When you’re self employed it’s easy to get caught up in the world of business. In your mind, every waking moment can be seen as billable time, time you should spend marketing, time you should spend networking. You’re more than all of that, though. The two intermingle but you always must keep in mind that your social life exists outside of the world of business.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t inform your world of business. Here are some reminders:
The Power of Positive People
Especially when you’re starting off, keeping positive people in your circle will do nothing but benefit you. Negativity is like a virus. One person consistently doubting your abilities will soon have you consistently doubting your abilities. There’s always one person in the group who simply cannot seem to have a positive outlook.
Cut them out immediately. Social norms say that we just accept people for who they are, but this person is actively becoming a burden to your mental state. Don’t allow their negativity to bring you down. Be the bold one that determines your personal goals are too important for the pessimist to affect you.
On the other hand, people who are consistently optimistic tend to have positive ideas. Their minds work in the realm of possibility, not in the pit of potential problems. Where do you want your mind to be?
Law of Averages
There is a rule that says you are the average of your circle. There is probably someone smarter and someone slightly less bright. Someone more ambitious, someone less ambitious. This becomes an interesting way of viewing yourself. Suddenly your friend circle becomes less just a symbol of comfort, but about your potential.
Think of it this way. If you hang out with a group of business professionals, you hang out with people that are constantly advancing in that way. Thus, you are constantly looking to advance in that way. You’ll have examples of better and worse all around. They become your standard. If you hang out with a group of druggies, they become your standard. Other, loftier goals become alien to you.
Always strive to surround yourself with a group whose whole image builds to a positive image of yourself. They are reflective of who you are and who you might become.
Consummate Support Systems
Remember – especially as you’re just starting off in the independent employment world – that you have a vast network of support. Make sure your friends and family are all there behind you ready to catch you. They should all know that you have no intention of needing to be caught, but it will ease your mind knowing you have their support.
Take the time to address key people in your circles. Tell your immediate family of your plans, what they can expect from you. Tell your friends you might be coming out a good deal less to make sure you maintain your safety money – also tell them to expect a round of drinks on you when you land that first contract!
These people care about you so make sure you treat them with the same respect.
They All Have Jobs
However, also keep in mind that this network of support is also a deliverable business network. Everyone you know is most likely employed. Ask them for business or a contact, see if they know anyone in the field you’re working in. They wont be offended, in fact, many will pounce on the chance to help a friend.
LinkedIN is a beautiful example of this. With only 100 or so contacts, you can easily have a network of upwards of 2 million people. Leverage that massive pool of potential. Make the time to ask important friends face-to-face if they would mind helping you out. Have a clear message of what you do. Present it with no hesitation.
This is the obvious one. Go get drinks with friends or enjoy a picnic with you family. Turn off the phone, leave the laptop. Yes. You might miss a contract. It could be the biggest contract ever. But that simply does not matter in the face of the real important things in life. Take two weeks of when you can and truly unwind. Go abroad. Learn something new simply to learn it, not to expand your business knowledge.
Life is more than business, but the world of life and business do inevitably intermingle. Find ways to work with that tactfully.