*This article contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission, at no cost to you, on products purchased through these link.
Working for yourself is a dream for many, but it’s also incredibly difficult and emotional. Something I wasn’t fully prepared for when I went out on my own was how up and down I would feel about my blog and business. I can remember being at work, being bored, and spending half of my day doodling, cruising social media, or just blankly staring at my computer – pretending to be busy. I longed for entrepreneurship for years.
I was especially frustrated by (all) my previous jobs because I was usually forced to work with clients or on projects that I would personally never take, and I felt like my skills were being wasted or underappreciated. I remember being asked to throw ads together at the last minute or being told to “throw together a quick logo” for someone. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were good project and good clients – things that really helped me grow – especially when I got to a position where I was managing projects and delegating task. I really can’t complain too much about my more corporate career – it was a good one and I gained a lot of knowledge and skills. However, that didn’t change the fact that I constantly outgrew the work I had. So, I finally did – I quit working for others.
I think that actually quitting my job and deciding to not look for a new was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. I mean, I was nervous as f**k about it, but I knew that nothing would help me grow more than running my own business. I did tons of research, read multiple ebooks, signed up for mini-courses. I actually got to a point where I felt like I was spending more time researching and planning than I was working on my actual business plan, so I had to make myself stop putting it off and just dive in.
I had no freaking idea what I was doing. I knew I wanted to blog and create freebies, I knew what my services and prices would be, and how to build a website. I created some blogs, which were really short at first, and I joined some Facebook groups, made an Instagram – all the basics. I had no following and not many connections since I moved across the country to a state where I know 2 people: my boyfriend and our roommate. I did invite a few friends and relatives to like my Facebook page, I had my Mom and sister read over my website, but I literally started at 0 with everything.
Okay, so all of this to get to the point – things I’ve learned from running my own creative business and blog:
Omg, time blocking. It’s so important to for me to just set aside time for one task. I will sit down and plan my week – roughly – every weekend. I schedule time to Pin, create social media posts, write blogs, plan the blogs I’m going to write, etc. At first, I felt like a I was constantly jumping from random task to random task. I would get so stressed out and never get everything on my list done.
I’ll be honest, I’m still working on getting my time blocking down and being efficient, but just having the semblance of a schedule has helped me immensely with my anxiety surrounding the work I have. I have really set processes for clients, and I quickly realized that my blog and business as a whole needed to be like that – organized.
Don’t Spend Too Much Time on Your Analytics
I am still very guilty of this. I love seeing the growth and progress I have made, but I have also realized that, for me, looking at my analytics constantly sends me into a spiral. I see stories of people who grew their online presence, blog, or business really quickly. I’ve read all the tactics, and when I feel like I am starting to stagnate it gets really discouraging. So, I just made myself stop looking every day (all the time). I check my analytics weekly – usually – and that’s it. My business is growing, my social profiles are growing, I get more visitors all the time. When I spend all my time looking at my analytics I’m not working on the things that are actually growing my business.
Okay, so along with time blocking and not obsessing about my analytics. I have also realized that I need to spend more time taking care of myself. I get really obsessive. It’s not healthy. At first, I was working on things all day and not eating or getting much sleep. I would workout every afternoon and that was pretty much my only break. I was always trying to do things related to my business. It just stresses you out more. Currently I pick 3 or 4 things I want to accomplish each day and I give myself plenty of time for each task. I also try to not worry about it too much if I don’t quite get everything done. Part of the reason I started this was so that I could enjoy my life more and be more fulfilled. Making myself stressed or anxious isn’t going to help those causes.
I have actually started time blocking for self-care. For example – this week, I am taking Wednesday off. I will have a blog post scheduled, I will probably post on Instagram, but it’s going to be a day for me to do anything I want that isn’t work. When I had a 9-5, I would take a day or afternoon off all the time, so I could just relax. I would go on weekend getaways or just hang out with my BF and my doggos at home. I have started treating my own business the same way. Now, I love what I’m doing, but you still need variety in your life – or at least I do!
Like I said, my blogs were really short when I first started writing them. I really wasn’t sharing a whole lot of my personality or background, and I was just diving straight into whatever my key points were. I knew that longer posts were more optimal and so I started making myself dig a bit deeper on my blog posts and write more – making a 1000 word post my minimum – and, while at first it was hard because I am a very concise writer naturally, my posts got longer and better. Now I can write up a 1000 to 1400 word post in no time!
Now, I mostly don’t worry too much about word count – I really focus on quality. However, for me, forcing myself to have a minimum made me really dig into a subject and share more about myself and more of my personality in blog posts, which I believe has made them better. I do think my early posts still have good information, but I absolutely believe that letting your personality shine through makes your blogs more enjoyable to read.
Trust the Process (and Yourself)
All in all, this stuff takes time. If you are putting out great content, staying consistent with your brand, and working at improving each day, success will come. You have to be patient. I think the hardest thing is being able to take an honest and unbiased look at what your doing and asking yourself if this this truly your best work. It’s hard to find a balance between being lazy and overworking yourself when you make the rules, but you just get better as you go along. At least you do if you’re being honest with yourself.
What has your experience been with blogging or running your own business? Do you have any advice? What do you agree or disagree with in this post? I would love to hear from you!
Want to take your visual identity to the next level?
See what Akari Design Studio has to offer!