Working For Yourself, Not By Yourself

“Priceless.” That’s how writer Sue Carrington describes her working relationship with Share On Purpose.

A full-time freelancer since 1999, Sue is a seasoned member of the gig economy. She embraces her role as a writer entrepreneur and loves the autonomy her freelance life provides. Working for herself, however, doesn’t have to mean working by herself — a mindset she said she shares with Share On Purpose.

“The writer’s life can be a solitary one,” said Sue. “It’s what we’re called to do, but sometimes we’re on the outside, looking in. Remote writers can feel even more apart. Share’s approach to working with contractors acknowledges that reality; the company bridges the divide somehow and makes every effort to create community for us.”

Creating a Community of Wordsmiths

Earlier this month, Sue took a 1,300-mile road trip to Texas from her home in northern Virginia (her Pomeranian, “Poet”, in tow) to meet her long-distance co-workers face-to-face for the first time since joining Share in May 2016.

“It was a little surreal,” she said about being in Las Colinas for the company’s Thanksgiving party. “Umpteen emails and conference calls carved initial impressions, but talking with virtual colleagues face-to-face truly filled in the picture — in the best of ways!”

Sue’s perception of Share as a supportive community, which was in part why she joined the company, only grew stronger while she was in Texas.

“During the Writer’s Cadre, held after our Thanksgiving party, Share President and CEO Terri Maxwell sat down with the writers to say how much she and the Share team appreciate us. Her words confirmed for me that Share truly understands the writer’s way and values us both as subject matter experts and as writing entrepreneurs. That’s unique.”

Collaborating as a Team for Individual Success

The writers at Share are long-time professionals. Most have their own writing and editing businesses in addition to their work with Share and its partner companies. This helps create a synergistic team environment that, in Sue’s perspective, delivers benefits to each writer.

“Share is a place that enables us as writers to help grow each other’s businesses,” said Sue. “The collaborative community encourages freely exchanging ideas, developing relationships, and growing our individual networks. Over time, we’ve gotten to know and rely on each other. So whenever we get ‘too much’ work, we can ask for help from another Share writer, knowing the work and the client will be in good hands. For solo writers, that kind of alliance is a blessing.

“Our competitive advantage as freelancers is that we’re always available to serve our clients. Often, that means working wee morning hours or late nights and weekends,” Sue added. “But we do have choices. The key to work/life balance is empowering ourselves to make those choices wisely, and Share helps us in doing that.

“It’s never this or that; the ‘and’ is everywhere. The entire culture is about purposeful integration of work and life — and appreciating each other’s individual working styles. That kind of understanding leads to a better work product, a stronger collective, and happier clients. Who could ask for more?”

If these principles sound like a culture that you value and would fit into your life, check our open positions.

Work AND Play

Many adults grew up to believe we should operate from OR thinking. I can have cake OR ice cream. I can do what I love, OR chase financial success.

At Share On Purpose we believe in AND. We believe you can do what you love AND accelerate career success. We also believe that you can BOTH work AND play.

How you ask? By focusing on 3 key components:

  • Do what you love: Your passions are there for a reason. Although it’s unrealistic to think you will do what you love every day, it’s NOT improbable to think that the majority of your career should be enjoyable. If you don’t love what you do most of the time, rethink your career. Work with your manager or a coach to define what it is that you do enjoy. You can do what you love, if you first believe that you can. Once you have the belief, simply take steps to align your career goals with what you enjoy doing.

At Share On Purpose, not only do we believe in this philosophy, but we work hard to align our associates’ careers with their passions. It’s not always easy, and it does take a concerted effort, but it’s a critical part of our guiding principles and culture.

  • Love what you do: Once your career has migrated to doing more of what you love, it’s now your responsibility to love what you do. Find ways to make work fun. Bring a game-mindset to work. Invent fun ways to challenge yourself and your team. Remind yourself that joy should be part of your daily life, rather than something you seek only on the weekends.

We get stuck in our careers, because we chose to be stuck. We always have control over our perspective and the resulting attitudes and beliefs we carry. Work on your perspective. By looking for ways to make work fun, you will be focused on the fun, rather than the work, and this will enhance success. Another great way to change your perspective is to start every day by making a list of what you are grateful for. Find people in your life that you appreciate and take time to tell them what it is specifically, that you appreciate about them. A simple text of appreciation can make a big difference in both your lives. Tips for an appreciative mindset here.

  • Find balance: The last component of work AND play is balance. There are numerous studies that prove that work/life balance is not only a worthwhile goal, but actually improves performance. Balance is about taking the time to spend moments with the people who are important to you, and to partake in activities and hobbies that you enjoy. For a fulfilled life, we should work to live, rather than live to work.

What I’ve learned about driven people is that they struggle with balance, not necessarily because of their employer’s culture, but because of their own high standards and drive. I used to be one of those people. My personal standards were so high, that I would work myself into the ground. Needless to say, this type of obsession didn’t make me a fun leader to work for, nor an enjoyable person to be around. I knew that for life to be different, I had to change my approach. I had to change my perspective about balance and build it into our culture.

At Share On Purpose we have a driven culture, but also value work/life balance. As a result, we incorporated several strategies to support our driven leaders.

  • We start meetings late (after 9:30AM) on Mondays and stop work in the early afternoon (around 3PM) on Fridays. This allows our team members to ease into the weekend on Fridays, and ease out of the weekend on Mondays. It also makes the weekends feel longer.
  • We also encourage every team member to take a 4 or 5-day weekends every quarter to recharge their “batteries.” It doesn’t mean that you have to go away during that time, but simply “unplugging” is essential.
  • In addition to standard vacation time, we also reward employees’ tenure and incentivize balance with bonus time-off every few years. For example, at 3 years of tenure, employees are given an extra 2 weeks off, plus $250 to spend on a vacation. At 5 years of tenure, employees are given an extra 4 weeks off, plus $250 to spend on a vacation.

So, if you don’t love what you do, and if you want MORE out of life, maybe try to learn how to look for the AND, rather than the OR in your career.

And, if these principles sound like a culture that you would find meaningful, check out our open positions. We do have very high standards, but quite frankly, that is part of what makes it fun!