“When my mom graduated from college she had to find a job. When I graduate I have to create one.”
I wish I could remember where I heard that one because it’s stuck with me for awhile.
In the world we live in today, where the internet is such a huge part of our everyday lives, the possibility to start something for yourself seems more attainable than ever. Which is probably why this is the thing I get messaged the most about every single week.
“I really want to start my own online business and wondered if you have any advice!”
Why yes, actually I do.
I don’t know everything and I still screw up regularly, but after working for myself for about five years now, I’ve learned a thing or two. Let’s start there.
How do you start?
You just do. Jump in before you’re ready because if you wait for that perfect moment it will never happen. This is exactly how all of the best things in my life have come about. I started this blog on a whim, I ordered my first 12 t-shirts on a credit card without any idea how I was going to sell them, just press submit and figure it out later.
(I bet a lot of people disagree with that advice, but I’m only speaking for what has worked for me. Which leads me to my next one…)
Try and fail a lot.
Before t-shirts and blog, I tried a lot of different businesses that failed miserably. Have you heard of the Blankron? No, no one has, because my blanket/apron never took off because apparently people don’t want to snuggle up with a fleece blanket that may also have food on it if it’s actually used as an apron, as well.
I still fail almost daily. I come up with t-shirts that no one likes, I run promotions that no one participates in, I’ve started businesses that absolutely tanked (and people saw it tank.) You know that scary embarrassing feeling you get before you do something that makes you appear vulnerable and/or stupid? I know that feeling well. The only thing you can do is push through it. What I’ve learned is that actually failing is a lot less painful than the “omg what if I fail” feeling leads you to believe it is.
So no, in my experience that feeling never actually goes away. But you learn to just bring it along with you, anyway.
You gotta hustle.
Before working for myself, I had this dream vision of what it might look like after my “business took off.” Basically, it involved me waking up every morning and just watching the money roll in while I twiddled my thumbs in the background.
It does not work like this. Because your business does not work unless you do. Even when things are on a high, you know you have to push even harder because there’s no telling how long that high will last. In reality, I wake up every morning and ask myself, what can I do today to keep this going?
What can I push? Who can I reach out to? What should I create? What kind of marketing is working? What is not?
The questions you ask yourself are endless because your business has become your livelihood. It’s a part of you and the fear of it dying is always there.
Accept the fear, but don’t let it consume you.
What if I lose it all? Is a common thought I’m always working to block out.
There is no steady pay check or guarantee that people will like what you do. But the fear of the carpet being pulled from under you can be paralyzing if you let it, so you have to flip it inside out and let it work for you. Make it push you to work harder.
You’ll have the highest of highs, followed by the lowest of lows.
Married AF circa 2016. Must never forget that high. I got lucky, was the first to do something and that wave was a good one. My biz has made it! Now I can truly twiddle my thumbs in the background! I thought to myself…
Once again, lol. Once that high was over I had some of my very lowest months. I tried everything and nothing stuck. It was devastating and I couldn’t understand it. I know now that’s just called “business.” You win some, you lose some. Do your best to just keep focused and keep on trudging through that mud and eventually you’ll make it out to the clear again.
Remember why you started, but keep in mind it’s okay to continue for other reasons.
I sometimes think that if we focus too much on why we started, it keeps us in the past a bit.
I started selling t-shirts to keep me from working in a cubicle. I continue because I hope it will allow me time to do what I really aspire to do- which is write self help books about making t-shirts. Jk. I want to write books that make people laugh and think and go, hey I’ve felt like that before too!
Until I get to that point where you can buy my book in an airport, I’m thankful I’m able to create and sell shirts people enjoy. Click here to buy 100.
One more thing…
Take this one with a grain of salt because I would never want to push my beliefs on someone else, but I will say that for me personally, jumping into the self help books, Universe love, crystal carrying, hippy dippy stuff ext, has helped me tackle the fear that goes along with running your own business/everyday life.
We all have our things… And for me, it’s telling myself that the Universe is on my side and wants me to succeed. The gnawing feeling inside me to complete something, or pursue something, is there for a reason. I know I’m getting closer to it when I’m feeling happy and energized. I know I’m wasting time on things I shouldn’t be doing when I feel agitated and grumpy.
You owe it to yourself to at least try to do whatever it is you’ve secretly always dreamt about… Life is too short for the coulda, woulda, shouldas.
On that note, I have to go take a crystal bath and clean out my chakras! It’s Monday. Time to get to work!
Like this stuff? I suggest reading The Alchemist, Big Magic, or The Artist’s Way. For podcasts right now I’m very into anything with Cheryl Strayed.
Today’s Abraham Hicks thought: “Use whatever excuse you can to vibrate in harmony with those things you’ve been saying you want. And when you do, those things that are a vibrational equivalent flow into your experience in abundance.”