Taking Care of Business …

Question: How many hats will fit on your head at one time?

Answer: One.

You can pile other hats on top of that first one, but only one is truly on your head.

This is an important distinction for the freelance copywriter who must wear multiple hats as a business owner. Because while there are many, you can only really wear one at any given time.

I received a charm bracelet for Mother’s Day one year. All the charms are the different hats that a mother wears: a nurse’s cap, a construction worker’s hardhat that says “fixer,” the baseball cap of a coach, a chef’s hat, a chauffer’s cap, and the crown of a queen.

It’s a perfect representation of the various responsibilities that mothers juggle.

But as good as we are at juggling, we’re not used to it at work.

As employees, we’re used to clearly defined roles. I do my part; you do yours. Susan takes care of the finances, and Greg is in charge of sales and marketing.

Employees typically have just one role, one job. But as freelancers — as business owners — we’re responsible for it all. And it’s completely different when it’s your own business instead of someone else’s company … isn’t it?

It’s like the difference between babysitting and having your own child. There’s a different level of responsibility.

A babysitter or a parent?

Babysitters take care of the child’s immediate needs in the present moment. Parents think about their long-term health and happiness.

Freelance business owners do both. We have to take care of our clients’ needs in the present moment. But we also decide how our business will grow and evolve.

We work both IN the business and ON the business.

This is a big adjustment — mentally and emotionally. Being your own boss means you don’t have to answer to anyone, but it also means you don’t have anyone else to rely on. It’s all you.

It’s all you, and failure isn’t an option

Like with parenting, failure at copywriting isn’t an option. I don’t ever want to go back to a J-O-B working for someone else. Are you with me?

My philosophy is “Do, or Do Not … There Is No Try” — you can read more about it by clicking through to the article for today.

So how do we manage to do the client work AND the accounting, banking, prospecting, marketing, and strategic planning? How can we possibly wear all those hats?

The same way you eat an elephant … one bite (one hat) at a time.

We moms know the importance of being fully present in the moment. We make to-do lists and have a master calendar with all of the family’s activities.

As freelance copywriters and business owners, we have to do the same thing. For example, perhaps you set aside a regular day each week to wear your prospecting and self-marketing hats. You could don your bookkeeping hat and take deposits to the bank on this same day.

We can only wear one hat at a time, but we have to work all of them into our schedule if we are to have a successful writer’s life.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: November 14, 2012

1 Response to “Taking Care of Business...”

  1. Great article, Michele!

    To amplify Michele's point, I'd like to offer a lesson that I learned from one of Nightingale Conant's best selling authors. As freelancers, we can't be satisfied with just "juggling" our responsibilities. We must orchestrate them. That means tapping into the right business need at precisely the right time while everything continues to run smoothly. We must be in full command in order to maintain harmony. This is the ultimate business challenge. But it's worth it...


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