I technically started my business, Brightly & Co., back in July 2015 with my very first client in September, who is a great friend of mine and agreed to be my guinea pig and let me test out my new Brand Design Process on her. :)
Much to my hope, and also disbelief, it worked!!
Then, in November, I got my first paying client. Wow. I was dumbstruck that it was happening so quickly and BEYOND grateful for the opportunity. Watch the video for a special tribute to this very first client, Reid Martin.
During this time I was still working my day job. So I would hustle home every night to work on my new business until I went to bed.
When I first was starting my business, I decided to launch and show off that I actually had a new business! I did my first tradeshow. It was on the small side, but it was built into a network of people that already knew me.
I was desperately trying to just get my name out there and get some business!
At this time I offered WAY too many things and didn't have a clear focus/niche for my business. I was promoting; Family Photography, Newborn Photography, Senior Photography, Engagement Sessions and I also created Art Prints to sell. PLUS I let people know I was getting into Branding and that’s where my business was really headed. I had a few people inquire about that, but not a whole lot of interest...yet.
I booked some Fall Family Photography Sessions and sold some of my art prints, but I was still constantly trying to figure out how to make everything work. I was scared to focus in or niche down as I thought that I wouldn't be able to reach as many people...I learned quickly this just simply isn't true.
I attended my first creative conference/workshop, called Bloom the Workshop and it was truly lovely...I highly recommend it.
This workshop really got my creative juices flowing AND it was the first time I had ever OWNED my business. It felt sooo good to say my company name and what I planned on doing. I loved getting to meet other like-minded women and for the first time ever I felt like I belonged and I had found my people.
After that conference I started to blog every week and began my weekly newsletter (which is now called the Brightly Business Bulletin).
I reached out for people to join and created my very first opt-in “How to Start Branding Yourself Today”.
I was hustling.
I was exhausted.
But despite all that, I was still being HIRED!
To both my excitement and complete shock, people were seeking me out to help them with their branding photography/brand design.
I was thrilled! But it was also becoming too much… I couldn’t keep up with my day job and my real job any more. Thusly, it was time to let my boss know I would be leaving the company and doing my own thing... YIKES! He wasn't happy about it, but he knew I was already one foot out the door and he thanked me for my advance. I stayed a month to make sure the transition went smoothly.
I went FULL TIME in February
What a relief! This was one of the best days of my entire life and also one of the scariest.
When I quit my day job, I felt like I was finally coming into my purpose. I was always meant to be an entrepreneur, I’m just wired this way. I had found my people and for the first time ever, I felt understood and ready to take on this behemoth that is entrepreneurship.
I've been scared and worried ever since. But it's not in a super negative way...it's in a driven way. It's up to me now to make my own money, to get my own business. There's no more relying on someone else or a consistent paycheck. This lifestyle isn't for everyone, because it's HARD. But for me it's beyond worth it. Since going full-time one of the biggest adjustments was creating my own schedule and managing my own time. I had worked for someone else for so long, this was a strangely and VERY difficult challenge for me that I'm STILL adjusting to.
This whole year I've been LEARNING.
I took so many e-courses before the new year. I was learning from everyone. I saved up and purchased Marie Forleo's B-School in the new year which I took in my very first month as a Full time entrepreneur. (I couldn't recommend this more...)
Since then I’ve taken MANY more e-courses, workshops, webinars, etc… you could say I’m a learning junkie. I’ve been creating an extensive reading list and working my way through some of the best business/self-help books in the industry.
I’ve been connecting with others and learning about their journeys and sharing along the way.
I'm beyond Grateful...
Since going Full-TIme, I’ve been booked out for brand design. I've worked with some AMAZING people whom I adore. My clients are the best of the best. :)
I learn from every experience and keep refining my systems.
I believe in going back and reflecting on the year to see what worked and what didn’t and I plan on upping my game in 2017.
I believe in following your fear and going after the big dreams that scare you. I believe in staying uncomfortable because that's where true growth happens. But it's seriously uncomfortable...it's very hard to do this.
If I’m honest with you, I'm definitely still struggling to get my processes and systems fully in place. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for me. I was looking back over my calendar, I can’t believe how much has happened in the last year.
I’ve learned SO much and I still have so much more to learn.
I’m beyond grateful and I can’t believe I’ve been a year in business already!
Now I'm anxious to hear from you. Are you on an entrepreneur journey? What's your journey like so far? Comment below and introduce yourself, I'd love to hear from you!