Jump + Swim | How I Became An Entrepreneur
How I became an entrepreneur is honestly a LONG story. So I am going to simplify it: It started in 2011 with starting my blog and knowing I wanted to work for myself. I craved a lifestyle where I could work anywhere in the world from my laptop with a little wifi and of course - OF COURSE - coffee... because I am basic like that.
I am incredibly lucky that I grew up with a mother who dropped the corporate lifestyle and decided to refocus on following her dreams in her late 30's. She could have easily thought it was too late, she could have decided it was just a pipe dream and allow all her fears of being unable to support herself and her daughter keep her from her hearts desire. But she didn't, she had grit, she decided to do something different and took a chance, and it worked, twice. She has always been a touchstone of inspiration to me and I knew that if she could do, I sure the hell could too.
The 2 Biggest Challenges I faced were two-fold. 1. The initial jump and 2. Staying Afloat. Here is what I learned.
You'll never be ready, you'll never feel like its the right time, you will always find a reason not to do it. You will have people in your life calling you crazy, irresponsible, and flighty... or worse: people telling you to make a game-plan first and slowly make the transition. This may work for some people but it made me more comfortable where I was and so the best thing I could do for myself was to live on the wild side, get a little reckless, and just quit my job without a fall back. Scary but I did it, so you can too.
Being called 'irresponsible' was the biggest one that loomed over my head. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to pay my bills on time, but thankfully my fear of dying without trying was a lot grander than a payment being a week or two late. So you have to take a leap of faith and know that no matter what, you are going to make it work because YOU HAVE TO, YOU HAVE NO CHOICE. I knew this, like really knew it because I kept jumping and then pulling the shoot early out of sheer panic that I couldn't make the whole self-employment stick. Some months were harder, I had to hustle more, but honestly... I rather work 16 hours one day working for myself doing what I love than working 8 hours at a job that is sucking out my soul.
When I panicked (this was after 3 months of being on my own) I went back to my cushy job for I think 2 whole weeks, realized I coped out, tucked my tail between my legs and made my friend/manager promise me that she will never allow me to work in the company ever again because it was my security blanket. She held her promise and I knew that this time around it would be sink or swim.
If the water is coming up over your head, the best thing you can do is not panic and flail but allow yourself to float to the surface and lay on your back. Let the water support you instead of submerging you. I thought of this anytime where I felt like shit was hitting the fan and I naturally wanted to curl in a ball and cry. (I did that a lot too, just ask Landon)
Instead of panicking about financials, lack of clients, or needing equipment I couldn't afford or whatever... I decided to allow the fear to be my fuel to play bigger and to do things outside of my comfort zone. I got to swimming, as soon as I calmed down and fought off my 'dooms day' fears. I wouldn't get bigger and better staying put or getting a part-time job every time my financials dropped below what felt comfortable to me, it meant I needed to get creative, hustle, and find new ways to be seen and be hired and also get used to living a different lifestyle (aka not going clothing shopping for a year.) Sometimes this meant doing something I usually wouldn't do like graduation photos, or collaborating with other creatives, doing a personal project, etc.
You are going to have set backs, you are going to fail, you are going to mess up... you are human and failing is the greatest thing you can do because you can only get better from there! Instead of drowning... SWIM, baby.
If you'd like to read more, I wrote a blog post about the 9 things I learnt in my first year (and a half) of entrepreneurship here. Its a good one!! My favourite part is "stop being a drama queen."