ICBA Blog

Independent Contractor Spotlight — Direct Networker

Direct Networker Pam Diamond gets real about what it’s like to run her own business

We checked in with Pam Diamond, who has worked in direct networking for four years. She recently relocated from Chicago to New Hudson, Michigan, to be closer to family. Prior to becoming an independent contractor, she worked in software for a decade and a half. She loves what she’s doing now and has a lot of great insight regarding the pluses and challenges of being in business for yourself.

What do enjoy about being your own boss?
The freedom is the biggest part. It’s like you own your life. Before, when I worked in software, I worked a ton. I was always on call; it was very long hours. I was traveling all the time. You just kind of fit your life in when you have the time rather than living a life and fitting your work in. Once people get a taste of this, I can’t imagine people going back.

What are the challenges you face working from home?
You have to be self-motivated. You have to be someone who is willing to set up goals for yourself and work a timeline for yourself and stick to it. You can go to an office and close the office door and pay your bills, surf Facebook, and do whatever, and you’re still going to take a paycheck home at the end of the day. But when you’re on your own, if you’re not doing your work, you’re not getting paid.

How do you schedule your day and find a work-life balance?
I still make myself a schedule. I set aside specific work time, and I make sure that during those hours that I am actually working.

Do you schedule doctor’s appointments or errands outside of your business hours?
That’s the freedom of my life. If something comes up and I absolutely have to do something in my business hours, I can shift my schedule around. I can say, Well I don’t have time to sit at my computer and do marketing today from 10 to 11, but I am going to shift it around today and do it from 1 to 2 because that works better for me. 

Do you ever miss the interaction of office life, and if so, how do you make up for that?
I still get to work with people remotely, but it’s kind of different. Sometimes you just want to see someone’s face. I’ve just learned to be more purposeful with my time and my life. So I make sure that I go to the gym with my sister or I call my dad or I make dinner plans. If I get to where I’m really climbing the walls, I will just go up to the coffee shop and work.

Do you find that people think you have more time than you do? And how do you handle that?
I’ve learned to get good at saying no. I recognize in other people that they don’t understand the context under which I work. So I’m not harsh on people that aren’t very respectful of that, but I just draw my own boundaries.

How does networking play role in what you do?
Well, I think it’s always important to surround yourself with like-minded people. One of the things I like to do is talk to people who are more successful than I am. I get out there and see what they’re doing and pick their brains. The internet is a magical place. You can find 27 meet-up groups that are happening today. One of the things with network marketing is that you do have to always be meeting new people in one way or another.

How do you maximize having a job you can do from anywhere?
Having a completely mobile business gives you the freedom to pick up and do whatever you want. I travel all the time. I go up to my dad’s house in northern Michigan or we go to Florida. I work while I travel. I don’t have to hang it up. As long as I have a phone and a computer, I’m working.

Do you have trouble unplugging from work when you need to?
Even when I’m hanging out in my own house during my down time, in the back of my head, I’m always thinking, I could be doing this or I could be doing that.

How has running your business changed you?
With being an entrepreneur and working for yourself, there’s a level of self-development that happens that I think never happened for me in the corporate world. I have to take the time to learn how to be a better, more-productive, disciplined person.