As I continue sharing my solopreneur journey with you, I am thinking today about what I’ve learned so far. I won’t cover the entire list here, just the lessons that were most beneficial.
- Confront the fear and don’t let it stop you. This is the most important one. Fear comes up in nearly every conversation I have with women who are considering leaving their 9-5 job to start a business. I have to admit, fear wasn’t much of a factor in my choice. I can’t explain why except perhaps that I felt ready for what I was taking on. That isn’t to say though, that I haven’t had fears and faced them head on. My biggest fear is that of flying. I hate it. I used to travel the world constantly for work and still hate it. So when I met my boyfriend who has a plane and wanted to take me up in it, I had to work HARD to do it. But I did! The picture here is from that first flight. Is my fear of flying gone? No way. But I continue to challenge myself and get up there in the air. I may even take flying classes, hoping that will help alleviate the fear. So, yes, fear will be a factor. But would you rather it hold you back and deny you your dreams? Or confront it, take it head on and be amazed at how far you can go? I choose the latter.
2. Find your support group. There are lots of people out there who will believe in you and help you make your dream come true. Yes, you’re taking on the challenge alone in most cases, but find the people out there who will be by your side and support you. They are there. I’ve found my support group in friends, in colleagues, and of course, in past clients who stay in touch and make referrals.
3. Keep learning. This is a journey you’re on. It will have ebbs and flows. Just keep learning and growing. You made a mistake? Fine. Reflect and understand what you can learn from it. We all make mistakes! It’s not the number of mistakes you make that is important. It’s what you learn from them that matters. Read, go to classes, watch webinars. Things are constantly changing and your business will evolve, so it’s critical you keep up on the latest trends and information pertinent to your business. There are a myriad of resources available to you to grow and make your undertaking successful.
4. Don’t give up! There will be days, I promise you, when you wonder if you shouldn’t just quit your business and go get a ‘real job’. I’ve had them. Yes, when the cost of medical insurance keeps rising, you’re having trouble sleeping, or you just feel exhausted from it all, it happens. I know more than one self-employmed person who has succumbed. And, that’s ok. Sometimes it is the better choice. But keep at it. Believe in yourself, trust the universe, and listen to your gut. I’ve found my gut to be my single most reliable indicator. When I’m on the right path, I just know it. So as long as your passion is alive and you’ve planned appropriately, keep going. Giving up will just leave you wondering if you could have made it. Why not let it all play out and know for sure? Life is too short for regrets and what ifs.
5. I said the list was long, but I’ll end with this one. PLAN. Plan for this journey. Do you have 18 – 24 months of living expenses saved up? Are you willing to work extra hours? Most people begin while working a ‘day’ job so they can pay the bills, so be prepared to work all day, or maybe part time, then come home and work evenings and weekends to make it happen. The difference is, you’re working for YOU and you won’t mind. I’ll get up at 3:00 am with something on my mind and get it done. And I love it. Do that for an employer? Not so much. So, gather information, hire a coach, read books, talk to people and understand what’s coming so you can be prepared to be successful!
I hope this is helping, or inspiring people to take the leap. I believe in dreams and I believe in pursuing them. I hope you do too.