Deadlines feel like those bowling bumpers that block the ball from rolling into the gutter. They’re there to redirect you to your ultimate goal—even when you get a little sidetracked or go off course here and there.
But suddenly I’m working for myself, the bumpers go down, and I have no deadlines. Working for yourself is like big-girl bowling—there are no more bumpers, it’s just you, the ball and a slippery path ahead.
No one to tell me it’s time to launch a new collection. No one to remind me that the holidays are right around the corner and maybe I should put on a sale or a giveaway. No one to give out grades or progress reports. Instead, my growth as a small business is measured by the orders that come in, the reviews and feedback I get, and my personal passion and drive to keep it going and growing.
It’s kind of scary giving yourself that type of autonomy. In some ways, it was nice having a teacher, a boss, or a manager to delegate tasks and to keep myself in check. There was always something on the line—needing to pass a class, being a good co-worker or simply wanting to make a good impression. But when it’s just you, and there’s no one to let down (except for yourself) or no one who really relies on your work, it can be easy to feel like what you’re doing is not important or that it can “wait” another day, another week, or forever.
That’s why I’ve been working to break down the romanticization of “being your own boss” for the sake of my own productivity. Yes, there are most definitely positives to working my own hours, calling the shots, and having full creative say in what goes on within my business, but I’ve also been uncovering the other side of it all. Being my own boss also means learning to hold myself accountable and forcing myself to get the dirty or boring work done even when I don’t want to.
Remember when you were given two weeks to complete an assignment in school because the teacher wanted you to be able to space out the work? They’d always say “don’t leave it until the last day to work on it!” It usually didn’t matter how much time I was given to work on the assignment. Two days, two weeks or two months usually just meant the same thing to me: pull an all-nighter and crank it out in one sitting. Over time, these teachers caught on to this trend, and instead of making the entire project or book report due all on one day, they would break it up into smaller deadlines—the outline is due one week, your first rough draft is due the next and the final is due the following. If it weren’t for these added bowling bumper-type assignments to lead us to the final project, most students would cram it all in the last night.
All this is to say just how powerful deadlines actually are. And while I may no longer have a grade-report to work toward or even a pay-raise to achieve, I still implement personal deadlines for myself and Halaballoo. It’s been about six months since I made Halaballoo my full-time job and I’ve learned that being my own boss also needs to mean treating myself like my own employee sometimes.
(This very blog post you just read was a product of a deadline I set for myself…okay, I’ll admit the deadline I told myself to publish it was within the last week of October…and it is already November…but hey, we’re taking baby steps alright?)
Written by Hala Khalifeh
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