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30 Things I’ve Learned After One Year of Working for Myself

it's Monday // July 11th, 2016

I can’t believe it’s been an entire year since I quit my full time job to eagerly pursue this whole running my own business(s) thing. It was scary then and it’s scary now. But, I’ve been so blessed on this journey. I’ve gotten to work with amazing clients – who wholeheartedly respect and value what I do. I’ve made wonderful connections and I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way. Plus, I get to do what I love every single day and I’m my own boss. 🙌

Here’s a list of 30 things I’ve learned from being an independent designer and small business owner.

  1. 90% of people won’t answer your emails. The first couple of times it’s like a punch to the face, but then you just get used to it…
  2. Don’t be like those people who ignore emails. We’re all busy! Even if it’s a month later, reply. Keep if short if necessary and thank them for their time.
  3. Respect your clients and they will respect you.
  4. Don’t work with people who don’t respect what you do. That’s how some folks end up with “clients from hell”.
  5. Make a list of your dream clients or customers and go after them. Stay positive if the response isn’t what you had dreamed.
  6. Always show gratitude and kindness. And be humble. Don’t be an ass. Just because you own your own company doesn’t mean that you’re better than others.
  7. If you’re feeling unmotivated or overwhelmed, step away and do something else. The world won’t end.
  8. Inspiration is everywhere, but rarely at your desk.
  9. Prioritization is hard – especially when you run multiple businesses and want to do everything at once…
  10. You can do it all… just not all at once.
  11. Happiness and health should be your number one priority.
  12. In order to find balance you must separate business from hobbies. If they overlap too much you won’t have a creative outlet and may become tired of your day job.
  13. Yoga pants do count as “getting dressed”, thank you. Comfort is important when you sit at a desk for 8+ hours a day… especially if that desk is in your own home. And if you are going to a meeting, stilettos are not necessary. Chucks will be fine, my artsy friend.
  14. Put yourself out there, even if you feel silly doing so. And by yourself I mean – yourself. Just be yourself.
  15. Connections are key and social media is beneficial – my most valued connections were made via Twitter or Instagram.
  16. Learn from others in the industry but don’t treat them as deities. They are regular people, learning as they go, just like you.
  17. Present yourself the way that works best for you. Whether it be as a freelancer, small business owner, entrepreneur, independent design studio, etc.
  18. People will try to stifle your dreams. They will doubt you, they will steal from you, they will try to discourage you. They will fail if you keep your head down and…
  19. Do the work, even when you don’t want to.
  20. There will be bad days – but there’s always more good days ahead. ☀️
  21. You will have days that are just full of frantic panic.
  22. Don’t let yourself discourage yourself.
  23. There will be dry spells when you have no client work and no customer orders. Seize the opportunity! That’s the perfect time to work on passion projects or clean your house.
  24. Take breaks. Breaks are important for your sanity.
  25. Make time for friends, family and yourself.
  26. Working for yourself is hard. You will always need help in one area or another. Find that help, use that help.
  27. Focus on your goals and not monetary outcomes.
  28. The freedom of working for yourself is amazing. Always remember that. You work for yourself. You call the shots!
  29. Always have faith.
  30. If things don’t work out – you can always start another business.

If you’re at a point in life where you may be considering pursuing your dreams full time, check out these 3 Ideas you should invest in when starting a business. I made the leap a year ago, and I’ve loved every minute. I’ll be sharing with you many more business-y insights on the things I’ve learned in upcoming posts.

I wish you so much luck on your journey! If you’re already a freelancer, small business owner or entrepreneur, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned.

Happy Monday friends, let’s make this week awesome!

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  1. Pingback: Simple Mondays, A simple blog.

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