I have to admit, I stumbled into my side hustle. I was all of 23 years old, a new college graduate, and working at my very first Big Girl job. All I knew was that I needed a bigger purpose in life. I needed more than going to a job every day just to make money. Before that, school was always my first priority. It made working feel like a secondary thing that took a backseat to my classes- I could deal with that.
I was 9 months out of college before I went to open an LLC and started on this crazy journey.
At first, I had an interest in graphic design and photography, so I thought, hey why not start a business making logos, flyers, and shooting photography? I had no formal education in art, nor did I know much about design- I had little clue what I was getting into. I went to a few seminars on Photoshop and photography and went for it. I took on small projects for family and friends to test out my skills.
A few more months went by and I designed my very first WordPress Website for a neighbor. That’s all it took for me to get a huge crush on web design and WordPress development.
I started building a portfolio, attending networking events, and gave out my business card to anyone who I thought could benefit from my work or who could help me spread the word. Projects would come in little by little and I was PSYCHED! At this point, working on my business full-time was only a twinkle in my eye.
I did these small projects and went to web design/ development and photography classes here and there for a few years. I remember taking on more complicated website work, not really knowing if I was capable of delivering. I also shot my first wedding and was terrified!
After about 4 years, I decided to redirect my focus because graphic design and photography was not my passion. I liked it, and I still do, but it wasn’t the main driver anymore. Web design and digital marketing became my favorite things to work on and to learn more about.
All this time I had a full-time job in marketing, so it was a great way for me to learn and practice as much as I could. I got tons of experience from working in a corporate environment.
It wasn’t until 2013 that I really started thinking that this might be able to support me someday- there were a few months where I made more on the side than at my job. My mission was to pay off all my debt, save up as much money as I could, and lower my expenses. I thought if I was able to do this, the leap to full-time wouldn’t be so huge. That was 100% my strategy from that point on.
This went on for many years and was pretty tough at times. It was a huge goal and not something that was going to happen overnight. The thought of one day being able to take this business full-time kept me motivated. It pushed me to save my ass off and work all day at my job, then go to my side projects at night and weekends. There was nothing glamorous about this.
As this goal started to become a reality, I got scared. I seconded guessed this idea all the time and talked myself out of it over and over again. “It’s not the right time.” “What if I can’t pay the bills?” “Who am I to think I could pull this off?” “What if I fail?” It was a constant cycle, which I have to admit hasn’t fully left my brain even now.
I had an epiphany a few months before I left my job. What was the worst thing that could happen? Making this a big deal was stupid and I knew I would regret it if I never made the leap. I could always go back to a job if that’s what needed to happen. I set the date and started telling people. This held me accountable. Now I really had to follow through.
I spent these next few months preparing a business plan, getting my name out even more, and talking myself into the fact that this was a good idea.
Now, here we are. Looking back, I wish I would have done it sooner, but at the same time, it’s gone better than I could have planned so things seemed to have happened at exactly the right time.
7 years is a long time. I didn’t decide to start a business and immediately become successful. Not even close. I wouldn’t even consider myself “successful” yet. I don’t know if that will ever happen.
It’s all a process. I’ve learned that you just have to keep going. Go after new things, put yourself out there, TRY, and never stop.
“Once you believe that you can do something, there is not a single person in the universe who can convince you otherwise.” ― Germany Kent
Thanks for Reading,