Thursday, June 6, 2013

Being My Own Boss - 1 Year Anniversary

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Last Saturday I celebrated one year of being self-employed full time! This has seriously been the most amazing year of my life! I love what I do and I love that I get to do it every day! That's not to say it wasn't a difficult decision at the time, but it's been the most rewarding one I've ever made.

I put together a few pieces of advice that I've learned during my first year of being my own boss. If you're thinking of taking the leap, I hope these tips will help you :)

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 1. Love What You Do This may sound like common sense, but it really is true. What you used to do as a creative outlet or to relax is what you'll be doing several hours a day...every day. Make sure your "hobby" is something you are willing to turn into a "job". That being said, if you love what you do, your "job" isn't really "work".
I absolutely love what I do and I'd be doing it even if no one paid me. I love coming up with new designs and new ideas. I love watching things come to life in the laser. I love being creative. And I love working with my customers.

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2. Be Prepared to Work Long Hours Unless you're lucky enough to afford an assistant, be prepared to put in a lot of hours. This comes back to loving what you do. Unlike in the corporate world, the more effort you put into your "job" the more you'll get in return. You have to work for what you want and this can require long hours.
On a normal day, I generally work 12-16 hours. This includes everything from packing orders, answering emails, blogging, making product, listing product, etc. I also work weekends and holidays. When I worked my factory job, I used to count down the days til Friday. But now everyday is a Friday and it's great! I can also take time off whenever I want too :)

3. Wear Lots of Hats As a business owner of a one-woman-show, it is necessary to be able to multitask and prioritize your time. You have to be the owner, marketing director, buyer, accountant, secretary, creative director, maker, etc, etc, etc. It would be fun to just create new things all day, but there is much more to it when running a business.
Every day I make a to do list of things that need done that day. I start my day be answering emails and reading blogs. Many times I'm also running the laser while I'm on the computer. I then package orders so the mailman can pick them up (and save me a trip to the post office). Then I get to start creating :) At the end of the day I do my quiet work. I list new items, answer more emails and write blog posts.

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4. Go Over Your Budget (then go over it again) You might think this should be at the top of the list. While it is very important, I still think loving what you do is more important. Yes, you need to pay your bills, but if in six months you're burnt out, you won't be making any money. So make sure you love what you do before you even consider working for yourself full time.
I ran numbers for several months before I knew for sure that things would be okay. I knew exactly how much I needed to make and I knew I could do it. I also made the decision to sell my SUV. It wasn't a necessity (we have a spare car) and the payment wasn't worth having to stay at my factory job any longer. It felt great being out from under that payment and knowing I had that much more wiggle room with our budget. It is also important to talk over the budget with your spouse/domestic partner/room mate/whatever. Convincing Jesse things would be okay was a little trickier than convincing myself. It was a huge step and we both needed to be on board. After a few good talks, we both agreed it was time :)

I hope these tips help those of you considering working full time for yourself. While it is a lot to think about, if you're able to, I recommend it to anyone. I am a much happier, more satisfied person working for myself. Every day is a "vacation" day, even when I'm at "work" :)
 Those of you who are already working for yourselves full time...any other tips for my readers?

23 comments:

Duni said...

Congrats Edi!
I hear you on all the points. I went a little over budget that first year, but I have since broke even, so I guess it was worth it!

Kristina said...

Congrats on your anniversery & thank you for sharing! I'm not that brave yet ;)

Trina Prenzi said...

Congratulations Edi!! Great post, great advice and info! Thank you for sharing. Wishing you much success as your business grows!

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

Wow, has it been a year already? I remember when you were trying to make the decision -- I'm so glad it has worked out so well for you!

Paige @ Little Nostalgia said...

Woo hoo! I just threw some imaginary confetti into the air for you!

One other think folks should keep is mind is: Be Prepared to Change. Not just with the trends that roll through every year, and the zillion changes that Etsy always comes up with, but also be ready to branch out into new markets if one doesn't work out, or be willing to try something new if you find yourself getting burned out. Change is a huge part of being an entrepreneur, so embracing it from the beginning will make life easier!

Memories for Life said...

You're so right Paige! I thought about adding another tip about growth. And you hit it right on the head with your comment!

pasqueflower said...

Congratulations, Edi! You are an inspiration. Wishing you continued success.

Melissa at bubbyandbean.com said...

These are such great tips! And congrats on one year! I would also add to make sure to take time off for yourself. It took me about ten years of owning my clothing line to realize how important this was. I work very long hours during the week but I always take weekends off now. It does wonders for motivation and productivity!

Susana Ferrand said...

Congrats! Fantastic post and so true.

Rose said...

Congrats Edi! I'm so happy for your success and everything that you've been able to accomplish this past year. Thanks for sharing your advice with others. Every tip is really helpful. One of the biggest things I've learned about freelancing is how important it is to stay disciplined. Being your own boss means that you have to crack the whip sometimes.

Paige had some great advice, too, about being prepared for change. You never know what will dramatically alter your market, etc., and it's good to be prepared for anything and everything.

Wishing you just as much success and more for the second year!

Additionsstyle said...

Congrats on your one year anniversary, Edi!!

Great list of tips! Working for yourself is better then any job, you just have to be dedicated and plan for growth.

Valerie
Everyday Inspired

AntiquityTravelers said...

congrats on the anniversary!!! and you've worked for it - a very successful year! great tips

BeadedTail said...

Congratulations Edi! I hope your first year was way more successful than you imagined! Of course my time is if people are now making self-employed income they must keep on top of their accounting and estimated tax payments. So often people believe that all costs are expenses but some are inventory and not deductible until the finished item is sold. Hence that's why it's called Cost of Goods Sold! :)

Annette said...

Yours is a true success story!

Miss Val's Creations said...

Wow! It has been a year already? Happy anniversary! I love this post as I am getting closer and closer to self employment myself. :) I am so happy to hear how well your decision has worked out for you.

Splendid Little Stars said...

First of all, congratulations! I know it takes very hard work and true dedication!
I can tell you love what you do because it shines through in many ways. It's been delightful to watch you decide to take the leap and then to see how successful you are!
Your tips are great as are the ones in the comments.
Thanks for sharing!

Abby / Linda said...

Has it been a year??? WOW! You've done so well and shared many great tips with us here! Thanks! I agree with Paige's comment about being willing to change. I've experienced that need and now see a need to be cognizant of what the future changes might be. Sort of "heading them off at the pass" to quote an old cowboy movie -- and yes . . . I am old! :)

Sheryl Hastings said...

I love pink and grey together! I'm working on a project right now for my future grandbaby's room in those two colors!

Love the little birdie on top!

cindy said...

Great advise Edi, you really have "it". (You're a very smart girl!)

tamdoll said...

Congrats on your anniversary! I love your advice - I have been collecting inspirational quotes to send to my daughter when she's in college next year & I think a lot of what you said makes sense for her, too. (These are great to hang on the wall!) I keep telling her to strive for something she will enjoy doing and that she'll be successful - you're right, I think it's the #1 thing to keep in mind.

Kathleen said...

Congrats! It is such a learning experience to have your own business. Well done!

Natashalh said...

I must have missed this while I was traveling! Congrats on a year of being your own boss!

Natashalh said...

I must have missed this while I was traveling! Congrats on a year of being your own boss!

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