Finding and Keeping the Joy in Your Freelance Writing Business
You may love your business, the work you do, and your clients, but there are times when you've just had enough of it all. When you're so tired that you're considering chucking the whole thing and going back to being a full-time employee (no, don't do it!).
Let's look at some ways we can find and sustain the joy and passion that keep us moving forward.
Once you've been in business for a while, it's easy to stop celebrating your successes. But enjoying the fruits of your hard labor is one of the keys to truly enjoying your business and work. So don't be afraid to reward yourself!
There's no right or wrong way to reward yourself and there is certainly no benchmark on the size of success you celebrate either.
Celebrate that first big payday with a nice meal in a local restaurant. Enjoy an ice cream in the middle of the day when you put the finishing touches on a blog post.
Just remember to celebrate whatever success you like, whenever you like; celebrations shouldn't stop just because they happen more often!
It's always easy to focus on the negative things that happen or that you read. Even if a client has sent me a "Thanks a million, Julia!" email today, what I remember is the request for a crazy revision from a client I don't even work with anymore.
Do your best to ignore the negative comments and criticism, no matter how difficult that may be. Instead, try to focus on the positive feedback and interactions. They're worth much more to you in the long run.
Wait, what? Make mistakes? Yes, you read that right.
Making mistakes is the fastest way to get to the "right" way of doing something for you and your clients.
The joy of learning from a failed experiment outweighs the risk of being seen as a failure in the long-term, so just jump in.
Give it a shot and see what happens. Chances are you'll learn quite a bit from the experience.
When you work hard on something, you'll start to feel burned out after a while. Which leads to you resenting the work in the first place, which is not where you want to be with your business. So you need to take breaks whenever you need them.
Stress, tension, and unhappiness cause people to withdraw and reject new ideas or solutions, which can be bad for your health AND your business.
That's why a lot of companies are now offering wellness classes like yoga, and meditation spaces, so employees can just get away from the hustle and bustle to relax for a moment.
For us home-office dwellers, it's even easier to take a break and recharge, though you may be tempted to skip the break because you ARE at home.
That's a big mistake. Take a break whenever you need it.
Your neck and shoulders cramping up from being hunched over the keyboard all morning? Go take a walk before lunch and enjoy the fresh air.
Need to think of something else to get past that writer's block? Go do a load of laundry (that's what I did this morning — for some reason, folding the still-warm-from-the-dryer laundry always does it for me).
Your break is well-deserved and can really improve your overall attitude and productivity.
This is a must for all of us home-office types.
While we can be so connected with our community online, it's also important to connect in real life (or IRL, as the kids say).
By connecting with other business owners and professionals in your industry, you can re-ignite your passion for your work and your business.
There's nothing like talking with someone who understands the ups and downs of your industry to get you excited about your business again!
That's one reason I always attend a couple of marketing conferences, as I love hearing about what everyone else is up to, which always gives me great ideas for my own business.
"Finding your joy" may sound a little too 'woo-woo' for some of you (me included), but it really is important for you to have that joy, otherwise you won't be able to keep moving forward, in good and bad times.
In the book, Rimm outlines a step-by-step program for readers to "find the joy" in their jobs, businesses, and personal lives.
Rimm takes her own advice a step further by color-coding her own calendar so she can see at a glance when she's in/out of her "joy balance."
She uses that ratio of joy/hassle to course correct and bring more of the work that brings her joy into her daily life.
That's not to say that every day is going to be filled with joy in your business, but the point is to try and do more of the joyful things than the "hassle" things.
When you ratio tilts more towards joy, at least according to Rimm, you'll feel better in your daily work and move forward more "lightly."
We're hearing the drumbeat of "be present" more often these days, and I think we're right to bang that drum.
So often, our minds are off somewhere else than where we are right at that moment, so you miss what's going on around you.
Doesn't matter if you're at a music concert, the movies, in a meeting with a client, or at your desk and keyboard. If you're not paying attention to what you're doing, you'll miss out on a lot.
By being present, you'll find yourself noticing more details in the world around you and you'll recall more of what you experienced because you were paying attention.
In work terms, it'll mean that you'll have more focused meetings with clients because you'll be able to drill down to what they need more quickly.
Your writing sessions may go more quickly because you're in tune with the subject and the work you need to do.
Plus, you'll have more joy and passion to do the work because you're on time, on target, and producing quality work.
Your worries about having to redo things will go away because you'll have done it right the first time.
Find your joy
Owning your own business is hard. That's why only a small number of us are brave and strong enough to jump into it and make it work.
And, it can be tiring work sometimes, both professionally and personally. There are times when you have to refill your creative well and find the energy to just keep going.
It's the joy and passion we have for our work that can be the difference between continuing on or letting it all drop.
How do you find the joy in your business?
I've been trying to be more "present" in my work lately, to really pay attention to what's going on at that time and not worry about the past or the future.
It's not always easy to do as there are so many distractions out there, but it's been a mostly positive experience for me.
How about you, what are you doing to find the joy in your work? Share your experiences in the comments.
This article, Keeping the Joy in Your Freelance Writing Business was originally published by B2B Writing Success.