If you knew how much I made in the first 12 months of self-employment, you’d simultaneously laugh and pat me on the back sympathetically.

Why? (Thanks for asking).

Because it was a measly $8,000.

Yep, in twelve months, I made $8,041.61. If you do the math, that’s approximately $30 a day in a working year.

Yes, that’s me raking it in…

I’m being sarcastic of course.
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To be honest with you, one of the hardest things starting out as a freelancer or contracting yourself out is the inconsistent income (anyone feel me?)⠀
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You’re invoicing $1,000 in one month and then lucky to scrape four figures the next.⠀
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Trust me, I have been there. That’s how I started!

Recently, I celebrated not only my 23rd birthday but my business’ second birthday. (Yes, my business and I share a birthday #Goals).

So if you’re in the start-up phase right now, here are some lessons that I have learnt over the last two years which I wish I’d known when I was beginning. I hope this encourages you in your business journey!

Lesson 1. Progress is a process.

Success, achieving your goals, you name it – it rarely happens overnight. And to be honest? You don’t want it to either. Why? Because there is power in the process of progress.

Lesson 2. Celebrate the small wins.

The big wins are flipping great, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating the smaller wins, too. Simplicity doesn’t mean insignificant.

Lesson 3. People don’t know you exist until you show up.

For the first ten months of freelancing, I relied solely on word of mouth. No Facebook. No Instagram. No Pinterest. No LinkedIn. No website. My business didn’t “exist” in the online world. Once I bought my business name, I built this website you’re on now (thanks for that!) and set up my social accounts.

I doubled my clientele within a few months. Yes, folks, that’s the power of exposure. As soon as you show up, people know you exist. Crazy.

Lesson 4. You will never know everything and that’s okay.

Be willing to keep learning. Don’t ever feel like you know “enough”. Accept that there will be people who know more than you and there will be people that you know more than. Both are okay.

Lesson 5. It’s quality over quantity.

When it comes to creating and sharing content, we feel like we need to be posting every single day. But quality is so much more important than quantity.

Because newsflash, no one actually cares what you had for lunch today (there, I said it). They’d much prefer some content that adds value to their life.

Lesson 6. It’s better to be great at a few things, rather than crap at a lot of things.

Stop trying to do #AllTheThings. I’m still working on this. I’m a people-pleaser, it’s only natural for me to want to be in control and make sure errythang looks 11/10.

But knowing that you’re possibly doing a disservice to your business if you try and do it all by yourself – now that is a game-changer.

Lesson 7. Find your circle.

You need those people who clap for you even when you’re not looking. If they’re not cheering for you, get a different circle. Simple as that.

(P.S. If you’re looking for a cheerleader, just holla! It’s kinda my thang).

Lesson 8. Make sure you’re cheering other people on, too. It works both ways.

Don’t expect any cringe-worthy chants and cheers from a top-notch cheer squad if you ain’t getting those pom-poms out for them!

Lesson 9. Let any negativity be a catalyst for your growth.

If there are people that aren’t believing in you and lifting you up, don’t let it get to you. Instead, use that as motivation to prove them wrong.

Persevering through the challenges and the negativity emphasises just how badly you want to succeed.

Lesson 10. Experts were beginners once, too.

One of my favourite business YouTubers currently, Vanessa Lau, mentioned in her video, “You’ll never know how much you know until you meet someone who knows less than you”.

Lesson 11. Charge what you’re worth, then add tax.

I read a quote saying, “If I do a job in 30 minutes it’s because I spent 10 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.”

Enough said.

Lesson 12. That ‘thing’ you’re procrastinating on probably (definitely) doesn’t take as long as you think.

Like, hello, I’ve had a bunch of blog posts in the backlog semi-ready to go, but two years into running a business and I’ve only just launched my blog. It’s never too late. It’s better you do it later than not at all.

Lesson 13. You’re allowed to say no to people.

You’re the boss, remember? It’s crazy how often I forget that I actually get to call the shots. So that client that doesn’t agree with your pricing? #ThankUNext

I hope that these lessons encourage you to keep working hard and keep showing up!⠀
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While I wish I had known these things before I launched my business, it’s been an incredible journey learning as I go, too.

I’ve been stretched and grown more than I ever thought possible.

My word for this year was GROWTH and boy oh boy, has it exceeded all expectations so far! 🙌🏽

But I also know that with each day, week, month and year of doing business, there are more lessons to learn.

Your biggest cheerleader,

Jess. x