6 changes that took my business from hot mess to success
Hot mess would be a good term to describe my first two weeks of going full time with my business. Why? It wasn't that I was falling behind on projects or that clients were unhappy with my work.
My hot mess situation was 100% happening in my head, even while my business was running smoothly.
I had run The Paige Studio for almost a year and a half as a side hustle before I was able to take it full time. (I had a little thing called a Masters degree to finish off before I was able to fully commit to my business).
I was over the moon to finally be able to put all my time and effort into the one thing I had been loving as my side gig for so long. I just knew it could be be a thriving business if I just had the proper time to commit to it. After all, it's a little tough to grow a business empire while only having an hour or two a day to put into it.
One day about 2 weeks into working full time in my business, I opened the front door to my neighbor, an immaculately dressed, 6 foot tall blonde girl, who looked like she was in a bit of a rush.
"Do you have a package for me?"
As the delivery man quickly realized, I worked from home and was there constantly, so I had become his favorite person to leave packages with for my neighbors in the apartment.
I handed over the Amazon package to my beautiful neighbour, closed the door and proceeded to feel absolutely terrible about myself.
She was dressed perfectly, coming from some sort of professional workplace and in a rush to head off somewhere.
I was still in pajamas at 4 PM, hair a mess, hadn't gone outside in a couple days, and felt completely alone in my new city.
As a person whose favorite jobs had always been those where I worked with others, suddenly spending all day with just my laptop and the 4 walls of my own home office was taking its toll.
I worked all day with no breaks, and got frustrated with the slow speed at which I felt I was making progress towards my goals. I would wake up whenever I felt like it and then take my sweet time doing a lot of nothing before wandering into my office.
"Hell! I'm my own boss, I set my own hours! I don't need to work 9-5 like everyone else in the world!" I thought.
Turns out, my new found freedom and flexible work hours was not leading to the happiness I expected. I was on the verge of tears every day, with a constant feeling of anxiety and panic.
My boyfriend came back from work every day to an increasingly miserable girlfriend who would start crying at a moments notice over just about anything. I was completely jealous when my boyfriend would head to work events, drinks with coworkers and even after hours meetings that he hated going to.
While I was indeed booked with projects, I was still gripped with fear that somehow I wasn't going to be able to pay for rent, life, etc.
Throw all of my bad habits together, and I and felt like the world was happening around me and I wasn't a part of it. It was honestly the strangest feeling, one which I had never once had before.
That's how going full time with my business started for me, lonely and anxious with paralyzing stress.
I 100% attribute my hot mess stage with the bad habits I developed.
The next day a part time job basically fell in my lap, and off I went back to working for someone else in the 'real world' while running my business on the side. Yep, I went full time with my business for a grand total of 2 weeks before running back to the stability of working for someone else.
Looking back, that job was an absolute gift in making me realize how much I truly wanted to make my own business a success, and take a second crack at it.
With my second attempt at going full time, I knew I needed a game plan. Not the type of business game plan you would think however, I needed a mental game plan.
My own mind, self-doubt and anxiety completely sabotaged my first attempt at going full time, so I knew it was the most important thing to keep under control the second go around.
If you end up in a similar situation where your own mind is sabotaging your business, here's the steps I took which I highly suggest you implement too!
1. Leave the house
I don't allow myself to work from home every day anymore. On days my boyfriend is home (he has unusual working hours), I'll work from home because I'm not completely alone then. Otherwise I make sure that I get out of the house. I swear my neighborhood is classy coffee shop central, so thankfully I have lots of cafe options. On other days I'll head to the library to do work and have also looked into joining a co-working space.
2. Get dressed & pretty, every day
While my 'office' doesn't have an official dress code, and my 'boss' won't send me home if I'm wearing pajama pants, I know that when I look good, I feel good. Not to mention, when I'm presentable to the world, I tend to procrastinate less on leaving the house which is vital for keeping my mind in line.
3. Go to socials at least 3 times a week
Without a doubt, still to this day the worst part of working for myself is my lack of coworkers. Because I have very little social interaction in my job, it's extra important I meet up with friends or go to events multiple times a week. Believe it or not, going to socials at least 3 times a week is a goal I legitimately work towards and am slightly upset with myself if I don't meet it. #firstworldproblems
4. Set office hours
I work from 10 AM - 6 PM every day with a 1 hour lunch break. Previously I just woke up whenever I wanted, worked during the day when I felt like it, and generally felt pretty guilty for my lack of a real schedule. Not to mention, working odd hours made seeing friends and my boyfriend tough, so a proper work schedule has been a welcome change.
At times when I need/want to work past 6 PM I let myself do it, assuming I'm still meeting my socials goal. (Funny how everyone wants 'flexible work hours,' but then once you have them you realize the traditional work hours are really the best, right?)
5. Miracle morning
For a few months I had already been doing and loving the 5 Minute Journal. After watching this video, I read Hal Elrods Miracle Morning, which includes what is basically the 5 minute journal concept and then builds upon it. It's the perfect morning routine to keep focused on my goals, and take care of my mind before starting on my work.
6. Mindset consciousness
I completely do not allow myself to have negative thoughts roaming around anymore. We all have some negative self-talk running around in our minds, but I'm now very conscious of this. The whole 'no one will book you,' 'this is a crappy blog post,' etc. are no longer allowed in my mind. Each time I have a negative thought, I replace it with the exact opposite, and repeat it to myself or write it down.
Here's a book I loved on this topic, You Are A Badass. You will laugh your ass off throughout the entire thing and come out truly thinking you're a badass, with no room for negative self-talk. (Ain't no body got time for that.)
To end things on a high note... (Who likes a depressing blog post after-all? Not I!) I am so happy to report, I worked my buns out of that rut, I didn't fall back into my bad habits, and I truly am so grateful and thankful to run my business every darn day I wake up.
I realize I have built for myself something that very few people have, and have the ability to live my life just the way I please. On some days I do wake up, hit up one of my favorite classy coffee shop, write a blog (like right now) and think 'this is really your job.' It's a bit of a pinch me moment.
To all the fellow new full time self-employed gals, know I’m over here with a bouncy ponytail and pom poms cheering you on! Go get those dreams biz bestie!