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Do Solopreneurs Get Sick Time Off?

I work for myself, which some of us call being a “solopreneur.” In a way that word sounds so lonely, as if everything is on your own shoulders. No employer and no employees to rely on. Some people think that means there’s no help, and there’s no room to be sick or a take time off.

Well, I’m here to contradict those stereotypes:

  1. There IS Support.
    You better let in help or your business won’t make it. Seriously, every self-employed person who is making it has people behind the scenes who are helping in significant ways. It might be a spouse, an accountant, a helpful friend, colleagues to bounce things off of, and/or a business coach.
  2. There IS Sick Time.
    Solopreneurs DO have sick time available, if they are willing to send themselves home. When you have a sustainable business model, it allows for sick time, with no financial loss.

How I Allowed Time Off and Support

[Image: sick time and the miracle cure]As I sit here on the tail end of this very determined sniffly cold, I’ll tell you my real life story of taking time off as a solopreneur. Continue reading

How Do I Answer “What Do You Do?” When It’s… Complicated?

“What do you do?” seems to be one of the most dreaded questions. Especially for people in transition or who feel like what they’re doing might be judged. It makes us squirm a little…. or a lot.

It can be especially hard for introverts and perfectionists who like to think before talking and then speak in a thorough way. It’s hard to find a good simple answer!

And yet, we are faced with this question so often. It might sound like this in your head when you get that question:

  • “I better have something good to say, Now!”
  • “They’ll think I’m a freak if I tell the truth!”
  • “They’ll think I’m a loser if I don’t have a ‘legitimate’ answer.”
  • “I feel like I have no clear identity like other people have.”
  • “I don’t want them to know I have family money to support me.”
  • “Staying at home with kids doesn’t seem like a real answer. Maybe I should do more.”
  • “I have tons of ideas but they’re still messy and I hate talking about it at this stage.”
  • “I don’t want to tell them I’ve been sick for a year. Ugh.”

Can you relate? It’s… Complicated.

Even people who know what they do for work can get nervous with this question. It almost feels like the asker wants us to define ourselves, right now, in one sentence. It’s just impossible to summarize ourselves like that.

Since I talk to so many people in transition, I get this question about how to answer “What do you do?” all the time. I want to share some things I’ve found helpful. Continue reading

Do You Hate Small Talk?

[Image: Nametag that reads I hate this!]

Can you relate to this networking event nametag?

That dread of so-called “small talk” is a classic concern of introverts. It might be the crux of why we are sometimes seen as anti-social.

If we’re going to stop dreading certain social situations (networking events, holiday parties…), we have to deal with our dread of small talk.

Common worries I’ve heard from introverts:

  • “People think I’m a snob just because I’m not interested in the conversation.”
  • “I’m not shy and I am friendly, but I don’t like small talk about nothing.”

The small talk concern is one of those hot button issues for introverts. I’ve noticed that just saying the phrase “small talk” leads to instant groans and rolling their eyes.

I’m an introvert who used to hate small talk too, so I can smile with recognition when introverts groan about it. But now it feels totally fine. And I didn’t change who I am.

I have some easy solutions here.

Continue reading

Are You Rushing Around Like a Squirrel?

Feeling squirrely this time of year? Racing after nuts before winter?

Feeling squirrely this time of year? Racing after nuts before winter? (Photo by David Johnson, click for his site.)

This seems to be the start of many conversations I’m having in late August…
“Maybe it’s the change of seasons, but I am… off/ spinning/ questioning everything/ feeling squirrely/ jittery… [fill in your own words].”

I am feeling it. Are you? I started looking at my calendar for September and I could get overwhelmed if I’m not careful. I’ll be speaking at two new places in September, and launching 3 programs in September and October. As I look at it, I get jumpy and start rethinking these plans that seemed so logical a few months ago.

Is it just the season change jitters, or do I need to question the amount of commitments? Because I’m so determined to maintain balance, I am stopping to consider whether my schedule really feels good to me and reflects the kind of life I truly want. (You can borrow my list of self-assessment questions, shown below.)

I paused here and came back to finish this post a few days later. Keep reading to see how it turned out. Continue reading