|All those coughs, colds and seasonal lurgies that poleaxe us when we feel trapped on the corporate treadmill just don’t happen when we work for ourselves. |
I remember someone telling me that, back in the day. I’d asked an entrepreneur what happened when they got sick; their answer was simple: “I don’t get sick.”
Years later, after gleefully taking the leap into self-employment, I realised that self-employed people do, in fact, get sick, and I wasn’t impervious to the occasional lurgy.
As I write this, I’m on day eight of a monstrous beast I’m loathed to refer to as a cold, and I’m only just beginning to feel vaguely normal again.
Which brings me to the point of today’s message: How do we keep showing up when we’re sick?
Forward-facing clients aside (I’m hoping you’ll have created solid enough relationships with your clients that they’ll forgive you the occasional sick day. I’m also assuming you’ll have built enough wriggle room into your diary to allow for occasional rescheduling!), the biggest mistake is in believing you have to keep soldiering on and pretending to be the picture of health.
You CAN be honest about being under the weather. That also means being honest with YOURSELF and allowing proper recovery time!
If you choose to, there is nothing wrong with dropping a quick message to your social channels to say you’ve got the lurg, you’re taking a few days out to rest, and you’ll be back soon.
IF (and only IF) you’re feeling well enough and want to show up online, there are plenty of ways to show up without needing to be on camera or use your voice.
1) GO GREEN
Check back through your old content – go back at least six to 12 months and repurpose some of those evergreen social posts. Maybe you can rework them a little and send them out through different channels this time.
2) USE YOUR IMAGE LIBRARY
Remember, if you’ve had ‘live photos’ switched on on your smartphone, you can convert pics to three-second videos. You can also use apps such as CapCut, Recap and InShot to use a series of still photos, and/or video, to create short, snappy Reels and TikToks. Here’s one I created last week, when I was down with the ‘hellcold’.
3) CULTIVATE A CLIPPINGS CULTURE
Go back through some of your longer content – blogs, LinkedIn and Medium articles, longer videos, and see if you can create some short-form content from those. Ctrl+V your favourite quotes and use something like Canva, Pixelmator or Photoshop to create graphics with them – either on their own or overlaid on a relevant pic. You can also use video editing software to create shorter clips from your longer movies.
4) WORD POWERGo text-only. If you’re feeling up to writing, write. And remember, you can create images and video using only text!
The one point I really want to push home here, though, above everything else, is that self-employed people DO get sick. You need to build in a contingency for that (remember what I said earlier about wriggle room in your diary?!) AND you need to find a way to properly switch off if you need to.
You will not win any medals for pushing yourself too far when your body is begging you to stop. Self-care rules in self employment.
And if you don’t stop when you need to? Well, guess what? Self-employed people burn out too!
Please… don’t let that be you.
Until next time,