Six Month Business Recap : What I’ve Learned

It’s been SIX months since I launched my business! I feel like so much has happened and I’ve already learned so much along this journey so far. Starting your own business is hard work & comes with different struggles that you would never think of. So, I wanted to take the time to recap what I’ve learned so far and provide some advice to those who are beginning their journey, or thinking about starting their own business.

There are so many things that you encounter when you are starting your own business, things that nobody teaches you and you have to figure out on your own. I definitely ran into some unexpected obstacles on this journey so far. I am well aware that I’m not done learning (never will be). It’s a process and you learn something new every single day.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ONLINE CONNECTIONS

There is great importance in making connections with those who are in your industry/making connections with like-minded people. For me, I don’t know anyone else who does what I do. So, the connections I’ve made in the online space has been extremely helpful and important for my continued success.

When I first started my business, I joined several Facebook Groups & started making connections with other female entrepreneurs through Instagram. Being able to connect with other, like-minded people who have been in your shoes before has been super helpful. It’s always reassuring to know that you’re not the only one experiencing great anxiety and frustration in your business, especially starting out.

I highly recommend looking up joining any Facebook groups and start making connections!

BEING OKAY WITH TAKING CHANCES

You can’t learn if you don’t make mistakes, right? Starting out, I had a world full of amazing opportunities waiting for me. I wanted to test the waters in every way possible and see where it would take me. Maybe I tried to take on too many things at the start, but I’m honestly very grateful that I did. I started blogging and a video series on my Facebook business page. I knew that I wanted to try something different and take chances and I knew I just had to do it in order to learn.

The series didn’t turn into what I expected it to be, but I think that the experience has opened the door and given me many more ideas of where I want to go next. You can’t expect the very first idea to be a game changer, but it can at least be a learning experience and guide you in the right direction. If anything, it’s given me even more confidence to continue trying new things and do it even better than before.

As an introvert that over-thinks and over-analyzes everything, this was a hard thing for me to do. But, I had to do it in order to continue moving forward in my business and give me more ideas.

ORGANIZATION & COMING UP WITH A SYSTEM

This seems like a very known thing, but I had no idea what I needed to do and what was the best system to put into place to make my day run smoothly. It was hard figuring out exactly what I needed to be doing. When you work in the corporate world, there’s already a system in place and you make changes when needed. Having to start from scratch, figuring out the best system for me, how to organize my time has been a challenging experience. It’s been an amazing experience to being fully in charge of my time, but that also comes with it’s own set of roadblocks that I was unprepared for.

What has helped me is taking on less clients to let me figure out a schedule and experiment with different things. There was so much I wanted to do and figure out that I needed some extra time to get it all figured out. I needed the opportunity to try things out, make mistakes and learn from them.

Over the last 6 months, I’ve been able to experiment with my system and my schedule, do some research and adjust where I thought was necessary. It’s been quite the journey so far, but I’m so happy and proud of the chances I’ve been able to take to continue learning and moving forward with my plan.

TRYING TO FORCE MYSELF TO BE CREATIVE RATHER THAN DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY

As a Social Media Manager, I know the importance of planning content ahead of time. I’m good at planning content for my clients, but I’ve found this to be different for myself. I would try to plan out what blog posts I would write, what I wanted to post on Instagram, videos I wanted to make etc., all at the beginning of the month. It sounded like a great plan. I would write down what everything that I wanted to do at the beginning of the month, but I wouldn’t have anything to say about the topic when the time came and it didn’t come off as natural. There always seems to be another topic that came to mind that I ended up talking/writing about.

Having the set plan in place stalled my creativity and made the task more of a chore and frustration. What I’m learning to do now is carry around my planner and writing down topics that come to mind and jotting down notes in a word document, adding to it as ideas come. Doing this has let me exercise my creativity and speak from my heart, rather than forcing myself to be creative.

Planning ahead of time is always great, but I’ve learned that I need to make sure that I’m doing it right and not forcing myself to be creative about a topic when I’m not at the time.  

RECAP

Overall, these 6 months in my business has been the most incredible experience that I could ask for. I never saw myself starting my own business, so this has been quite the journey. But, sometimes you just have to follow the path and the signs as they come. I’ve learned so much, I’ve been challenged in many ways and I’ve put myself out there in ways that I didn’t even know were possible.

It’s been an amazing start to 2019 and I am so very excited to see what else is in store for the rest of the year! Just remember- take as many chances and go through all the open doors that come your way. They can be the most life changing and amazing experience. 💗

First month of entrepreneurship

Who else thinks January flew by?!

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The first month of the year did not go as I expected, but it never does, does it??

In November & December, while I was planning my business, I was super excited & energized to be working on my business. It was a cool feeling and I truly enjoyed working on it. But, the moment I made my announcement, everything shifted. I found myself getting overwhelmed and exhausted. A week in, I was thinking to myself, “what did I just get myself into?” It’s like everything became real. Up until that point, I obviously knew it was happening, but it didn’t really hit me until it became official. I immediately started feeling frantic, like I needed to get everything figured out. I felt like I had so much to do, I would get up early, sit down and have no idea what to do.

I did not decide to start a business because I thought it would be “easy”. But, I did quickly realize that I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was going to be. That’s probably a main reason for why I was feeling so unsure when I would sit down to get work done. My schedule & tasks have changed so much over the last year and all of a sudden everything I do is completely up to me to figure out. I am running a one woman show. I do the planning, creating, developing, analyzing, making phone calls, initiating emails, etc.

A week into January, I felt like I failing at running a business. I got to a point where I had to ask myself,, “what am I even failing at?” I had to give myself a reality check and slowwww downnnnn. I had multiple messages on LinkedIn, a handful of people that were reaching out wanting to collaborate and build a partnership, a handful of people wanted to help me network. I mean, I had to remind myself that opportunities were sitting right in front of me.

I always like being prepared and no matter how long & hard I worked to prepare for the launch and get my business organized, I wasn’t ever going to be completely prepared. The unknown & unpreparedness are two top things that stress me out and overwhelm me. I quickly realized that I had no idea the opportunities and the work that I had to do. I also understand that this happens. I did lots of research afterwards to make sure this was “normal”. I now have those targeted Facebook Ads about being a stressed out business owner & realized that what I was experiencing is normal.

The important thing that I had to understand & remind myself is that you have two important choices: 1. Let yourself continue to be overwhelmed & let the situation control you OR 2. Learn from this situation & continue moving forward. This has been a life motto of mine forever & when you’re in the moment it can be so hard to follow through with the latter option. Especially when you don’t know how to move forward from the situation. It’s like you know that you’re doing something wrong & there’s a major life lesson, but you’re not entirely sure what it is or where to go next.

So, I began overworking myself, stressing myself out… falling asleep between 6pm-7pm because I was so exhausted. I was more exhausted by the feeling that I wasn’t sure what I needed to do to keep moving forward. This goes back to my feeling that I just want to be successful. I was so focused on trying to be successful right away & make enough money that I was getting overwhelmed.

So, I had to take a step back and analyze the situation and figure out what I needed to do to get myself on track and moving forward. Burn out is a very real thing & I knew I was heading in that direction if I continued doing what I was doing. I needed to get my mind & my focus back on track. I decided I needed to stop writing blogs for a little bit (even though I only had written 2 lol), let myself sleep in & start reintroducing a self-care routine! Towards the end of January, I decided to attend webinars, educate myself even more & developed an even better system to keep myself organized. I even came up with even more things that I want to do with my business. I’m continuing to gain more confidence in my abilities and where this business will take me.

This is an adventure. Honestly, working from home, being my own boss, building a business that I love & I am proud of, making a positive impact on people’s lives… that makes all of this worth it. At the end of the day, I am so grateful for this opportunity. I am truly blessed to be able to be building a life & a business that I love & gives me so much energy.

One of the most important lessons I learned in January was: Say “yes” more often. I had a handful of people reach out & want to learn more about what I do and see if there was an opportunity for collaboration. I ended up meeting a handful of people and learned a lot from each person. I’m learning more and more how to get out of my comfort zone & be as successful as I want to be.

I am young. I’m still learning. I’m still growing. But, we all are, right? You never stop.

So, how was your January?!

- Blissfully Jess2

My journey from a struggling high school student to starting my own business

Ten years ago, I was a struggling high school student. I remember spending all of free time trying to figure out homework assignments & studying hard for tests. I would go into school early and stay late to get extra help. I still failed almost every single test I took. I was constantly worried about being eligible for extracurriculars. I literally passed high school with test corrections and test retakes. It was hard not to feel discouraged because it seemed like everyone around me had no problems & I was on the brink of ineligibility.

I so badly wanted to be successful. But, I often felt like I was just not smart enough or capable of reaching the level of success that I wanted. At the time, I wanted to be a psychologist and get my PhD. But, how could I possibly achieve that if I can barely pass high school? Let alone get into a PhD program.

I have a super smart older brother who was just a year ahead of me in school. He is gifted academically, had artwork displayed in the hallway and has his picture hanging in the athletic wing.

“Don’t compare yourself.”

I have heard that so many times it’s not even funny. But let me tell you, it’s almost impossible. You can’t tell a teenager not to compare themselves to someone. It’s going to happen. You don’t want to be the sibling that was unable to achieve anything. Everyone knew my name before I even got there and had high expectations that I was never able to reach. It was hard. It was frustrating. But, I used it as fire to never give up on myself. I so badly wanted to be successful. I wanted to prove to everyone, especially myself that I am smart & capable of success, just like everyone else.

I wanted to go to college & get my education so I worked hard on my college applications. I flunked the ACT 3 times and barely got into Otterbein University. Otterbein was the only school that I got into & it was on the very bottom of the list of schools that I wanted to go to. They actually accidentally sent me a rejection letter then apologized and sent me my acceptance letter. Talk about BARELY getting in. Even though it was the school I originally didn’t want to go to, it ended up being the biggest blessing. I was taking classes related to my major that I was really good at and had an amazing, supportive faculty helping me along the way.

I failed my first exam.

This is when I knew something was wrong. So, I went to my doctor and ended up getting diagnosed with ADD. Some people might read that and think it was a cop out. But, let me tell you what. That first exam in college was the last test I ever failed. I was so relieved to be able to read a sentence and not have my mind drift into la la land. That’s literally what happened before I got treated. No wonder I could barely pass high school, I couldn’t pay attention long enough to read a sentence. ADD medications don’t make you smart. They help you focus.

Getting my ADD under control, taking classes I was good at and having a supportive faulty, I finally started feeling smart. For the first time in my life, I was actually able to fully embrace that feeling. For some people, that might sound incredibly cheesy. But, you have no idea what it feels like when you feel dumb for a majority of your life.

I remember being so excited. I figured out a study strategy that worked for me and made a schedule to help me be successful. I worked hard and ended up becoming a straight A student. It was amazing. I had so much stress lifted off my shoulders and I finally felt like I was capable of achieving so much.

By my senior year of college, I decided I wanted to take it another step further. I decided to take on an independent research study on top of my regular academic schedule and other obligations I had going on at the time. I ended up not only completing the project, but graduating with honorary distinction, presenting my project 3 times & getting accepted to present my project at the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago. Holy Crap.

Guys. I went from a 2.5 GPA student in High School to graduating college with honorary distinction & presenting at a conference in Chicago.

During my senior year, I also flunked the GRE to get into grad school. I studied so hard for the test and put everything I had into it. I remember getting home and looking at where my scores landed- 20th percentile. I remember crying because I tried so hard & hadn’t had the feeling of failing in a long time. What it proved is that I am not the “smart” measured by general education & society. I’m smart in my own way. That score doesn’t accurately measure the level of my intellectual ability. But, it’s also hard to understand & comprehend when that score is used to determine your eligibility to continue your education. The unfortunate thing is, most schools don’t take applicants who scored below the 50th percentile.

I didn’t get into grad school.

I remember feeling discouraged, frustrated & confused. My plan was to go to grad school right after college. But, I still never gave up and kept trying. Everyone kept telling me “You will end up where you’re supposed to be”, “Everything happens for a reason”, “This will open the door for bigger & better opportunities”.

One of the biggest lessons that I learned is that you have to trust the process. This is something that is much easier said than done & very hard to do when you are going through a similar situation as me. I had it in my mind that everything had to work out a certain way and something was wrong if it didn’t. I was comparing myself to others & seeing others reach the goals that I had set for myself. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others.

When I got let go from my 3rd job of 2018, people kept telling me, “This will open the door for an even better opportunity”. Great! Can I know what this great thing is because I’m about to lose my mind?

Starting my own business never crossed my mind. It was a goal that I never set for myself because I didn’t think I had the personality or what it takes to do so. I was fine with it & didn’t really care. But, it ended up being what was meant to be. Everything that I went through, the process, now makes sense because this is what I’m supposed to be doing & where I’m supposed to be. I was struggling to fit in to the “smarts” of everyone else and keeping up with everyone else because I’m supposed to be building my own path. Just because I failed every standardized test doesn’t mean I’m “dumb”. Just because I’m an introvert, doesn’t mean I don’t have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Same goes for you.

If you are reading this and questioning how “smart” you are, feeling discouraged and/or don’t feel like you have what it takes to be successful, you do. We were all placed on this earth for a reason, to make a difference in our own way. We often have to go through certain experiences and situations to make things clear. It’s hard not to give up and get discouraged. Sometimes the path that we envision for ourselves isn’t the right path for us, that’s what ended up happening for me. The right path will become clear, after we hit certain obstacles along the way.

I’m extremely stubborn & if you are anything like me, you don’t really want to hear any advice. But, just take it day by day. Let yourself feel the emotions you are feeling with each day. It’s OK to feel angry. Just don’t give up on yourself.

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The feeling of holding that LLC document brought on so many emotions. I felt so proud of myself for working through all the obstacles & never giving up. I finally made it!

If you or anyone you know would like to talk to me more about my experiences & journey, please feel free to reach out to me! I would love to help out in any way that I can.

- Blissfully Jess2