I learned an important lesson about being self-employed this summer. Not having a company, structure, colleagues and a boss (or several bosses) behind you means that you cannot hide. You have to make things happen for you. You will not get paid for sitting at your desk, following the rules, blending in and working off orders.
I started my journey as self-employed two years ago. I would like to share with you some of the discomforts I had to learn to get comfortable with during the last months.
Marketing and self-promotion used to be pathetic for me
I used to feel annoyed with people who were advertising their services or products relentlessly. Their faces were always on camera and on social media when launching their first online courses and webinars. Is this really necessary?
It was easy for me to judge and to think “this is so pathetic”. Then a year or two later I saw the same people with their big ideas and small audience running successful, established businesses.
I got intrigued. Today I feel hopeful when I see a woman starting a new project, business and bringing an idea to life and talking about it. A reason to cheer on and encourage, especially during the early stages that I now know can feel clumsy. We have to start somewhere, right?
What I learned this year
I had to stop waiting for others to protect, endorse and support me like when I was employed. I realized during the pandemic that if I want to run my own business, I have to get up and endorse myself and my work.
This year was the first time I started to communicate my ideas. I have been recording videos, promoting my work, launching a retreat, and putting myself out there. For me it was a pretty scary place to be, I felt ridiculous and had lots of excuses to stop trying at the beginning. Only through doing it despite the discomfort, I started noticing that I have changed.
To the disadvantage of my loved ones, my stubbornness has increased (a lot ;)), also my will, fire and courage. I am not giving up so easily anymore. I used to be one of those women who held back in a meeting when others were dominating the conversations. Now, I hear myself speaking up and tolerating much less bullshit. For example, when I see something happening that is against my values, I don’t pretend I didn’t see it for the sake of harmony. I will address it and go into conflict.
When things don’t work out
This year I was also confronted with my limitations and fears, rejections and no’s.
Running your own business can be frustrating, especially when you are doing something new, when you are a beginner again. And things might not turn out exactly like you planned them.
I designed a coaching retreat for empathic female entrepreneurs in the Algarve. I got a lot of positive feedback and endorsement for the idea. I was positively surprised by the support I received from people I would have never expected. But in the end, there weren’t enough women yet and the travel restrictions also didn't help.
This was a common feedback I received:
“This is exactly the right event for me. I want to make important decisions for my work life and I need time and space to think clearly again. I want to take care of my emotional and physical wellbeing and I am longing for time for myself and deep connections with others….”
“I don’t have time
I don’t have the money
I am afraid of change
My loved ones come first, I cannot take a break for myself right now
I have to work….”
I decided to postpone the coaching retreat to next spring. It's frustrating that things didn't happen according to my original plan.
Why running your own business is worth the risk
Taking the journey of running your own business will teach you so much about yourself and it will change you. Because you cannot sit back and let others decide for you. You will have to do the things that are uncomfortable, and do them so much until you get comfortable.
People will secretly admire you and openly discourage you.
So why risk it? There is nothing that motivates me more than working on something meaningful. I love creating and bringing to life projects that support the people I want to encourage. Knowing person by person I can have a positive impact. I get to decide how I want to work, where and in which way.
This freedom and feeling of purpose are what I wish for more women out there.
My mission on supporting women to take full responsibility for their work life has gotten even more fuel. I am burning. Let's burn for what is important to us and make it happen. And yes, you will stumble, look ridiculous, have lots of doubts and not everything will work out.
Only by taking action you are becoming a fiercer and more courageous version of yourself. Not by thinking, planning, dreaming or secretly wishing about it. If you get up and take the risk, you are becoming a lighthouse for others, too.
If you’re ready to take action and work towards creating a more fulfilling work life, I am here for you! I send fortnightly tips and insights from my coaching, specifically for empathic women like you in my Purposeful Growth Letter. Click here to sign up and get tips, insights and coaching tools straight to your inbox.