My Story: The Evolution of Working for Myself
Since November 2018 I have been “on my own” so to speak. However, it wasn’t until January 2019 that I decided to go HARD on finding clients to hire me.
Let me catch you up.
2016-2017 I had a job as an Regional Director of Marketing and Sales (oooh fancy title). I worked for a decent sized senior living company and had worked hard to keep census up, bring in sales, and create events that promoted the community to the public. I did a really good job, that I got promoted. That job changed me. It was hard, tough, and sometimes I didn’t know if I would have a job the next month. That uncertainty lead to high-intense stress. sleepless nights, emotional moments, anxiety and a bit of depression (non-diagnosed I was just extremely miserable).
2017- This was the year that Ivan and i began to plan our wedding. We didn’t hire a wedding planner because we wanted to create everything we visualized ourself. We did not take a out a loan, and instead used my work bonuses, worked a second job and our salary to cover the entire wedding. Talk about HARD WORK! This was the same year that it became INCREASINGLY hard to go into work. I mean, really really tough. By this time, the Executive Team and myself were not working well together. I faced working with older white men who saw me as a young millennial. I was also the only Latina, and female in the team. I can probably save this for another story, but let’s just say they were taking away responsibilities that I once had in an effort for me to quit. I still hung on.
Freelance Projects in 2017- Because this was the year that I realized I didn’t want to work for this company much longer after we got married, I did some MAJOR soul searching. I took a course that taught you how to create online courses. I thought that is what I wanted to do, but what that course taught me was how to narrow down my passions. I listed everything that I was good at, what I enjoyed, what I can see myself doing for the next 5 years and I knew I had to shift my focus to digital or online marketing in some way. The thing is, i enjoy marketing. I truly do. However, in order to keep up with the shift that is happening where everything is not going towards online, it was best that I started learning how to help businesses with their online presence and promotion. I then created an online profile as a freelancer and started slowly working with clients on one-off projects.
2018- I managed to land a client who I worked for all of this year. It was great and I loved it! I knew I was in the right path to freedom and working for myself. One thing about me is when I’m determined to make something happen, I strategize and take the steps needed to MAKE. IT. HAPPEN. in 2018 I officially left my job for another job that I hoped would of been better, but it wasn’t (long story). So I went from that full-time job to a part time in April of 2018, so that I can focus on building my business while still working for someone else. At the time, I thought about creating online courses as a business so I began with that route.
June 25th, I was in a terrible car accident. I had no car for 4 months,. I lost my ambition and momentum slowed. I felt lost, confused, and hit a low with my self esteem. November 2018, I left my part time job to focus full time on my business. By this time I had one official long term client so i can a bit of an income to sustain me for a short while.
January 2019- I went HARD. After the holidays were over, I came home and poured all of my time and energy into gaining clients. I dropped the online courses I was developing and just followed with what was being presented in front of me which was, getting hired to do social media work for small business, and email marketing with light virtual assistant work. I got into a better routine, disciplined myself to have a 9-5 mind frame even though I can technically work whenever (night, day, evening) . This also meant that I needed to focus a little bit less on the blog and my volunteer time with DFW Latina Bloggers. :(
Present Day (July 2019): 6 months later, I have 5 freaking clients AND I actually have had inquires from others. If I could create another of me just so that Vanessa can take on more clients, I would. lol! I am not financially rich or where I want to be. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance my time. But let me tell you, i can see the grass is green on the other side. I’m still working hard to maintain the clients I do have, and I’m still learning. It’s been hard but, in my opinion, so worth it.
I’m HAPPY. Can you believe that? I”m HAPPPPPYYYYYY. I love my flexibility. I love who I am today than who I was even 6 months ago. I love my work. Do I still stress? Yes, but it’s a different kind of stress. The one where you are hard on yourself because no one else is….kind of stress, lol.
I have really enjoyed the flexibility. I love that I can work 6 hours one day, 3 hours another day (if my work load is light), and other days I need to do some work in the evenings. I love that Now that I’ve had a better routine, I get to refocus again on the blog. I never really stopped blogging, but I did slow down more at the beginning of the year. I love how when Ivan has vacation, I feel like WE get to spend time together. I love that if there are blog events during the day I get to attend. The two things that I have love most is that I actually feel that I have provided the most self care now that I don’t have the pressure of driving to an office everyday. I work out more, eat better (sometimes), and feel good. I feel that I’ve gotten to refocus on myself again and my health. All this is something I was completely missing when i had a 9-5 office job. THIS to me, all of this, has been the greatest reward for making this decision. Not to mention, I’ve really enjoyed going to coffee shops to do my work :)
If this lifestyle was easy, I think a lot more people would be doing it. I had a very cushy style job. I have had to accept that my finances are not the same. However, I didn’t choose this lifestyle to just let it go to waste. As I mentioned we aren’t rich, but we are ok. Some months are better than others. We’ve had to make some adjustments at home and analyze what we need and what we can do without. Honestly, i don’t know why we didn’t do this before lol. Life has been simple because I budget myself everywhere I go, everything I do. Budgeting is much more important now. That has been the biggest con is how I need to watch my spending on evvveerrrything. When before I didn’t even think about it. The other con is paychecks or forms of payments, aren’t steady but they do get to you. I always know around when I’ll get paid, but i don’t get paid by clients on the same day every month. This was the second biggest adjustment. These can come scary to some people but when you WANT the life you imagine for yourself, it’s an adjustment I, at least, was willing to make.
My advice to you
This kind of lifestyle is NOT for everyone. It’s hard because there are a lot of sacrifices that need to be made. A LOT. Here is what I advise if you are thinking of perhaps “being your own boss” one day.
Really dig deep on what makes you happy, what you are good at, your talents, the things you enjoy and the life that you envision. Write it out, make a list. Look at it days later so it can sink in. Then think how you can monetize off of what you enjoy and your talents. Remember what you decide to do may change as you start to do “the thing” that it is your trying to pursue. And that’s OK.
Remember I said I am a person with many passions. The con to that is, my focus can be everywhere and your progress is minimal. It’s almost like you are going in circles and not getting much done. FOCUS. Pick “the thing” and work on it every day, every week even if it’s for an hour a day. Have a plan, create tasks, set deadlines. Whatever you need to do to push yourself to make progress.
You need to share your dreams with someone. Something like this is hard, and you need to talk with someone. Not everyone will understand, but find the person or people who will support you. Talking to someone, especially when it gets hard will help.
Did you see the years on my timeline? I go back to 2 years ago when I started on something I knew I enjoyed. Start now. Even if you don’t have your idea fully yet. It will unravel as you start and lead you in the right direction. Don’t wait.
I know I have a long journey ahead of me, but I am looking forward to what the future holds. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll hire someone ;-) wishful thinking, haha.
Thoughts, questions, comments…leave them below! If you got this far, thank you so much for reading!