Ever since starting Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing, I’ve had a blast working for myself. One of the things I’ve been told almost my entire career is that I am efficient. I work very hard and very quickly, and usually complete the work of three people in half the time. When I work on something, I give it every piece of me, even long after I leave for the day.
As you might imagine, working for el gobierno hasn’t been that fulfilling for my hard-charging work ethic. There have been clients where I worked so hard that I developed stress migraines and spent two hours on the phone crying to my manager in frustration…only to have them say, “Yes, that’s nice” and put it on their cubicle shelf and never look at it again.
Ergo, I was basically giving myself gray hairs for nothing.
Me, Myself, and SGR-P
Now, I’ve been able to channel my worth ethic into something that makes someone happy (me). I don’t mind working sixteen hours a day or giving up my weekends to conventions. First of all, this is super fun. Second, I know that all of this hard work is going to pay off, and there will be a result at the end of it.
Some days, I wake up at 7am and work until 10pm at night. I’ll flit from business strategy, to retweeting, to Facebook scheduling, to blogging, planning my upcoming book. Then, I’ll end the day with a good 3,000-5,000 words in one of the three books I’m writing. Some days I’ll toss in a little graphic design, a little cover work, and maybe a little reading of other indie’s books.
There are some days, I just don’t know what I want to do first, because I want to do all of it, right now.
When I stop moving long enough to take stock of my life, I get all weepy. I think about all the years where I gave my energy to others, and how unfulfilling it was. Now, I’m working three times as hard, and am three times as happy.
Selling books is some small fraction of the money I make as a consultant. As a consultant, the check appears in the bank account whether I do a good job or not. But at a convention, it’s all on me to do my very best to make sure I make the money. When I give my elevator pitch to people, I watch the wheels turn in their heads. When they give me the nod and the “all right,” that’s the best feeling in the universe. I hand over something that I made, that I did, and I’m getting paid for it. At that point, I don’t care if they like it or not, because I’ve already received my reward.
I am the Decider
Every quarter, I put together an in-process review of major accomplishments and the financial health of the company. I don’t present it to anyone but myself, but it’s a good benchmark to track progress. I found myself adding all of the special touches and effort I used to put in for clients – here’s a pretty brand, here’s some details to make it pop.
And I keep thinking over and over is how happy I am that I don’t have to get anything approved by anyone.
It may seem like I don’t like to work with other people, and I have been accused of that my entire career. I don’t actually see it that way myself; the issue is people can’t keep pace with the speed I want to get things done so I leave them behind. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve sent out asking for feedback from co-workers and received nada (only to have them return two weeks later claiming they weren’t consulted). It’s super frustrating, yo.
That’s what’s so brilliant about working for myself. Everybody on board is moving at the same pace. If I want to work, I work. If I need to break, I break. And when I decide to do something, everybody comes with me.