Life, C U R R E N T L Y || I Quit My Job {One Year Ago} + This Is What I Have Learned

Thursday, April 5, 2018

photography x Alexis Brianne Photography

I can't believe this week marks ONE YEAR since I quit my job. While I have shared why I made that decision {here}, I wanted to dive a little deeper into how it's been going. Today, I am sharing ELEVEN lessons I have learned since I left my day job + decided work for myself as a full time content creator + consultant.

Over the past year I have learned...

Set Goals With Intention + Patience
Taking the solo career leap has been exciting + scary. There are all of these initial feelings of hope + wanting to do all of the things. I quickly realized how important it is to not only set goals, but to do so with intention behind them. Otherwise, you won't have a clear direction for your business. There is also the misconception that results will be seen INSTANTLY {especially when your job revolves around Social Media}, but that is in no way realistic. That's where patience is most important. Patience allows me to remind myself where I am in the stream of time business wise + remember that I'm only getting started.

Take the Initiative
As a blogger + business owner, it's so easy to take on the "build it + they will come" mindset. I have learned that I am the only one who can make or break my business. It's important to take control by taking the initiative. I have learned to do this by attending networking events, even if I have to go alone. I also pitch collaboration ideas to brands + businesses that I would like to work with. {Majority of my partnerships have happened because of this method.} I like to reach out to potential clients that I would love to work with via content consultations or even connect with previous clients for referrals. One piece of advice my mom has shared with me is that the worst thing anyone can say is "no" if you ask. Sometimes that no isn't definite, it could be a "not right now" + a new opportunity could arise down the line.  

Trial + Error
I started blogging again a year before I left my job, so there was a definite mind shift when it became my full time career. This past year has been full of trial + error - between testing different social media strategies, rebranding, content variety, + adding consulting services. There have been a lot of opportunities for growth, success, + A LOT of mistakes. While the ups + downs can be discouraging at times, I have found it important to embrace the trial + error period. This time has actually been vital for me to learn my brand voice + the type of work I aim to do. 

To Embrace Unexpected Opportunities
You know how I feel about having a plan. It's a key player in anything you decide to do no matter what that may be. Sometimes we can get so caught up in sticking to a plan that there's little to no room for flexibility. + when things don't go as expected, we are left disappointed. I have learned that unexpected opportunities are actually proof of growth. Whenever something I didn't plan for comes my way, I celebrate the opportunity as a win {whether I go with it or not}. It reminds me of my potential in business + even that I may be playing too small. 

B A L A N C E 
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how to balance blogging, consulting, mom life, + wife life. I can honestly say I haven't TRULY mastered it, but I have learned the importance of balance in everything. I naturally go all in with something I am passionate about. Sticking to a schedule, creating a daily to do list, + learning when to step back from everything is so important. You can't truly enjoy your journey if you aren't balanced in your approach. 

Consistency + Quality Outweigh Quantity
In the blog world, staying relevant + growing your following is the name of the game. When the a l g o r i t h m won't let you be great {talking to you Instagram}, you start to feel like you have to post CONSTANTLY to stay on the radar. I learned quickly how INACCURATE that is! I recently reached 2k followers on Instagram + I can tell you that any opportunities or collaborations I have received were due to CONSISTENT, QUALITY content. {+ yes, I have been paid with less than 2,000 followers, but that's an entirely separate blog post} I have learned that brands find value in YOU + your content {whether that's your brand voice, aesthetic, personality} + if that is displayed on a consistent basis, you will always get the job + engagement no matter the following. 

The Power of Saying "No"
Remember when I mentioned wanting to do all of the things?! Well, that's not realistic or possible when you are trying to grow your blog or business. I have learned that if something doesn't make sense for my blog or brand a "no" is the best answer. Setting boundaries early on within your business is the greatest thing you can do for yourself. It allows you to focus on what's important WITH INTENTION + run with your passion. Saying "no" has actually empowered me to be a real "girl boss". Once I came to terms with that aspect of business, it made decision making + goal setting so much easier. 

Community is Key
While we are on the topic of doing it all, I have also learned the importance of having a community behind me. Whether that's my current blog audience, business besties that understand what I'm going through as an entrepreneur, or learning from the best in the biz to continue to educate myself while educating others.

A few communities/community players that have helped me to do that are...
-Majoring In Motherhood Community {@majoringinmotherhood} - Shoutout to Destiney {@momcrushmonday} + Leslie {@leslielately_} for creating this online community while teaching me to get comfortable being uncomfortable + to know my worth + add tax.
-Jereshia Hawk {@jereshiahawk} - She's a Detroit based Corporate Dropout turned Income Strategist that has empowered me to build the consulting side of my business, set actual monetary goals, + the action to work toward them. Her online workshops + FB Live videos are full of business gems + I totally fan-girled when I met her last year!
-Brittany Grace aka Not Another Blonde {@notanotherblonde} - Her Blog Tip of the Day posts remind me that I'm on the right track when it comes to my blog content. Brittany always keeps it 100% REAL in all things blogging + business. Plus, this girl loves 90s hip-hop so she's automatically a friend of mine!
-Kahlea Nicole {@kahleanicolee}- An unexpected opportunity arose when this blogger babe was looking to add like minded entrepreneur's to her team + I happened to be the perfect fit. As my mentor, she has taught me more about negotiating with brands, given me confidence in the consulting side of my business, + the ins + outs of event planning. 
-Ashley Wierenga {@ashleywierenga} + CJ DeVries {@thecjdevries} + Emily Bode {@bravegirlspirit} + Kristin Jones {@kristinjonesy} - These beautiful women {inside + out} are my business besties! From co-working sessions to sipping margaritas during patio season to being each others date for local events, these girls keep me motivated + constantly inspired. + I'm pretty sure we have collectively sipped ALL THE COFFEE in Grand Rapids.

Not to Play the Comparison Game
This has probably been the hardest lesson I have learned. If you want to give up, go ahead + play that comparison game! While I love scrolling through Instagram for inspiration + keeping up with my favorites, it can also be a hub for discouragement + how take yourself out of the game. Nine times out of ten the person you are comparing yourself to has already been working at their craft for over five years. Or they may appear to be doing the same thing you are doing, but at a faster pace. I remind myself that my journey is exactly that...MINE! The moment I decided to stay in my own lane, every aspect of my blog/business started to click into place.

To Take Breaks
If I have learned anything over this past year, it's that the hustle hard mentality will BURN YOU OUT! Sometimes, I don't even realize how much I needed a break until after the fact. I actually learned from Jereshia Hawk to schedule breaks when planning your year or month. That made so much sense, especially when you're always in work mode as an entrepreneur. Every single time I listen to my body or mind + take the break, I immediately thank myself {even if it's not on the schedule}. It makes life as a business owner less overwhelming + allows you to move forward at a steady pace.

To Remember my "Why" + Never Forget It
Remembering my "why" is ultimately what drives my focus + is the motivator behind every decision I make in business. I blog + consult to inspire, motivate, + encourage others to go forward confidently in whatever they do. Keeping that in the forefront of my mind is what motivates me to keep going.

Outfit Details || Dress x Zara  | Loafers x Target 

Thank you for following my blog/business journey! I honestly appreciate every comment, DM, like, share + testimonial I receive from you. It reminds me that I'm not too crazy to take a shot at entrepreneur life + that I'm exactly where I need to be! 

If you are on the same journey as an entrepreneur, what have you learned along the way? If you are thinking about doing the same, let me know in the comments if this post put things into perspective.

Previously on CURRENTLY Kherington | Toronto Travel Guide
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