“Yeah, my boss is so hard on me. Always on my back,” I say at social gatherings.
“She’s so stingy with allowances.” I tell the other networkers. “She’s one tough cookie,” I lament.
When they find out I work for myself they either think I am a bit weird or a bit funny. Or maybe both. But it helps me to externalise my many selves, and the comments above are quite revealing.
There are times I would like it if I, as a boss, was harder on me, drew a tighter line on budgetary items and didn’t let me off the hook in regard to deadlines.
As a solopreneur, there is no other person to crack the whip and keep you accountable.
This makes working for yourself an exceptional challenge, so here are three things you can do to be a tough yet loving employer of yourself and still achieve outcomes:
1. Write it down and pin it up
Like any kind of goal-setting, targets work better if they are in your face. Writing them down and making them concrete seems to focus the mind on the objective even when you are out of the office.
No long labour this – a picture and a line on an A4 coloured paper will work as long as it is stuck up right in front of you. Make them pretty, make them real and know the boss put them there to keep you on task.
2. Make someone else your action accountant …
Many of us who work alone know the value of a personal or business coach, mentor or peer who is willing to be part of a conversation about the future and what you are trying to achieve.
Declaring it out loud to another person can be enough to help you start to realise it and to keep focused, especially if you know you will be reporting back in a week or two.
One example of this is as a writer having a few projects sitting in the back drawer that never seem to go anywhere. (Not me! Hmm, hmm).
Find a colleague who may be in the same boat and say hey let’s talk to each other about what we want to get done. You need to trust that the other person is going to hold you to it, email you when you ask them to, not give you a long rein by accepting your story about a really busy week… and vice versa.
3. Treat yourself the way you’d like to be treated
Think about what kind of boss you would like to have, and be that. You have the choice! Perhaps you’d like to be appreciated and acknowledged by your supervisor.
Have you done that for yourself lately? Celebrate and recognise your own achievements. Take yourself out to a nice lunch, buy a gold statue and inscribe it with grateful sentiments from your company.
Put on your boss hat and give yourself a congratulatory speech using a mirror.
Okay, better get back to work… or the boss will get cranky!