As an only child, who thoroughly enjoys her own company, has been single for five years and lived alone for two, being solo is something I am more than used to.
This is why, starting my own solo business from home, seemed like it was going to be a piece of cake (yes, I know, I can hear you laughing from here!) Much to my surprise… it wasn’t!
In the beginning, several days were spent absolutely killing it and feeling nothing but proud. The other days? Well, they were spent lying on the floor of my home office crying out in frustration, “I can’t do it!!!” and I’m not exaggerating either.
It was a huge change! – In a mere few days, I went from working for someone else (something I’d been doing for 13 years), to working for myself. I went from working in a busy professional office surrounded by people, to working out of the spare room in my home, with only myself to talk to.
With just me, myself and I, I quickly discovered that working solo is a very different story indeed, let me tell you.
For starters; who do you greet in the morning? No one.
Who do you bounce ideas off? No one.
Who do you ask for their opinion? No one.
Who do you chat with by the water cooler? No one. Wait… I don’t even have a water cooler!
And who dictates your deadlines? You do.
Who tells you what to do? You do.
Who enforces rules and guidelines? You do.
See where I’m going here? It’s not an easy adjustment, this working alone business!
And don’t even get me started on distractions! I thought working in an open plan office was bad enough – but my home office isn’t much different.
“Should I clean the kitchen before I write my next article?”
“Perhaps I’d better put a load of washing on.”
“Will that dog next door shut the hell up?!”
“Fabulous! My next-door neighbours are doing construction at their house… again!”
“Ah a family member has just dropped by without calling…Sure, I can have a coffee with you, it’s not as if this is my place of work or anything!”
And the list goes on.
More than just distractions
It wasn’t just about the distractions, crying on the floor, entertaining impromptu visitors or agonising over next door’s dog and their noisy power tools, that were of the greatest concerns.
A couple of months in, I realised that writing two blogs per week and one lot of website copy was not going to cut it! It was not going to keep me or my business afloat. Not only was I not getting nearly enough business, I had no idea how I was going to go about getting more either, and most importantly, I didn’t know how I was going to do it alone.
It dawned on me that unless I spent thousands of dollars on Facebook and Google Ad campaigns and spent every waking moment engaging in and posting on social media, I wasn’t going to get a lot of business within these four lonely walls and that I would unlikely survive long in the solopreneur world – These thoughts were terrifying, to say the least.
I felt alone, lost and isolated and almost ready to give up and return to a life of working for someone else.
What saved me?
So, what saved me? How did I pick myself up off the floor, wipe my tears away, stop cleaning the kitchen umpteen times a day and get to where I am today?
Well, the truth is, I was saved. Saved by a community.
Hearing of my struggles, a friend invited me to the open day of a business networking group, (BNI). Reluctant to sign up and fork out the $30 for what was likely a pretty average breakfast, and nervous to attend, I felt the fear and attended anyway.
My nerves increased when, upon arrival, I learned that I was required to stand up and tell over 50 fellow business owners about my business. For someone who grew up with a severe stutter, public speaking wasn’t exactly an exciting proposition for me and this was more than daunting, to say the least! But stand up and speak I did and much to my surprise, I spoke confidently, proudly and loudly. Not only that, I really enjoyed the experience and saw myself come out of my shell.
That experience gave me the opportunity to meet other small business owners and for the first time in my life, proudly introduce myself as a ‘Copywriter’. Refreshingly, everyone in the room knew what a Copywriter was and I no longer had to explain that I what I did had nothing to do with securing the rights of intellectual property…. this was most encouraging.
Twelve months on, I am not only a proud member of a BNI Chapter, I am also part of the Membership Committee and have never looked back.
Not only have I gained more business and found an excuse to get out of my pyjamas every Thursday morning, I have met some incredible people, built some strong business relationships, grown my business and learned a hell of a lot. I’ve even made some new friends along the way…
Being saved by a networking group was only the beginning…
Shortly after coming out of my shell, I began attending events hosted by other business communities. Communities such as ‘Inspired Women’, ‘Business Bond’ and ‘Business Chicks’ and have signed up to various Facebook groups such as ‘Perth Girlbosses’ and ‘Girls in Business’. These groups provided me with the confidence, connection, guidance and support I needed to get me through this solopreneur journey of mine.
I really don’t know where I would be without these communities and I honestly believe that chances are, I’d be back working a 9-5 job that I don’t like and still wearing that grey, drab uniform I so despised.
So, thank you communities, for keeping me fashionable too!
So, where am I now?
Where have my struggle and community saviours taken me?
Firstly, let me just say: I MADE IT!!!
Yep! 12 months later I can confidently say that I’m no longer crying on the floor, my kitchen is no longer spotless and my washing machine is only turned on weekly. I have grown for the better and my business and the businesses I’ve worked with are reaping the rewards as a result.
Some highlights of my AMAZING first year:
- I have surpassed my goal of 10 regular clients (I have 20!)
- I am exceeding my sales targets on a monthly basis
- I am more confident and happier than ever
- I am doing what I LOVE!
- I have spoken about my business in front of 100 people
- I meet and connect with amazing people on a daily basis
- I was flown over to Melbourne by a client!
See? You can do it! It IS possible! And I am living proof!
Here’s to many more years of Craven Content and making magic happen.
Empowered women, empower women… So, if you’re feeling inspired to start your solopreneur journey, need a little support, or perhaps just want to pick my brains about business, Copywriting or Content Writing, Call me. I’m here. I’m ready. Let’s talk!