5 Things I Learned After 6 Months of Entrepreneurship

Today is a special day. It marks exactly six months since I became a full time entrepreneur!

February 14th, 2019 was my last day as Director of Finance and Human Recourses. Valentines Day, no less. Which is actually pretty fitting because I left the office that afternoon to follow my passion.

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Before taking the leap, I did my research on being an entrepreneur. I didn’t want to start off being naive on what to expect so I soaked up every article and watched every interview that contained advice, knowledge, and tips for new entrepreneurs.

And not only did I research things to DO as an entrepreneur, but I also researched things NOT to do. I’ll always remember reading an article, “8 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make” and it was actually quite an eye opener. (I took good notes.)

Since today marks a milestone, I decided to share 5 things I’ve personally learned after 6 months of full time entrepreneurship.

1. Stop Trying To Do ‘All The Things’

When I became a full-time business owner, I was so excited. I knew everything that needed done, updated, posted, revised, rebranded, organized, etc, and I wanted it all done now. I mean, I had the time now and could work all day and evening, right? Wrong.

I quickly learned that’s the perfect way to get burned out.

It took me a few months but I realized there is and will always be something that needs done, and everything doesn’t need to be done right now. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

I now make overviews of things I want to accomplish each month and schedule days when I work on certain things. Some days I paint, some days I work on my website, some days I network and look for opportunities. I also learned to batch work each day to make sure I’m completing things of similar tasks to avoid skipping around and not feeling like I’m getting anything accomplished.

2. Practice Work-Life Balance

This ties a bit into #1. Trying to do all the things, all the time, will result in your business steamrolling over your personal life. An artist friend referred to this concept as the ‘invisible cubicle’ - there’s no hard boundaries anymore and your job kind of blends into your life.

It can become a problem if you don’t set boundaries.

That’s not to say I don’t ever work early mornings, evenings, and/or weekends, BUT I pay attention to not over-doing it. I take time off. I even put it on the calendar: afternoon off, Friday off, weekend off, etc. When I’m with my family, I’m with my family. I may check my email here and there, but I’m present.

3. Remember Your “Why”

“Why did I make this career transition?”

In times of doubt, stress, being overwhelmed, questioning your ability, ask yourself that very question. It’s a navigation and a compass.

Go back to the whole reason you did this in the first place. If you’ve never developed a ‘why’, think about it for a moment.

My 'why' I made this career transition was so I can create art on 'my time' instead of every last free second I'm not in the office. So I have the option to spend time with my family and enjoy weekends. I want the freedom to create when I want to create. That's my why - And I couldn't be happier.

No matter what kind of business you’re running, there’s a reason you decided to just go for it. Cling to that reason and visit it often.

When I get stressed, overwhelmed, and try to overwork myself morning, noon, and night - I remember my why. I wanted to run my art business full time - not have it run me.

4. Forget About Comfort Zones

I’ve always done my best to step out of my comfort zone in the name of growing my business, regardless of how utterly nervous and completely scared I really was. I know practicing that helped get me to where I am today. (Not trying to pat myself on the back or anything - it’s been tough but I’m proud to say it).

So, let me encourage you to do that first and foremost if you’re not already. “Feel the fear and do it anyway".

That being said, entrepreneurship has been a whole new ball of wax with regards to comfort zones. I laugh at the title of #4 because my comfort zone seems so irrelevant anymore. Oh, it’s still there - It’s that whiny voice that’s always warning me and ‘trying to keep me safe’ but I have to put in my earplugs and get out of my own way.

A few months back, there were about three big things in one week that I agreed to do and each completely threw me out of my comfort zone and tied my stomach in knots for about a week. I know my body kept asking me why I was doing this, but these were all great opportunities that I couldn’t pass up. My nerves just needed to take the backseat for a bit.

If there’s an opportunity that’s so good you can’t pass up, then by golly, don’t pass it up!

Get out of your own way.

5. It’s Not All About Me

I think this has been the greatest takeaway from my 6 months as an entrepreneur. My ‘why’ has moved from just me to now including others as well. When I made my career transition, all kinds of people started reaching out, asking me questions on running a business, how to make the transition from their full time job, etc. The outpour of questions and looking for advice was pretty surprising (and humbling).

So that’s when I realized it’s not all about me and creating artwork, it’s also about building community, lifting others up, and being as open with my knowledge on business as others have been so gracious with me in the past. It has added a whole new layer of fulfillment to my job. In fact, sharing information is one of the reasons I started blogging again.

My mission is now not only “to create artwork that brings joy to people lives” but also “to share my knowledge of business and finance to empower entrepreneurs in their businesses.”

Lord knows I don’t have all the answers but I’m happy to openly share what I have learned and experienced along my journey.

Learning is constant process, so here’s to the next 6 months and far beyond!

xo Jessica