How did you start your biz? - that's probably the #1 question I get asked. Before I get into how I started I need to give a little background as to what my life looked like at the time.
I was working full-time, and making a good salary, and enjoyed the people I was working with. Truth be told though, I was spreading myself thin (like 1 more thing added to by long to-do list and I was going to collapse).
Jaiden (our son) was 7 years old at the time and Sienna was 3. Will (my husband) was going to school full-time AND working nights/weekends (he's an RN). From the time Sienna was born to that spring of 2013 it felt like a complete blur. I was constantly running. Running to daycare, school drop-off, work - than back to the pickup routine, homework, dinner and repeat. The weekends were an endless list of chores. I was running on empty and felt like I was missing out on everything.
Jaiden who was in the 3rd grade at the time was having some challenges at school. After meeting with his teachers I knew I had to do more than just skim through his homework. But with a husband going to school and working night and weekends and me with no extra time how would this happen? I felt like the worst mom ever, I wept in my car and text Will "I can't do this anymore!", Will said well we knew we couldn't manage this load for long - just quit your job.
At the time (real talk) I rolled my eyes - quit my job?! We aren't wealthy people and we didn't have a bunch of money saved up for this type of thing. This was impossible and the fact that he so nonchalantly threw that out there upset me. It didn't feel like a real solution because it wasn't realistic (so I thought).
After a week of thinking about it, a calmness like never before came over me. Although it wasn't logical, and on paper didn't make sense for our family - I knew we'd be OK. I took a leap of faith, said a prayer and gave my two week's notice.
With my new down-time (I don't do well with too much time on my hands). I re-vamped the lifestyle blog I had on the back-burner and landed a PT marketing freelance gig. That assignment was for about six weeks.
I kid you not the last day of my freelance gig I saw a post on Facebook from a blogger I had written a profile on when I was working at The Palm Beach Post. Robyn of GrillGirl.com (who I hadn't spoken to in over 3 years) needed some help with her blog. I responded and within a few days she was my first client.
That's how my business started with a leap of faith and no real plan. I never had a desire to be my own boss, in fact if you would have asked me even 3 months before starting if I'd ever own my own biz I would have laughed and said NOPE!
You might be in a similar situation OR it might be something you've thought about for a long time but for one reason or another just haven't done it.
Here are some tips to turn your passion into a REAL business:
BE REALISTIC & HONEST WITH YOURSELF:
If you're passionate about it than it's worth you investing your time into it. Although I liked my job it was a day-to-day thing and I wasn't passionate about it. I guess that's why it was easy for me to walk away from. Not every passion can turn into profit and let's be real we go into business to make money. Have an honest look at the marketplace - is there a REAL need for what you have to offer? If the answer is yes, ask yourself another question: Is my passion so real that I will cut back on some of the "extra's" to make this happen? While I landed my first client quickly that wasn't always the case. To make ends meet we cut back on some extra "luxury" things to make it happen. When you're really passionate about your craft you have to be willing to sacrifice.
HAVE A PLAN:
While I didn't start out with a plan, I quickly realized I needed one. If you have the resources hire a CPA to walk you through what type of business to open. Set up your taxes and all of that other "non-fun" stuff. If this is going to be a REAL business you need to take the time to set it up correctly. If you don't have the financial resources head to the library or a local bank. The local library offers workshops and classes on this type of stuff and local banks will guide you through the process as well. Create a solid plan so you build a foundation on.
GET THE WORD OUT THERE:
I quickly realized that although I knew a lot of creative people I really didn't know a lot of business owners who needed my services. I joined a local networking group and each week I developed my pitch and quickly modeled my services out of what I was hearing they needed. I started receiving referrals and started building up my portfolio. I suggest attending local networking events, joining small business FB groups and for me a co-working space really helped me connect with other creatives (as well as give me a nice place to work out of and meet with clients).
DON'T BE AFRAID TO FAIL:
Failure really depends on what your idea of success is. I can't attach a dollar amount to the feeling I get that I'm finally able to balance my own time. For me, having the freedom to spend with my kids is a HUGE win. For those of you with a different frame of mind - still know that every business large or small has financial set-backs. You can't look at someone else's success story and re-create it. You have to map out your own way, and your way might take longer to unfold and that's OK. If things aren't working you need to be flexible and make adjustments when needed. There have been many times that business is slow and that's a scary place. Instead of feeding that fear I focused the energy back into my business. Aligning yourself with honest people who have been there will give you some insight and perspective
My name is Michelle, and I love telling stories with design that reflects it! I work with creative entrepreneurs on their branding, website design and digital marketing. Here you'll find a behind-the-scenes look at what I do and some useful tips that will help you along your journey!
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