Monday, July 17, 2023

why freelancers are so (unnecessarily?) self-critical

Reflecting with fellow freelancers as part of a recent networking get-together, we all shared and identified that we're really self-critical and unforgiving of ourselves when we get things wrong - yet are often far more understanding and accepting of others when they do...

My idea about the usual way we can reconcile this, is to do with our not being part of regular teams (in the ways that our salaried counterparts are) - in not having access to appraisals, regular training activities, or all of the other ongoing feedback that can come on a daily basis in micro interactions, we're lacking the perspective to make more sense of our own experiences. And we're more tolerant of others because we don't have the job security our salaried counterparts have, so are more concerned to maintain and protect relationships with have with clients. 

But I think there's actually something else that's equally, if not more, important in understanding this apparent contradiction: because we're not part of a regular team/workplace, we don't get to see all the mistakes other people make everyday that they're either getting away with, or turn out not to be that much of a problem after all.

Without the openness about mistakes and failures, we surely risk entrenching ourselves in echo chambers of our own mistakes - with no recourse to judge how far our errors and lapses really are that 'bad' in comparison to other peoples', we'll increasingly and unnecessarily chastise ourselves to our own detriment?  

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

all business owners and entrepreneurs should do car-boot sales once in a while

Some readers of this blog may recall that in the past I've written about how I try and keep my hand in at running a market stall from time to time...

But recently, I broke my car boot virginity, and with my wife (who's a more seasoned pro at these things) filled the back of the car and set off at crazy o'clock in the morning to unload the contents in a field alongside others, in hopes of being able to generate a few quid from things which we can't offer a home for anyone - but which we thought might still be of value and enjoyment to others.

And whilst standing in a field all day, hoping that passing strangers will stop by our pitch and help us not have quite so much stuff to re-pack into the car at the end of the day might not sound that appealing to some, it was an experience that I'm glad I indulged in (and will probably try and do again in the future):

- it highlighted the changing patterns in our society of how we consume/do business: for example, no-one buys CDs and DVDs, because these media are now available on streaming services;

- it re-enforced how hard it is to sell clothes (however cheaply you offer them), as fast fashion makes it so easy to buy on line (and have option to return without cost);

- and it also evidenced how increasingly time poor people are: comments from people in our neighbouring cars and pitches who've been doing it regularly for years, all agreed that there are far fewer people browsing than used to.

But, having a pitch at a car boot sale also reassured me that as much as things are changing (see above), some things will remain as true today and tomorrow as they did when I was a kid - 

* parents are always keen to encourage their kids to get into reading actual physical books;

* cash retains a place in how we do trade;

* and we'll always want an ice cream from the van...