Ten Realizations from My First Year in Business
One year ago, I launched 1000 Words Marketing. I sat on my patio on my first day at my newly created gig and felt a mixture of emotions: elation, fear, uncertainty, excitement and exhaustion. My youngest kid was only three-months-old at that time so exhaustion was a constant.
I have learned a lot over the past 12 months about myself, what I like to do, and what it takes to run a business. I definitely don’t have it all figured out, but in no particular order, here are a few things I know to be true:
I don’t like working in the same location for more than an hour. I work from my laptop and don’t have a dedicated office space in my tiny, old Chicago bungalow, so I work from where ever. On any given day, I float from my couch, to my dining room table, to my patio, to my other couch, to my sunroom, and sometimes even my bed. I am literally all over the place and don’t know how I ever worked sitting in one chair at one desk all day long.
I hate taxes. Not that I have to pay them. I mean, for the good of society, I am ok with paying taxes. I just hate when it’s quarterly tax time or annual tax time, and I have to sit down and figure it all out. I know I can outsource this, and it’s one of my goals for 2020. (I’m totally open to recommendations if you have them.)
I love working with entrepreneurs. The type of person who decided to start their own business or create their own thing is my favorite type of person.
Even though I can work from home every day, it doesn’t mean that I should. For the sake of my husband’s sanity (I will talk his ear off), I need to get out of the house at least once a week and interact with other humans. My favorite way to do this is by supporting one of the many independent coffee shops in my neighborhood. And I’ve started looking into joining a co-working space or networking group that meets monthly. It’s also a 2020 goal. Again, I’m open to recommendations.
I’m still figuring out what I’m really good at, what I like to do and where those two things intersect. I started this business thinking I would provide a specific kind of service and so far, that idea hasn’t really come to pass. As I work with more people and see who comes to me looking for help with different aspects of their marketing, I’m refining and reshaping what I offer. I assume this will be the way of my business for at least a few more years.
I miss paid vacation days. I know as a business owner I should be factoring them into my schedule and making my own, but man, I really could have used some PTO days over the past 12 months. Life still happened. My kids still got sick. There were still federal holidays. I still took vacations. But when those things happened on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, I had to find ways to make up that time. I don’t think I fully appreciated PTO days when I had them.
There’s so much to learn and running your own business means you get to pick and choose what you learn. Your education isn’t tied to a role you were hired into. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with learning everything there is to know about SEO and how to make Google fall in love with WordPress websites. It’s riveting stuff. No seriously. I find it fascinating.
I have to be really protective of my work time. Just because I can put a load of laundry in or take the dog on an extra-long walk in the morning doesn’t mean I should. The clock does not dictate when I have to start and end my day, but I still have to be hyper-aware of those seemingly small activities that can eat into my workdays.
I miss working with my old team. Shout out to the marketing department at Levenfeld Pearlstein because that hands down was still the best job I’ve had and the best place I ever worked.
I can actually do this. Over the past year, I have done stellar work for a variety of clients and gained business from organic search traffic. It’s surprised me that a year in, I feel this sound in my decision to uproot my career and try something so out of my comfort zone. But now that I’ve been hanging out here for a while, it feels pretty comfortable.