After the first year, I talked about all the hats I didn't know I was putting on by starting my own business. I've gotten good at wearing a lot of hats. I still like being in charge of every aspect of my business. But one thing I haven't become great at? Being my own boss.
And right there's where my inner boss turns into a real bitch. Sometimes, there just isn't enough work. Anyone who has ever freelanced knows that things come in ebbs and flows — sometimes you're inundated with so much work you feel like you'll drown in it, and sometimes you wind up re-decorating your office because you just can't think of anything else work-related to do. And I've never been good at having too little to do. My self-esteem took a big hit when I underwent my first bout of unemployment from my first real big-girl job, because I equate my value as a person with my ability to support myself. It doesn't matter that I cook six nights a week, or do myriad other traditionally wifely tasks — if I'm supposed to be earning, and I'm not, I feel like nothing.
And so, when things slow down — inevitable every once in a while — my abusive inner boss-lady takes over. "WHY AREN'T YOU WORKING HARDER TO FIND NEW WORK?" I am. "WHY AREN'T YOU DOING ANYTHING PRODUCTIVE?" I'm trying. "YOU'RE NO GOOD, WHY DON'T YOU JUST QUIT?" I can't. "YOUR FAMILY IS GOING TO BE SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. YOU'RE LETTING MATT DOWN. EVERYONE THINKS YOU'RE A FAILURE." I know.
So my goal in my third year is to be a better boss. To not beat myself up if the feast-famine cycle veers dangerously close to rice-and-ramen territory. Because it doesn't do me any good to bully myself. I'm proud of what I've accomplished overall this year. I've gotten to do some really fun work with some great businesses and individuals. I don't want to let all that be overshadowed by self-doubt.
What are your work goals for the new year?