4 Years In. This Is What I’ve Learned.
It was a pearler of a summer day in Sydney. After months and months of sitting in the office, staring outside at the amazing weather Syd kept dishing up only to dream about the day I’d be able to get outside and live in the sunshine and run a business from my laptop…
Well, that day was here!
I’d handed in my notice a week earlier, and I was ready to b-line that shit as soon as the clock hit 5pm. I made the decision that my life was my life to live, and that I wanted to give this ‘self employment’ thing a shot.
So 5pm rolled around, I said my goodbyes, and I jumped in my car and headed straight to the beach to chill and catch some sunset vibes, knowing that from that point on — I was in total control of my life.
Up until that point, I’d never felt so much freedom in my life. It’s that what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-but-I-don’t-care-because-this-is-AMAZING kind of freedom. Ya feel?
Next week (on February 17th) it will have been 4 years since that day. It’s safe to say I’ve learned a hell of a lot since then, and if I wanted to write about all of it I’d probably need to write a whole damn book. But for now I’ve rounded up some of the biggest things I’ve learned about being self-employed.
Here we go!
+ Keep leaping.
When I first ditched my job in 2012 it was probably the biggest leap I’d ever taken in my life. I had about $2k in the bank, and only a couple months work ahead of me. Beyond that, I had no bloody clue what I was in for. Since then, I’ve tried to keep leaping towards the stuff I want even though it doesn’t get any less scary. I moved to Canada for a year. I started moving away from client work and into the product space.
These leaps… They’re terrifying. But you know when something is equally as exciting as it is scary? That’s when you know you’re onto something. Just keep leaping.
+ Shit will go south. You’ll deal with it.
I don’t necessarily think running a business gets easier over time… You just get better at knowing how to deal with stuff. You make fuck ups and you learn how to avoid them in the future. You have huge amazing WINS and you learn from them too.
Just learn from the mistakes and move on. Have a grand vision for your life and your business that PULLS you out of those tough times. [Tweet this]
+ Your vision will change.
You start out gunning for this one goal or this one way of life you thought you wanted, and over time you might find that dream shifts… And this is totally okay. Sometimes it means you have to let go of what you thought you wanted, and move towards something new. Whatever happens, just keep following the stoke.
+ You are not your business.
You can’t do good work if your work is all you do. Being an entrepreneur means that you love your biz and you love being able to help people… But you can’t let your life be defined by that one single thing. Get a life. Meet people. See the world.
There’s more to life that just how you make money and serve others. [Tweet this]
+ Learning to say no is one of the greatest things you can do for your biz (and your life).
I started learning this first with clients — and how important it was to say no to those who weren’t a good fit, so I could say HELL YES to my dream clients when they showed up. And I’m still learning this every day, with every opportunity and decision I make.
We tip-toe around because we don’t want to hurt peoples feelings or let them down by saying no — but when you step back and take a look at the bigger picture, you’re doing people a bigger disservice if you say YES without being fully committed. Save the yes’s for the really good shit.
+ Stop spending so much time on your website and go make stuff (this one is for you, designers).
Your website is important — but doing the actual work is more important. Just get your website up, put some LIFE into it, then go make stuff. [Tweet this]
Your website will evolve over time… It won’t ever be truly finished. Update it as you need to, but put your main focus into being the best in the world at what you do.
+ Fuck stats, make art.
My pal Paul Jarvis wrote an article with this title and it’s pretty much on the money. Basically — stop copying people, stop looking for magic pills or fast-tracks to success, and stop caring what everyone else in your industry is doing. Just have some bloody SOUL, put you into everything you do, and get after it.
So… That’s a round-up of what I’ve learned over the last few years! If you run a biz, how long have you been in the game + what’s one of the biggest, or hardest lessons you’ve had to learn? Hit me in the comments + let me know.
p.s. My Branding course — Be Unmistakable is still open for enrolment! If you're ready to take your Brand game to the next level I would be SO stoked to help you. The course starts next week, on Feb 15th. Check it out over here.