Monday, September 14, 2015

Working for myself: Three months in...

Many of you know that I quit my full-time, corporate job to "follow my dreams" at the end of June (watch this video and read this blog post for more info). It wasn't something that was really pre-meditated, but it felt right, so I went with my gut! I wanted to share an update about some things I've learned and how I'm doing.


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...

Free printable! Just click on the photo and then right click + Save As.

It's easy to get distracted. Facebook, emails, YouTube, Instagram...all of these things are major time-sucks for me. Part of the problem is that a lot of what I'm doing for work involves one or more of these social media outlets. What I've found that truly works for me is not checking any of that until after lunch. The morning is when I'm most focused and productive, so I need to really utilize and capitalize on that time. Sometimes I even put my phone in airplane mode.

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.



22 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this post Jen! As usual, you seem to be reading my mind... These are things that I have been thinking a lot about lately! I would also love to hear more about the things that do make you some money (only if you are willing to share those things, I know they may be private). I see that you have an online shop now (which is sooo wonderful!), but do you also work for any other scrapbooking companies?

    Thanks again!

    Heather

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    1. Thanks Heather! I'll definitely consider posting more of the details. I love it when other people are very transparent about their businesses, so I'd like to be as well.

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  2. Also, thanks so much for the free printable! Love it!!

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  3. Thanks for such a inspiring post. I was inspired to finally write a blog dedicated to scrapbooking. Reading this post helps put things into perspective. Growth doesn't happen overnight, it's a gradual process. Thanks for that little push. :) I can't wait to see what the future holds in store for us. 😍

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  4. You so can do it! Love your work and videos :). Thanks for the free printable.

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  5. Will it sound strange for me to say...this post is RIGHT ON TIME! I have followed your work for a short time and am impressed and learning so much. Thank you for that. You made a perfect choice for your life. I have just resigned my position because an opportunity came via text (literally). I have been with this agency for 11 years!!! People have actually said they are shocked because I was they thought I was a lifer. Your printable is so on point right now.I will be printing and putting in my office at my new job. Thank you so much!

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    1. That's awesome Katie! Good luck in your new venture. I wish you all the best.

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  6. This is so amazing!! What an insperation you are to all of us! Daring to work whit this and I have to say I love your YouTube video! 💜

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  7. What a great post!!!!!!! Love this and you!

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  8. PS: I'm so glad you love Seanwes. I've tried to get other people excited about him but no one else gets it like you do and he rocks!!!!

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    1. Yes! I just talked to a friend the other day (I used to work with her) and she loves him too! It made me so happy!

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  9. This is a great post and hits home for many of us, even if we are not running a business. Growth and change take time to implement, not overnight. I'm glad you are settling into your new routine. I am a recent follower of yours and am hooked on your YouTube channel! I love that there is so much great content available for free and I particularly loved the two mini series that you did - Out of the Pocket and 6x6 paper pads (ps I totally would have paid for both of those!).

    I have signed up for your class on release day, but haven't had a chance to look through it yet with a number of other projects on the go. I love the new cut files as well.

    I wish you continued success as you progress with your new adventure.

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  10. Great post. I agree with every word! Wish you everything you wish for yourself! You sure have the talent, so as you write, just got to put in the work :)

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  11. Excellent post, thanks for sharing your heart, Jen. You're already a huge success, so just keep building on that. As Emily Freeman often says, "Just do the next thing that makes sense..." One step at a time: you and God got this xx

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  12. I truly appreciate your honesty and sharing. You have taken the plunge and I just know it will pay off for you in ways you can't even imagine yet. You are such an inspiration and I'm cheering you on every step of the way. Keep up the good work.

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  13. Great post Jen! And THANK YOU for not quitting YT! :)

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  14. Wonderful post! Thanks for all your inspiring words and sharing that awesome printable!

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  15. Well done Jen for pushing yourself and knowing and discovering what works. From strength to strength girl - you have AMAZING power within. Cath xx

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  16. Thanks for a great post and for your recommendation on Seanwes podcast! I love it!

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  17. What a great post Jen !!! Open and hones :) I agree with everything you have written. I wish you nothing but great success and I wish you all that you wish for yourself! I am loving your class BTW

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