People who are self-employed are some of the bravest and most courageous people I know.
We are forced to confront our personal fears every day. How can I always be my best? How do I get more clients? How do I make them happy? How much should I charge? Will they pay that? How do I get them to keep coming back? Sometimes just showing up, knowing that you’re only as good as your last job, is absolutely terrifying! Especially when it’s a new endeavor or skill.
My first 5-10 years as a hairdresser totally messed with my head. They were fun, but it was also exhausting trying to master an ever growing number of necessary skills, one client at a time, and hoping they don’t catch on that I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time, and hoping they leave happy, hoping they like me enough to come back.
And once you’ve mastered your craft, the pressure eases but it never goes away. When you work directly with people, each one of them takes a little piece of you. It’s a daily performance to make someone’s day. When I owned a salon, I would tell my stylists when they would get overwhelmed that no one actually expected them to perform 6-10 many miracles in a day.
On a regular basis, this kind of stress can create anxiety, burnout, and even cause many to flee their beloved profession for something less stressful where perhaps tough decisions are left to someone else and expectations are lower. Expectations are lower, but often so are the rewards.
If you are looking for some ways to start putting you first, because without you there is no business at all, here is a list of suggestions that have worked for me in the past, and that I continue to employ:
Set boundaries with your clients.
Be clear about your business policies.
Stop saying yes when you mean no.
No more squeezing one more thing into your schedule.
Schedule breaks in your day, leave the building, or walk away from your work. Come back with a fresh head and fresh eyes.
Schedule time with people you love, phone-free.
Schedule time for just you.
Meditate in the mornings.
Don't forget to eat. Keep snacks handy.
Lol. I’m going to break here because this sounds like a military drill. Just pick a few of these to employ this week, try it for a few weeks, and then try one or two more. Now, let’s resume:
13. Make an acupuncture appointment.
14. Make an appointment with a structural integration specialist or a Thai massage therapist.
15. Check in with yourself throughout the day.
17. Wear better shoes.
18. Invest in a better floor if you stand all day.
Bonus Suggestion: If this all feels like too much, listen to my good friend and health and wellness coach, Jennifer Ellen Mueller: “In order for self-care to be truly nourishing, we have to be willing to throw all the rule books in the garbage...and even our own ideas about what's 'good' and 'bad'. Then, we start listening- asking our bodies and our hearts what they need and want. It takes practice and real bravery to do this, because it challenges all kinds of internalized beliefs! But, it also builds a rock-solid foundation from which to build (and dismantle, and re-make) authentic and honest self-love.”
If you are feeling overwhelmed or in a rut, schedule a free consultation with me to see how we can work together to help you overcome obstacles like these that are keeping you from loving your work, making the money you deserve, and enjoying the rest of the things that bring you joy in life.