a time when you really enjoyed working for yourself. Who were you working with at the time? What did you enjoy about them? Then consider what you can do to build a brand message that attracts more of those kinds of clients.
Easy fix: Create a section on your site devoted to explaining the type of people you work well with and the type of people that aren’t a good fit for you and your business. Make it clear. Keep it honest. And stick to it.
You don’t have boundaries.
When you run your own business, it’s easy to become a people pleaser. After all, you want regular – and happy – clients. So that means you have to say ‘yes’ to every single request right? And whatever you do, do not rock the boat.
I’m here to holler a big ‘hell no’ to that, lady! You haven’t been put on this planet to be a doormat. And if anyone tries to treat you like one, send them over to Etsy to buy one of their own because that is not how things work in your business.
Easy fix: From the moment you begin communicating with a new client, you need to make your boundaries very clear to them. I do this by sending them a document that outline what is expected of them, what is expected of me, the project timeline, payment timeline and my own terms and conditions.
You haven’t educated your clients about your work process.
I’m sure you know this already, but just a gentle reminder for those that have forgotten: not all clients are created equal! Some clients will respond to your emails within minutes and send payment through as soon as your invoice has landed in their inbox. Other clients … well, let’s just say they need a little nudge.
Treat your clients like you would your children. Be patient and use clear communication to ensure that your expectations are met (and that they enjoy working with you!)
Easy fix: Set up a streamlined communication process where you inform your clients what’s currently happening and remind them of what’s coming up and what you need from them. Don’t be afraid to explain why you have designed something a particular way either – your creative mind is brilliant but it’s unfair to expect your client’s to understand your internal and creative thought process.
You need a break.
Believe me when I say that we all get over-worked (and just plain over work) at some stage. Even if business has been slow, it’s highly likely that pressure and tension has been high which means that even your slow periods feel frustrating and tiresome.
It’s like being hangry (hungry angry). Everything feels a million times more dramatic when you’re hangry. Same thing with feeling over-worked. Maybe your temper is short and your mood, well, moody, because you haven’t relaxed in a while. Check in with yourself and see if the idea of a break appeals to you. And if you can, postpone the whole working-for-the-man thing until after you’ve returned from your break.
Easy fix: Disconnect from technology for a few days. Step away from your iMac and iPhone. Be present. Do stuff that will soothe your soul and treat yourself to a few stress-free days.
You’ve forgotten why it’s awesome to be your own boss lady.
Could you really go back to being told when to eat, when to go to the toilet and what projects you could work on? How about having to wear actual, real clothes and commute to a day job? Is that dread pooling in your belly or are you just catching my drift?
It’s easy to romanticise a regular paycheck when you’ve been slogging the hard yards at your own business. But remember when you were stuck in a cubicle, dreaming of the day you could work from home, from the beach, from wherever the heck you wanted because you would be your own boss?
Yep. There are some pretty awesome things about working for yourself. Write them down and then see how you feel.
Easy fix: Write a list of everything you love about being your own boss lady. Weigh it up. Is it worth losing all of the good stuff just to get a regular income again?
I’d love to hear from you. How are you feeling about your business?
What do you do when you feel like giving up?