How to boss flexible working when you are self employed

Coach Claire Buckley on what has helped her get the flexibility she needs after going self employed.

Businesswoman smiles to camera

 

Before the pandemic most of my female friends were employed. In the last two years the shift away from this has felt pretty seismic. I’ve seen so many in women in their thirties and forties moving away from the corporate world and setting up their own business. I was one of those.

I opted for redundancy in 2019 to retrain and set up my own Coaching Business, largely to be in control of my own time, but with a desire to help others do the same and be successful. But this ‘flexibility’ didn’t come automatically, and at times I felt I had less control. It made me investigate how I could really achieve a better balance; a better ‘work/life blend.’

Through the work I’ve done with clients, my own self development and with other coaches, here are my five tips for easing the transition to self-employment and ultimately ‘finding the flex’.

1. Be clear about what ‘flexible working’ means to you.

Is it working within school hours, term-time only, or being able to watch the kids’ assemblies or sports day? By defining your desired flexibility, you will become more focussed on how you achieve it.

2. Find routines that fit your flex.

I struggled initially with the lack of automatic structure employed work gave me. By applying some of the principles I learnt in my previous roles, such as creating a ‘To Do list, prioritising these, having a weekly schedule and plotting in my work and personal tasks really helped me feel more organised and fit more in. I also gained the satisfaction of ticking things off the list.

3. Establish your Goals, Vision, and a Plan.

If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve you don’t spend time on the right things. Many of my clients feel they don’t have the time and headspace to plan when they are focussed on the day-to-day. But doing this actually saves time! A Vision with goals gives you a roadmap. It helps you concentrate on the activities that get you closer to that Vision and say no to those things that don’t. A plan gives you the confidence you can do it.

4. Set your boundaries and stick to them but know where you can compromise too.

If, like me, one of the reasons you started your business was to have more control of your time, then being clear on your business hours is key. It isn’t always possible to stick to a schedule, especially at the start. There are times you need to say ‘yes’ and do things that feel uncomfortable. Find the courage, dig deep, and take a leap. Then, there are times when saying ‘no’ is the best option. Find a way that saying ‘no’ feels like a positive. Will saying ‘no’ on that one thing provide an opportunity for a ‘yes’ elsewhere?

5. Build your support network; personal and professional to help.

It can be lonely running your own business. I hadn’t realised that. I have plenty of friends and a great family, but at times I’ve felt lonely and vulnerable building a business that feels authentic and right for me in a busy, crowded social media world. Building a great support network of people bit by bit has made a massive difference; people who empower, challenge me, (in a good way), and those who are just there when I need a little pick me up or pep talk, a walk, coffee, or something stronger…. people I can go to for advice, encouragement, and support. Building a tribe is an ongoing but vital step. Women supporting women in business to dream bigger, brighter, and better.

If any of these resonate with you, or you’d like to know more about the work I’m doing with female business owners then I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with me via my website, www.clairebuckley.net. Here is to the power of many women together, helping boost each other to be our best selves and ‘flex’ better.



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