photo by Wendy Yalom
Last week I shared with you my story of how I went from working in the corporate world as a pharmaceutical sales rep to starting my own business as a professional makeup and hair artist. (If you didn’t catch it, you can check it out here.)
Leaving behind my steady paycheck and benefits to pursue being my own boss was probably the hardest thing I've done. And if I had to do it over, I probably would’ve done things a little differently. But when I reflect back on that time I’m really proud of what I did. I’m proud that I had the courage to make big changes in my life when the easiest thing would’ve been to just suck it up and live with it or find a different pharmaceutical company to work for.
So being in my sixth year of business, and thinking about where I want the future to take me, I’ve been thinking back on the major lessons I learned on this journey. Today I want to share them with you, so maybe they’ll help you if you have a big change you want to make. Or just let you know you’re not alone if you’re scared to make changes to your life and career.
1. Trust in your faith in yourself and your intuition. When I decided to quit my job, I didn’t know anyone else who had done the same thing. I didn’t have a role model to learn from, I had to figure it out on my own. And on paper, it didn’t sound like a good idea to quit my job without having a thriving business to support me. I knew this was something I had to do, and that I would figure it out and be ok. I had faith in myself that I would build my business and skills to get enough clients to pay my bills and allow me have the life I wanted. I listened to my intuition when it was telling me to reach out to certain artists or go to networking events that I didn’t know anyone at. And I listened when it told me to leave behind the network I had built for myself in Sacramento and to move to San Jose to be with my boyfriend. It ended up being the best move I could’ve made for my career.
2. Surround yourself with people to support you and who “get” you. When I quit my job, I didn’t have a network of entrepreneurs who had their own businesses and could relate to what I was going though. I had to rely on my friends and family who understood how unhappy I was at my sales job and that I needed to make radical changes. As I grew my business network, I met entrepreneurs who were going through the same things I was. It was helpful to have people I could talk to who understood the difficulties of finding clients, or how to balance your time between work and rest.
3. Don’t listen to other people sharing their opinions. It’s more about them and nothing to do with you. When I shared with the people in my life, some of them weren’t as supportive as I would’ve hoped. They were quick to point out what could go wrong, or why it was too risky. Just tune out the negative talk from others and focus on your big picture. They’re speaking more from their own fears rather than giving good advice for you.
4. Keep focused on your big goal. It’s easy to let fear take over and get in your head telling you it’s never going to work, or you’ll fail. There were so many times I almost quit because I was worried about how I was going to make money, or even be good enough to attract clients. If you keep focusing on your dream, and picturing yourself doing the work you want, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen no matter what challenges come up for you.
5. Be flexible. If obstacles are coming up for you, switch things up or make changes that will benefit your overall goal. My savings was running out before I was making enough money in my business to pay all my bills. So I got a part time job in the cosmetics industry to help give me a little more steady money to pay my bills and still have time to grow my business. I worked at the MAC Store for a year, and it was great. I grew my skills there by still getting to do makeup applications for clients and foundation matching every skintone out there. And I developed a lot of patience working with customers who could be difficult (If you’ve worked in retail then you know what I’m talking about!) Once I was making enough money and started to have to turn down a few clients because of my schedule at the MAC Store, I knew it was time to quit and be solely on my own.
Working for yourself and having your own business can be very rewarding, and also super challenging. You have to decide for yourself if the positives outweigh the negatives, and be super passionate about what you’re doing.
I’d love to hear from you now. Did you make the jump from a corporate or steady job to the life of an entrepreneur? What lessons did you learn? Or, if you’re wanting to make the jump, what are you afraid of? What can I help you with? Leave me a comment below.