If you’ve been following me for some time you’ll know that two years ago, I left higher education to pursue blogging and building my brand full-time. At that time I intended to make consulting small, independently owned black-owned businesses my primary source of income. I planned to continue creating content on the side, but working with small brands one-on-one felt like a “safe” way to continue to bring money into our household. And it made sense. Our debts were relatively low and my son wasn’t even two years old yet, so why not take the gamble? It was scary, but I had been trying to figure out a way to work for myself since before my son was born. He’s four now, and I’m still bitter about all the time I lost with him when he was a baby. But I digress, I digress.
So I hired a business coach, launched my consulting website, and 6 months later I was out of business (by choice), and here’s why:
- Consulting is a sales job, and you’ve got to be selling and convincing folks to work with you ALL the time.
- Most small businesses don’t have a budget to work with consultants, so most (even if they mean well) will attempt to get as much free information as possible without ever intending to pay for ongoing consulting.
- I began to feel as though taking money from people, when there could be no guaranteed deliverables (as is the nature of online business), wasn’t jiving with my spirit.
- I wanted to create. I wanted to write, and talk about makeup, and clothes, and current events, so immersing myself in someone else’s start-up felt really stifling.
So then I dove into blogging, full-time and it. was. a. ride. I grew exponentially. I figured out that if you throw in some “messy” or gossip news into your content, folks will visit your blog, and visits equals m-o-n-e-y. But in doing so, I had diluted my brand. I lost sight of why I started and found myself writing trash content just to stay alive. I also worked, around the clock, nonstop. It was nice making more money, but I wasn’t making enough to continue down that path. Frankly, I don’t think there will ever be enough money for me to attach myself to something that doesn’t adequately represent who I am and what I bring to the table. So here’s what I wish I knew before I quit my job to pursue my passion:
What I Wish I Knew Before I Quit My Job
- Don’t chase the money. Money comes and goes, but your integrity must stay in tact. If what you’re doing involves chasing dollar bills, it ain’t your passion and you need to regroup.
- Give yourself time. Allow yourself the time to be certain about what you want to do before taking the leap. In the end, it’s likely that no matter where/how you begin, you’ll end up somewhere else, but having some degree of clarity in the beginning is important.
- Know where to spend and where to save. This one is tough, but spending is a part of this business. If you are unwilling to spend you won’t get very far.
- Network. Allocate some of your funds to attending networking events in your industry. Much of the “success’ I’ve attained has been through meeting people within my industry at targeted networking events and conferences.
- Have multiple streams of income. This one is true even if you have a full-time job. Never, ever, rely on one source of income. Shit happens and you don’t ever want to be stuck in a lurch. Been there. Done that.
- Don’t be afraid to pick up extra gigs and side jobs to help keep cash flowing while you grow. Financial stress is not a long-term motivator. It can kill you AND our business. No job, even if it’s your own business, is worth your peace of mind.
- Talk to people. Get support. You are not in this alone. You don’t know everything. and if you talk to people you may encounter folks who can help you solve your problems.
- Facebook groups are life. Find the right ones for your industry, and be a fly on the wall. You’ll learn so much.
- Go with the flow. Entrepreneurism, by definition, is for out-of-the-box thinkers. Be flexible and willing to change the way you operate. If that means changing course over and over again, so be it. You’ll never get it “right” if you aren’t willing to adjust and adapt.
Truthfully, I have no regrets. For the last two years I’ve enjoyed more time with my son, and I’ve learned what it means to be a professional content creator. Now I’m ready for phase two. I will continue to create content, but I can’t wait to see how my creativity unfolds when I no longer have the stress of having to create content to stay alive. I’m looking forward to taking vacations with my family, saving for my son’s college fund, and just living. If I “make it,” cool, but if not, that’s okay, too. Life is short, and I can’t wait to start living agin.