It’s been 3 months and I’m not as booked as I want to be. I think I should apply for jobs again.
The most talented designer I know just texted me. Last year, she got downsized out of her cushy job churning out corporate-y logo designs and taking three gin & tonics to the face with her co-workers after work every single day. When she launched her solo biz, she did everything right – website on point, killing it on social, client experience like whoa, and damn, her designs were incredible. To boot, she actually put together her entire business plan and calculated she’d need x amount of clients every month to not only make this whole thing work, but THRIVE.
But it had been 3 months and she wasn’t meeting her lofty monthly goals and suddenly this whole ‘owning your own business’ thing was scary as hell. She went through all the “what ifs,” missed the security of her guaranteed paycheck, and had that awesomely crippling feeling of self-doubt whenever she’d open an empty inbox 25 times in a day. Sure, she stopped stress-eating gin and despair for dinner every day but Suzie Q down the street said she booked 15 clients last week alone and what if no one ever hires her again and she has to go back to her college diet of ramen and noodles and self-doubt?
Moral of her misery: THIS. SHIT. IS. SCARY.
Here’s our teensy little secret we come back to whenever we feel like the walls are caving in — You’re in this for the long haul. Owning your own business has no quick fix. Even if all your systems are totally on point and you’re killing it for every client who comes to your door, this shit takes time. And work. And more time. And more work. When the inquiries aren’t flowing in yet and the bookings a mere trickle, we take a step back and try our absolute darnedest to serve those in front of us with all we got. We imprint Henry Ford’s words in our brains: “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” Service — not sales, not bottom-lines, not goals, not ratings, not whatever the stupid industry award is… SERVICE. Because what else are we all here for, if not to serve one another deeply.
Because whenever the loving arms of a paycheck from corporate America seems like the only cure for all my woes, I think of my 90 year-old-self looking back and hoping that he remembers fondly a life devoted to the service of his community. That’s a legacy worth leaving.
You got this. You’re in this for the long haul. You’re here to serve.
Take a deep breath. Chill the hell out. Embarrassingly large takes time.