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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Shoes are a thing of the past. Slippers, flipflops, or barefoot, depending on the season.
- I don’t work in my pajamas. But sometimes I sleep in my work clothes.
- 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.
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?