Just like having kids, there is a reason no one tells you it is going to be easy. Starting your own business, branching out on your own, your name on the line, your reputation, the risks you take are all factors no one talks about. Still, that voice says, “Go for it!” Your nerves try to hold you back. Your heart believes you can do it, and that’s just your internal thoughts and feelings. Your loved ones and close friends, what are they thinking or telling you? “Are you serious?” “You’re joking right?” “Oh my God! Good for you!” While secretly you hope to hear more of that last statement, its not the first response or expression that is given most of the time when you first mention your plans. You have the idea, you have a plan, but you need help. Where do you go? Who do you talk to who can lead you in the right direction? Is it going to cost a lot? How much do I need to put forward? Will I have enough support from my family and friends? Not referring to financial support but emotional support. Will I have them behind me every step of the way because they believe in me? Will they stay if I fail? What if I succeed? Will things stay the same or will relationships change? (The dreaded secret questions I didn’t want to ask. Are my friends going to expect me to do things for them at no cost? Will they ask for discounts, gifts, or financial help? If so, will it be a one-time situation, or will it continue to with no end in sight.)
Those are the questions that will come up when you are in the early stages of starting out on your own. However, they do not stop there. As life, community, national, and international events occur, more questions are sure to rise because you cannot predict the future no matter how hard you try. What to do in the meantime? By handling it each question one at a time.
When I first started out, I was excited, nervous, scared, and happy at the same time. It was definitely a slow start. I knew what I was going to be doing but how do I know how much to charge and not short change my work and my time? How do I build up my credibility, skills, and knowledge that I know what I was doing and was great at it? Time. It was going to take time and loads of it. Because it was going to take a long time, my patience was put to the test. Marketing myself was easy…at first. I joined a couple chambers, a networking group, and was able to remain on two of the women’s committees I was involved with prior to going off on my own. When news broke that I was off on my own, it seemed like everyone welcomed me with open arms, many congratulatory comments, and positive feedback all around about how awesome it was for me to be on my own. This was probably the first 3-4 months. Then it was followed by attending events where I had to be seen as those events were additional ways to market myself. As great as it was at first, it was taking up more time than I could imagine. I had personal and family duties to tend to, a major volunteer position to maintain and control, as well as time I was spending with the four students I was mentoring. Just when I was starting to be recognized, I already had tough decisions to make. I had to give something up. Which do I give up? They were all important to me. I had to sacrifice something if I wanted to continue to grow my business. So, what did I give up? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Instead, I found a way to make it all work…for the time being. How? With the help of my coach, I have learned to keep an eye on my schedule closer than I have before and plan everything out as far in advance as possible. There will be times some meetings, events, and life will overlap. Before it happens, I already have a list of things that I follow which helps me decide which will take precedence over another. Even if it means cancelling everything for a day just to make time for myself so I do not crash and burn from being overwhelmed with what I have on my plate.
I have come a long way from when I started 3 years ago, but I am not done learning and experiencing new things. While I look forward to a couple months for something to take less space on my plate, I’m excited for the road that is ahead of me. And it looks great!
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