My first month as a full time entrepreneur
It’s been about a month since I quit my job and moved into full-time entrepreneurship which is crazy, to say the least. So many people have been asking me how it’s been going and I figured I would write a blog post about my experience so far in the last month.
For context, for those of you who don’t know my story…..this was NOT the plan at the top of the year but unfortunately after almost 10 years of full-time work and pretty severe burnout in my last job, I decided to quit my job. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but ultimately the Time and mental effort needed to sustain my old job and the level of compensation didn’t match (Aka the Math was not Mathing 😅). My plan was to simply resign to take a step back because I was burnt out and didn’t have the mental energy to look for a new job. Side note, I do NOT ever recommend resigning with NO plan, it’s very risky. So before I resigned, I spoke to my financial advisor and he said that I would be fine financially. However, because we live in this 2023 economy and I didn’t like the idea of draining all my savings, I decided I would “lightly” focus on the small side hustle that I've been running on and off for about 6 years while I figure out what’s next. For slightly more context, my old job was running the Careers & Engagement department at a large business school in Toronto and my new job aka my business is a Career & Leadership coaching firm. Ok, you’re all caught up;
So, how’s it going? Remember I said I would “lightly” focus on my business? Well God had other plans 😅. I say God because He has truly been my master strategist. I never planned to grow like this….and I know that it is not in my own strength because I don’t feel drained and exhausted like I used to in my old role. I’m simply just being obedient BUT that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a rollercoaster ride. So I will attempt to ride this rollercoaster analogy out by giving you the ups, downs, twists, and turns of my 1st month as a full-time entrepreneur.
Growth - The business has grown! Before I quit my job, I was averaging 2-3 one one-on-one clients a week. In my first week as a full-time entrepreneur, I had 6 clients, and in the second week 16, third week 11, and so on.
Workload reduced - My workload has reduced tremendously because I went from making 1 million decisions to making 1000 decisions and my stakeholders are different. In my old job, I wore an equivalent of 6 hats and all my decisions had to be filtered through the lens of my students, my direct reports, my bosses, my corporate partners, my colleagues across campus, and myself. In my business, my decisions are filtered through me and God and then potentially my clients. I quite literally wake up and ask God for the daily plan and then I just do that.
My decision-making ability - In my first week, I wrote out my values and then highlighted how I wanted to make decisions. Ultimately I landed on 3 things; I make decisions aligned with my faith in God, activities that bring me joy, and activities that reduce anxiety. If an opportunity comes in, I decide based on this!
My health and well-being - because I work less, I have more time for my health & wellness. I no longer go to the gym just to survive my day. Before I NEEDED to be in the gym for the endorphins and to release the tension and anxiety, now I go to the gym to chill out, try new things, and just fellowship with God. I can also cook during the day, get my eyebrows done, or take a NAP if I want to, because rest is no longer scary it's productive.
My relationships have improved - I no longer check my schedule obsessively when I'm planning my personal life, I can meet up with friends during the day or after “work”.I can get on a call with my sister in the UK or family in Nigeria and not be super distracted. I can spend an hour in the morning with God every day, all of which brings joy to my soul.
Growth - with growth comes growing pains; because things started moving quickly, I had to quickly adapt my systems to accommodate the surge of clients. It made me realize that although my system was good, it would not take me where God is taking me.
Isolation - you hear it all the time that entrepreneurship can be quite lonely, BUT wow nothing prepared me for this. I don’t have any co-workers which means I have to learn a whole new way of working. I can’t just ping someone a quick question, I have to actively go through my LinkedIn network, get over my weird feeling of asking strangers on the internet for help, reach out, and then hope to get a response. I will say that I am so blessed to have such a strong network of people around me BUT the getting over myself part is still tricky.
Lack of Routine - remember how I was talking about having more time for all these things? The flip side is that my routine has been blown up; deciding what to do and how to spend my time all day can sometimes be annoying. I went from feeling trapped in my old routine to feeling unrestrained and dangly in my new non-routine routine. It takes time, but I will figure it out, I keep telling myself there is no pressure.
Content - LOL all my entrepreneurs know that content is a bane of their existence, mine too sis. I have a love/hate relationship with it. When to do it, how to do it, why you are doing it, and everything in between. I used to call myself a “content capturer” not a content creator. That simply means, that if content is happening, I will capture it but I’m not going to manufacture a scene just to capture it. Well, this season has been weird. Having to care about numbers, providing context (cause I have new followers), trying to stick within a niche, not over posting but also not under posting. I haven’t figured out the right formula but I’m trying to not let it stress me out too much.
The Emotional side of entrepreneurship - The emotional side of this business is WILD. Nobody told me, it would be this emotional LOL, so this is me telling you. Realizing that I am the only person in this world that cares about this business is such a weird thought. If I'm having an off day, I have to be careful not to conflate business with Ibiyemi. My financial advisor funny enough (also an entrepreneur - shout to Paul) told me to think of the business as separate from myself. There are good days and bad days, and it has no bearing on who I am, it's just business. Yes, you are the face and the voice and the knowledge, etc., but when a post doesn’t do well or you don’t get the contract with that corporate partner they are not rejecting YOU, it simply didn’t work out.
The Validation side of Content - I struggle with social media; it’s a VERY powerful tool that has blessed my business but I know that I can be easily influenced by it, I can often have FOMO and also derive validation from it so I have to be careful. I used to NEVER EVER care about numbers, to the point where I would post something and completely move on. People would be like, “Oh I liked your post” or “It resonated with me” and I’m thinking, “What post? Oh really? Well, I’m glad”…. but these days, I have to care. It makes business sense to monitor it but I can’t let good comments get to my ego and bad comments/silence get to my insecurities. It’s an interesting twist I didn’t realize I had to think through.
My business model - So many things have changed; I launched a new program for women going through burnout! Shoutout to the “Recover from Burnout” program. Launching in October with the 1st of many cohorts with 6 amazing women I can’t wait to dive in. I am in the process of building a new “career transition package" instead of just the a la carte service options I have now. I am also hoping to launch a digital course in the new year.
My business process - I have had to change my payment software, my website structure, my back-end processes, and even the way I think about approaching my day.
My pricing structure - THIS has been hard! increasing my pricing, figuring out the tax implications, understanding banking fees and transactions….dealing with my weird “playing small” energy. Side note, I went to a conference last week where we talked about money so openly in so many sessions and I truly realised that I just need to get comfortable with talking about it. Asking for more, doing research, and asking other speakers and facilitators what they are paid. Not doing work for FREE etc.
My self-esteem - I feel incredibly confident and insecure at the same damn time. At this point, it's a day-to-day thing. I feel confident because I am able to get paying clients, I know my stuff, and organizations want to book me for conferences and want to pay for it. I also feel Insecure because I sometimes suffer from rejection and abandonment. Being in the “people business” can be tough because people tend to disappoint or hurt you either intentionally or unintentionally.
So there you have it; my 1st rollercoaster month as a full-time entrepreneur, I hope you enjoyed the ride (pun intended). This was incredibly cathartic for me to see the journey and reflect like this…..That being said, I am a full-time entrepreneur and I have to get comfortable with “shameless promotion” soooooo my business is called Foot in the Door Consulting and I help professionals in business, tech, and creative industries not just get jobs but build and sustain meaningful careers. If you have any career coaching needs or you work for an organization looking for a speaker, panelist, or career development facilitator don’t hesitate to check out my website fitdconsulting.com, and email me at email@example.com
Till next time;
Your friendly neighborhood oversharer