You’re not the boss of me… until you are

Having been self-employed for 30 years, I have had lots of chances to talk with people about the benefits and drawbacks of being an infopreneur. One aspect that most people appreciate is that I’m my own boss — I set the rules and no one tells me what to do. It’s why I have never cultivated local clients; they have the entirely reasonable expectation that I’ll be available for in-person meetings, and I would rather not get dressed up and meet in person when a call could do just as well.

The secret, though, is that our clients *are* our bosses; it’s just that we have a more equal relationship than an employee would have. I’ve talked with a number of colleagues in the Association of Independent Information Professionals about their work hours and policies about what constitutes a “work day”. Their answers showed me how much we factor our clients’ needs into our schedules, whether they’re the boss of us or not.

Some infopreneurs keep a strict Monday-through-Friday, 9am-to-5pm schedule, just like more traditional employees. They like having the predictability of their schedule, they like having their weekends free, and they are often more available to respond to rush projects. Even those who work less than a 40-hour work week often prefer to keep regular office hours, to ensure they can also schedule time during the work week for their other commitments.

Other independent info pros prefer a more, er, fluid relationship between their work and the rest of their life. They appreciate the flexibility to take a weekday off to go on a hike, avoid the crowds at the art gallery, or get together with friends who also have flexible work schedules. Yes, that means they may be working in the evening or on the weekend, and they may not be able to respond immediately to a client’s call or email; they consider that a fair tradeoff for the freedom of scheduling work around their non-work activities.

So, while you may not be the boss of me, my choices will determine what kinds of clients I have as my sorta-kinda bosses.

2 comments on “You’re not the boss of me… until you are

  1. Thank you for this message. Would that I could find a way to wiggle in. I spend way too much time researching for my own causes yet, haven’t managed to make it pay. I do the research seeking answers to meet my customer’s needs as an “Engineering Technician”. If I can’t fix it, it ain’t broke, as my former boss used to say.

  2. I love this and it’s so true. When I started I thought I’d be a bit more like the first type, but also had a PT job that I worked around so ended up being more of the second type. Many of my clients are not corporations or 8-5 people so it works well for me to have the flexibility and freedom as my clients do the same and they ‘get’ it. I’ve had more calls with clients who are ‘walking’ or ‘at the park with kids’ etc. than I can recall so it’s another thing that puts me on a more equal footing.

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