What goes unseen when you work for yourself or run your own business
Perhaps you’re expecting me to write about the late nights. Sure, I’ll mention that…right now lol but I also get sleepy early so I rarely do late nights.
Plus there are so many other nuanced details about working for yourself or running a business that rarely gets spoken about!
Some of us get thrown into working for ourselves out of necessity.
Others have a clear intention from the get-go of starting a business or making your passion your career.
And there are those that just don’t really enjoy working for other people.
And if you’re like me, maybe it’s a little mix of all three. 😬
While I didn’t have a clear plan of when or how I would start a business, there are a few signs from my past that clearly tell me that’s what I wanted:
- I have an undergraduate degree in Business Management
- During college, I remember dreaming of owning a clothing store
- I created an Etsy shop back in 2012 selling cute things I sewed. It was really random and before Etsy or Instagram were that big and for the short period I had it, it was pretty successful.
But even with all those big signs, I still didn’t pay too much attention to them. I had several jobs working for others and plenty of teaching gigs. And I honestly needed that experience to show me what I liked and what I didn’t like.
It wasn’t until I moved to Seattle, WA, and the yoga startup I was going to work remotely for, decided not to move forward with those plans. So, I was out looking for a job but out of necessity, I started freelancing and teaching a shit ton of classes to make ends meet.
Those “regular” jobs saw my varied experience in marketing, yoga/mindfulness, and public health as “too random” and “uncommitted.” Sending me several rejection emails.
And those yoga gigs never fully valued my time, energy, and commitment by really underpaying me or sometimes not paying me.
In the beginning
I don’t think I ever fully acknowledged, “yes I’m working for myself now” but I still updated my website, beeumana.com, to showcase my two skills.
(Side note: Want to know how I got some of my first paying consulting clients? LinkedIn and the contact page on my website. I did not go out looking for them. They reached out to me. And most of my clients have found me that way, but that’s all marketing stuff and I can speak more about that later.)
I knew that I needed support and so I looked for one of the best career coaches out there, Noelle Janka, and did a 9-month program called Operation Dream Job. And that’s exactly what I did. I remember the title of my dream job was “Multi-passionate Entrepreneur”
The vision was beautiful. Vivid.
Lots of plant babies around me. 🌿
But of course, my vision didn’t include the things that go unseen when you work for yourself.
Probably because no one really talks about that.
So, I’m here to share a few things that go unseen when you decide to do things on your own.
Perhaps you relate or maybe you’ll add your own flair to this.
Trouble at the Border
During that coaching program, I learned about Maria Nemeth, Ph.D., and the problem spot she calls “Trouble at the Border.”
The way that my coach and this methodology explain it is, when we’re in “Visionary” world or ideation we are high energy. Things are exciting! Anything can go! Ideas are flying everywhere and we’re so pumped to get going.
But then, when we start putting this vision out into the world or “Physical Reality” it takes a lot of energy (time, physical energy, money, creativity, enjoyment). Things are constantly changing. We lose a bit of that visionary dream and we might experience “trouble at the border” between the visionary world and physical reality.
The doubts creep in. Perhaps a bit of fear “ya I don’t have ______.” Next thing you know you’ve talked yourself out of it.
What was really helpful for me to learn from my coach is the concept of creating Goals based on “Life’s Intentions.” And that has stuck with me throughout this process.
And secondly, mindset. I say this often and I’ll say it again: working for yourself is very similar to practices like yoga and meditation. It requires steadfastness, focus, deep breathing, and continuing to show up.
A lot of administrative stuff
And even if you don’t energetically have trouble at the border, there’s so much admin stuff to do on your own that you might as well stay at the border.
Whatever you’re creating takes a f*cking process. Much of that process you figure out on the way and eventually create systems but in the beginning, nothing is systemized — at least for me.
Often times all we see is the end result of someone’s hard work.
✅ A pretty picture
✅The final rendition of the graphic after hours on Canva
✅The final blog post after it sits in your brain for a month
When you work for yourself, you set up your own meetings, write the content, create the graphic, upload the videos. Oh and then actually do the craft you’re meant to be doing. Like teaching, coaching, or consulting.
And the most important admin task? Motivating yourself. There’s no one else asking “did you get it done?”
Every Monday morning a write out everything I need to get done. I have found that helpful. But now I’m switching it up to every morning, because I’ve noticed, come Thursday I’m losing the motivation. Gotta be flexible and agile as a yogi and as a business owner. 🙂
Feeling like you need to do everything yourself
Because for a long time you do!
Unless you’re starting a business with funding, or a loan— there’s not a lot of flexibility to hire someone. So you’re stuck doing everything yourself.
But then when you’re at a point to bring someone else on for support, it feels amazing to get that extra helping hand. And yet, still, it could feel like you need to do everything yourself. For me I’m like, “Oh it’ll just take a second, why would I delegate this.”
2-hours later I’m still doing the thing.
I remember sitting in a webinar titled something like “How to succeed in your wellness business during COVID.”
Ready with my pen and paper, I realized most of what this person was saying was not only information I already knew around SEO and content strategy but everyone was super engaged and getting lots of value out of it!
They were speaking with such pride and confidence and it gave me a little nudge to speak with pride about the full picture of my craft—marketing, yoga, public health —all of it! And that’s right around the time I started thinking of how to combine my two worlds of mindfulness and marketing.
That whole time and even to this day I think “I don’t really know much about business and marketing though.” “There are so many people that do this, why would anyone hire me?” “Oh sh*t, I have a new client! will I even add value to them though?”
Partly, because I can still hear all those rejection emails back when I was applying for “regular” jobs.
But also because when you work for yourself, it’s not as obvious who to “look up to” or to mentor you.
In traditional roles, there’s a manager or the CEO that can give you a glimmer of the potential career you’ll soon have. When you work for yourself, you really gotta find it or if you’re crafting something new it’s just harder to find and it can feel pretty isolating.
Holding on to your vision while no one else sees it
At some point I realized I was on this path, I remember opening up to my boyfriend and saying I want to do my own thing and run my own business and the first thing he said (with good intentions), you need money to run your business.
And well, the stubborn Taurus in me needed to prove that wrong. Sure if I wanted to start a brick-and-mortar business or a startup with several employees, I for sure need money. But I was creating something else and deep down I knew it, but when others don’t see your vision they will advise you based on what they know.
And those comments can put you back at the border.
Endless nights uploading, updating, and just thinking
It’s really gratifying to create something out of nothing.
Sometimes it’s a win and other times it’s a big flop. The first time I put out an online course I had 3 sign-ups and basically called it even in paying the teaching platform I was hosting on.
But I learned so much, that the second time I rolled it out, I hit all my goals!
Other times, there are nights I’m just thinking of my client’s projects or all the marketing automation I want to do for them lol not even working. Just thinking! I know understand why certain things can’t be on an hourly-basis. I don’t only work when I’m at my computer. Creativity, strategy, content ideas arrive at various times, not only when Toggl is on.
Everything ties together
Currently, what’s going unseen right now in my business is going through the process of refining my brands.
Once again, if you’ve follow my blog you’ll remember when I relaunched my website back in May of 2020. You can read more about that here.
I love what I’ve developed here on Bee Umana. Yes, I’m a bit attached to this brand name and domain. I started my website 6 years ago and it served as my yoga website (screenshot below of my first website).
Over the years it’s evolved so much. Bee is the name that some of my childhood/closest friends called me and I wanted to keep this community feeling like one of my closest friends.
And now it’s time and ready for another refresh and clean up.
This time with the support of Dragon Fly Ave developing a new brand and website for OM Marketing — where I’ll be transitioning my Mindful Marketing offerings—as well as a refresh to this homepage to showcase OM Marketing and Mother of the Mind.
And while I’m freaking out looking at the long admin task list of what needs to transition, templates I need to remake, emails I need to switch, clients I need to inform, copy I need to write… I’m so freaking excited!
Marci is doing an amazing job seeing my vision. Here’s a little glimpse at one of the logo renditions.
The vision is always evolving
When you work for yourself the vision is always changing. And it’s ok to switch gears. To change something up. To say you longer want to do something. To take on a new skill. To switch careers completely! I have no idea how long I’ll be doing this multi-passionate entrepreneur vision. But I’m going with it for now. I know that I can always go back to school. Take a boot camp course. Work at Starbucks. So much!
We are multi-dimensional beings. Let’s embrace and celebrate change and rebirth!!!
Photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash