Take it from me.
May 2021 will be five years. Five years since taking a risk. Five years of stepping outside of my comfort zone. Five years of learning everything there is to know about starting a small business by jumping right in. No experience, no courses, nobody in the same boat, no clue what I was doing, and no guarantee. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't believe I could make it happen at first. I had zero confidence in my abilities, I was terrified, timid, and intimidated. People were already doing it, but how? I started following similar "creatives" on Instagram and started finding a really cool community of like-minded women, but with that also comes those few that are territorial. They don't want to share the spotlight, the space, or the potential cash flow. I wasn't trying to push anybody out, I was just trying to carve my own path.
Long before #communityovercompetition, and #babsesupportbabes, there was #getthehelloutofmyway, and #Iwasherefirst. I remember in the first year I got blocked a few times by businesses similar to mine. Gift box companies if you will. For fear of me stealing their ideas, or maybe I had something they didn't have. You see, at the time I never thought the latter. I never thought I was good enough, or "at their level." Nowadays I get clients that choose me over those same "mean girls" because their client experience is different from mine and some people don't agree with it. Now it's not a competition here, but sometimes karma really can be a b word. Despite experiencing the least friendly welcome, I dove into this new world of spending all waking hours learning the ins and outs of social media. Learning how to create my website, slide into DM's, create content, blog, record stories, further develop my photography skills, and actually get people to pay attention to me, all while wondering if I had something worth while.
The secret sauce aka the secret to success.
I've changed my style a few times over the years, but what hasn't changed is my passion for what I do. Gifting was a passion of mine way before I got paid to do it. So was photography, writing for the heck of it, building websites, and being creative. All of the best ideas come from taking what you already know and love, and sharing it with the world. These days, it seems like the world is saturated with people wanting to do the same thing that someone else is doing to equal the same income that person is making. The problem with that isn't just that it's wrong to copy others, but you most likely won't last. Harsh, I know. If I've learned anything over the last few years, it's that you really have to love what you do, because those tough days will knock you off your feet and the only thing getting you back up is passion. Passion, persistence, and a strong desire to chase your dreams. You can't half ass this. You can't show up sometimes. You have to show up all the time. Day, night, good, bad, frustrating, painful, and annoying. You will experience every emotion on the spectrum guaranteed, but don't let that scare you. There are some really amazing days too! Exhilarating, inspiring, freeing, and beyond happy days that remind you why you keep doing this in the first place. You need those days, and you need to hold onto them when things don't feel like they are going right. Things will go wrong, that's to be expected, it's what you do with it that makes you a survivor. It sounds dramatic, but some days, that's what you're doing. Surviving.
If you aren't screwing things up every once in a while, you aren't trying.
Ok hear me out on this one. We all make mistakes. We beat ourselves up for doing so, and swear to never do it again, but of course we will. We are human after all. Mistakes are good!! Seriously. Sometimes they suck, but they will always teach us valuable lessons that propel us further toward meeting our goals. So try new things, fail, try again, try a new method, master a new skill, attempt a new craft. You never know what you will stumble upon. You also have to experience that feeling for yourself. That glorious feeling of finally nailing a task, of learning a new skill, and of making all the wrongs right. I make mistakes allll the time. Yepp, and I get mad about it. Good and mad to the point of tears and using curse words in a manner that rivals the same energy of the very first time you finally let them slip. Angry? Screwed something up? Frustrated? Good, we are getting somewhere.
Nothing exciting ever comes from comfort zones.
It's true. The most fun I've had, the biggest steps I have taken, and the most proud I have ever been all stemmed from getting outside of myself and being uncomfortable. Big meetings, tough projects, intimidating pitches, facing the unknown, and putting all of your trust in yourself. That's the scariest part. Trusting yourself. Listening to your gut and saying ok this is what we are going to do. You have to learn. You have to grow into who you are meant to be. You have to become a boss, and it doesn't happen overnight and you aren't simply born one. Maybe you're born with skills that can help get you there, but everyone has to learn what they are made of when they are faced with real scenarios. Angry clients, failure, broken equipment, depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, slow seasons, fear, being broke... Depending on your creative journey, you will face a variation of challenges that can either make you or break you. Sometimes both. I've been broken down a few times and let the negative thoughts take over. I've mentally quit. I've had anxiety attacks, I've been treated poorly, I've been told I would not succeed, I've been criticized, and I've hated some moments of this journey. Yes, I said it. You can love what you do, but oh you will hate some aspects of the process. Some of the growth, some of the challenges, and sometimes people will push you beyond your (sometimes nonexistent) boundaries. Exactly why one day you will get fed up and finally learn how to establish those boundaries. You will learn to say NO, you will begin to understand that your time is precious, and you will learn to prioritize yourself and your sanity. If you have not yet, keep going, you will. ;)
Is it worth it?
Let me ask you this... Do you like waking up to chase someone else's dreams? Do you find yourself watching other people achieve great things, while your fear holds you back? Have you already started your journey, but aren't seeing any results yet? Do you have little eyes watching you with curiosity and want to prove to them that anything is possible if you put your mind and heart to it? Do you want to believe in yourself and succeed?
You can ask and answer all of these questions, but no matter what the answer is always going to be YES. You should always say yes to yourself. Yes to new adventures, yes to making shit happen, yes to dreaming bigger, being bolder, and going further!
P.S. If you're on the fence about chasing a wild dream, starting a business, or taking things a step further in an existing business, just go for it!