After the campaigning and last week’s election, we might all be somewhat tired of manifestos. But they’re not the sole property of political parties. At their heart, according to Collins, a manifesto is a statement published by a person or group of people in which they say what their aims and principles are.
Now, why should politicians be the only ones who get to do that?
Putting your principles and aims out there
I’d never drawn up a manifesto as such. Mine came out of a fantastic day with Ian Sanders on Do Freelance. Ian shared his manifesto that he wrote in 2012, that he still revisits and uses as guiding principles today. Manifestos are there to be about what really matters to us most.
We talked about that if it matters to us as small business owners, then it’s probably going to resonate with the kind of people who would want to work with you. Likewise, if it doesn’t then you’re probably not a good fit. And that’s okay, I’ve written before about it being okay not being for everyone.
Here’s what I’m about: a few introductory notes
This is not a business plan. It’s not all about what I do. It’s also about why and how. It covers things that are about why I choose the freedom, and insecurity, of being a freelancer. It’s about what my values are, and what I value. It’s written how I’d say it, rather than business-speak.
And it’s about shoes.
My manifesto, my principles
No days feel like a Monday
I’m in the 6.45 swim club
I work with people who bring out my best work
I won’t work with dicks (or not twice)
I won’t be a dick
I’ll share work with others where they have the expertise, or capacity, that I don’t. What you give out comes back.
I won’t wear heels
I’ll book in time for adventures and being curious in the same way as booking out time for a client meeting
I’ll own the numbers, not the other way round
I’ll say yes more
I’ll say no when my gut instinct is “no”
I won’t try to solve every problem
I’ll only work with people who care about what they do and why
I’ll show up and deliver when I say will
I’ll surprise people with more than they thought
I’ll always be my authentic self
There is always times for a walk on the beach
What’s your manifesto?
I have these now above the table I most often work from (if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know there have been many desks of the day). I catch sight of them every now and then, and they’re just a good reminder.
Your manifesto doesn’t have to be public, but there’s also no reason why it shouldn’t be. If you worry that someone won’t like something if you put it out there, then perhaps you might want to think about why that worries you. I have this as another principle:
You have to decide if you want to make everyone happy, or just yourself.
Taking the time
I think we had 20 minutes to do this. You tend to know what you value really quickly if you give yourself some time and space to do it. As we approach the festive season, perhaps you could give yourself the present of time to think.
Whatever you do, and however and whatever you might be celebrating at this time, I wish you wonderful, relaxing and invigorating with those you want to spend time with. I’m taking a short break and will be back on 2nd January 2020.
So, about the shoes?
Ah yes, my aversion to heels.
Look, life is short, there’s a lot to do and I can’t go fast in heels. They’re not comfortable. And I live in Lyme Regis. Have you seen the hills we have here?
But mainly if you’re the kind of business that thinks people have to dress a certain way to do good work, then we’re not the right fit together. And it’s good to know that up front.