Working Someone Else's Schedule
I was 14 years old when I got my first job. It was at a Baskin-Robbins (ice cream shop) within walking distance of my house. The owner liked to hire part-time teenagers because the job didn't require a lot of training, it was an opportunity for the teenager to make a bit of money but also to learn how to be an employee.
I was given an apron, shown how to dip ice cream and make milk shakes. Then I was shown the schedule. I would be told when to report for work, how long I was to work, and with whom I was going to work. I learned, quickly, that when I didn't want to work I had to find my own replacement. There were times I was called by co-workers to take their shift and I said ‘no', soon learning that when I needed someone to take my shift I was met with a lot of ‘no'.
I didn't like it, but was told that it's the way the world works. And I wasn't lied to – all jobs after that first one were the same:
- If I want money I need to work for it and the manager is in charge and tells me when I can work.
- If I wanted more money, I could ask for more hours but there was no guarantee that I would get them.
- If I wanted a day off I couldn't take one without some type of penalty (in addition to no pay).
- If I wanted a series of days off (vacation) I was limited to planning a year ahead and given a set of weeks that were available to me.
- If I got sick and needed time off, in the early days it was without pay and later on I felt fortunate to have a job that had paid sick days.
Argh! I cannot believe I felt fortunate to have a job that would continue to pay me something when I was sick for a day or two! But I remember it well and it stank. And our vacations were never real vacations because pre-planning just didn't work in our home! Most of the time I would spend at home, reading books and watching movies.
There was a time, not long ago, when in my last job I worked a schedule of 7:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday. My lunch hour was determined by other people's schedules, breaks weren't formal and taken in a rush as soon as the phone stopped ringing or the team was quiet. I was the manager. Making more money but working more hours and definitely feeling more stress.
Then, I started my own business and began using the internet to make money.
This is the second Freedom of 5 Freedoms That Can Be Yours.
Hours – you have the freedom to decide what time of day you begin to work and how long you work throughout the day. Whether it’s 2 hours, 4 hours or 6 hours a day or a week…because that is the reality for internet business owners like me. The more you automate, the less you work once the automation is up and running.
It's true. You really can decide when you will work.
In the beginning I put as much effort and hours into learning and doing as I did when I worked for someone else. Most of my time was spent in brand awareness and sales efforts. I was speaking at business events, conferences and to small groups. I was training individuals, in house teams and college students. My hours were my own and I scheduled these things around my family and my personal needs.
Then slowly I automated some of my work, I got a virtual assistant, I used online tools to lessen the work load.
Today I work an average of 4 hours per day – I say average because some days it's only 2 hours and other days it's 6. Keep in mind, though, that I'm running my agency while I'm selling training, personal development and a business system to individuals. Not bad, heh?
What is Automation?
It's tools that you use to remove steps to getting things done.
Blogging – I can, and do, write blog posts ahead of time and because I'm using WordPress I can schedule those posts to Publish later. So, I write, schedule the time and day it will publish, and check comments when I get an email alert.
Email Marketing – the autoresponder is a life and time saver! I use GetResponse and MailChimp. Write the sequence of emails ahead of time and load them into the autoresponder.
Social Media – for posting status updates on a Page, each post can be scheduled. So, load up a week's worth of posts and let them go. Another tool is HootSuite for pre-scheduling posts to various accounts.
These are just a few examples of how automation can help you reduce the hours you work each day.
You will have to put in the work, up front, but once things get in motion? It's a wonderful way to earn a living.
As for sick days and vacations? Because my business is location independent, we've traveled on a whim…literally, waking up one morning and saying “let's go to Florida for week”. Pack my cell phone and laptop and we're gone. And sick days? I don't have to drag myself far from the bed to take care of people on my team and my customers.