YOU are your worst boss – An approach to managing yourself as a freelancer

“YOU are your worst boss.” – You might hear this sentence whenever you meet a freelancer or a business owner, and after ~8-10 years of being self-employed, being part of teams and founding companies I will have to say that this can be true. You won’t allow yourself hours off, or you just don’t push yourself hard enough as a boss. You might give yourself more work than you can handle (because you promised your client something just not to lose the contact) or you might criticize your performance and work much harsher than someone else would.

So why don’t we just try to become a better boss of yourself? Maybe take a step back and look at our performance, like we would when we had an actual employee: Take life events into consideration and understand that you can’t push yourself over the limit too many times without burning yourself out. On the other hand, we have to make sure to push ourselves enough not to miss a deadline and screw up a job. You might not have enough income to sustain yourself if you slack too much and there is no automatic paycheck guaranteed at the end of the month. Consequences are a bit more direct, even if job security is not the best anymore.

I think (and feel free to correct me or let me know what you think) that you need to apply a particular kind of management to yourself – be your boss, but be fair to your employee.

  • Track how much time you can allocate to your employee and keep other daily tasks in mind (cleaning, cooking, etc.employees), so he doesn’t have to work too much overtime.
  • Keep an eye on your employees’ habits and don’t let him indulge in too many distracting habits. Just don’t be too harsh when he ends up surfing every once in a while. Nobody works 100% all the time.
  • Supply your employee with an excellent ergonomic workplace and the tools he needs.
  • Send your employee to training and let him read books about his field on the job. It’s part of keeping his skills up to date.
  • Give praise for good work and maybe even get him something nice.

Don’t be your worst boss – be a good one. Isn’t that why you became self-employed in the first place? 🙂

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