A Real-Talk Letter to My Just-Starting-Out-in-Business Self
When we're starting out on a new entrepreneurial pursuit, I think the biggest reality check for ourselves in the beginning is the realization that everything takes time.
Everything. Takes. Time.
And lots of it.
While, yes, it can be tempting to glamorize our situations and make ourselves believe that WE'RE DIFFERENT or that WE'RE THE EXCEPTIONS - most of the time, we're going to be fighting the good fight juuuust like the rest of the hard working self-starters who came before us.
So, here friends. Feast your eyes upon this letter I found in my email outbox from a few months ago. I deem it now: A Real-Talk Letter to My Former, Just-Starting-Out-in-Business Self.
Yes, great to hear from you again. Okay, I'm going to be 100% real with you right now.
First of all - you HAVE to be easy on yourself! And you HAVE to be patient. Despite the fact that with these location-independent, girl-boss Facebook groups where it seems like literally everyone is coming out of the woodwork and immediately making BANK and living the absolute life of their dreams, it's 100% NOT LIKE THAT!
Yes, it's great to be positive and share the wins, but not sooo many people are sharing the behind-the-scenes events that make up literally 99% of building a business. When did you first launch your site? Because I'm pretty sure I'm not that far behind you, and I knew from the beginning that I wasn't going to immediately get web design clients, there was no way!
With these Facebook groups, you have to be careful because you're constantly being fed the illusion that you'll be a location-independent dream queen within weeks when in fact you need to be in it for the absolute long haul if you want to be successful with it. There is no such thing as getting rich quick when you build your own business (even though it seems like it). The reality is that those "overnight success stories" worked their asses off for years before when nobody even knew who they were until that one event that made them really visible to the public.
As for myself, I knew that I would need to focus on building a web presence (consistent content creation, consistent social media posting, etc.) for a solid amount of time before I expected people to come knocking down my door wanting a website.
So, what do I do in the meantime?
1. I look for opportunities in which I can help friends build websites for their new businesses or ideas in order to build my own portfolio.
2. I put out blog posts twice a week with the vision of having a rad little blog library in a few months to position myself as an authority in my niche.
3. I plan out my social media posts the week before so I'm not stuck scrambling at the last minute.
4. I design test websites and brands every couple of weeks to further build my portfolio and to strengthen and showcase my skills.
Are clients knocking down my door to work with me? Nope, not yet! But I expected that.
It takes so, so much time. And I know that's difficult to hear, especially since you've really committed (quitting job, etc), but it's the truth. And, honestly - getting a part time job is 100% OKAY! If that means it gives you financial reassurance so that you can be creative in your own business, that's amazing. There is NOTHING negative about getting a part-time job to pay the bills.
Here are a couple resources that have helped me in the past that I think may help you now in this moment:
1. Gary Vee - Advice for Every 20-Year Old
2. Marie Forleo - A Day Job Doesn't Mean Giving Up On Your Dream
3. Debbie Millman - How to Design Meaningful Work
I hope this helps you! I'm always available to be real and up-front with you, from one budding entrepreneur to another. Just focus on being patient, putting out quality content, and providing value to people and your audience. And don't be afraid of getting a little side-job - babysitting/bartending/retail/etc. It can get you out of your own head and have you excited to come home and fully get to work on your dream business. You got this.
I'd love to know - what three solid bits of advice would you give to your former just-starting-out-in-business self? Leave 'em in the comments to share the wisdom! I can't wait to see what we can all come up with!
Stay cool, stay creative -