At the beginning of March I quietly celebrated 5 years of self-employment. Now I’d love to celebrate this accomplishment with you.
Self-employment has been a wild, twisting, turning, bumpy ride, and I’m really grateful to still be here. Not every business owner is so lucky; about 50% of businesses fail by this point.
In many ways I’m still brand new. In other ways I’m a completely different person than I was 5 years ago. I’m feeling so many noticeable shifts & growth happening at this point in my business.
Self-employment changes things.
So much of my energy has been spent unlearning the patterns and limitations that helped me “succeed” in the “real world”, just to stick with my ventures & keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Lots more energy has gone towards learning new things… Studying everything business related from copy-writing, sales, & small business law, to couples & trauma therapy techniques, to different meditation and movement styles, and more.
The highs and lows people talk about when it comes to self-employment and entrepreneurship are no joke.
Overall these past five years have been really hard, harder than I ever expected.
Here are some important lessons I’ve learned from self employment that I’m taking with me into the next five years.
I learned them the hard way, and I hope you won’t have to.
1. Be intentional.
This is going to be harder than it sounds, especially at first, when the newness of your situation creates all the upheaval that change brings.
When you’re feeling squeezed by the responsibility of your next paycheck, it might literally take all of your energy to slow down and put some deep thought into what you’re doing.
Being intentional will allow you to work SMARTER, so you can set yourself up for the business you ultimately want.
This requires a deep understanding of what’s important to you, and a plan that aligns with that, though the plan might be different than you think. I thought I had a great, thoughtful plan when I left my job in healthcare, but I didn’t.
Some core things that are important for you to understand right away –
What’s your budget and how will those funds be used?
Who are your clients? What problem are you addressing for them? How will you connect with them?
How far do you ultimately want to scale your idea?
Work with a clear vision of the end in mind. Make business decisions that support that end goal.
Slow down, get centered, get clear. Create an intentional plan and work it. Find strategies that work for you.
At the same time…
2. Be flexible.
You’re going to have a great plan, and it’s going to have to change, maybe often.
Great business leaders understand when and how to pivot.
It’s important to roll with the punches and keep moving forward without becoming too attached to anything that’s not working out the way you want it to.
Determine what the core values and pillars of your project are; those are the things that you NEED to align with to stay in integrity with your plan. Everything else needs to be fluid & flexible.
Flexibility is essential to expand quickly by making good swift use of the opportunities that come your way.
Your ability to adapt will make or break you when it comes to successful self-employment.
Flexibility will also allow you to connect with more people, and that’s important because…
3. You can’t do this alone.
Trust me, I understand the urge to do as much as possible by yourself.
I also know what it feels like when scarcity, competition, and trauma patterns change me into a different person who doesn’t play well with others.
At the end of the day, other business owners, even your competitors, are your friends. Align yourself with people who are working towards the same things. You simply can’t do everything on your own and you don’t have to.
Do be discerning about who you’re surrounding yourself with, but don’t shut yourself off from other people.
Figure out what your weak areas are and build a team that supports you where you need it.
Get very comfortable receiving input, guidance, and help.
Understand what you want and need from other people and start shamelessly asking for it. Get comfortable hearing the word “no” from people without letting it stop you.
The core support team you develop through self-employment might surprise you. Not everyone is going to understand what you’re up to, but some will. Keep them around.
On the other hand, knowing what to tune out is just as important because…
4. You are the secret ingredient in your own success.
I spent several years looking for the keys to my business’s success outside of myself.
I worked with a lot of coaches early on in self-employment. A lot of that work was incredibly supportive and essential… that being said, at a certain point I started to lose myself and get sidetracked by it.
Trying to fit into and follow what other people felt about me started to outshine what I understood about myself.
Understanding who you are, what you bring to the table, and how to channel your unique talents will allow you to take truly inspired actions and provide so much value in every interaction. Providing your value freely & providing people with memorable experiences will take you a long way in business.
Know this – you can trust your vision.
You are your own secret sauce. Surround yourself with people who help you tap into that.
Please don’t let that inner fire fizzle out.
5. You deserve to rest.
If you’re anything like me, it’ll be essential that you rest, maybe a lot, especially at first… and this will be hard for you to do.
It’ll help you come to the table every day, refreshed and ready, with your cup overflowing.
You need to be able to relax. Learn what you specifically need to find that balance in your life.
Breaks will make you more productive & creative. So go on, make sure your days are full of fun!
Make room to feel what you’re feeling and really enjoy your life as you build it.
I’ve found that embracing rest this way supports me in all the other lessons I’ve mentioned. When I’m resting, I reflect, I take my time, and naturally become more intentional. When I’m relaxed, I’m not only more receptive and flexible, but building rest into my schedule allows me to joyfully connect with my clients whenever they need me. I learn about myself and re-connect with myself when I take time to be with myself.
Seriously, please rest & take care of yourself as you pursue your passions. This will provide you with more and more goodness to give.
If I could go back 5 years and tell myself all this at the start of my self-employment journey, I would, but I’m not sure I would’ve listened. Will you?
To celebrate 5 years of self-employment, I’m offering a free 5-day Conscious Wholeness experience.
Conscious Wholeness has changed the game for me when it comes to staying centered, focused, & calm through the throws of self-employment.
Whether you’re trying to contribute more by helping others, or trying to get your own two feet placed solidly on the ground, Conscious Wholeness can act as a core structure to lean on when you need more clarity, power, and energy to move forward.
I’ll be sharing new videos on YouTube containing short Conscious Wholeness practices every morning, and sharing a daily worksheet in your email inbox, all to give you a solid taste of what Conscious Wholeness practice is about. You’re free to connect with the others about your experience inside of my Facebook group The Cocoon, but you don’t have to.
Just subscribe to my YouTube channel and/or sign up here to stay in the loop.
When we’re done, the whole experience will be available forever inside of the Conscious Wholeness course.
What are your takeaways when it comes to successful self-employment? Will you join the celebratory 5-day experience? Please share in the comments! Sending lots of love until next time.