Is who you are defined by what you do for a living? When you work for someone else, then odds are in your time off you run errands, spend time with family, go out, and/or relax. You know that for a certain number of hours each week, you're going to get to do those things, and it becomes a part of your identity.
Entrepreneurs, freelancers, solopreneurs, mompreneurs, etc....they just don't have that luxury.
Starting and running a business takes heart and soul, and it becomes a part of you. Yes, there's a whole new balance in life, but it's a huge adjustment. You suddenly have the ability to work virtually any time you'd like, and you can even do it from anywhere (in many cases), and the freedom of working for yourself can feel like a noose around your neck. Everything's running together, and you begin to lose sight of the things that are important.
If I sound like I know what I'm talking about, it's because I do. I've been a freelance copywriter for about 6 years now, and it has been one of the most transformational undertakings of my life, only second/third to motherhood and marriage. As a matter of fact, motherhood is what opened the door to solopreneurship for me. I wanted to do it all. Today, I'm a copywriter and homeschooler. I spend a LOT of time on the road - my daughter is in therapy for dyslexia twice a week, and my kids spend half the week with their dad. Because of my work, I'm able to be there for my kids, stepkids, and husband. It's great. It's freeing. But it didn't always feel great.
I've always been grateful for my clients. They are amazing, and I love working with every single one of them. One thing I've learned is that many of them are like me. They are entrepreneurs and professionals, trying to make their way in this world and balance life and work. Many of them have had some of the same struggles I've had, in terms of balancing it all. That's why I'm writing this.
If you are new to freelancing or being an entrepreneur, don't stop creating, doing, making, innovating, etc. If it is your passion, you should do it - and you CAN do it. There's no easy way about it though. It can take a few years to find a balance that's going to work for you. Until then, you'll endure tears, headaches, and maybe even an identity crisis as you pioneer your own life. When you're a -preneur (solo-, mom-, entre-, etc.), you open up a whole new life for yourself, but the work is real. What you put in is what you get out, and one, two, five hundred failures doesn't mean you've lost everything. In fact, it means you've gained amazing knowledge through experience, and that knowledge is what's going to bring you to new success.
I've literally had phone conferences with clients with my young children following me around the house. I've had to tell my kids I can't play until my work is done. I've also told clients I'm behind deadline because it's the holidays. When you're in the creating/making/doing/innovating business, no matter what you're doing, it's give and take. Just never give up who you are. If you do, you'll feel suffocated.
Never stop enjoying the small moments. Make time for the little things, and definitely make time time for the big things. Reassure yourself. Trudge through the tough times, the low points, and the dry spells. When work is slow, spend time with your babies, read a new book, or just do something you love. Find a balance - and love every bit of it. Does what you do define who you are? In my opinion, yes, but I also do a lot. I'm a copywriter, mom, stepmom, wife, homeschooler, music lover, Mustang enthusiast, amateur history buff, etc. What are you?