Today is my last day as an independent contractor. On Monday, I start a new job, returning to life as a “regular employee.”
There were many reasons for my decision to take this job. It is a really good job with great people, doing things I enjoy doing (I’ll be managing a team and doing the program management for that team, as well as some project management).
Still, the decision to go back to regular employee status was a hard one. I love being my own boss and I love the flexibility of the work set up I’m leaving behind. I also really enjoyed giving seminars about project and time management and working with my clients to help them improve their use of time. I liked the work I was doing with my larger, more long term client, too. However, when I did my mid-year goal check in, I saw that I had a problem. I was hitting most of my goals, including my revenue goals. Yet when I honestly assessed how my business was doing, I wasn’t happy. I had set my goals too low.
(If you’re curious how this happened, the problem was that I hadn’t revised my financial goals to take into account the rather large change in the political situation in the US this year. I don’t want to go into the details here, but suffice to say that I apply the same risk management techniques I use when managing a project to my own life, and some risks have gone up, even for a fairly well-off family like ours. The best mitigation for those risks is more money in the bank, and my revenue targets were not allowing us to do that.)
Anyway, I set about revising my goals, and thinking about what revenue targets I’d actually need to hit, and how I could get there.
I came up with a plan, and I still think it is a good plan. But the thought of executing on that plan (and doing so for many years to come) filled me with dread. Why? Because the plan involved a lot of marketing, and marketing of the type I find hardest: marketing of myself and my ideas.
I advise people who are procrastinating on something is to try to understand why. What is it they are actually avoiding? If I had more thoroughly followed my own advice, I wouldn’t have needed a mid-year goals check in to see the problem. I had been procrastinating on several tasks that I knew I needed to do to grow my business. If I’d done the work of figuring out why, I would have seen that I was avoiding any task that involved actively marketing my ideas to grow my audience. And yet, if I was going to have a sustainable business at the income levels I wanted, I needed to be doing that.
One of the gifts of my 40s has been learning what I can and cannot easily change about myself. I can easily get myself to add more exercise to my life and to develop new habits to help me learn new skills. I cannot easily get over my aversion to marketing myself. My experiences of the last few years have really helped me understand that. I have no problem whatsoever marketing the books I publish via my little publishing company, but ask me to do something similar for my seminars or my individual coaching offerings… and nope, I dodge that task like it might kill me.
And so, I decided that my best way forward was to return to being a regular employee. I am very fortunate to be able to do so under such good circumstances: I am genuinely excited about my new job!
What about all of the other things I’ve been doing? As I wrote in the most recent newsletter, I will keep my Management Monthly newsletter going. I won’t be writing new Chronicle Vitae articles. My latest article came out today. There is one more that they may or may not choose to use (if they don’t use it, I’ll post it here). This blog will stay live, but it may take me a little while to figure out what to write here. I do have one reader question that I will be turning into a blog post soon. Feel free to send me more questions! I won’t be taking any new coaching clients, but I will always be happy to try to answer questions, either privately in email or in a blog post (after anonymizing the question, of course). I also won’t be scheduling new in person seminars, but the recorded seminars remain available for purchase, and I may still give a talk on one of my pet topics from time to time.
Finally, Annorlunda Books will remain open. I know from my time logs that it is possible to run it as a side project, and since my new job is pretty much 100% management, I’ll need a side project to allow me to do some of the technical things I enjoy. I find myself a side project anytime I’m in a management role, so I have a lot of history with keeping the side project from interfering with my main job or my ability to have true downtime. Sometime, I’ll write a post about why I need a side project when I’m a manager, and how I run one successfully. But this post is long enough already, and I want to take one last Friday rollerblade by the bay.