I'm proud to welcome someone you'll see a lot more of around here: Melody Alderman, CCO of Ridiculously Efficient. Melody and I have worked together for much of 2012, and her poise, performance and passion for productivity impressed me so much that I knew I had to find a way to get her on my team. Read on to learn more about Melody.
1. Please take us through your career journey. How did you become a solopreneur?
Nearly a decade ago, I began working as a contractor in the corporate sector, for large companies such as Microsoft. I chose contract work because I have always had the spirit of a solopreneur, which made me hesitant to commit myself to one company. I have worked on many exciting projects over the years and have enjoyed a great deal of experience and growth throughout the tech industry.
2. What motivated you to steer away from a traditional job?
Shortly after my son was born, I decided it was time to join a company permanently. I needed the security and financial peace of mind I thought it would provide. I felt like I had hit the jackpot when I landed a great job with a small, personable, successful company. For several years, I felt a sense of community with my co-workers and clients.
Then came the economic collapse. I was stunned when I was one of the first people to be let go. I always felt my place at the company was secure. I knew that I did excellent work that far exceeded expectations, but when the slightest wave hit, none of that mattered. It was at that moment that I decided I would never rely on someone else to determine my stability and goals -- financially, professionally, or otherwise.
3. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced as a freelancer? How did you solve them?
One of the biggest challenges is learning to create boundaries for yourself. As a freelancer, you don't have the luxury of leaving work at the office. Your work is a keyboard or cell phone away. It's important to learn how to manage your time efficiently, so you can keep yourself and those in your life happy, along with your clients. I can honestly say that working with you, Marissa, has given me the tools to find more personal fulfillment, while reaching solopreneurial heights I didn't realize were possible. [Aw, shucks! -MB]
4. What are some of your favorite productivity or time management strategies?
Having a routine that sets my day in motion is essential to me. It's easy to sit down at your desk and get lost in a mountain of emails and voicemails. Having guidelines in place that establish what you do first thing in the morning and how much time you spend doing it, makes for a far more productive day. Even beyond productivity, that first 30 minutes of the day sets the tone for everything that follows.
5. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started freelancing?
It's very much a mental state of mind that I wish I could go back and adjust. The rule that all of us must follow the 9-to-5 employee mold that society has deemed necessary, simply no longer applies. Creating the life you want for yourself, is not only possible but the way of tomorrow.
Believing in your own abilities and never shortchanging yourself is key. There are a lot of naysayers who believe in the traditional roles of employee/employer. I had a lot of people discouraging me when I chose to work for myself. It's only after you succeed that their doubts are silenced. It's important to not allow those doubts to affect where you want to go and how you want to live.