6 Things I’ve Learned About Myself in My Life as a Solopreneur

By Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D | Like CastleView 3D on Facebook

This week marks the one year point in my new life as a 3D rendering solopreneur.

In September 2011, I made the leap from a secure job in higher ed administration into full-time “solopreneur” employment in my own CAD architectural rendering business.  I’m happy to report that, one year out, things are going even better than I hoped they would be at this point.

3d rendering of CastleView 3D's World Headquarters

CastleView 3D World Headquarters

The past year has been a crash course in how to run a business — marketing, advertising, PR, finance, SEO, legal issues, customer service, questions about growth and scalability.  You can read more about some of those issues here.

But it has also been a learning experience on a more personal level.  Here are 6 things that I’ve learned about myself and my work habits over the past year:

  1. Time has become seamless, and somewhat meaningless.  There is no “work/play” distinction, no “workday/weekend,” no TGIF, no particular specialness about holidays.  I often have no clue what time it is, or what day of the week — and that’s OK.
  2. Without the structure of a normal work day, it’s hard to know when to stop working.  This is perhaps the most surprising thing I’ve learned.  My fear was that I’d become a total slacker without some kind of external structure propping me up.  But exactly the opposite has happened — I frequently find myself still working at 4 or 5 am, simply because I lose track of time.  I love what I do so much that I don’t want to stop.
  3. Shoes are a thing of the past.  Slippers, flipflops, or barefoot, depending on the season.
  4. I don’t work in my pajamas.  But sometimes I sleep in my work clothes.
  5. I will never again wear the majority of the “professional attire” items in my closet.  It’s pointless to have more than a couple of professional outfits when I do most of my work virtually.  But I’m finding it hard to part with my beautiful clothes and shoes.  This will  have to be a very gradual “letting go” process, perhaps requiring an intervention at some point.
  6. photo of an elf owl -- This solopreneur is definitely a nightowl.

    In case I had any doubts…

    When you work according to your own circadian rhythms, rather than fitting yourself into some corporate structure, you find out once and for all whether you’re an early bird or a night owl.

One not-so-surprising thing I’ve learned as a solopreneur:  Setting my own schedule, being my own boss, and running my business the way I think it should be run is absolutely WONDERFUL!

So, all you solopreneurs out there, what surprising things have you learned about yourself by stepping outside the corporate structure?

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6 responses to “6 Things I’ve Learned About Myself in My Life as a Solopreneur

  1. I have learned that I will work till the job gets done, no matter what hour of the day. Got up today at 5:15 AM, but that may not mean I am an early bird. Just means my project deadline is October 8th!

    No matter if Dr.K and I work with the sun coming in the windows or by lamp, I know that we are both thrilled to be doing what we would do for fun, and call it our business. Nothing better, eh Dr.K!

  2. Kathleen,

    I have always had a different approach. I try to maintane weekends and holidays. I think down time is important. In your first year I can see how you would “run a marathon” to get things up and running but as time goes on I think you could burn out. SO my input is don’t be afraid to enjoy weekends and holidays. They exist for a reason and are necessary for the health of the body and soul.
    Glad you are enjoying the trip so far!

    • Life Should Be 3D

      Dennis, I absolutely agree about the need for downtime. The difference is that now I can have my downtime whenever I feel I need it — to spend spontaneous time with friends and family, or just take a walk on a beautiful day. I don’t have to wait for 5 PM or the weekend to arrive!

      And my new boss is very understanding. She has no problem with me taking time off in the middle of the day, as long as I don’t mind working until 3 AM to finish the project. 😉

  3. I have learned not to worry about ,where my next paycheck is coming from, it just happens, but not all the time. Also, there will be good times and bad times, and there is nothing you can do about that.

    • Life Should Be 3D

      That’s very true, Perry. And I realized another important thing that I left off my list above: I can be happy without a lot of the things I thought “necessary” when I had the money to spend on them.

      I recently read a great book that talks about this idea, “The Not So Big Life” by Sarah Susanka (the “Not So Big House” architect). I highly recommend it.

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