I went freelance for many reasons. A dislike for company parties wasn’t one of them. And I could think of no better reason to celebrate than surviving the first year of life on my own. So I threw myself a Company Party of One — and I’m giving you my templates and checklists so you can do it, too.
Why on earth would I do that?
Going out on your own is a big f***ing deal. As solopreneurs, we’re constantly risking our savings for a shot at freedom and total control over work life. And we don’t even have a boss to impress with this fantastic feat. No one to pat us on the back or treat us to lunch for a job well done. So at least once a year, take a day to beat your chest and celebrate all that your company (of one) has accomplished.
Throwing a company party for, by, and starring you
Yes, this is a little weird. Embrace it. Make yourself a name tag. Have a raffle. Give out company awards. Deliver a State of the Union address to yourself. You’ll be surprised by how incredible it feels to see all your accomplishments in one place and hear them out loud. Not just the profit numbers, but the ones that really matter to you. How many family events were you able to attend? How many days did you invest in your own growth? There’s nothing more satisfying that quantifying something as nebulous as freedom.
Make it your own
There is no template for independence. My Company Party of One involved a catered lunch (takeout), a town hall meeting with a State of the Union address, a team bonding activity, happy hour, and a dinner cruise with a plus one. I found it to be a good mix of celebrating the successes of my first year, having some fun, and recognizing the support I’d gotten. (That’s where the plus one comes in.)
Get creative. Film yourself presenting your State of the Union and watch it back during the meeting. Rent an escape room just for yourself. Hit the spa. Go see a concert with your guest. The most important thing is that you’re celebrating your business badassery.
And remember, no one knows you better than yourself. So get really personal with those raffle prizes. I used my raffle as an excuse to finally get that iPad I’d wanted and a travel jacket that has enough pockets to fit a carry-on bag’s worth of items. Sure, my old agency might have raffled off iPads (they didn’t), but there’s no way they would’ve raffled off a jacket in my favorite color and my exact size to combat my biggest travel issue.
Plan like a big company, budget like a small one
The more you plan ahead for your special day, the more you’ll be free to enjoy yourself. The good news is it should be pretty easy getting approval for your party planning committee of one.
To help you out, I’ve put together some templates and to-do lists.
These lists and templates will give you a start on what to include in your State of the Union address. It’s a little daunting to go through your last year to count the days you spent volunteering or visiting with family, but it’s worth it. Don’t skip the “boring” stuff, either. If you were able to turn thin air into invoices that covered your basic needs (rent, insurance, and food), that’s a huge deal. Recognize it.
We’re all independent, but it doesn’t mean we can’t support each other. Use #CompanyPartyOfOne to share pictures of your day so we can celebrate each other! (And copy the best ideas.) These are also great memories to look back on when you’re having a dry spell to remind yourself why it’s all worth it.
Haven’t hit a year yet? Between anniversaries?
If you’re not quite ready to pop the champagne just yet, there are still things you can do today. Start a folder on your computer and a doc where you can collect photos, important events, and things you’ll want to remember when it’s time to plan your annual party.