Working for yourself takes discipline. I was actually super worried about being able to stay on task. The first few weeks, I found myself saying yes to everyone who wanted to go to lunch and hanging out with my sister (who is a stay-at-home mom) and my nephew a lot. I was still working, but I allowed myself a TON of flexibility.
Now, I've got a much better schedule and I'm pretty good at knowing when I have time to go and do something else and when I need to focus and stay on task. I'm actually surprised at how well that part of things is going. Just the other day my sister-in-law asked me if I stay in my pajamas all day sometimes. Nope. I don't. In fact, I get up, get ready, take my daughter to school, and then get to work. I can't think of one time where I stayed in my pajamas. It's very helpful to me to get up and going. It helps this feel "real", I guess.
Speaking of discipline...
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I've also realized that even though my daughter is quite independent and plays well on her own, it is so much easier to get my work done now that she is back in school. Having a schedule is very important. Having a to-do list also helps me focus and make sure my work is intentional.
Give yourself deadlines. I knew as soon as I quit my job that I wanted to focus on education. I have loved using my YouTube channel to teach other people the design principles it took me years to figure out. I have a schedule for my YouTube channel and usually post three times a week.
I knew that in addition to those YouTube videos I wanted to create an online, self-paced class. So I started working on it. And I would work on it every once in a while. And it was taking forever. I knew that I needed to set a launch date to motivate myself. So I did. And I announced it publicly to hold myself accountable. Guess what? The class got done. I needed that end date.
Remember why people subscribe to/like/follow you in the first place. Before I quit my job, I had amassed a bit of a following on YouTube. I showed up consistently and provided meaningful and instructive content. As I've begun working on other projects that actually pay me, it's been easy to want to let the YouTube channel slide a little bit. I'm not getting paid for it, so should I really be spending my time there? The answer is a big YES.
The people who are purchasing my products know about me because of my YouTube channel. I've put out quality content there for almost a year now and they know that. If I stop doing that, what's to stop them from unsubscribing? What's pushing them to support me in any way? Absolutely nothing. My YouTube channel is still a priority.
I'm not going to make a ton of money right away. This is a big one. And something that is really hard to keep in perspective. I have been listening to lots of podcasts about small business. I am pretty much obsessed with the seanwes podcast. If you have a small business (especially a creative type) you should be listening to this podcast.
One of the things Sean talks about regularly is the fact that you have to show up for two years before you can expect anything to happen. TWO YEARS. Anything that happens before that is just a bonus. Guess what? I've only been posting to my YouTube channel since last October. Not quite a year yet.
It's really easy to get down on myself thinking about how I want this business to take off quickly, but I have to remind myself that I'm doing great considering the amount of time I've put in. I just have to keep showing up. It will come.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. Quitting your job can make those around you, particular those close to you, wonder what the heck you're thinking. It's kind of a crazy thing to leave a cushy job that you don't hate to wander into the unknown. But you'll never know what you're capable of if you don't try it. Maybe start with something on the side, in addition to your regular job. If you love it, go for it!
Then find the people who will foster that desire. There are a few people that I know I can talk to about all of my business triumphs and struggles because they are going through similar things. Specifically, my friend Tracie. We talk to each other each week to flesh out ideas and keep each other focused. The best part is the encouragement and support. Find your people. Talk to them often. Keep each other motivated.
You got this. The most important thing that I've learned so far is that if I really want something, if I really push myself, if I really focus, I can do it. And so can you. If you have a passion for something and if you have motivation behind that passion, you'll be successful. You have to put in the work, but you got this.