I didn’t consider myself my own boss until my best friend had to break it down for me the other night. I was going off about a few comments I’d received from people who assumed I’d just been twiddling my thumbs for days on end since quitting my job, and for someone who prides herself on her work ethic, the remarks were pretty much a slap in the face. One person asked why I was tired since I have no responsibilities, and when I was telling someone else why I hadn’t taken care of X,Y, and Z, they asked why not because it’s not like I work all day. Wanna bet?
So as I went on and on and on again to my best friend about how nobody understands what I do and I consequently hate everybody in the world, she explained the real issue to me: People don’t understand what it is to be your own boss.
I didn’t think of myself as my own boss mainly because I still have editors to answer to. They can either give me the go ahead with an idea or shut me down altogether so I felt like they are the ones really in charge. But the truth is I’m a free agent. I control how much I make by how many hours I choose to put in, how good my ideas are, and how hard I grind to get my work published in multiple areas…and that basically makes me a boss.
What my best friend said about people not understanding the idea of being your own boss makes sense when I think about the full-time job I previously had. Whenever I said I was working from home people always assumed I was just chilling in my apartment watching Golden Girls and eating takeout. Yea, Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia were on in the background but I was still working. When you work from home, you often end up working longer and harder than you do in the office. There’s no commute time, less distractions (if you turn off the TV), and I personally used to break my neck to make sure I answered emails immediately because you just had a feeling that if you took too long to respond someone would assume you were doing more relaxing than actually working.
I think that same attitude applies to freelancers, business owners, and any other person who is their own boss, especially when they start out. It’s no lie that in the beginning you put in way more hours than you did working a 9 to 5. Not only are you actually doing what you’ve been contracted to do, you’re also scouting out new opportunities, being your own accountant, probably updating a website for yourself, and wearing a million other hats. You enjoy doing it because you’re building your business or your brand but that doesn’t make it any less tiring. A little less stressful? Maybeut it’s still hard work. If I’m not physically writing, I’m looking for something to write about and that can be just as time consuming as writing itself. I’m also creating invoices, seeing what’s already been covered, checking the traffic on my articles, responding to last minute requests, etc. My days are more like 8 to 8s than 9 to 5s but when I look at all that I’ve accomplished in the day I don’t mind because I know it was effort well spent.
Of course no one knows all that you do in a day when they can’t physically see you but I felt it was necessary to shut down the assumptions about the lifestyle of a free agent. When all is said and done I know I’m working harder than most people punching a time clock, and that makes me a boss.
P.S. Check out my tips for how to go after the career you really want on Vibe Vixen.