What I’ve Learned in my First Year as a Full-Time Entrepreneur

Well, I have officially been a full-time entrepreneur for a little over 1 year. I also ran my business as a side gig for 1 year while I was still at a cozy salary job with benefits and stability, but then I took the big, scary risk in November of 2018 to go full-time and finally have what I always wanted: creative freedom and more importantly, time freedom.

When friends or family ask me how business is going, or how it feels to be an entrepreneur, I talk about how much I love it. But I also try to keep it real. Sometimes I literally say, “It’s the most fun, exhausting, emotional roller coaster I’ve ever been on”. Because it’s true.

If you describe entrepreneurship as an “emotional roller coaster” to another entrepreneur, they usually reply with, “I totally get it. I feel the same way”. But if you tell that to another non-business owner, they tend to look at you in disbelief – shock, really.

Spoiler alert: Entrepreneurship (and working from home) isn’t sleeping in every day, perfectly-polished Instagram pictures, a Pinterest-worthy office, and doing whatever you want all day.

I understand that it looks that way sometimes… but it’s more like: wearing the same hoodie for a few days in a row, having trouble sleeping, eating lunch at your desk (if you remember to eat on time), questioning all your life choices, and overall messiness (in your life and in your brain – lol).

While I understand that this blog post may be sounding a little negative, please know that I would NEVER trade this for the world. Yes, I have what I always wanted: to be a full-time entrepreneur. But it is really, really challenging. More often than not.

And I want to share a few things to give my non-entrepreneur friends a little glimpse into the reality of owning your own business… and it’s also my hope that this blog post will help other entrepreneurs feel understood. I know that when other entrepreneurs talk about how hard it really is, I’m reassured: “Phew, okay… So, I’m not the only one?! Thank you, Jesus”.

So, after that long introduction, here goes…

  • You’ll likely find that being an entrepreneur exposes every single insecurity you have. I’m sure being active on social media plays a big role in this, but I also think when you do the deep, inner work on yourself through personal development books and podcasts to help you in your business, you may start questioning EVERYTHING. “Who am I?”, “What am even I good at?”, “Why did I think I would be good at this?”, “Who am I to do X, Y, Z when all these other people are so much smarter and better than me?”, “Who on Earth would pay ME for THIS?!”. And of course, this can come from unknowingly playing the comparison game. One minute, you’re inspired by someone you look up to in business. The next minute, you wonder if that kind of success will EVER be possible for you.

And when you know that Live video, consistent social media posts, and just tons of content about YOURSELF and your business is crucial for the growth of your business, you may pick yourself apart from time to time. “Are people going to watch this and think I’m a fraud?”, “I stumbled over my words in that video… I probably sound so unprofessional”, “What if I launch this new product or service and NO ONE buys it?! How embarrassing would that be?!”

When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re really forced to push past EVERY fear, doubt, and insecurity you have… and that can be extremely vulnerable. Because if you don’t push past all of that, your business can crumble. It can also feel extremely vulnerable knowing that people are “watching” you on the internet. Some people may be judging you. Some people may be looking up to you. Some people may be keeping up to date with your progress (or lack thereof). 

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably have 2 or 3 emotional meltdowns per month and wonder if you should throw in the towel. You don’t hear many people talking about that on Instagram, do you?! (lol)

However… despite all of those fears, doubts, insecurities, vulnerabilities, you’re reminded to stay true to yourself and remain focused on your purpose. You’re not doing this for ANYONE but yourself. And you probably have a lot more people rooting for you than you do people you aren’t. Even if they’re silently rooting for you. Keep going. BTW: I have to remind myself of this daily.

  • You’ll have nights where you have difficulty falling asleep AND staying asleep because you can’t turn your brain off. Whether your mind is racing with new ideas, or you’re worried about where your next check is going to come from, or you’re just feeling vulnerable about putting yourself out there… you’ll be okay. I have found that the sooner I “unplug” and start unwinding for the night, the better. But I will tell you a little secret: During the week of launching my group coaching program, I cried myself to sleep a couple of times feeling SUPER vulnerable and nervous for a majority of reasons. Just keeping it real. 🙂

Exercise helps. Less content consumption helps. Having other goals and passions outside of your business helps. It may sound simple, but music helps me A LOT.

  • You’ll have moments of feeling straight up SCARED: scared to do Live video, scared to introduce a new product or service, scared to not reach your goals… but if I’ve learned anything from admiring OTHER successful entrepreneurs, “I’m scared”, is not a valid excuse and it never will be.

I have personally heard from 7 and 8-figure business owners that the fears, imposter syndrome, and doubts DO NOT go away when you reach your goals. It doesn’t matter how “good” you are or how “successful” your business is. We’re all nervous. The only difference between YOU and the person that you admire is that they NEVER gave up and NEVER will. What I’ve learned is that negative feelings will probably always be present. You just have to constantly work on your mindset, your strength, and manage the way you respond to those negative feelings. That’s what will set you apart.

  • You’ll feel like you don’t fit in with *most* people because most of the time, you’d rather stay in on the weekends and get extra work done, brainstorm new projects, go to a coffee shop to work some more, etc. 🙂  Other people may not understand the PASSION you have for your business – but know that that’s okay. And you’ll never be “missing out” if you’re doing something you truly love.
  • You’ll be chugging along… things will be going great… and then BOOM. You might be hit with a MAJOR, unexpected expense. Or you might suddenly lose over half of your monthly income (yes, that happened – lol). But, since you’re an entrepreneur: you have GRIT and you’ll rise above. You may cry a few tears and lay on the couch for 2 hours wondering what the HECK you’re going to do… but you’ll snap out of it. You’ll be fine.

I could write a LOT more about what makes entrepreneurship the most beautifully-messy thing in the world. And while this blog post may have exposed a few things that many entrepreneurs are scared to say… and what I’m scared to say a lot of the times… I hope you realize this:

I will NEVER trade it and I will NEVER give up. Every day, I am grateful. Every day, I think about how much unhappier I truly was sitting in a cubicle working for someone else.

Because entrepreneurs would rather work 16 hours for themselves than 8 hours for someone else. Right?! 🙂

I have so much work to do. I have so many goals I haven’t reached. I have huge plans for the future. So, if you made it to the end of this blog post without getting bored or distracted by something else, please know how much I appreciate you. If you’ve ever engaged with my content, sent me an encouraging message, bought one of my products or services, please know that YOU are the ones that keep me going. You are the ones that force me out of my pity party when I’m having an insecure, vulnerable, scary day. You are the ones that remind me to keep showing up on Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and all the things.

I love you.

P.S. I think I should probably do a “Perks of Entrepreneurship” blog post sometime soon so it doesn’t seem all bad. Haha. What do you think?

P.S.S. Here’s a throwback post from a year ago… to add a few more things I’ve learned about entrepreneurship along the way. Click the photo to read the rest of the post!

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