9 Things I Wish I Had Told Known When I First Started To Work For Myself

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Five years ago I was about to be "let go" from my last "real job."

I don't know why I feel the need to add quotes to those words as I was truly laid off and it was in fact a "real job," for a fairly large corporation. (Who went under completely shortly after laying me off. No one lays me off and gets away with it...)

I was thinking about all of this as I was talking to Chloe yesterday. I just hired her to work on social media for my shop, and basically teach me how to do all of the "blog/style/pretty" things better because she's obviously nailing it. Kids these days! I tell ya what, they just get it.

She just officially left the corporate world to work full time in freelance and mentioned to me she's in that excited/scared/ "I feel like my life is one giant question mark," phase.

And I couldn't help but respond, "yeah, me too." What I've learned after five years, is that feeling doesn't go away. In fact as your business gets bigger, you build your following, and acquire more customers, there's even more on the line. More things to make you question your every move. The difference is you learn to work with, or harness that fear. (That's a self help line, can you tell?) I would quote where it came from but given that I've read no less than 3000 self help books in my life, I have no idea.

It goes right along with...  wait, before I say it, let me bullet point this out or I'm going to get too winded and lose all of you. Might as well give it a fancy title too, because I've heard people like that.

 9 Things I Wish I Had Told Known When I First Started To Work For Myself:

1. You should have done this sooner.
But how?

You just do. Stop waiting. There will never be a perfect time. If you don't have the means to do it, pick up a side hustle. If this is something you really want to do, you'll do whatever you have to do to make it happen.

2. Stop worrying about what other people think.
People get ... itchy... when they see others taking that leap of faith, or going after what they really want. There's a lot of opinions involved. Tell me again how you're going to make this work? They ask in that tone. That tone that leaks with skepticism and judgement. Let it go. You've got better shit to do. Let your success answer their questions.

3. You don't owe anyone an explanation for what you do.
To this day, I still have people who ask me if I have a job. Do I really work? Tell me again how you make money? I get this a lot. Which is odd to me, because I don't ask other people how they make their income. So I've stopped explaining myself, instead I just smile and say, "oh you know, I do nasty things online," and that seems to shut them up. Own your hustle, but don't feel the need to clarify it.

4. We're all just people behind a computer screen who were once in kindergarten. 
Hear me out on this one. It's something I've been thinking about a lot these past two weeks as I've been dealing with less than pleasant things with my business and less than pleasant emails. When I've been worried about getting that ONE SCARY EMAIL I think will make or break my business, it's helped me to simplify the problem by reminding myself that the big bad email stems from a person, a person who was once in kindergarten, just like me. This may not make sense to you, but it does to me so I'm putting it out there.

I use this same idea when it comes to reaching out to people, like when I'm scared to send an email, or establish a connection. If there's someone you want to network with, who may help your business, just reach out. What's the worse that can happen? It's just a person behind a computer. (Who probably went to kindergarten once, wearing saddle shoes, and carrying a lunch box.) See what I'm saying?! I swear it works.

5. Don't hide from the breakdowns.
Because they'll find you. They always do. And you're going to have them (frequently.) Because everyone does. It's called life. That person you idolize? They have them too. It's all about how you deal with them. For example I love to analyze the shit out of myself, even in the midst of a breakdown, I ask myself a million questions. Why do you feel so bad? What's going on? What are you scared of right now? Is there a small solution you can take now to end this nonsense?

And by asking all of this, I usually figure out what my next step is.

6. Diversify yourself.
I've had some setbacks lately. But luckily, I was prepared. More so than I would have been three years ago, anyway. I NEVER put all of my eggs in one basket. When I have to pull back in one area, I push in another. So what I'm saying is don't count on "that one thing" to get you where you want to be. Count on 100 things, then think of 100 more.

7. Trust your intuition.
If something doesn't feel right to you, don't do it.

On the flip side, if you can't stop thinking about it, DO IT. Do it now. The more you listen to yourself, the louder those messages will get. I get pretty hippydippy about this stuff and truly believe that voice you hear comes straight from your heart (which comes from God or the Universe or whatever it is you believe in) and tends to have your best intentions in mind.

If you're going to listen to all of the negative shit you hear/worry about yourself why on earth wouldn't you listen to that one voice that makes you feel good?

8. Be conscious of the choices you're making. 
Because every one of them, even the small ones, impact your future in some way. The choice to worry more than you work. To scroll Instagram more than you work... To watch dog vides more than you work...

Choose focus over distraction. This is something I have to remind myself of daily.
(I've watched five dog videos while writing this. Reunion vids get me every single time.)

9. Embrace the unknown. 

This one comes from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success- my most recent read. How exciting it is that you get to live a life where each day is different than the next. You never know when something amazing is going to happen for you out of the blue. And isn't this why you became a freelancer, after all? Because you wanted to ditch the mundane, day-to-day bullshit of doing the exact same thing for someone else, on autopilot?

So rather than worry about tomorrow, be grateful you get to live today how you want. You get to hustle and grind and work your ass off to do that thing you've decided you want to do (in order to hang out with your dog all day.)

If you live in the past, you're depressed. If you live in the future, you have anxiety. But if you live in the present, in this moment right now, you're content.


  1. #4. Holy cow. I have a video chat today I'm freaking out about and that just made me feel so much better...

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience! Going full time with freelancing is something everyone dreams about, but the realities are harsh! Not everyone can do it so props to you, girllll!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  3. Yes to #4. I feel lost in my corporation but this just gave me a boost.

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I have been in such a "what the hell am I doing with my life" rut that I needed this read in my life!

  5. Do I say this a lot to you? Yes. But do I mean it? Yes. This is one of my favorite posts of yours. #8 is my biggie. But this whole list is incredibly great. I'm so glad you started this hustle, because you are a GOOD PERSON and I never would have known you otherwise!

  6. This post was so insightful!! Everything you listed above are things I think about on the daily, and I haven't even taken the plunge into full-time freelancing yet. It is something I have a deep desire to do. Reading your personal experience was both realistic (so appreciate that) and motivating. Keep going girl!! Hopefully we can share stories one day when I take the leap.

  7. Shit that last little quote about past, future and present gave me chills and made me tear up. Thanks for that!!

  8. Choose focus over distraction - that's brilliant! But I scroll Instragram to avoid work and that's how I found you...so..um...

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