It is really easy for anyone who has never been in business, to assume that owning a business is all profits and glory.
It seems so glamorous, and like the money is always flowing. Let me tell you. IT IS WORK!
Look, anyone who has EVER built anything, successfully or not, will tell you that it times time, energy and resources (money and otherwise).
And just when you think you have it all figured out, there's another level! It's like a never ending game of candy crush that keeps you thinking you're getting somewhere, when all the while there are more levels coming! If you listen to "How I Built This" then you know that even the mega-successful huge CEOs have all the same doubts and fears that we all have when we launch our ventures.
If you're in business for yourself, or thinking about doing it, I'm sharing a little bit about my journey and how long it has taken to get to this still EARLY part of my business.
Fall 2015 - In the fall of 2015, I was on a maternity leave with my first child and looking at the possibility that my career could drastically change in the next year. So my goal during the leave was to figure out what was next, to make a plan. I work in politics and my career always follows campaign cycles and elected officials, so I wanted to take charge of my own future and sort it out. Also, my husband was in the midst of a career change and buying into a practice.
December 2015 - By December, I had gone through the process of looking for my own career coach, and interviewed a bunch with no luck. And that's when the seed was planted to become a coach myself. BUT I DIDN'T DO IT YET.
November 2016 - My boss got reelected and my job got extended for four years. Phew. OK, so this was when I started thinking again about coaching and taking ownership of my own future. I started thinking about branding, and was told to start providing the content people wanted, so I started pushing motivational stuff through my own Facebook page.
June 2017 - I gave birth to my second child. And while on leave, I finally decided to do it, and signed up for a four month coaching certification program. Within a couple of weeks, the program had us decide on a business name, register our business paperwork, sign on with our own coach, and start meeting with clients! I was SOOOO not ready! I remember thinking who do I think I am, I haven't even finished this program, yet!
But they emphasized that doing was more important than perfection, and thankfully they did! I could not be where I am right now, if I hadn't gotten started! There was no education I could get by reading or listening to other people that could replace what I've learned by just getting started and figuring out what works (and even more what doesn't).
August 2017 - So around this time, I was probably at about $3,000 invested. (mostly the class) I met with a design firm in town, but decided I couldn't afford the pros yet and designed my own brand/logo and other stuff, ordered business cards, and letterhead and a few office supplies. Borrowing my husbands laptop (My computer had crashed, and I didn't have a laptop), I started doing stuff mostly from my phone. I had class every week for 1-2 hours and homework including client introductions to equal about 5 hours a week. And then transitioned back to my full-time job in September.
Early 2018 - I was stumbling. I didn't totally know what I was building, except what I wanted to do. I hosted an event and had one person show up. I was meeting with potential clients, but no one was buying services. I hadn't invested a ton more money into the business, but I had about $20-30/month in expenses and the money spent was starting to creep up. I told my boss what I was building and started trying to plan for a transition, but with no clients, it made no sense!
May 2018 - My first ongoing client took the leap! She signed up, and started scheduling sessions regularly. We would meet in public, by video or in my home office. And it was everything I knew the business would be. She was excited and energetic, I was firing on all the stuff I had learned in my certification and offering the services I knew I could. I