First month. Wait, does this mean there is going to be a second and a third? Yes, and many more! This post is the first instalment of a new series all about my journey as a business owner; all about building, growing, learning.
Each month, I will be sharing what I have been up to and what I have learned whilst building and growing my business.
I have been a freelancer for a little over three years now, so I am not completely new to the world of self-employment. However, I have recently decided to ramp things up a bit and to turn different side projects and ideas into businesses of their own. All with the goal of combining these different projects into one bigger business endeavour in the future.
Previously on this show that is my life
So, for this first instalment, please allow me to go back in time a little bit before we look at the things that have happened this past week. Just to give you the full picture.
After three years of being self-employed, it is fair to say that deciding to try something new with the business now is somewhat of a rolling start for me. I already had some time to grow into the role of a self-employed woman. But I still find it difficult to identify as that. Partly because up to now, my business is a part-time job, a side project. And partly because some parts of me still think that only a select few people are business owners and the rest of us are supposed to have “normal” 9-to-5 jobs for someone else.
I seem to have internalised that. So much so that even despite seeing myself as a strong advocate for alternative paths in life and despite frequently arguing that the word “normal” doesn’t make sense, I still sometimes struggle with not having a clearly defined career. I am afraid of judgement, to be seen as less of a person because I don’t have a nine to five job.
This series – From Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur – is a tribute to owning my role as a self-employed business woman and to not letting fears and doubts hold me back. If that resonates with you, if you are creating something of your own and sometimes go “oh man, am I really doing this?!” then I think we have something in common and it’s going to be fun to experience this together.
Owning it, I feel, is not as easy as it first seems. I had my business ideas for a while now and whenever I talk about them I get super enthusiastic. It is the conscious decision to get started that is daunting. But there is only so much book knowledge one can acquire without taking action and trying things for yourself. So to begin, begin. Right?
That brings us to the present moment and the beginning of the series.
To kick things off, I made a plan. At the bottom of a huge piece of paper, I wrote down where I currently stand with my business, at the top of the page, I wrote down where I want to be. The rest of the page between these two blocks I used to write down what I would need to do and what would need to happen to get me there.
From there I created a list with baby steps and actual, tangible actions that will get me closer to my goals.
This was the easy bit – I teach stuff like that (Passion Projects and achieving personal goals) in my workshops. The harder part was to actually tackle the items on my many lists and to prioritise. Thank the almighty unicorn in the sky for the huge whiteboard in my office – it really came in handy this week!
One big item on the list was creating a website for my many businesses – existing ones and future ones. So I made one. It is the very website that you are reading this blog on. And – oh man! – creating a website from scratch is not easy. I denied myself the shortlived pleasure of throwing my laptop out of the window and instead saw it through. The reward is taking considerable pride in this page and all of its imperfections that will organically evolve and improve.
I also invested a sizeable chunk of time to create social media accounts for the business and develop a rhythm for posting on there and posing on the blog.
Next up were business cards, letterheads and email signatures – all the visual stuff that represents my business. Thankfully a friend of mine, who is a graphic designer, kindly offered her experienced eye to make sure everything looks cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. We achieved two things with that. One, it improved the appearance of my existing business as a speaker and facilitator and makes it look more professional. And two, it is part of creating a branding for my new business which will hopefully help to market it to my audience in the future.
The rest of the month was spent planning and researching a lot – there will be a mailing soon to possible business partners and I researched the living fluff out of the field to see which benefits I might be able to provide in a partnership. I also made lists of what to do when and of important markers for when to take the next action.
I leave the month with my imminent to do lists, with my baby steps list for the future, with my research results and with mapped out milestones and next steps. Makes me feel on top of things – a much-needed feeling as for the longest time there have been many ideas floating aimlessly through my brain but never connecting to any of the loose ends.
So, what have I learned in September?
Firstly, I was reminded of how important a plan is. In the end, I figure, I will not regret many things I will have done in life, but I am worried that I will regret not having done things. But giving new and uncertain things a try doesn’t mean you need to be careless about them. So yes, jump into the unknown – but with a strategy.
Secondly, I saw how vital networking is. Talking to people about my ideas, getting feedback but also approaching potential supporters, connecting and reaching out to my contact’s contacts has proven to be very helpful. The skills and the opportunities I need are already somewhere out there, I need to tap into them.
And the third lesson from this month has to be: Scheduling is key! I have an existing business already and just because the most recent endeavour is all shiny and new and exciting, I must not neglect all the other branches of my existence. Which also includes taking care of myself. I find myself typing away at my computer and all of a sudden have missed another yoga class, skipped another gym session, poured another caffeinated fizzy drink. Let’s see if I can keep it a bit more balanced in the next weeks.
I took you on quite the ride this time and filled you in on years of backstory. But now that we’re here and you know what this is all about, I am super keen on sharing what’s going to happen in the weeks to come. See you all next month!