How I Survived My First Year of Business
If I had to pick one word to describe my 2017, the word that stands out the most in my mind would be transformation.
I hadn’t planned on taking a leap to start a business until summer 2017. If anything, that would be the absolute earliest time for me to take the leap. In fact, I had worked out a schedule with my boss so that I could use Fridays as a day to work on my business, but still be on-call for work.
Pretty sweet, right?

The Call and What Happened After That

One day in January, I got a call from my boss (I worked from home) and found out I was being let go.
In the past, I had left many jobs without giving two week’s notice and without a backup plan. This was one of the rare times where I actually had a potential backup plan. Although I had been blogging since 2012, it wasn’t really until late 2015 I decided to finally take my blog seriously and look into turning creating a business of some sort from it.
In my mind, I wasn’t ready. The timing was way off. With respect to my business, I didn’t have my ducks in a row. Having a frugal mindset, a semi-part time job, savings in the bank and a husband who was willing to pull more than his financial weight was what enabled me to pursue building my business.  During the first few months of 2017, I was still looking for jobs. I eventually realized that I owed it to myself to give my business a chance. Losing my job was my chance. And that’s when I decided to really put my energy and focus into it.
I’m that weirdo who likes to take on challenges and flaunt it. Of course, each challenge comes with a significant struggle. Running your own business is no different. I know everyone says starting a business is hard, risky (especially on your finances) and that your first year is hard, but until you actually experience it for yourself you will never truly realize how difficult it is. Trying to sell a service that doesn’t produce anything concrete is difficult. Trying to sell an idea, something that is not physical is difficult.
It is one thing to know about your area of expertise, but to create a business from it? To convince people they need it and that they should pay you money for it?
That is a whole new dimension.
[RELATED: How I Found the Courage to Leave my 6-Figure Job to Chase a Dream]

Pivoting Not Once, But Twice

Originally I had started off offering blog coaching services to anybody and everybody. Basically, anybody who wanted to start a blog. To get some experience and a few testimonials under my belt, I provided free blog coaching services to several people around the world.
By mid-February, it dawned on me to change my focus to help small business owners use blogging and social media for their business. I positioned myself as someone who would manage that for people but then eventually I realized I didn’t want that to be part of my business plan.
A few months later, I came to the realization that I wanted to change my direction again. I wanted to be more of a consultant and guide small business owners on their blogging and social media journey. Interestingly enough, I accidentally landed a part-time teaching gig at a local college where I would teach social media.

How I Believed I Survived Year One

During my first year, I did manage to gain a small handful of clients and run a successful in-person blogging workshop.
However that year wasn’t without a tremendous amount of self-doubt, anxiety, tears, overwhelm, confusion and frustration. There were countless times where I thought about going back to a day job.  I often asked myself why I couldn’t be satisfied with a regular 9 to 5 like most people. Why couldn’t I pull it together, why was I starting over yet again ( I have a track record that consists of switching undergraduate degrees, changing jobs almost every 1.5 years, changing careers and applying to grad school twice). I had absolutely no idea what it was like to climb a career ladder because ever since I graduated from university, I’ve been climbing a career jungle gym.
I learned to take advice from people who had a similar target market and people who had been doing consulting for a while (and not to listen so much to the advice of family when it came to running a business). It had finally sunk in that I wanted something else. In order to make it happen, I had to seek out a completely different path and do completely different things. Things that made my introverted, anti-social self very uncomfortable.
In addition to this, I attribute my survival to the following– seeking help from other people, networking, putting ideas into action and continuing to show up, moving forward no matter what. As I enter year two, I still feel like I am in survival mode. Except that I now have gained some basic survival skills to help me navigate the wilderness of business.

Hi, I'm Anna!

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