As some of you may know, I launched my independent copywriting and storytelling business last January and I’ve been pursuing it fulltime ever since. During this time, I learned A LOT about myself and about doing business my own way.
Since I’ve been down with the flu all week, I thought I’d take a break from binge-watching my favorite Turkish series (hey, don't judge) and use this downtime to share some of these reflections with you.
I've narrowed it down to my five biggest lessons, so let’s dig in…
1) YOU’RE SO MUCH MORE THAN YOUR JOB
When I first quit my job, I went through an identity crisis. A simple question about my professional life in a social gathering would stop me in my tracks and lead me to have a mental breakdown later.
I was so used to tying my identity and self-worth to my job title that I forgot who I was and what I’m worth outside of my professional life. But as I slowly started adjusting to my new lifestyle, I started learning to stop looking for external validation for my choices and accomplishments. Instead, I embarked on a journey to find what feels good for ME, and that made all the difference!
If you’re currently struggling with navigating a career change, check out this excellent article on Forbes, written by Career Coach, Sara Young.
2) COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION
If you think other freelancers are your competition, then you have the wrong attitude! First of all, there are so many opportunities out there for everyone, so embrace the abundance! Second, some of your best collaborations may come through referrals from other freelancers, at least, that was the case for me.
There are so many benefits to befriending other freelancers, including those that operate within your field. Think coffee and work dates, having someone to vent to about work issues or just someone to watch over your stuff, if you have to use the bathroom when you’re out working from a cafe. Yes, the struggle is real!
3) YOU’RE ALLOWED TO SAY “NO”!
When I first started out, I was tempted or even felt obliged to say “yes” to every opportunity that knocked my door. As freelancers and entrepreneurs, we’re conditioned to think that saying no is a bad thing. We assume that by saying no, we're being ungrateful and unwilling to step outside of our comfort zone.
But the truth is, sometimes, your instincts will tell you that the potential client or proposed project is not a good fit for you, or is just not worth the effort. And if that happens, you should ALWAYS trust your gut instincts, even if other people try to convince you that you’re crazy for turning down such a great opportunity.
By saying no to what feels wrong, you’re actually developing self-awareness and making space and time to work on projects that are aligned with your values and interests.
4) FEEL THE FEAR & DO IT ANYWAY
Now, this might sound confusing after reading the point above, but the only time I think saying “No” is bad, is when you add fear to the equation. If you turn down projects simply because you believe they are too challenging for you, then you, my friend, are limiting your growth.
From my own experience and using Life and Business Coach, Marie Forleo’s career mantra, almost “everything is figure-out-able” if you run a Google search.
Instead of running away from challenges, try to approach them as learning opportunities that you can get paid to complete. So, if a task requires you to do extra research or put in more hours, raise your rate not your white flag!
5) FIND YOUR OWN RYTHM
Deciding to do business your own way or to follow an unconventional career path can lead you to guilt trip yourself into working round the clock to prove a point to yourself and/or those around you.
But what's the point of being your own boss if you're not going to allow yourself to enjoy doing things differently? No, you don't have to replicate the 9-5 schedule in your home office. Also, it's totally fine to take a day off mid-week to go swimming or shopping!
Have you already taken the jump from a full-time job to running your own business? What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned along the way? I'd love to hear from you in the comments sections belwo, seriously!