These days the thought of opening up my laptop, staring at the screen and putting energy into anything resembling work is the very last thing I want to do. This is extremely strange, uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory for me.
I have usually found solace in working. Life feels a bit shit? Throw myself into my work. Things feeling rocky? Bury my head in my work. Need a break from the kids? Take time out and…work.
This strategy has served me well over the years – creating my own varied income streams, being able to financially support myself and my kids, meeting interesting and challenging people – but there’s only so long you can avoid the things that really need to be explored in your life and my own journey is presenting me with new, not-altogether-welcome challenges!
I know that we’re all going through our own shit – emotional trauma, physical challenges, life-altering decisions to make, relationship hell and more – and I know from my own experience that trying to be in any way productive or focused is quite frankly an uphill struggle during these periods.
So if your goal is to create more of your own freedom, maybe start your own business or at least create a side income, how do you do this when you’re being hit by wave after wave of emotions, feelings, stress and more?
Screw the conventional models…
At least some of my income is derived from simply being able to sit behind a screen and write. This is a big part of my longer term goal so that I’m no longer tied to appointments on my calendar or any other commitments that require me to work to anyone else’s schedule.
This is the type of income that enables me to wallow indefinitely in my own misery when I need to – to not have to put on my game face and show up to lead a group call on sex dungeons and threesomes (yes, that really happened!!). This is the type of income I’m focusing on growing because who knows how long this adoption journey I’m on will go on for.
It means that I need to figure out what I can offer which doesn’t require me to show up, in person, live or to anyone else’s schedule but my own. So building my private coaching business? Not ideal. Growing the Rescue Desk which required constant supervision and management? Also not ideal. Increasing the number of people doing online courses? Getting closer. Generating income from creating stuff and writing alone? Continuing to work on it.
You do not have to follow the traditional rules of creating income for yourself.
There are numerous examples of people who’ve been super creative to earn themselves a living. You can make an income doing almost anything these days with platforms that enable you to:
- Sell stuff you make.
- Sell services – of any random kind or as a pro freelancer.
- Garner patrons to support your creative work.
There are plenty of ways to use what you what you already have to generate an income for yourself. But if your ideas and mindset are still rooted in and limited by the traditional and the conventional, that’s not going to help.
There are ways and means that most people still have no clue about. And even when they do, these feel so far removed and so far away from where they think they are that they give up before they even get started. And yet they’re much, much closer than you think.
Give me a shout. I can help you expand your horizons and see the many, many possibilities you already have open to you, using what you have now (skills, resources, knowledge) – even when you think you have nothing to offer.
Choose something that works for you on a day-to-day basis; screw what others say can and can’t be done and do it anyway!
Planning (the fun way!) becomes even more pivotal…
When my mind is all over the place, I can whip out my plan and know what I need to be focusing on. And it’s usually not what I’m thinking of doing at all 😱
You may already know how I feel about planning (I’m a fan!), but if you’re less than keen, then pull on your big girl pants and face the fear! It’s not that scary, can actually be quite fun and does NOT have to involve writing 30+-pages of fiction about all the things you say you’re going to do but are unlikely to ever get close to doing!
Having something to guide you – something you’ve created in one of your good periods – when your head feels woolly is a saving grace; it keeps you on track when you’re being pulled off track, and gives you a touchstone to come back to when everything else feels confusing. No matter what else is distracting you, if you keep working to your plan, you’ll be good.
Run with it, whatever it is…
Some days all I want to do is stay in bed, with the curtains shut and pull the duvet cover over my head. So I do.
I have spent the past year focusing less on my business than I have ever done in my entire life. It scares me and yet I also know it’s necessary. So I’m learning to let go…to let the bad days happen when they need to and to work the good days when I can.
I’ve become even better at working in snippets of time – drafting blog posts and answering emails on my phone, conducting business calls away from the comfort of my own home, letting go of the need for absolute consistency across everything I do (these are all things I’d rarely have done before this year unless absolutely pushed).
I’ve become a master of letting things slide unless absolutely necessary and my business hasn’t collapsed (though it hasn’t grown much either, to be fair!). I am aware this can’t happen forever, but it’s ok for it to happen now and I’m not beating myself up about it nor doing guilt, shame or fear.
And so the moral of this particular story is that it’s ok to build your business in whatever way is possible for you right now.
If you can’t work 9 to 5, and can only work 9 to 9.30 (yes, for half an hour!), do it. If you can only do bits on your phone in between fielding the kids, cooking the meals or commuting, do it. Whatever ‘it’ is, run with and let it be ok. It’s better than nothing and if it’s happening this way, it’s probably for a reason.
Work your plan, work when you can, work YOUR way, and run with whatever else needs to happen to keep you sane and moving forwards – however slowly – in building a business that works for you, first and foremost.
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