Since starting my own business, there are a few things that have crept up on me and shocked me. Like how busy I would be (don’t laugh, but I kinda thought I would be no busier than when I was back at my old nine-to-fiver job). Like how long everything would take (don’t laugh, but I kinda thought I would be able to set up my website in two days, maybe three max). Like how exhausting creative work can be (don’t laugh, but I kinda thought that I’d be joyfully banging on the keyboard for, like, eight hours a day producing all this glorious content that everybody – including me – loved).
The reality is somewhat different.
I am super-crazy busy. It can be overwhelming, but it is also awesomely gratifying when you realise that everything you are putting in, you are actually getting out (which I definitely did not feel at my old job).
I don’t get half as much done as I would like. Most days see me finishing up with a laugh at myself (umm, or a frustrated eye roll) at how much my to-do list held and how much I actually got done.
And, I cannot write all day every day. Now, this one might seem like a giant DUH to some of you, but I never realised how exhausting prolonged creative work is. It’s a little like squeezing the juice out of your citrus-fruit-self hour after hour. Until the ruby-red grapefruit is all pithy and smooshy, but then you keep juicing some more.
This is not to say that I am not enjoying myself, or that I am not liking what I am doing. In a few blissful moments every week, I am smacked straight in the face with the delightful knowledge that I am finally on the right path. I am finally doing what my heart wants to be doing. I am finally creating something that I am proud of. Those little moments are AWESOME!
But, in between, there is a lot of struggle. There is a massive to-do list. There is comparing myself to others who seem to have it all together while I seem to very much not.
I write all of this not to complain, but to share. I feel like so many people with online businesses make such a show of being all shiny and happy all the time, and making oodles of money with very few hours of work (Tim Ferriss, you have ruined us! How are people being set up to think that anything over four hours of work a day is a failure? Ludicrous!)
I feel like it is important to put out there that I am currently the busiest I have ever been in my life, I am not (yet?!) earning as much as I was in the corporate job I left behind, and there are days where I don’t make it out of my pajamas til noon. (Hmmm, it seems like this description could also apply to mothers of young children? Thank goodness my business doesn’t involve changing nappies and spit-up and [not that many] tantrums!)
So if this is what your version of working for yourself looks like too, then please know that you are not alone. Please know that there is another pajama-clad lady out there who is also tearing her hair out as she tries to figure out how the hell SEO works and how to find the time to post on her blog and who also reads the glowing success stories she sees on facebook with either grains of salt or buckets of envy.
This lady right here is just trying to keep going, one sentence at a time. Bird by bird, she is getting her writing done and her business moving.
Step by step, sentence by sentence, bird by bird. It’s the only way anyone’s ever done anything.
How are you?