Photo: Jacoby Photo & Design
I can’t believe that we’re in the final day of 2017. What a year! Right? Just five months ago, I was in the midst one of the most challenging and conflicted seasons of my life, where I found myself questioning everything:
Was this really all my career had in store for me?
Uh...did I peak in college?!
Why don’t I feel more fulfilled, secure and happy like I believed I would in the latter half of my 20s?
On August 21, 2017, I left my corporate gig for good to pursue this business full-time, and wow have I learned a ton of invaluable lessons since that day.
If you’re feeling stuck, confused, stressed or unsure of what’s to come for you, your business or your life, I want to share a few nuggets of knowledge with you. And no – it’s not because I know everything or have all of the answers! But these last four months have grown and challenged me more than I could have ever imagined, and y’know what? That’s something worth sharing.
1. Bleachers said it best: “Don’t Take The Money.”
In my early 20s, my primary career goal was making money because, let’s face it: those student loans and city apartment aren’t going to pay for themselves! But looking back, I cultivated a bad habit of placing the importance of a good salary ahead of my happiness in my work.
When I dove into my business, I made a point to break this bad habit by only taking on projects and clients that aligned with my values and got me excited about work each day. From the outside looking in, it seemed crazy that a fledgling business owner would be so particular about who she worked with and would turn down potential revenue, which brings me to my next point...
"Know that you’re worth that scary number that you know you should charge. You owe it to your business and your future to thrive financially."
2. Charge your worth.
When I left my corporate job, my financial goal for year one in business was to simply match my former monthly corporate income. To me, hitting that number would prove to me that my business was “successful” and “working.” So call me surprised when I crunched my numbers for January 2018 and I’ll be bringing in more than I made at my corporate job!
This only happened because I learned to charge my worth the hard way. I can’t tell you how many branding projects I took on in the past for $100 (or for free, ugh!), or the hours upon hours of social media advice that I doled out for free just because someone bought me a $3 coffee. Know that you’re worth that scary number that you know you should charge. You owe it to your business and your future to thrive financially.
3. Stop. Caring. About. What. People. Think.
I feel like I need to stare into the mirror and say this to myself three times each morning until I truly live and breathe it. You know why it took me so long to start my business? I was scared of what my peers and friends would think. Looking back, how dumb was I?! I wasted a whole year of my life hemming and hawing (and really annoying my husband), over a decision that I had already made in my mind, but was scared to manifest in real life. Don’t waste time like I did – do the scary things, make the big decisions and do them only for you.
4. Force yourself to find your tribe.
Life and business aren’t worth doing if you’re doing them alone. Force yourself to move outside of your comfort zone to find your tribe – a great group of people who you can be yourself around, who make you feel like the you-est version of you. I’ll be honest and say that I’m still working on this, but I’m making progress. I’ve found a killer community of creative thinkers here in St. Louis and on the internet (hey, Instagram!) that get me pumped up each day.
5. Resting ≠ laziness.
From 2013 to 2015 I lived without a TV. Partly because I couldn’t afford one (heh), and also because time spent watching TV seemed wasteful when I could be working. I learned a lot in those two years of TV-lessness – mainly that I had no “off” switch when it came to work. This rang true when I started my business. I worked almost constantly, my inner dialogue reminding myself that resting was for the lazy. I ran my business that way until I got really sick after Thanksgiving of this year and had to spend a whole day in bed. I cried over it and cursed myself for being weak. And then I got sick again before Christmas and I’m just now feeling better. In 2018, I’m making rest and wellness a priority and you should, too. Because a well-rested life is a happy life.
6. Not all clients are going to be forever clients.
...and that’s OK. Sometimes, you’re going to take on a client who only needs your services for a handful of months, or you’ll eventually both realize down the road that your partnership isn’t a great match. It doesn’t mean that mean that your business sucks, and it also doesn’t mean that they’re a bad client. Oh, and potential client ghosting? That happens, too. If someone seems ready to sign a contract and then vanishes into thin air, don’t harness any hard feelings. We’re all just weird humans, after all.
"If Plan B is getting another job, that’s not the worst thing in the world."
7. If Plan B is getting another job, that’s not the worst thing in the world.
I’ve been living by this self-coined mantra ever since I started my business and feared that it would fail: “If getting another corporate job is my Plan B, then why the heck shouldn’t I just try?” In 2018, my hope for you is to just try: try applying for that job that intimidates you; try to hit that almost-impossible fitness goal; try to finally travel as freely and as widely as you wish. Because when we start to try, amazing new life paths open themselves to us.