One month. It’s been one whole month since I dove headfirst into self-employment, and boy, what a month it’s been.
After only four weeks of entrepreneurship, I am basically a start-up fetus, but I’ve learned so much in such a short timespan. I must admit, I thought the times when I was unemployed and freelanced to stay afloat would prepare me for this new life. However, it’s a lot different when you’re not just playing at being an entrepreneur – you’re actually living it.
While I definitely have a lot more to learn, here are some insights I’ve gained since starting Jasmine Williams Media.
1. You will doubt yourself – a lot.
I’m not the most confident person overall, but I have always been really confident in my abilities. After all, I wouldn’t start a business in something I didn’t think I was good at or wasn’t passionate about. And after I officially launched and all the supportive messages from friends and family members and old classmates I hadn’t talked to since high school flooded my social feeds, I was on a high.
But of course, after the high, comes the crash. Once the excitement died down, I felt that annoying self-doubt creeping up my back, whispering in my ear – “Can you really do this?” “Was this a mistake?” There are those days when I get a little stir-crazy from working from home or get tough feedback from a client that I need to remind myself why I did this.
Having a positive mindset (especially if you tend to be a little cynical like me) is so important because, at the end of the day, you have to be your own advocate. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect a potential client to invest in you.
2. You will need to compromise
One of the things I was most excited about starting my own business was the ability to work on my business during the day, and not just after work hours or on the weekend. I could devote so much more time to building my brand and creating a legacy.
Or, so I thought. Now that I have a few clients and a steady stream of work, I realize that I can’t quite prioritize my business development the way I imagined I would. People say that freelance work is like trading one boss for several, and I’ve learned first-hand how true that is. My clients always come first and that often means that my Jasmine Williams Media work is relegated to – you guessed it – evenings and weekends.
But that’s just the name of the game. Recently, I attended a panel talk featuring some amazing female entrepreneurs and one of the speakers, Kat Gaskin, said that you should work 9am-5pm for your clients and 5pm-9pm on your business. And considering she’s built *several* successful businesses, I think she knows what she’s talking about. Entrepreneurship gives you freedom and a level of control over your career that you can’t get from a traditional job – but, like everything, it has its price.
3. You will need to be extremely self-disciplined
The first week, I wanted to have it all. I thought I could finish all my client work, write blogs and social media content for my brand, and still have time for an active social life (because freedom, right?)
Wrong. Yes, I do have the flexibility to run errands or grab coffee with a friend during the day, but I definitely can’t do it every day. I’ve found myself having to say ‘no’ a lot more than I ever have and the times that I don’t often mean working weekends or late into the night to catch up.
I’ve always considered myself to be pretty good in the self-discipline department but entrepreneurship hasn’t certainly tested my resolve. I have to be the gatekeeper of my time since I don’t have a boss or a traditional employer to do it for me. And sometimes, that means skipping patio drinks for coffee shop work sessions – a trade-off I’m willing to make in order to grow my little baby company into the kick-ass brand I want it to be.
4. You’re not alone
When I’m working from home with just my laptop and my cats, it can get a little lonely. Even as an introvert who often loathed the standard office chit-chat about the weather, some days I start to miss the times when I had deskmates to say hi to and bosses to get on my case about deadlines.
However, even though I might be working on my own, I’m not alone. I’m lucky to have a tribe of fellow entrepreneurs and supportive friends to lean on when I need a little boost of encouragement. Even if that ‘boost’ is literally asking my friends to yell at me to get my work done.
Ultimately, the biggest lesson I’ve learned, and apologize in advance for the cheese, is that the learning never really stops. Whether it’s negotiating a contract or figuring out what to charge for my services, every day brings new challenges and I’m so excited to take them on.