By Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson – Our book Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms was born out of almost a decade of conversations about creativity, productivity, habits, money, “fraudy” feelings, systems, processes, and balancing family and career.
You see, we started building our own businesses in branding (that’s Kathleen’s jam) and developing websites and successful online business platforms (where Emily finds her groove) for other creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, and side-hustlers who were knocking out their passion projects outside of their 9-to-5 at a time when all of our friends and family were collecting steady paychecks and benefits from their own bosses. The world of eCommerce was still uncharted territory and we weren’t only figuring it out as we went – we were paving the way. Who you work with can make or break how satisfied you are with your job – so when you’re working for yourself, even if you’re building your dream job, it can be isolating and lonely. Without peers to show you the ropes and mentors to guide you along the way, it’s easy to get lost in the daily grind or worse: paralyzed from taking the next steps.
We were a couple of creatives who were craving connection and conversation. Every couple of weeks we would hop on a video call and talk shop. After a year or two of this we decided to hit publish on our “business bestie” conversations and release them in a podcast called Being Boss. Our show caught on quickly; we became the go-to podcast for other creatives and aspiring entrepreneurs who wanted to hear insights and real talk about what it takes to do the work. “Do the work” has become our motto – because making a living doing what you love isn’t always easy and it takes hard work. Being boss means getting in the right mindset, cultivating confidence, practicing productive habits, setting healthy boundaries, finding your tribe, and really nurturing the lifestyle you want to live beyond the work that you do.
Being boss is a constant practice, and after three years of hitting publish on our podcast (and now a book) we’ve learned that it’s conversation that is constantly evolving. Here are some key patterns and foundational insights we’ve picked up along the way:
MINDSET: You can’t be boss if you aren’t in the right frame of mind. The challenges we tackle when it comes to creating a career and life that are fulfilling require the right mindset: confidence in who you are and the decisions you make, a will to seek out motivation and inspiration, committing to setting and working towards big ass goals, trusting yourself and showing up to do the work, knowing and practicing your values, remaining positive, and tackling fear and your own inner critic.
BOUNDARIES: Boundaries are the physical, mental, and emotional “rules” that you define for yourself. These rules keep you from feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Boundaries also help you decide which opportunities you say yes to, what you say no to, what you let in, and what you let go. Boundaries are how you carve out time to do what you want, prioritize what matters, and define how you live and work.
HABITS & ROUTINES: If mindset and boundaries get you emotionally and intellectually prepared for doing the work, your habits and routines are how you get the work done. From setting goals and establishing a morning routine that sets you up for success, to taking care of yourself outside of work, habits and routines are how you behave like a boss, every day.
YOUR WOLFPACK: It takes a village to build a boss life and work, and cultivating a pack of just-the-right people is easier now than ever before. Your wolfpack supports you, encourages you, and assists you, and includes your friends, family, mentors, peers, and collaborators. You’re never too old/shy/busy/etc to meet new people, nourish relationships that are mutually beneficial, collaborate, partner, and ultimately work with others to build something really boss. Relationships are everything, and they can help you go far.
YOUR WORK: As a creative, your work is how you make money doing what you love while staying true to who you are 100% of the time. This work takes a dedication to your craft, unwavering focus on your goals, and reliance on your own skills to take you from dreaming and scheming about what’s next to actually doing the work.
YOUR LIFE: As much as we love our work, we don’t just define ourselves by the work we do or the bottom line in our bank account. The most admirable bosses we know prioritize connection, relationship, family, friendship, travel, and really good food (yeah, what, we like our food) over making money or being a slave to their Rolodex (if you don’t know what a Rolodex is, just Google it). Bosses are curious about life outside of work and use their resources to enthusiastically pursue what they find interesting.
We recently learned that over the next two years, nearly 14,000 women per day will quit their traditional job and begin to work for themselves. By 2020, the population of self-employed women in America will triple, growing from 5 million to 15 million. (Freshbooks Cloud Accounting)
That’s a pretty impressive stat and we can’t help but want to help those 14,000 women a day along the way. You see – working for yourself – being your own boss – isn’t just for folks who were born with an entrepreneurial spark or rich entrepreneurial parents. In the unfolding economy, being your own boss is available to everyone. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy – the uncertainties, insecurities, and overwhelming to-do lists pile up, which is why we wrote Being Boss, the book. It’s a guide for those willing to take the leap, chock full of tools to help them to navigate the path of entrepreneurship – on their own terms.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Emily Thompson is the co-author of Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms. She founded Indie Shopography, a design and strategy studio for online entrepreneurs, in 2009. Emily has worked to help makers, coaches, and designers develop an online business model, strategize and launch websites, and grow their online business. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her life and business partner, David, and their daughter.
Kathleen Shannon is the co-author of Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms. She is the founder of Braid Creative and Consulting, a boutique branding agency and consultancy she co-owns with her sister. Together they have helped thousands of creative entrepreneurs authentically brand and position themselves as creative experts. Kathleen also does creative coaching and is regularly invited to speak on personal branding at design conferences and retreats. She lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and son.
Together Emily and Shannon are the hosts of the top-ranked podcast Being Boss, a show that has helped thousands of creative entrepreneurs authentically brand and position themselves as creative experts. With hundreds of episodes and millions of downloads, they have a dedicated global audience that tunes in weekly for their advice and illuminating interviews from a wide range of experts including Brené Brown, Marie Forleo, and dozens of others.
For more information, please visit https://beingboss.club/book