PART 3: KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING
Taking the leap to quit and setting up a new routine were two of the biggest hurdles to overcome once I set out on my new career course. The next challenge I found was keeping the momentum going. Once I set up my new website and announced on social media what I was now doing, I immediately got a few paying clients. It was great! I think the universe does this on purpose to keep you moving forward. It’s like when you first start internet dating and you get your first few matches. It’s invigorating! Then later when things quiet down, doubt starts to creep in. This is normal. Keep showing up! Let’s talk about some tools I’ve found helpful in maintaining focus and momentum.
“The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.” Brene Brown, Daring Greatly.
Track Your Brags
First, create a Brag Book. It is something I learned a few years ago while working with Jessica Booker, founder of Mirror Image Resume. She suggested I compile a list of all the accomplishments on my job to help her revise my resume. This is a beneficial practice for a host of reasons. Not only is this a helpful tool for updating your resume, but it’s also great for letting your boss know how awesome you are during your annual review. Most importantly, it serves as a reminder to you of all the great work you’ve done.
We tend to forget the work we’ve accomplished because we quickly move on to the next thing. Whenever I feel doubt or imposter syndrome start to creep in, I review my Brag Book and reflect on my achievements and successes. Having them top of mind helps me easily talk to others about the transferable skills that I’ve demonstrated. Lastly, it serves as a way to keep track of your progress. Document and celebrate the small wins. Each one shows progress forward!
Don’t be afraid to set clear goals for yourself. Studies have shown that by writing down your goals, you are 42% more likely to achieve them. They can be daily, weekly and monthly. My daily intentions serve as my daily goals. Keep your goals focused on what you can control. Instead of “I’m going to land 20 clients by the end of the week”, you can rephrase it to: “I’m going to email 20 potential clients this week with a pitch”. It can also be more practical tasks like “set up a business bank account this week”. Achieving your goals will help to keep you motivated and pushing forward. These are your new markers for productivity.
One of the biggest challenges to staying positive can actually be the people around you. When you are like a toddler in the entrepreneurship journey, small comments and questions can easily knock you off balance. During this time, be aware that family and friends may not understand your new journey and unintentionally project their fears onto you. They may want to push you back into what is comfortable for them. In response to the questions, I developed a mantra: "I’m smart. I’ll figure it out". It was reaffirming to both me and them. Some people will never get it or always have some negative “watch out” advice. Those people I had to temporarily cut ties with or I just stopped discussing my business with them. It’s imperative to protect your positivity during the early stages. Surround yourself with people that motivate and cheer you on.
Life as a solo entrepreneur got lonely pretty quickly for me. The one thing that has been most beneficial to me on my entrepreneurial journey has been having an accountability partner. She is at the same stage as me in starting her own business. We have a reoccurring meeting once per week that is rarely canceled. We hold each other accountable for doing what we say we’re going to do. More importantly, we provide an outside perspective to each other’s businesses given our different strengths. We call out the potential opportunities and equally support and celebrate each other. Since our skill sets are different, we also provide support in different ways. For example, I’m good at technology, so I help her with using new apps. She is great at communications, so she helps me composing cold emails. We help to cover each other’s blind spots.
I would also suggest participating in mastermind groups, Facebook groups, Slack groups or setting up your own group of like-minded people. Set up reoccurring calls so they are on your calendar. Then, don't skip the appointments!
Working in co-working spaces is also a great way to find community. It helps add structure and support to your new routine since you have an "office" space to go to. When I’m at home in Fort Lauderdale, I work at General Provision. It’s a creative co-working space with an active community feel. They have member events that include lunch n' learns, happy hours and even yoga. Also, there are lots of people working in different fields and on interesting projects. These are my new co-workers and they make working here fun. Support is out there. Find your tribe!
Remember, to keep the momentum going:
1. Create a Brag Book. Write down all of your accomplishments and review often.
2. Set goals. Give yourself daily, weekly or monthly goals to track progress.
3. Beware of negative people. Surround yourself with people who motivate, support and cheer you on.
4. Find accountability partners. You don’t have to do it alone. Find partners and keep each other on track.
Thank you for reading about my journey to entrepreneurship. I hope you have found my advice practical and useful. If you have a business idea that you’ve been pondering, do it. It’s not necessary to know all of the steps. It’s not too late. Your path will open up once you start taking steps. And if you need help along the way, invest in it! When you get to the point of needing branding or marketing help, shoot me an email. I’d love to help!
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
-- Erin Hanson