I can do what I want! Except that I can’t

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Tyhjä työpöytä
Gone to the beach. (Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash)

When you start running your own business, you take a deep breath and fill your lungs with that wonderful, intoxicating feeling of freedom.

I am my own boss! I can work whenever I want! I can work on the beach! I can surround myself with wonderful people only! I can eat biscuits for lunch every day and not have to explain myself to anyone! I’ll only have to get dressed occasionally – every day can be a pyjama day!

Every day can be a pyjama day!

I can just do all the fun stuff and forget about the rest! Oh wait…

While it’s true that as an entrepreneur you get to enjoy the level of freedom that is rarely possible when employed by someone else, that freedom comes with quite an hefty burden of responsibility.

When it comes to choosing how you really ought to spend your days, I can already see that for a new entrepreneur – especially in the broad and ambiguous field of communications – the responsibility can be quite a balancing act in more ways than one:

1. Should I say ‘yes’ to everyone?

Should I rush to find as many paying customers as quickly as possible whatever it is that they might want me to do – or should I be picky right from the start in order to make sure that my days won’t be filled with things that don’t interest me?

2. How many different types of services should I focus on?

Now that it’s very early days for me and my business, I find myself offering many types of services as I’m not quite sure what will take off, and also what I’ll end up liking the most.

Having a long list of services is definitely a double-edged sword:

On one hand I’m grateful and proud that I’m able to help out my customers with many different types of things, but on the other hand I might come across as an overly general chameleon who knows a little about a lot, but not properly and thoroughly about anything.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have a specific niche so that I could simply say “we make tennis balls”?

I don’t know yet what the answer will be in my case, but I try not to fret about it too much. Time will tell.

3. And the rest – should I do everything by myself?

When you run your own business as a solo proprietor, that’s what you are: a solo act.

That means that whatever there is to do – whether it’s work for your customers or things that would be taken care of “support functions” if you were employed by someone else – it’s up to you to do it. Or at least up to you to decide what you think you can and want to do yourself, and what you should let someone else take care of.

If I don’t want to do it but have no choice, how can I stop myself from procrastinating and do it anyway?

…And the solution to that depends on your answers to this series of questions that can easily throw you in an infinite loop (and a burnout!) if you’re not careful:

Do I have time to do it myself? Do I know how to do it? Do I want to do it? If I don’t have time, can I afford to pay someone else to do it? If I don’t have the money to pay someone, is it possible for me to learn how to do it? If I don’t want to do it but have no choice, how can I stop myself from procrastinating and do it anyway? If I constantly have too many things to do, how do I prioritise?

* * * * * * *

This blog post contains 12 questions. That probably means that in entrepreneur years I’m a toddler. But I don’t mind the questions, I don’t mind them at all. I believe that they are here to help me find some sort of balance in this new stage of my career.

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