self-employment: top lessons learned

this month i celebrate one year of quitting my comfy day job & entering the world of full time self-employment. 

deep breaths, y'all. it's been a journey

today i want to shed some light on self-employment & the big lessons i've learned in just one short year. grab a cup of coffee & join me for some deep talk.

1. DO SCARY THINGS: many have asked how i took that big giant leap from day job to all-day-every-day job & i'm not quite sure that's the right question. taking the leap was fun; taking the next step remains the scary part. 
it just felt right to jump into the self-employment world. my business was becoming too much for the late night hours & i knew i needed to fully commit. once the newness of the move wore off, that's when the scary part took hold. 
"will people continue with me on this journey?" 
"how do i keep growing, keep changing, keep creating?" 
and if we're all being honest..."how do i pay the bills?"
in those real moments, we quickly learn that's the scary part. 
the good news is we're equipped with our people & we're the expert at our own businesses.

2. BE YOU, NOT SOMEBODY ELSE: you're the expert at you, stick with that. sure, experimenting & trying new things is good, but always check back with you, not the copy of somebody else. 

3. MAKE THE MOVE WHEN YOU ARE MAKING MONEY: my business is so much more than the modest income i make at the end of the year, but like most people, i carry financial responsibilities. one of my top pieces of advice is to only move when you are making money. i've found that so many people believe that once they're in it full-time, that's when they'll finally be able to support themselves. sure, more hours often means more money, but those late night hours before taking the jump into self-employment are really important. set a financial goal each month & once you've reached that goal consistently, put in your notice & join the world of self-employment. trust me, you'll be much more equipped to succeed.

4. BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER: i cannot stress enough the importance of being your own cheerleader. doubt is normal, but doubt should never linger. never be afraid to share what you do, who you are & why you matter. so often i hear people talk about their fear of being too "sales-y" on their social media platforms. friends, this is your job. use the tools you've got! we'll all be on the sidelines cheering with you. 

5. YOU ARE WORTH IT: the first month i joined the world of self-employment, a huge company reached out to me with an amazing offer. the thing was, they didn't have a budget to pay me for my work. i thanked them for the opportunity but declined their offer. friends, you are worth it. just like any other job, you deserve a paycheck. take your work seriously & others will take you seriously. just a heads up - a couple of months later, the same company approached me again but with a budget.

6. SAY NO: does this new opportunity make your heart beat faster? do you feel passionate about this offer & are you ready to get to work? if not, say no. too often i have said yes to things because saying no felt too hard & i have immediately regretted it. saying no means you've got more time for those amazing opportunities that really excite you! be choosy, there are only so many hours in the day.

7. ASK FOR HELP: you can't do it all so ask for help. in the beginning, i hand-cut, sewed, packaged & shipped every single product i sold in my online shop. i could only maintain that level of crazy for so long before i felt burnt-out & exhausted. i now pay contract seamstresses & assistants to help me & it's been a total game changer. what i miss in extra income, i make up in fully living. 

8. MISTAKES ARE OK: friends, you will mess up & that's ok. you won't always get it right, you won't always sell out & you won't always do your best. in all honesty, this was a hard one for me to learn, but learning to protect my self-confidence against my business confidence was key. friends, don't let those business mistakes become part of your own personal mistakes. mistakes are ok & you are more than ok.

my self-employed friends, what are your top lessons learned? please share!


just as a reminder, my etsy shop opens tomorrow (thursday, 7/23) at 8 am cst! photos above are sneak peeks of what will be available for purchase, including our new kiddo bow bands! i can't wait to see you there! 


jill b said...

Great words! My husband left his cozy day job and jumped into full time self employment ( a year and a half ago. Supporting a family of 8 as an entrepreneur is daunting. But so worth it! We are so much happier seeing more of him - He was building his business in the evenings before and he's also a part-time at our church as a pastor. And this is such an exciting adventure!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read this but find it hard to read without correct punctuation. Why do you skip capitals at the beginning of your sentences?

natalie said...

Anonymous, it's a stylistic choice. I've been blogging like this from the beginning. -N

Debra said...

For the record, I love lowercase letters. <3
I was a full time mommy before I started my business, but I still feel like I "took the leap" because it's quite scary when you already have so little free time, to start a new venture that threatens to take whatever time you do have. But starting my Etsy shop was possibly, literally the best thing I have ever ever done to take care of ME. To nurture my creative, connect-ing heart in the midst of a stage of life where other people are needing me 24/7. And one of the first things I did after I started making money, was to hire some babysitting so I could have my late nights back to myself and my husband. That's been one of my best lessons - sacrifice a little cash for the sake of your life quality. I LOVE that you hire assistants and seamstresses. That's my next step for sure. :) Thanks for sharing this!! said...

Thanks for sharing! Would LOVE to hear even more on the topic. You're such an inspiration! The past year has been such a difficult one for me - I had some unexpected health issues that suddenly forced me to quit my day job. Through doing so, I realized my dream of being a full time freelance writer. Taking baby steps to get there while also resting & focusing on my blog for now.

ericca h at bellybaloo said...

great advice, N! �� thank you!

Salvage Sister & Mister said...

Love your advice. I am hoping to do this next year but we will see what happens. You are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...
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Deb aka SilentCrazyStars... said...

Hi !
I enjoy reading your blog for while and I work at home as crafter, doll maker, work on small / large quilts and draw ILY (I love you...sign language of the deaf). I can see that my small business start to grow very slow. I have a site in Facebook of SilentCrazyStars.

I am deaf and I can see that lots of deaf people order something from me and I wish hearing people would see my works, I was hoping that it will grow fast. It is one of my goal!

I need to blog soon and Keep Blogging! ( _\m/ i.l.u ) Deb

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

First, and most importantly, this is a great post. For me, I especially appreciate the advice from #3. That's a great point and I think you are spot on. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog, been a reader for a couple years now.

(As a side note, go you!, for simply removing that troll Anonymous. I hate it when trolls attempt to hijack sites like this with genuine, authentic content. I watch it happen to a couple other great blogs and it makes me so mad. I think it's safe to say we all thank you!!)

xoxo joyluck76

Anonymous said...

Making happy flags has been a big help to our house, too. I make for a couple gift shops in my UP area of Michigan and it's allowed us to take our first vacation as a couple ever. I am thinking of headbands and buntings next!

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