Showing up College Professors and Negative Nancies
"Get ready to give up home cooked meals!"
"It's hard work! So...good luck I guess."
"Is this your first start-up? My first business went bankrupt."
"Be ready to work extremely long hours."
Those were a few things I heard when I told people that I was quitting my "real job" and starting Good Measure Creative. Pretty encouraging, huh? Not so much. Those things didn't discourage me though. I knew it would be tough. I knew I may work weird hours. I knew I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone to meet people and build my clientele. I knew it wasn't going to be a steady paycheck and it may very likely be "feast or famine." But with my wonderful husband along side, I knew I could do it. I knew I could be successful. I just had to keep my priorities straight and work as hard at keeping a balanced life as I do getting work out the door.
Here are 11 things that have helped me keep a sane personal life while starting a new business.
- Keep God first. Give him the first 15-20 minutes of your day reading Scripture and reflecting on it in prayer. Get your mind in the right place, set on the right things so you are ready to take on the day!
- Get good sleep and stay on a schedule. At least 8 hours of sleep is best for your body.
- Exercise. CrossFit is what I love. I love the workout, the community of people and being able to focus on me for one solid hour. If CrossFit isn't your thing, try walking, running, Yoga or Pilates, to name a few. Play tennis! Basketball! Football! Anything that gets your heart rate up, makes you sweat and clears your mind is crucial.
- End your day at a specific time. I normally put my computer away around 5:30. Sometimes later, sometimes earlier but I generally try to stick to one time. That helps me end my day in the same way, keeping a routine and forcing myself to get away from my work.
- Make home cooked, healthy meals. Healthy, well balanced meals are fuel for your system. If you eat junk, you will feel like junk. If you eat healthy food, you will feel healthy. It's simple.
- Take 10 minute walks once or twice during the day. Today it's raining but normally I would take Sampson for a walk around 10 and/or 2. He loves it and when we get back home, my mind is clear and I'm ready to tackle another project!
- Talk about your work. I don't mean brag, boast or obsess over yourself. But let your spouse/friends/family know what you are working on! Be proud of your work and take time to look at what you have accomplished.
- Get out and work at coffee shops (or places of the like). I have met some of the greatest people working at Starbucks or Foolish Things Coffee Company. Your work is a conversation starter within itself. If you see the same person over and over again, introduce yourself! See what their business is and what they do. Who knows, they could be a potential client or new friend! ;)
- Meet people face to face. Instead of only exchanging emails for a project. Buy your client a coffee and get to know them. It's much easier to converse face to face than over the phone or via email.
- Set boundaries. This may be the hardest one of all but you can do it! Get as much work in as you can in the work day hours. If you can, take half of Friday for yourself. I do "Half-day Housewife Fridays." So on Fridays, from noon on, I am a housewife. I am cleaning and getting caught up on laundry or just saving that time for myself doing something relaxing...like crafts :) It's fun!
- Surround yourself with people who believe in you. This is the MOST important. I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband, family and friends who believe in me. They told me I would be successful when others didn't and I believed them! It is so important to have a support system. If you need some up-beat, positive words in your life, let me know. I will help you find SOMETHING you can rejoice over!
Quick side story: I had a college professor who called me out in a design class once and said I wasn't going to make it in this field. He said I should just quit, or do something else with my life. I have never felt so humiliated. I left his class crying feeling so bad about myself, my work and the past 4 years of college. I called my dad and let me tell you, he gave me the greatest pep talk. God was giving him the right words to say that day. I had never felt so motivated than after that talk. Like a good dad, he told me to stop crying, to work even harder and to show that professor what I was made of. He reminded me that I had God on my side, so I would win. Period. End of story. He was right! I graduated, I got an internship at an AWESOME communications firm, went on to work for an international non-profit, and now...drum roll...start my own business SUCCESSFULLY. BAM.
Thank you mom and dad :)
Now, back on track--I hope some of these tips help you. They are things that I have learned as I've gone. Things that you don't learn in school out of a text book. If you're thinking about starting a business (of any kind), beware of those who will intentionally or unintentionally try to discourage you. Keep your head up, believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in YOU! You can do it! You will be successful! There is a lot of power in your words so use that power for positive speaking.