So here we are.
I promised that I would share a more personal update on what it’s been like working for myself for the past 6 months, and – finally! – here it is.
I actually have no idea how to start this post or where it’ll end up, so let’s just dive in and see where it goes…
It all started in October last year.
I had a week where everything came to a head… and a screeching halt. A series of events – all in the same week – basically saw the universe force me to step back and take stock. Of everything. Especially work.
I had to ask myself some very tough questions, including what I really wanted to do with my career.
I figured out that I wanted to work for myself but I didn’t know what that would look like.
This is a piece of advice I’ve shared with quite a few people who have also been in a similar situation to me…
Ask yourself – what does everyone come to me for?
What do they ask my advice on? What do I love?
I asked myself those questions and I landed on 3 things: social media, writing and helping people.
And so, I approached a local business and asked them if they’d let me manage their Facebook page and Instagram account, free of charge. I wanted to see if I could do what I do with Sonia Styling for other people, if I enjoyed it and if I would see results from my efforts. Luckily for me, they agreed. I could do it. I enjoyed it. And we did see results.
I then quietly started having conversations with people about my business idea and soon enough, I had my very first official client. And another. And another. And another.
And so, Scribe and Social was born.
Eventually – about 5 months later – it got to the point where I had to pack the day job in and take a leap of faith.
I should point out that I was also waiting to be in a financial position to take the leap. So many of our entrepreneurial inspos conveniently leave that part out.
“Take the leap and the net will appear!”
Um, no. Not unless you have the money to buy said net. And pay the mortgage, bills, buy groceries, etc etc etc.
And so, when it was time, I handed in my resignation and gave 4 weeks notice.
The next chapter.
BOOM! I woke up that Monday morning at the end of May and my new reality dawned on me: I was now officially working for myself.
The first few months are a bit of a blur, if I’m honest.
But what I do remember is that it was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. Heck, it still is, if I’m being totally honest.
There was this new found freedom of setting my own hours, flexibility to plan my days as I please, coffee catch-ups (during the day! on a weekday! with no time limit!) and other general awesomeness.
There was also this intense fear of losing a fortnightly deposit into my bank account. Imposter syndrome. The fear of losing clients and not being able to find new ones. Wondering if I had made a huge mistake. Isolation and loneliness of working for myself, by myself, from home – with only our dog, Amalfi as company. Cute, but no good for bouncing ideas off or asking advice from.
The stuff no one tells you about owning your own business.
It’s a scary new world, working for yourself.
There’s no real checklist or handbook of setting up and running your own business. There’s no support group to join.
You basically fumble your way through, making mistakes, reading, learning, asking questions and seeking help. All while trying to look like the consummate professional who absolutely knows what they’re doing because you don’t want your clients to think they’ve made a mistake hiring you.
Because they haven’t. Made a mistake, that is.
You absolutely do know what you’re doing when it comes to the job you’re doing for them. You’re just learning all the other stuff as you go.
Also? Business DOES involve emotion. Lots of it.
I have days (or weeks) where I feel like I’m on top of things, kicking goals and achieving great results. On the flip side, I also have days (or weeks) where I’m on the constant verge of tears, feeling like I’m behind the 8-ball with no hope of catching up and my creative mojo is nowhere to be found.
The important thing to remind yourself is that this too shall pass.
Go easy on the difficult days. Do things that don’t require huge amounts of creativity. Go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Get to bed early.
Go for gold on the great days. Let the creative energy flow. Brainstorm ideas. Plot, plan.
Another thing I’m guilty of? (Sheesh, this feels like a confessional!) Comparison.
On the not-so-good days, I find myself looking at other people in my field that I admire and berate myself for not being as talented, clever or advanced as them.
Sorry for swearing, but I literally have to shout “STOP!” in my mind – or even out loud – to stop the comparison and remind myself of exactly where I’m at on my journey… and the fact that those people are much further along than me, have different expertise and experience, and aren’t me. They’re them. And they’re awesome. I’m me. And I’m pretty good.
(What can I say? It’s still a work in progress.)
What I want to do differently in 2018
I still haven’t nailed down a really good routine.
I’m currently averaging 1 x visit per week to the gym and my blogging and social media presence as Sonia Styling is so far from consistent… as you’ve probably noticed. I’m also working crazy hours. Mostly because I struggle saying “no” and also because I never want a client to think I can’t deliver.
Next year, I really want to work hard at setting a schedule for myself.
Blocking out non-negotiable times for exercise (I’m thinking this has to be first thing in the morning so nothing else can get in the way) as well as meditation (10 minutes a day) and practicing gratitude (simply writing down 3 things I’m grateful for after meditation). I also want to block out times for scheduling clients’ social media, writing blog posts for Sonia Styling and scheduling my own social media – for both Sonia Styling and Scribe+Social.
My other goal is to start selling myself – well, my services – more often.
I like to think I share very helpful posts on my Scribe and Social Instagram account, but what I don’t do is let people know what I do and that I can do it for them.
Don’t worry, I won’t be turning into some annoying salesperson. I just need to actually put the word out there, so I can continue to work with awesome people and help their rad businesses.
“I’m sorry, but what is it that you actually do?”
For those of you who have been nodding along politely until this point, wondering just what it is I actually do… firstly – thank you for sticking around. You have the patience of a saint. Secondly, allow me to explain.
There are (currently) two main aspects of my business: social media and copywriting.
I manage social media accounts for businesses. So, basically, I come up with their posts and upload them with images, captions and hashtags. I also manage responses to comments on their accounts, and like and comment on other accounts they follow.
I also offer social media coaching. If someone wants to keep the management of their social media in-house, I meet with them to run through the questions they have about social media, and share my insights and tips and tricks. This can be a one-off session or an ongoing arrangement.
Two other social media fields I’ve dipped my toe into and would like to explore further are presenting (onsite workshops for businesses, speaking at events) and also creating social media strategies.
Now, when I say copywriting, I just mean writing.
I write everything from newsletters to blog posts to website copy for businesses. These can be one-off jobs or regular gigs.
Some people struggle with words, while I love the thrill of the challenge and strive to deliver the best possible copy that truly captures the voice and spirit of that particular business. #englishnerd
If you want to chat more about what I do, you can email me: [email protected]
So, here we are, 6 months later…
Goodness, that was quite a ride. Thank you for sticking it out to the very end of this post.
Thank you also for your kind words, your support and for always being here – even when I haven’t been.
This has been the hardest, yet the most rewarding 6 months of my career so far and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2018 has in store.