Updated: Feb 13
In mid August, I took the leap. I quit my full time job, and just...
I didn't have a plan (not really), I didn't know my next step, all I knew was that it was time and I needed to take a step, pronto. I was a few months out of finishing graduate school and the job market was looking B L E A K. No one wanted to hire me: I have a higher ed degree, a weird cacophony of experience, I am heavily tattooed -- too experienced for entry level but not the right kind of experience for the director roles that were out there. Nothing sounded right. I wanted a significant challenge and a creative, flexible environment. And I couldn't find it. I always knew that I was meant to be some sort of creative consultant but didn't think it would be THIS soon. A few hairs before the "ideal comfortable time" that I'm convinced would have never come to fruition. So I
And here we are. I count September as the beginning of my full time entrepreneurship, and in those four months I have had a LOT of interesting experiences. Working longer hours than ever. Feeling lower than ever. Feeling like I'm a goddamn champion of the cosmos. Rarely in between. I've made allll sorts of mistakes that I'm sure I could write a very long novel about but I'm here today to tell you about some of the greatest lessons that I've learned from diving head first into my brand new sparkling business that I think everyone can benefit from.
I. Don't Stop Growing, Ever.
For some reason, we think once we launch something that we are an authority, and it shows some sort of weakness to take classes, courses, read books and admit defeat when defeat was had.
No. No one stops growing. No one stops learning. When you stop, that's when your growth stagnates. So take those courses. Learn things. You know how. many people I follow that I learn from? You know how many hours of every week I spend reading? Gosh, and I still feel like I can do every little thing better.
II. Protect Your Recharge Time - Because Nothing Else Will
Since you work for yourself, you tend to work...more. Harder. Longer. I haven't had a day off in months, and even the spare time that's available is normally occupied by doting to the pings and buzz of my phone from one of my clients, or figuring out my next post. So, this upcoming year I'm doing BLOCKS of time off. A day off. Protected. And particular rules I must adhere to in order to recharge and stay sane. Don't just think these things come organically, you have to really protect them.
III. Get Comfortable with Change
December was by far my busiest month - but going into January it's looking way more controlled. A past version of me would borderline hyperventilate, see this as a sign that my business is descending and I'm failing. But I just see it as an evolution of my brand, and the next iteration is well on its way. It's an opportunity to focus on some other facets of my business ( uh hello website and course overhaul please and thank you). These changes are gifts, and they are going to come often.
IV. This Isn't Traditional
I keep finding myself looking at my income in a way that one looks at traditional income "okay, so I need to make x a week in order to do y income and do z sorts of activities/investments/whatevers". Hold on. Isn't the reason why I went "rogue" was to escape that traditional landscape? Of COURSE payment structure is going to be different. Focusing on those weekly numbers and trying to structure the business like a more traditional corporation is going to set you up for a lot of stress. Instead of stressing when you don't make a financial goal, think about how you can add more value to your business - because as you add value to your business you're going to generate more value from your business. Those are just the facts.
V. Fail & Fail Often - Everything is a Lesson
The risks associated with jumping into the unknown don't magically stop there. There are going to be so many iterations of your business, whatever it is. Your artwork. Your services. Your final products. Don't be afraid to try something new, because every failure is going to bring with it a new beautiful lesson. And you're going to grow significantly from every failure. That idea - that comfort zone - it's not your friend. It will hinder you. Try things out. Be okay with failing. My first iteration of Sigil looked like shit. I love the way it looks now, but I think in six months I will be saying the same exact thing about this period.
I hope you find some lessons in here that help you or inspire you. Excited to see what you create next year!