I met a colleague a few weeks ago and was struck by a comment they made. They congratulated me on “how hard I appear to work.”
What surprised me was not that my hard work had been recognised and that through all the fluffy glitz of Personal Branding, someone had understood the huge cogs that have to turn to make it happen, but that when they said it I felt a huge amount of pride.
Now I hate to ever self-congratulate, in fact I positively avoid saying anything remotely nice about myself without some sarcastic attachment. But I just felt genuinely immensely proud by the term “hard work.”
People often say to me, that they see me online, I look busy, or what I’m doing looks successful.
But the truth is through all the social media, events, networking, coffees, and other businessy stuff is actually bloody hard work. I often work all day and night. Email late into the evening, can’t sleep for planning and sacrifice my personal life for business more often than I should. This is not because I HAVE to but because I really enjoy it and love what I do.
The truth is, and without a hint of sarcasm, I have to say I am proud of my work ethic. I have always bust a gut to deliver on my objectives in employment and with this venture being my own, the capacity for success through hard work is endless. Funnily enough it reminds me of when I was at school and my friends complained about how I could somehow manage to do all the homework required and still socialise all the time.
So unpicking this for you, in case it is of interest…
- Be propelled by what you love or at the very least, like.
- Understand exactly what you require or is required of you.
- Agree non-negotiable timelines. Know that you have to stick to them for the benefit of you.
- Use your calendar to schedule time for every single thing you need to do. I’m talking admin, phone calls, reflection and travel. I colour code mine too.
- Know that you will sometimes need to just 100% focus to get things done. Mono-tasking is a real skill.
- Accept sometimes that 80% of your output is OK because it beats some peoples 100%.
- Give your clients Christmas – try to make everything you do, magical, extra, great. Think about little value adds, additional stuff they didn’t ask for.
- Know that sometimes you will be business-selfish and it is OK to do that, even if it means you don’t socialise as much as you want to.
- Be everywhere. Use social media scheduling to appear that you are online and out and about, even if you are actually in bed with the cats.
- Build a network of advocates who promote you and talk about you even when you are not there.
It is so easy for people to highlight and praise aspects of business such as engagement, money, popularity but the real grit is in the hard work. So if you are self employed take a minute to pay yourself a compliment about how hard you work to make it work.