365 days as a self employed boss lady. Planning weddings, designing, dreaming, and sometimes freaking the heck out. It’s an interesting thing to reflect on and I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned over the last trip around the sun.
1) I will never be a “paperless” operation. When I first became “full-time” I had this fantasy about being able to do everything from an app or electronic device. There is so much amazing technology out there for small business owners. I mean apps and sites for literally everything. I tried it all…Google Calendar, Trello, Basecamp, Honeybook, Aisle Planner, Google Drive, YOU NAME IT…I TRIED IT. Turns out…I just cannot get a handle on the technology world. I mean…there are some things I really like doing electronically. But I just can’t get used to it. Even my calendar app on my phone is the secondary to my good ol’ fashioned paper planner of choice- the Day Designer. So…I threw the whole tech savvy boss babe ideal out the window and so far I haven’t looked back. Do what works best for you.
2) Self-Employed doesn’t mean the weight of the world is on your shoulders, it means YOU are the one who determines your future. For quite a while after I first quit my day job I felt this wash of sheer terror on the daily, I felt like I HAD to work constantly or I wasn’t doing enough and my business was going to fail. This lead to me being overworked and way underpaid. I was booking jobs just to get more on the calendar because again…I never looked at the numbers (you know the ones- $$$). Now that I have finally ALMOST settled into my life as a full time entrepreneur I have found that if I look at booking business and keeping things going as something that can break me and pull me under…it will…because if that doesn’t stress you out just reading it, I don’t know what else would. INSTEAD it gives me the ABILITY to create and generate an income for myself and my business…I am in control of my business, my business is not in control of me. I had to take a hard look at what my ideal clients were needing and wanting, I had to look at the clients I want to attract. Every single client- isn’t for me and that is OK, I don’t need all of the clients. I just need the right ones. If something isn’t working, I can change it. I am the one in charge of giving myself a day off or a raise, not my boss, because I am my boss. Once I change my thoughts to feeling empowered, I felt that I was ready to master the business side.
3) No one really understands what you mean when you say “I’m a full time self-employed wedding planner and designer”. Cue the blank stares. Being your own boss, is something that sounds like a fantasy. So when it is your reality and you tell other people about it, they picture you swinging in a hammock on a tropical island fanning yourself with some benjamins…or at least that’s what I pictured long before I decided I wanted to make it my reality and started learning about owning and operating a business. Designing weddings alone is no joke- sometimes I spend days sourcing the right linens and the right centerpiece items that are within my client’s budgets, then add in coordination and planning and it is a huge workload that is WORK, even if it is romantic, and sparkly most of the time. Even my husband sometimes forgets that I ACTUALLY have to work…I don’t just sit at home and play with my puppies and binge watch Netflix all day. So don’t get upset when people don’t understand why you can’t go to lunch, or you can’t come to their party, or you didn’t get all the laundry done and lay out a grand dinner.
4) SET OFFICE HOURS. It took me a whole year to do this and make any kind of effort to stick to it. I’m not going to say its going well…but it’s a start. I used to be that business owner that would literally lay in bed and email clients alllll night long, and that is not an exaggeration. Friends, if this is you…STOP. Just stop. You are not doing anyone any favors. Your quality of work will suffer because you aren’t getting any SLEEP. This isn’t Wal-Mart…you do not need to be open for business 24 hours a day. Trust me. Value yourself and your physical and mental health and get some ZZZ’s at night. Those emails will be there in the morning, there’s nothing that is going to get solved in the middle of the night when you are the only one awake anyway.
So there’s that. Some observations from a boss lady. It’ll be interesting to see how these lessons apply to the next year of this crazy beautiful journey.