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Working for Yourself and Perception

I’ve noticed a paradigm shift in my approach to work and productivity since I started working for myself. I’m not sure if this is common amongst entrepreneurs or if I just happen to be in a lackluster job previously, but my view of work has changed quite a bit since leaving my job. Lets take a look at one important before and after.

Getting Through The Work Day

Before: I’m here and I need to be productive so that my boss notices and I get a good raise or at least a good review that I can use as fodder for my next position. If I go the extra mile, the company will profit and I, by association, will as well…hopefully. My efforts won’t be directly compensated, but if I work hard enough I’ll get promoted or paid better, maybe.

After: I need to make X amount of money today. What is the best way to do this before the end of today? I can do A, B, and C, and that should generate Y amount. Let me prioritize my tasks by profitability, doing the most profitable activities first as thoroughly as possibly, then work my way down the list. If I run out of things to do, that means its time to brainstorm and come up with new sources of income. I have to keep working, because for every hour I’m not working towards additional income, I’m not getting paid.

This has been a huge change. Whereas I’m sure for most people, there is some leeway in your professional responsibilities and sometimes things are just slow. However even if you don’t have anything to do, you will still be paid for being there and “working.” Once you’re on your own however, if you decide to slack off or avoid work, you simply won’t be paid or bring in revenue. Conversely the harder the work, the better you will be rewarded (depending on the activity and task). Everything you do well and get paid for goes directly to you. There isn’t some superfluous entity (the company) you’re expected to help out for some sort of vague benefit like a promotion or raise. If you don’t do the work, you don’t earn revenue.

Another big difference in working for yourself is that there is no value in face time. No one cares if you can do your work in 4 hours, 6, or 8, they just care if it gets done. If you’re writing for a site, the site doesn’t care how much time you spent on an article, all that matters is if the article meets the site’s standards in terms of quality and length. This gives you a lot more potential to work smarter, not harder. Your earnings potential is based on how many sources of income you can create, via passive (our adsense portfolio) or active (my freelance writing) work.

Its fascinating and frightening at the same time. On one hand I’m excited by the prospect of having it put all on me. My success or failure isn’t based on corporate politics or the company’s bottom line, only my own. We’ll see how things turn out, especially if the interviews I have lined up go well and I end up tossed back into part time work or a 9-5 once more. Will I want to go back?

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