A year ago today, I began my life as an independent business owner. It's been a wild ride, and I can't believe a year has passed already! I wasn't completely sure what I wanted to do after parting ways with my last employer, and it took a couple of months for me to find the confidence to move forth on life as an independent. I knew more than anything that now was the time to focus on my blog, and to enjoy a life not centered around working for someone else. I may not have had all the answers (definitely still don't!) but I have the faith, will and determination to forge a path all my own.
After taking a couple of months to explore all of my options, I applied for my business license and became an independent contractor, freelancing as a consultant. I thought about everything I'd done since leaving college, and created a menu of services that included: marketing, event production, public relations, personal styling, personal branding workshops and social media strategy. So many things! Too many things, probably.
I love love notes! Via StrikingTruths.com
Since then, I've taken on various clients in different capacities. I've learned more about myself and my capabilities in this past year than I had in all of my previous jobs combined, which is crazy since I learned a ton at each role I played. Everything is a lesson. These are some of the bigger lessons I've gone through in the past year:
Time is money.
When you're responsible for your professional...everything, the way you look at your time changes. I am more organized about how I spend my time than I've ever been before. If I'm not, I can easily get distracted by social media or bulldog cuddles, or wind up spending way too much time working and not enough on other things I should do, like working out. I let myself get lazy and ended up gaining weight because I was so afraid of not working hard enough, or bringing in enough work. I shined too much of a spotlight on getting my business running, that actual running fell off of my schedule! My time is everything. I am working on only spending it on the things (and people) that truly matter to me. See also: No, You Can't Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much.
Refine. Refine. Refine.
I am always analyzing and tweaking everything now. I'm feeling out the services I provide, figuring out which ones I truly enjoy working on, the types of clients I prefer to work with, and adjusting my budget and schedule. I want to work hard, but I also want to enjoy life and focus as much creative energy as I can on my blog. It's amazing how much less I'm shopping or doing frivolous things, because I want to go to that conference or devote more time planning out a strategy for my client. I'm a big believer that we are always learning, and if you're not - you've stopped living!
Find the right team.
Now more than ever, I have to have a strong support team around me. People who inspire me. People who can help me with parts of my business that I'm not good at, like an accountant or lawyer. People who can enhance my business, like my new Fresh Jess contributors. People to tell me like it is, or who can just listen when I need to talk myself through new ideas or frustrations I'm facing. Naysayers, people with negative energy or people who want to waste my time? Ain't got time fo' dat!
When you work for someone else, your focus (whether you like it or not) is on meeting someone else's goals, standards, and often, perceptions of you. When you work for yourself, everything is in your hands. Goals, mission statement, vision, finances, insurance, schedule - that is all on you. That might be intimidating for some, but I was absolutely up to the challenge. Still am, every single day.
Gratuitous excuse to include a pic of Nicki Minaj. Photo via ELLE Magazine.
Nicki Minaj said in this month's ELLE Magazine: "I deserve to know what's going on. It's my brand and my life." That's the way I look at things. I've been using the word 'entrepreneur' a lot more lately, in place of the term 'freelance consultant.' It feels like a better description encompassing all of the things I've been working on in the last year, in consulting but also in the many projects I've done here on Fresh Jess. Sponsored posts, better ads, better outfit posts, more and better content. Every day I'm evolving and the different arms of my business are getting stronger and stronger.
And I'm just getting started, y'all.
30Fresh. 30 days of posts celebrating 30 years - and 5 of Fresh Jess!