Becoming your own boss definitely has its pros and cons, but I've learned a few valuable lessons along the way. I'd love to share my journey as a solopreneur, as well as the valuable lessons that have made my business more successful and fulfilling. If you've ever thought about starting your own small business, keep these tips in your back pocket, because they will help keep you centered during the whirlwind of being a solopreneur!
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Reasons to Celebrate
This is a MAJOR week! To start off with, Eclectic Designs .CO is officially turning THREE YEARS OLD! It's an extremely exciting time to celebrate and, to be honest, I couldn't be prouder. Not only that, The Eclectic Universe Podcast, is entering Season 3!! But wait, there's more! The cherry on top is that I'm turning 27-years old on September 8th! Anniversary, new season, and birthday - so much to celebrate! 🎉
Turning another year older means it's reflection time. I've looked back on how far my business and podcast have come - but I've also looked back on how my journey into becoming an entrepreneur began in the first place.
My Journey Into Becoming A Solopreneur
Back in August of 2019, I applied for my LLC to become my very own brand design studio. Something I NEVER thought I would accomplish as early as 24.
After college, I was incredibly grateful to get a job as a Marketing Design Coordinator at a transportation company. I was making $21 per hour, right off the bat. This was $7.50 more than what I was making at my previous recreation center job and $6 more than my paid internship (yes paid internships EXIST, so always look for them). It felt like a really big deal to me.
While I was in this new role as a Marketing Design Coordinator, I was primarily working on layout design. Then slowly they had me working on all of their social media accounts. I worked there for about 2 years until the big layoff wave came during the pandemic in 2020.
I'll never forget that day.
My manager called me into the office, sat me down, and said, "They're letting you go. I don't agree with this decision, but I know you'll accomplish great things that aren't here."
And he was right.
How Being Laid Off Was The Best Thing To Happen To Me
The entire time I was with this company, I was working on my own brand on the side. I would work with my own clients during lunch breaks, and get creative streaks until the late hours of the night. It was obvious that this was where my true passion was.
So when I was let go, although a bit cliche, it truly was a blessing in disguise, the universe guiding me even. I could focus on my own business, gain clients, and be my own boss (not to mention, make more money!). So while being let go felt scary, it was exactly what I needed to venture into my solopreneurship.
3 years later and I'm running a successful, heart-driven business that keeps me creative, abundant, and fulfilled. I have learned so much along the way and there are a few lessons that stand out in my mind. If you've ever thought about exploring starting your own business, I'll say two things:
DO IT. You will not regret it.
If you remember the three lessons below on your journey, you will be set up for success!
The Three Biggest Lessons I've Learned As A Solopreneur
1. Find Balance
I wouldn't say I've mastered this one (yet), but finding balance as an entrepreneur in my opinion is difficult! Especially as a solopreneur, how are we supposed to do it all?! And I'm not just talking about only business here, we also need to consider our home life, family, health and mental wellbeing.
The biggest reason why, is because when we try to do it all - we hit burnout quicker than anything. I have hit burnout consistently for the past three years. So finding balance essentially should be at the top of our list. As tempting as it is to do MORE, it's okay to step back and do less in order to be open for greater opportunity.
Here's my best tip on how to find balance:
Create your dream schedule. Understand what is of the most importance to you and work your way back from there. Maybe not every day looks the same, or maybe it does! But either way, this schedule is yours and yours alone. If you really want to prioritize spending days at the pool or wandering through the mountains, DO IT! Then sprinkle in your work during the times you feel the most productive. Mine is usually in the morning around 11am - 2pm and late night between 9pm - 12am. Now, it might take some time - we have been taught for decades to work a "particular" way, I'm still learning! Some weeks go smoother than others. 😉
2. Ask For Help
We often look at the entrepreneurs or influencers and aspire to be as successful as them, making us feel like we have to work 10x times harder. But truth be told, they didn't get to where they are without help. Doing everything on our own is possible, but it more than likely leads to burnout, overwhelm, and maybe even giving up. So as a business owner, and a human being, it's vital (and okay!) to ask for help.
I used to be the person who would do group projects completely on my own, or take care of my siblings on my own, or think that every element of my business had to be done by me. Then I would hit burnout and lose that balance I was talking about. Now, I reach out to friends when I need support and I've hired a virtual assistant to help with the everyday tasks of my business.
Help is all around us - hire a coach if you need a business boost, text a friend if you need emotional support, or if you're feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list, hire a VA. There are so many people who would love to help and uplift you!
Here's my best tip on how to ask for help:
Do an audit of your life and become aware of the areas that are overwhelming. When you figure out the specific areas in your life that could use a little more attention, you'll know better what type of help you can ask for. Are you confused about your business and where it's going? It will help to find a coach that can give you this clarity. Are you unhappy with your body and want to get in shape? Maybe it's time to speak with a physical trainer. Once you become aware of the things you want to change, you can receive guidance to finally make those changes.
3. Set Boundaries
This is somewhat similar to finding balance, but setting boundaries is so important. It's vital to set and hold boundaries with yourself, the community you're building, and any clients you work with. Boundary setting was something I worked on with a therapist, and it helped me learn how to work through the guilt I felt when it came to setting boundaries in general.
By having boundaries, a lot changes. You no longer feel stuck doing things you don't want to, you have time freedom and setting them feels empowering because you gain something of value back. For me, it was time freedom to still make room for my own self care or hobbies. Otherwise I would be working 24/7 all the time!
Here's my best tip on how to set boundaries:
First and foremost... If you do not have a contract or a terms and conditions to what you offer. RUN AND GET THAT ASAP. I can not tell you how many times I didn't have enough boundaries set with a client or in a project contract and I find myself on month 6 when the project should have been completed on month 3. These are also two forms that technically or legally can't be argued. If you're not ready for a lawyer to write these up for you, look for resources where you can get templates or freebies that cover what you need.
Second, get comfortable with saying "no". This phrase makes me grit my teeth... But it's true!! When we run our own business, we have to remember we make the rules now which means if something doesn't align with us, we can simply say "no" to it. That includes things that might be getting in the timeframe of your business. I have the HARDEST time saying "no" to my friends or family, but without it, I would never have the time to run my own business.
It's All Worth It
Being an entrepreneur, and a solopreneur at that, is not easy. However, as long as you find balance, have clarity, and keep your boundaries strong, entrepreneurship is extremely rewarding!