How many of you truly enjoy your jobs?
Do you get energised by going to work every day? Is passion for your career just oozing from your fingertips?
If you’re like, “Let’s be real, I’m just in my job for the money,” then I feel you. You’re not alone. According to a 2019 global study, 85% of people worldwide are unhappy in their jobs. Only a chunk of that percentage will do anything about it to change their mindset.
Feel the fear… and do it anyway.Liz Carlson (The Travel Bootcamp)
Now, I’m the last person you’d expect to write an article about this topic. I thought I’d maybe-someday-probably-not-who-knows-last-resort become a travel blogger when I moved to New Zealand. And then I took the safe route by getting a bunch of jobs that allowed me to live abroad and travel for free.
But I haven’t been happy in my career. I went so far as to thinking I made a mistake when I left the Disneyland Resort seven years ago, my life prior to travel (I’ve since learned that you don’t make “mistakes” in life; you just gain experiences).
Recently, a good friend (Bri) has been a constant mentor/supporter as I navigate the overwhelming process of starting my own business, branding myself, and being my own boss. She’s one of only two real-life friends who have been successful in building their own brand through blogs, and it’s freaking amazing. I can’t stop glowing whenever I talk to her, and that same sense of passion and joy is just radiated back at me.
She directed me to Faith Mariah’s Live Facebook sessions and podcasts. Holy shit. What a breakthrough. I’m constantly listening to her podcasts while working and cleaning just to find new ways to continue being motivated.
Here are 10 top things to know when starting your own business. While I’m definitely not a business coach, I hope these inspire you to quit dragging your ass if you want to work for yourself and build a life and career that you deserve.
1. It’s all about your mindset.
In order to start a business, you need to have the right mindset. You’ll simply never survive without this.
I’ve been more open on Instagram recently, using the platform to share the “real” side of travel that isn’t glamourised. By sharing our struggles and lowest points, we’re able to be better engaged with others. And sure, not everyone is ready for that vulnerability, and that’s okay. But with vulnerability comes authenticity. Authenticity builds trust, and trust builds sales.
I recently did a Zoom interview with Chantell, the mastermind behind Adoration 4 Adventure. We talked about the uncertainty of travel, productivity in quarantine, and how we’re both dealing with uncertainties about visa extensions in Australia. She asked how I’ve managed to stay so bubbly and optimistic about things, and the answer is simple:
You have to be positive in an unprecedented time like this. The more positive and optimistic you are, the better outcome you’ll have (this can be applied to both my business and visa situation).
The travel industry will bounce back. You will succeed as a business owner… you just need to believe in yourself. You’ll figure it out, because everything always works out in the end. Always. Trust this from a girl who has lost count of the number of times she has almost died abroad.
What happens when you’re hypercritical and your business isn’t doing well? You need to be your #1 supporter and have your own back. You have to decide to help yourself.Faith Mariah
2. Learn to make decisions FAST, or else it hinders and paralyzes you.
As a business owner, you don’t have time to dilly-dally.
You are a CEO when you start your own company. This is why Faith explains that CEOs are paid so much – they have to make huge decisions in small amounts of time that inevitably affect large amounts of people.
I’ll share a personal story that was the catalyst to making very quick decisions nowadays. I never intended on sharing it because of how ashamed I was, but here goes:
A few years ago, I took a job with a cruise line (a third company, different from the other two) at the same time as developing severe anxiety. I knew I wanted to quit upon arrival, but I couldn’t make the decision quickly. I flip-flopped back and forth every single day for two weeks: No, I’ll stick it out, it’s not fair to the team. No, I need to leave… okay, fine, I’ll push through… and ultimately gave my official resignation on Boxing Day, right after I promised the team on Christmas Day that I’d stay.
I’ll never forget this. I didn’t know who I had become, and I was terrified of myself. I even bought an Apple Watch (and then returned it to different stores) at least five different times before finally just giving it to my mom. My depression from the bulk of that year had paralysed my every ability to make the simplest of decisions.
As a business owner, you need to make a thousand decisions EVERY DAY. If you’re not ready for that type of lifestyle, seek out business coaching and mindset practices that will allow you to be.
Quit wasting your time and just make the damn decisions. Don’t get stuck on stupid things like making your logo (trust me, do not dwell on this for a month like I did!).
Once you’re moving, it’s so much easier to steer yourself into the direction you want to go. Don’t get hung up on your niche, either. It’s better to start broad than to niche down so narrow that you can only talk about the best brand of shampoos for your pet Corgi to be groomed with (because only 1% of Corgi owners probably even Google that specifically).
If you’re stuck at a crossroads with a decision, you’re immobile. That’s when feelings of uncertainty and doubt seep in, and that’s when most people give up. DO NOT GIVE UP. *
*Much like Faith, I’m not yelling at you. I’m saying it like it is, because sugarcoating doesn’t produce growth.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
Some might not be as blessed as me to have a positive angel like Bri on your shoulder, who is willing to text, audio message, and physically call whenever you need to talk out business strategies and life in general.
However, it’s incredibly easy to find a mentor online and reach out – for free! Especially in regards to women. Women should love and support other women to succeed in their businesses, especially in a time when we’re glued to technology.
I’ve found a huge sense of community through Facebook groups, searching Instagram hashtags (how I’ve been featured on other travel accounts for cross-promotion), and reaching out to my forever blogging idols like Young Adventuress and The Atlas Heart. Use your networks! It’s always about people and connections.
And the more you connect with people who share the same mindset and have gone down the same struggle streets of monetising a site and/or business, the more confidence you gain and the happier you feel. It’s a proven fact!
When you surround yourself with like-minded people who understand what you’re going through, the process becomes more relatable and doable.
4. Put your name out there and hustle.
Without hustling, how are you going to achieve success?
But channel your energy into the right things. If it wasn’t for Bri personally calling me and telling me to stop wasting my time on Instagram, I wouldn’t have been half as productive with blog content and Pinterest as I am now.
You have to be unabashed in your personal pursuit of success. You have to fail to plan and plan to fail. You have to want something so badly that you’ll devote all your time and energy to it (with the occasional TikTok distraction).
Pitch your articles to larger publications, do guest posts, create a media kit, agree to do things for free in return for a do-follow link and the payment of promotion. I’ve literally had to teach myself to do all these things in the past two months, all while listing other opportunities to continue marketing myself and my brand.
Hustling will pay off. It will be worth all the tears, exhaustion, and mental breakdowns.
5. Just DO it. Let go of your perfectionist ways.
Aligned with #1, you need to just do. If you focus on minor things for too long, like, “What should my site title be,” you will never get started. Yes, procrastination is a form of perfectionism (I know this because I am a recovering perfectionist).
Despite COVID-19, there have NEVER been more eyeballs online, constantly scrolling the screens of our laptops, phones, and iPads. There is no better time than now to start a business.
If you want to capture your share of the online audience, now’s the ultimate time to make your move.The Travel Bootcamp
With everyone panicking over job losses, uncertainty of the future, and having to social distance for an indefinite amount of time, you can channel your energy into something you are actually passionate about and get financial payoff for it in the long run.
There’s an epidemic of women starting businesses and then giving up, thinking they failed. It’s safer for you to try things and fail, and to even wish you did things differently, than to not start at all.Faith Mariah
When you take the first step into creating your own business, you can immediately tell that it’s your soul-aligning truth if it feels good and authentic.
And so what if your first e-book doesn’t sell to anyone except your mom? You learn from the experience, and you need to fall flat on your face before you succeed. Our setbacks are our best teachers.
6. It’ll cost money to get started.
Duh, you won’t get to start a business without paying for an ideal foundation first. Just remember that you need to allocate your finances wisely.
For any aspiring blogger or business owner, no matter what your niche is, you’ll look into a bunch of the following programs that require paid monthly payments (some offer free trials or free versions): Tailwind, Canva Pro, ConvertKit, Asana… the list goes on and on.
On the other hand: Buying and watching a thousand webinars will not “solve” your business problems. You need to get started first and then use webinars to help motivate you or as side resources. They will NOT magically form you into a business mastermind!
Do not waste your time and money the way I did in April. Learn from just doing first, not from watching a billion things on the screen. As Faith says, all those people in your face (I personally have blocked any of those damn “grow your following” ads across all my social media channels) are just trying to sell you something.
The only one that’s actually worthwhile, that Bri swears by, is Faith’s, and The Travel Bootcamp (enrollment for their basecamp closed, but monitor the site for updates). Bri also recommended this Pinterest course to me and it’s the only one I’d also recommend.
7. You’re going to be overwhelmed by the amount of things you’re learning.
It’s freaking inevitable. And that’s okay.
As a new business owner, you’ve got a thousand things to learn and a million decisions to make… on a daily basis. And it’s hard as shit!
Bad time management leads to overwhelm, which leads to exhaustion, which leads to giving up. But you don’t want to give up, because you know that the end-all payoff will be worth it. It’s just hard to realise that in the overwhelm cycle.
Please learn from my mistakes. I watched about three free webinars a day, started following a bunch of “influencers” on Instagram (shoot me), and then watched more videos on how to grow your following through consistent engagement. You need a huge following in order to run a successful business, right?
I wasted a fucking month in quarantine doing all of this, half the time for 12-14+ continuous hours a day. (Faith says there is no such thing as wasting time since you have so much more clarity with all your experience, which is a process. But let me feel these feelings, yo)
As any beginning business owner, you need to have the right content first and foremost, and then your following will come. Yes, you need a consistent audience, and there are thousands of resources on how to curate more personal engagement with your audience.
But don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Those free webinars and videos will get you frustrated in the same way it did with me. Focus on your content first and do not overwhelm yourself with the unnecessary social media shit in between!
Plus, you have to be resilient. Not only are you a founder of your own business when you start out, but you’re also your own boss, accountant, marketing & social media strategist, manager, and a billion other roles that come up. You need to stay level-headed, or you’ll drown in the cycle of overwhelm.
8. It’s going to be hard. No one said it would be easy.
As formulaic as this one sounds, it’s 100% true. Starting your own business is not a damn walk in the park.
My boyfriend jokes that he has no idea what I do all day because I sit in front of my laptop for 12+ hours a day and then scroll my phone for a good hour even when I’m lying in bed. I’m pretty sure that my parents and half my friends also have no idea what I’ve been doing.
You never get a “real” day off since you’re constantly learning, producing content, designing, writing, etc. You constantly have to grow and there’s just no time for a day off when you’re starting out (at least to me. Again, hustle).
I’m working more now than on cruise ships, and that’s saying something because we worked our literal asses off every single day.
“Get a real job,” someone messaged me about my dreams of turning my blog into a business.
If anything, that comment pissed me off so much that it fuelled me to continue pursuing what I want to fucking achieve even more. My past Disney successor even makes a great living out of being a full-time mommy blogger now.
I know I am capable of achieving success, and so are each and every one of you reading this right now. Do not ever let anyone sway you otherwise!
9. Success isn’t overnight.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. As a complete noob to the travel industry online, I’ve submitted so many informational articles, been interviewed for Instagram Lives and podcasts, and done guest posts for travel blogs that have been featured in major publications… all for free.*
*except for this Godsend of a lady, who we know as the queen of the travel industry, forreals
It’s almost like I’m back in university, when I was juggling 7 internships at once with my actual coursework. It may seem like it’s leading to nothing right now, but really, it’s the most crucial time for my brand.
You have to be willing to compromise. You won’t be making six figures in a week, or even a month. The harder you work, the more it’ll pay off- but some even take years to find true monetary gains with their companies.
As long as you understand that mishaps, frustrations, low points, and unpredictabilities of your business will happen, you will learn the meaning of gradual success (which is defined differently to everyone).
10. If you don’t do it, who will?
This is the same approach I have to writing my eventual memoir. If I don’t write it, who will? Who else can tell my stories, the lessons I’ve learned, the people I want to thank who have all helped shape me into who I am today?
If you’ve always wanted to start your own business and don’t start it in possibly the most ideal time in world history, you’re only letting yourself down. Your friends, family, and neighbours really don’t have time to care about your personal pitfalls and goals in life.
You owe it to yourself to do it.
When you feel like giving up
Ask any business owner about this, and they’ll all say they wanted to give up at one point. Or many.
J.K. Rowling was turned down 12 times before she finally found a publisher for her Harry Potter books. She’s now one of the richest, most successful women in the world. I suggest you read the transcript of her speech on “failure” that she gave at the 2008 Harvard graduation if you ever need a pick-me-up to be inspired.
If you’re stressing out about finances (like me) and need additional things to pick up on the side, here are a few of my picks:
- VIP Kid
- Amazon’s Audiobook Creative Exchange
- A detailed list of jam-packed info here from Chantell
There are so many freaking ways to work online nowadays, even for just a small side income. You need to realise that there’s always a way to make both ends meet. Faith talks openly about her struggle below the poverty line for a big part of her life – and she’s now a successful business owner who makes 5-digit salaries per month.
Also, use the shit out of those resources in front of you. Canva and Pinterest are possibly the most vital two applications to any new blogger/business owner.
Building your own business may seem like you’re building a colossal landmark, but it’ll be worth it in the end: for yourself, your happiness, and your personal satisfaction with your career. Find a niche you’re passionate about, stick to it, and go, go, go!
Because if not now, when? If not you, who will?
Join Faith Mariah’s incredible Blogging Breakthroughs Facebook group if you’re looking for the best business coaching.
Are you starting your own business right now? What is it, and what are some of the hardships you’re trying to overcome? If not, what’s holding you back? Share below!
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