Working For Yourself When It’s Hard  

I’d like to start by saying that my life at the moment is currently under construction. 2019 has been a bit of a year for me already. I’m just about to turn 34, living with my parents, liquidating everything so I can travel for the next unknown period of time and I barely have plans beyond the end of the week. This is divorce 101.

Let me start by saying this is about as much as I ever want to talk publicly about my divorce. It’s a supremely difficult time for all involved and I want to respect everyone’s privacy as much as I possibly can. What I will say is that I am proud of how my ex and I are handling it, we remain on very good terms and that I don’t think anyone can call our 7 year relationship a failure.

I only raise this to give you the pretext of the instability that’s occurring for me right now. It has also coincided with me having more clients and more program sales than ever before. I’ve heard from a few people that they are going through similar things and their questions have always been the same ‘How do I keep my business right now?’  

Regardless of what is going on for you right now and I don’t know who needs to hear this, but here are my life hacks to keep yourself and your business going when things are a little harder than usual.

1.       Cut yourself a break
First things first, if things are chaos – you need to cut yourself a massive fucking break. Business life is hard anyway, plus then you add in some dramatic emotional shifts, strange living situations, family… things are going to get overwhelming. You need to cut yourself some serious breaks, be kind to yourself and show yourself some patience. I have forgotten things. I missed a few appointments that weren’t in my diary. I got a message from a London based client at 2am saying ‘Are we meeting tonight?’ I didn’t get it til 6am. Oops.

If things aren’t going well, be kind to yourself. Break when you need to. Remember to eat, drink water and get some sunshine. You’re basically a house plant with more complicated emotions.

2.       Schedule and know how you are working right now
Always wake up feeling a bit shitty? Don’t start work before 10am.
Have lawyers meetings? Schedule a massage for after.
Having trouble getting out of bed at 5am like you usually do? Don’t. Sleep till you need too.
Know how you are working right now and work around it as required. It will make EVERYTHING easier. I promise.

3.       Co-Working Spaces
This is easier in bigger cities, but co-working spaces offer WIFI, your own desk, coffee machines, heating/cooling and somewhere private to work for a nominal weekly or daily fee.
They are generally very quiet, have meeting rooms if you need have appointments via Zoom or need to make phone calls. Why would you stay at home or try to work from your parents spare room?

4.       Local Libraries
As I am in rural Victoria, this has been my home. I have semi permanently moved into the Sale Library working area and this is a far cry from the libraries we had in years past. Wifi, heating/cooling, a café with decent coffee? SIGN ME UP.
It has been an absolute refuge for me while I’ve been travelling and will continue to be in the future.

5.       Tell people the truth
It’s not fun but explain when things aren’t going well and what’s happening. Explain your limitations and what you need help with or what’s working well. The truth is - we are all human and we are all going through something at any given time.

You will need to find your own groove on this one. There is no one sized fits all approach to when things are hard. And one thing I want to end on here, is that you shouldn’t be comparing your shit time to mine. If things are hard for you right now, they are hard for you. But this isn’t permanent. You got this. I know you do

JA  x  

If things are really bad, please reach out to professional services. You can speak to BeyondBlue here. Please Google local services in your area.