On the 21st of this month, my LLC will officially turn 5 years old. But I feel like it’s taken 5 years for me to get my butt in gear.
I registered the LLC because it felt official, plus it was ridiculously easy. I just filled out some forms online, entered my credit card information and hit submit. Easy.
If only the actual running-a-business part was that easy…
The first two years I only did some side projects here and there. Nothing to write home about. It wasn’t my true focus at the time as I was finishing my last year of college, starting my first “big girl” job, and planning my wedding.
Three months after we were married, my husband and I moved 150 miles. I quit my job and realized I had this opportunity just staring me in the face. For certain reasons, I knew the move would be temporary, a year tops, so I convinced my husband to just let me work my business full time. And I did, sorta.
Looking back, there’s SO MUCH I could have done with that time. I was all over the place. Although I “found myself” and I figured out, more or less, what the hell it is I wanted to do. My husband says I needed that time to build the foundation. It felt more like pouring the foundation, realizing it wasn’t level, jack hammering it up to then repour and just repeating that process. I didn’t bring in a lot of money. I had a few steady clients/projects, but again nothing to write home about. I nannied part-time to help with our finances, but I felt pretty defeated with how things were going.
When we moved back to my husband’s hometown a year later, I knew money was what we needed the most. With debt and future plans (like buying a house, replacing my husband’s car, starting a family, etc.) there really wasn’t any other solution except for me to go back working full time. At first, I felt like a failure, but this quote kept me going:
“Sometimes the universe prepares you for something much greater and like a sling shot, it’s going to shoot you forward… you just have to move backwards for a little bit.”
I did feel like I was moving backwards, but I knew that I was a hard worker and determined to make my dreams a reality. I still am.
Once I returned to work full time, I never stopped or slowed with my business, which was a huge mistake. I burned out… fast. I was working all hours of the day because I had this mindset that the more I worked the faster I’d hit my goal. SO WRONG. I could have worked 24/7 and never hit my goal since my time was spent more ideas then clients. And I wasn’t charging what I was worth in
some most cases. After two months of complete burnout, lots of tears and overwhelm I took a break. I slowed way, way down. Said goodbye to some clients and some projects and refocused.
2015 was all about refocusing. Taking on clients purposely. Tracking my time and really deciding if I was enjoying certain projects. I made time for my life again and didn’t care too much about the money. In fact, I didn’t care a little too much. I developed SOS (shiny-object syndrome), buying font bundles, eBooks, must-have eCourses and more. I didn’t overspend in terms of going into debt, but I definitely overspent in terms of budget. I lost sight of my goals and by the end of the year, I had nothing to show for it except a bunch of unused digital assets and a few physical items currently collecting dust. It was definitely a wake-up call. I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere anytime fast without solid financial goals that were in line with my personal goals.
2016 is and continues to be focused on finances and moving towards the services that bring me the most joy. I’ve done SO MUCH better with my finances and I plan to document my journey to full-time entrepreneurship in some capacity here on the blog. I’ve saved 22% of my year-end goal. Which isn’t completely on track (only about 50% of where I should be at this time of the year), but I’m happy with the progress. I’ve saved more money that I had left in my bank account at the end of 2015 and it’s motivating to watch the number grow. That number is the only thing stopping me from my full-time entrepreneurship dream.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the last 5 years, but I’ve learned a hell of a lot too. I wouldn’t trade the last 5 years for anything because I know it’s part of my story and part of my journey.