We’ve all sat in a job we don’t love, daydreaming about our dream career or launching this great online business idea we have… But when do you finally say “yes” to yourself instead of saying, “someday”?
In January of 2022, I finally gave myself permission to follow my dreams of full-time entrepreneurship after side hustling for years. I’ve been an entrepreneur of sorts since early high school. I knew it was something I always wanted, but was terrified to actually take the leap into doing it full-time… Until I finally did. Read more about my journey to entrepreneurship here.
Today, I’m one year into running my design business full-time, and I couldn’t be more grateful, and proud of myself if we’re being honest. The journey certainly wasn’t easy, though there were plenty of highs. I worked with loads of dream clients, and tried a ton of new things… some worked and some didn’t, but that’s all part of learning as you go – one of my life’s biggest mantras.
Now that I’ve been doing this thing for a year, it’s the perfect time for a little recap to share some lessons I’ve learned along the way thus far.
Imposter syndrome. The big one. Imposter syndrome is something everyone deals with, business owner or not. For us entrepreneurs, it can be detrimental to our mental health, and our business’s success.
I certainly got caught up in “doom-scrolling,” the habit of scrolling on social media even when you know it’s harming your mental health. I would catch myself getting distracted throughout the work day wondering what this person was doing or what that person I look up to just posted. After awhile, I realized I was holding myself back in my business by constantly comparing myself to those around me, so I made some shifts.
I unfollowed and muted stories, posts, and notes (hello Instagram – yet another new feature to worry about!) from creators and accounts that made me feel bad about myself. I also learned to take more breaks and set time limits for apps that weren’t beneficial to the long-term success of my business. By doing these few things, I’ve been more focused on my own business and am able to complete work at a much quicker pace.
It took me a little longer than I care to admit to realize this one. You don’t need to do or offer everything at once… In fact, you shouldn’t.
Trying to do too much at once caused me to feel overwhelmed when I used to love waking up and getting to work every day right away. I’m very much a “productivity 24/7” type girl, (a toxic trait I’m actively working on improving!). It was easy for me to get caught up in the need to always improve my offerings or work on my website with every free moment I had, and guess what? I was almost always burned out.
When it felt like nothing I was working on would turn out the way I wanted, struggled to post on social media, etc… and I desperately needed a change.
I started implementing a specific work schedule where I work on certain types of tasks per day, started listening to my body, and started expecting less of myself. Rather than only having a massive to-do list each day, I made my massive to-do list (sorry – I’ll never stop doing this!), but also made a separate list with a max of THREE highest priority items to do each day. Every day I tell myself, “as long as you finish these three things, you’ve had a productive day.” This shift helped take my expectations for myself from showing up as 300% of myself each day to being okay with it if I the day ends and I’ve only finished half of my to-do list.
When I first started, I thought I had to listen to everything that other creators and designers were posting. And in the end, I finally taught myself that, 99% of it was just unsolicited advice from people that don’t know you or your business.
Early on, I subscribed to every newsletter, took every free class available, you name it. And sure it helped in the first few months, but I soon realized that the only person who truly knows what’s best for your business is you.
You’re the only one who knows your situation, yourself, and your business so if a certain price point or service feels right for you, then it is right for you.
My first year in business came with so many highs. Let’s talk about a few!
For one, I went full-time. I raised my prices, started offering web, designed FOUR sites for clients in the same year, refined my offerings, and streamlined my processes. I was featured in an article and in a local independent contractor directory, which lead to some dream inquiries. And so much more…
BUT as this section suggests, those highs tend to come with lows. Some of the new services that I mentioned spending so much time working on, didn’t do well during launch. I had slow season… for like, a long time…
But the thing is, that’s just part of entrepreneurship. There are good days and there are bad days. You can’t control everything, but you can choose to show up as your best self every day, and that’s what I do.
If you take anything away from this post, just remember to slow down.
Rest is essential for the long-term sustainability of your business. Without it, you’ll burn out. Remind yourself that it’s okay to take breaks. It’s okay to log off of Instagram for a month. It’s okay to not always plan the next thing when you just finished the first.
You’re doing great, just give yourself permission to believe that.