I can’t believe it’s officially been a year since I kissed the corporate world goodbye. To be honest, it feels unreal. Never would I have thought I’d be in this entrepreneurial world, but here I am – coffee in hand, and also admittedly not knowing what the f*ck I am doing. For those who don’t know, I quit my corporate job last year with the hopes of starting my own biz with one of my good friends, travel for work, and create endless content for my clients. Though a few of those things didn’t pan out, I’m honestly in a better place now than I thought I ever would be. Alyssa from a year ago totally thought she had her shit together, and well today I’m sharing the shit I did learn within this past year because I’ve truly grown into a better version of myself I didn’t know could exist.
All the research in the world isn’t the answer
Okay, so hear me out. I’ve been there – read all the entrepreneurial books, listened to every Gary Vee podcast episode, and have asked all my friends who freelance for advice to prepare me for when I quit my job last year. I could confidently say that no matter what I’ve learned, I prepared for what I imagined my life to be like as soon as I stepped into freelance, but didn’t prepare for the uncertainties of my own journey. Not saying that these resources didn’t help me, I’m just saying we each have our own journey and you don’t know what you’re getting into until you really step into that role and go through these experiences yourself.
Know fear and doubt is part of the journey
Fear is by far the biggest thing that holds us back from taking the next step, fear of not being good enough, fear of doing the wrong thing, and fear that people will judge us and laugh at our actions. It took me a long time to truly have an “IDGAF” attitude towards this because it’s difficult to steer away from something that makes us so damn human. Fear coupled with doubt is no easy thing to get over, but know that is a part of the journey. It’s about combatting those fears and doubts and taking action regardless. It’s taking a risk because why the f*ck not? It’s knowing that if you don’t try and face these fears and doubts, there may never be a right time.
Yes, entrepreneurship is unpredictable and there’s a shitton of uncertainty. But that’s the name of the game. And a lovely friend of mine Devin shared with me, your feelings of doubt are not unique to just you and that action, as scary as it is, leads to courage. So just do the damn thing, make mistakes, and knock those fears and doubts down by taking action and gaining the courage to just continue taking the steps to what you consider success. I was so fearful of failure, but the things I failed at this past year, I’ve definitely learned from and grown from.
Create healthy boundaries
I am the first to admit I say YES to absolutely everything. And it wasn’t until I said yes to everything that I felt so overwhelmed and burnt out that I realized I never set those boundaries for myself and those I work with. I’d answer every email right away even after “work hours” and would spend so much time of my days working on client work that I forgot to take care of myself. For one, it is absolutely okay to say no to work that doesn’t serve you, pay you well, and doesn’t fit within your calendar. I’ve learned just how important it is to create healthy boundaries, with my clients, within my relationships, and with myself. That meant communicating with my clients during my “work hours” and working on things just for me. There were times where I felt guilty for taking time for myself, but I realized just how much it took a toll on me physically, mentally, and spiritually if I didn’t. Create those boundaries and those around you will respect that.
Understand that when things don’t work out, to pivot
It sucks when things don’t work out, I know. But I believe an integral part of being an entrepreneur is knowing when to pivot. You can spend all the time in the world marketing your product or biz and if it doesn’t work out and you’re forcing it, it’s not helping you financially or your productivity. So take what you do know and know that it’s okay to make a change and pivot within your business. I can honestly say in the last year I’ve pivoted so much because I saw what worked and what didn’t work within my business, that I am in a much better place now than I would’ve been if I kept forcing things that clients and people around me didn’t want.
Look back at how far you’ve come instead of how much farther you have left to go
I am so guilty of not realizing how far I’ve come. I love to dream of the future and what that looks like for me. But there were times when I would not even celebrate my wins, like throwing my second Unfiltered event, launching the podcast, and the panels I was able to be a part of this past year. I’ve always been one to encourage other people celebrating their wins and even celebrate with them but never would do that for myself. It is so easy to tick things off your list and move on, but I think it’s so important for not only our mental health, but also to just reflect on just how much we’ve accomplished in a month, 6 months, and even a year! It’s about progress, not perfection.
Know your worth and own it
You have talent, skill, and expertise that sets you apart from anyone else. Your experiences and your past work is all your own, so know that with the combination of your experiences and expertise, that you’re worth so much more than you believe. If you think you’re “charging too much,” maybe you’re not charging enough. And know that if a client says they can get someone cheaper, let them cheap out and not get the quality work you provide instead of lowering your prices (chances are, they may come back to you because they didn’t get what they paid for). It’s easy to undervalue ourselves, and I am so guilty of this, but know your worth and own it!
I still can’t believe it’s been a year since I quit my job, but after reflecting on how far I’ve come, what I’ve accomplished, it’s insane. In addition to all of these main points, because I can share so much more, I will just add that it’s so important to navigate this world with an open mind. Understand that there is an ideal client for you, that you are more than your business, and that you don’t have to go on this journey alone. I’m thankful to have started a new company with my partner, gained so much experience from rejection and pivoting within my business, that I know I am exactly where I need to be right now.
I am so grateful and I can’t wait to see what the next year has to bring!
I am also excited to share I had the opportunity to share my story on my good friend, Veej’s podcast. We chat about all the things, from launching the new company I jumpstarted with Ian (futurespast.co), to knowing your “why,” and why I believe vulnerability is key. Tune in to the One Degree of Separation podcast hosted by Veej!
*Photo by @veeejzilla