5 Things Solopreneuers Want Their Friends To Know

You know that friend on your Facebook feed that's always like, "Look at me! I've got a new blog post!" or "Look at me! I'm hosting a Periscope chat this evening!" or "Look at me! I'm working on a new e-course!" 

Yeah, you heard me. I'm talking about that friend, the one who is always promoting her projects and trying to tell you about all of the exciting stuff she has in the works. I mean, just -- ugh, right?

While being a  solopreneur comes with so much freedom, there are definitely some tricky parts of the job. This post lays out some ways to support the solopreneur in your life. And if you happen to be of the solobiz persuasion, this post will definitely resonate with you. Click through to read more!

Well, before we begin spiraling into fits of rage over the sheer vanity of this vermin of a person, I feel like I should probably go ahead and state the obvious: I am that friend. 

You see, I'm what people call a "solopreneuer." This means that I'm an entrepreneur, but instead of launching a company with multiple employees and an office and a Keurig, it's just little ol' me. Flying solo. (Coincidentally -- entrepreneur, solopreneuer -- I can't spell either.)

And solopreneuers -- well, we're maybe a little annoying (sorry, fellow solopreneuers). Not only have we created this nonsensical title to describe what it is that we do, but we also seem to spend every waking moment yammering on about the things we are working on. It's virtually all we can talk about, especially on social media. On top of that, the fact that we exist outside of the traditional workforce means that no one seems to "get" what it is that we do. And Lord knows there is nothing more infuriating than mystery.

While the rest of the world posts pictures of their dogs and their breakfasts online, we're posting pictures of our workspaces, sharing our e-books, and spreading the word about our upcoming webinars. Bluh.

But that said, if you step behind the solopreneuer curtain for a moment, you may find that there are a few reasons why we act the way that we do. Here's some things we'd like for you to know:

We're sorry, but we *have to* self-promote (even though we Often feel gross about it).

Most brands have a marketing strategy, and usually the execution of this strategy is carried out by an entire department, a team of people who tell the world what this business is all about. But for solo-peeps (I'm done writing solopreneuer. Way too hard to spell), that responsibility falls on just one person. And actually every responsibility falls on just one person. 

Look, we're not looking for your sympathy here, friends. Or well, actually, maybe we are. Really, we just want it to be understood that if we didn't have to, we wouldn't be gabbing on social media all the time about what we've got going on. If potential clients could simply learn about us through osmosis or telepathic communication, that would be our go-to marketing strategy.

But unfortunately, when you've been doing this for long enough, you start to realize that no one else is going to pedal your products and services for you. You've got to be a bit of a hustler, so to speak. And I'll be the first to say: this can make being friends with a solo-biz-human kind of eye roll inducing. 

An example of this: I recently went to a wedding with people I hadn't seen in a while, and every. single. person. there asked me about "Do The Damn Thing" (my new e-course). While I found it so sweet that everyone was interested, I couldn't help but think about the fact that the only reason they knew about this event in my life was because I had flooded their social media feeds trying to promote it. Eeeeek, sorry, guys.

But hey, it's the nature of the solo-biz beast. And I hope you'll give me (and others like me) a pass.  

We really like what we do.

Even though every aspect of business falls on us solo-peeps, the truth is: we wouldn't want it any other way. Speaking from personal experience, I love being a shapeshifting renaissance business lady. I enjoy working funny hours and not having to talk about the weather with someone whenever I get up to get a cup of coffee. I delight in working on weird projects that no sane employer would ever assign anywhere else. I love how when one thing isn't working, I can just switch gears at the drop of a hat, and my boss always approves (because my boss is me, and I tend to have a pretty go-with-the-flow attitude when it comes to my employees).

The benefits of solo-biz life are apparent: flexible hours, creative freedom, pants optional. And to our friends, we just want you to be excited for us on that front. 

But sometimes we fantasize about nine-to-five employment.

The other side of the solo-biz life is that it can sometimes be nightmarishly exhausting. In busy seasons, the wonderful aspects of the job (no boss, no set hours, no restrictions whatsoever) become the downfalls. Without fellow employees to pick up the slack, everything falls on you: making dumb graphics, scheduling dumb social media posts, researching dumb fixes to dumb technological problems (you may have noticed me using the word "dumb" a couple of times here, and I'm sorry for that, but these are just parts of the job I really don't enjoy). And without set hours, work life and home life and social life all blend together like some weird, hazy black hole of work and play. 

That said, I literally sometimes fantasize about having a job with a little more structure. I picture myself sorting a bin of tomatoes into two piles: good and not good. I only have to make one decision. I only have to worry about my tomatoes. And then when five o'clock rolls around, I punch my time card, and I'm done. Completely done for the day. Perhaps after work, I'll meet a friend for a drink or pursue one of my many hobbies (what's a hobby?! My work is my hobby!).

So friends, when the solopreneuer in your life says, "Hey, thanks for the invite, but I'm really swamped right now," know that they are really telling the truth. And know that sometimes they fantasize about sorting tomatoes. I mean, who doesn't, though?

We do have "real jobs" and we're tired of having to justify it (but also, we get the confusion).

Let's be honest: if you're not in someone's industry, you likely don't fully "get" what it is that they "do." You just know that they're employed in some way and you are familiar with some of the details, and as their friend, that's good enough for you. You don't force them to provide an in-depth description of every aspect of their workday and list out each and every project they are working on. That would probably be pretty boring for you. Instead, you just listen as they complain about their crappy boss, and then you talk about Gilmore Girls. That, as far as I can understand, is friendship.

But as a solo-biz-type, it's not always that easy. Because the idea of working for yourself is a little less common, the gap of understanding is both alluring and suspicious. I get asked fairly regularly to describe my workday, to give the play-by-play of how I while away the hours. I've also had friends who have actually stated, to my unblinking face, that I don't have a "real job." 

And in some ways, it's honestly understandable. I do a job that's a little off-the-beaten path, and it's natural that people have questions and preconceived notions about who I am because of it.

But here's the truth: a lot of my workday is as boring as anyone else's. I answers emails. I draft blog posts. I consult with different people. I research. I meet deadlines. I schedule. I make calls. I drink coffee. I'm basically Dilbert.

And if you're one of my fellow solo-biz peeps, perhaps your day is boring too. Or perhaps it's way more fascinating, and good for you on that front. But either way, to our friends, we just want to say: even though what we do is so wrapped up in what inspires and interests us, we are more than our jobs. We're happy to tell you about what we're working on, but we're also happy to tell you about our thoughts on art, music, literature, and the most recent episode of The Bachelor. We're that complex.

THANK YOU FOR NOT HATING US!

All in all, friends and loved ones of us solo-biz-bizzers, we mostly just want to say THANK YOU. You put up with a lot of weirdness from us because we are, by nature, a bunch of weirdos. It's the truth. What we do is tough, bizarre, wonderful stuff, and you are right by our sides supporting and loving us through thick and thin. And that's just super cool of you. 

Are you a solopreneuer (or do you know one)? What would you add to this list?

How To Write Well & Write Often (Plus 20 FREE Writing Prompts!)

This post was originally published on my former blog, Avoiding Atrophy,
but I've added a fun little something this time around!

Writing has always been my go-to activity. For instance, when my husband first laid eyes on me, I was sitting in a corner, feverishly scribbling notes into a journal. We were both fifteen-years-old, surrounded by socializing teenagers, and yet there I sat, writing like my life depended on it.

While this image slightly embarrasses me, for the record, not much has changed. I write every single day. I just do. It would feel weird not to. Also, it's my profession, so there's that.

How To Write Well & Write Often | Do you want to up your writing game? Writer, Christy O'Shoney, is sharing her insights about how to write solid stuff every single day. PLUS, she's giving away 20 writing prompts that will get you psyched to put pen to paper. Click through to get all of this goodness!

And in writing as often as I do, I've discovered some techniques along the way that have really helped my process. These are ideas that I've either come across from other writers or just by pure accident in my own experimentation. Hopefully you will find value in them, and if you don't, uh, I guess just keep that noise to yourself.

Write Morning Pages

This concept comes from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and it's been somewhat of a game changer for me this year. Morning pages are comprised of three HANDWRITTEN pages of stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning. And by stream-of-consciousness, I mean that these pages should look like the ramblings of a crazy person. By spewing thoughts all over three pages, it's far simpler to battle those voices in your head that say, "Are you kidding me? Do you really think you're going to write something worthwhile today? Pssh." Writing my morning pages gets my juices flowing, and believe it or not, some of my favorite ideas have come from this process. Whatever comes to mind, write it down, and make a daily habit of it.

Recognize creativity spikes.

If you put a pen in my hand and tell me to write something at six o'clock in the morning, I might be able to scrawl my own name, but that's about it. By 9 AM, I've got some proper nouns flowing, and by 3 PM, I've got some verbs, but my brain really kicks into gear between 4:30 PM and 1 AM. I'll be the first to admit that this isn't the most practical time to be creative, and believe me, I've tried to switch up my schedule, but it seems this is just how my brain works. Still, because I can recognize this daily spike in my creativity levels, I try to get as much out of this time as I can. I get tedious things like emails and phone calls out of the way in the morning so that come 4:30, I'm ready to bust it, writing style. Think about when you feel most inspired in your day (maybe you're one of those early morning freaks). Are you really using that time to your advantage?

Write shitty first drafts.

"Shitty first drafts" comes from the book Bird By Bird by Anne Lammott, which as far as I'm concerned is the best book on writing that exists. Basically, once you've written your morning pages and you've picked a stellar time in your day to work, Lammott argues that you should simply start your project and let it be awful. Use words that aren't glamorous, let your characters say stupid things, make a whole mess of everything. Then go back and pick out the one or two things that you actually like. I think bloggers especially have lost the art of drafting, and it's so very important. Write like crazy, then refine.

Write about your lunch.

Also from Bird By Bird. Folks, when you are struggling for material, write about lunch. Seriously. In particular, write about the lunch that was served in your school cafeteria as a kid. Trust me. Lunch is a goldmine for ideas, and it never gets old no matter how many times you write about it. Never.

Read your writing out loud.

Every blog post I've ever written, I've read out loud to myself. If that sounds excessive, I don't really care. Even if I'm sitting in a coffee shop writing, I'll quietly mutter my words under my breath like a madwoman because that's how important I think this practice is. Reading your writing aloud is the best way to make sure everything sounds like an actual human wrote it. It forces you to think about the way you would communicate your message to a friend, and I'm a firm believer in making friends of your readers. Rule of thumb: If you feel like a robot while reading your stuff out loud, it's time to add some of your own flavor.

Remember that humor is in the details.

Remember how me and Anne Lammott told you to write about lunch? Really think about your childhood cafeteria. Who served your food? What shape was your pizza? Where did you sit? Was there anything that made your lunchroom special? These details are everything. They take a sentence from, "I asked for some milk," to "I sheepishly asked Roberta, the head lunch lady and the star of all of my nightmares, for some milk." Details are glitter. They make your writing sparkle and create a more authentic picture for your readers.

(By the by, in my school cafeteria our milk came in bags. Plastic, beanbag shaped bags that we would have to spear with a pointed straw. They nearly always exploded, and thinking about them still fills me with an inexplicable rage.)

Write for yourself.

If you are a blogger, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about who your audience is and what they might like to read. That's fine, but it's also sort of limiting. My belief is this: if you build it, they will come. Your readers want you, the real you, not some reduced-fat version of you. It can be tempting while writing to think, "Oh GOD, what if my mom reads this?" or "Yikes, this is making me sound like a terrible person." If a thought like that creeps into your mind, shut it down. You can edit out all of your weirdness later, but while you're writing, write only what is true. 

Frickin' LIVE.

You can't write if you don't experience the world around you. Plain and simple. Go live, girl.

Frickin' READ.

You can't write if you don't read. Plain and simple. Go read, girl.

Want an extra kick in your writing pants? There's no shame in getting a little nudge to help you get started (in fact, it's encouraged). That's why I've created a FREE download with 20 writing prompts that don't suck! Click below to get in on that!

What is your best piece of writing advice?