Today, I wanted to take a moment to share my story with you. If you’re a dreamer wanting to start your own thing, or feel like a failure because you tried in the past and it didn’t pan out...you’re not alone and I want to encourage you.
So here’s my story, or at least most of it... (you can catch more of it here).
I always wanted to be a singer. I’ve pursued a singing career for almost my ENTIRE life, thus far. I did talent shows, choir, went to college for music, sang in church, sang at open mics, went to a school “abroad” dedicated solely to helping you become a successful musician (another entire story for another day), moved in with a bunch of musicians, got a band, made a record, then made a second record...
I thought music was all I ever wanted.
All this time I was working day jobs, mostly retail and office jobs and I took photos on the side “for fun”.
A change started to occur in me during my second album. I realized I never listened to my first album, I couldn’t, and I had it in my head that if this second album didn’t take off it was all over. I beat myself up constantly and I couldn’t take the pressure or the criticism. I couldn’t self-promote. I felt stupid and so insecure.
My boyfriends band was doing amazing! I loved listening to their music and singing with them. They are killer good. I mean good. Classic Rock N’ Roll. So I started to help promote them and book shows for them. I helped him create his album cover, took their photos, created their posters and website - all for fun.
I LOVED supporting him and watching his band and business grow! I loved doing the graphic design elements and coming up with marketing strategies and playing the system to book awesome shows. I even created a fake business and name so I could do these things without being seen as the “girlfriend” and to look like a legitimate business. I started to even get inquiries from other bands asking for help.
I’m going to jump straight to a point here.
One that I didn’t pick up on until 3 years later.
- My day job is what I needed to pay the bills, but I didn’t like my job. I dreaded going in fact.
- Music is what I did because I love to sing and I had visions of being on stage singing to thousands encouraging their hearts and inspiring them.
- Photography is what I did on the side, just for fun, because I loved it so much and I had a blast figuring it out and creating stunning images that captured people’s true expressions and beauty.
- Branding & business development is what I was doing for the Band - Bradley Wik and the Charlatans. They were technically my first branding client, I just didn’t know it at the time. This came completely naturally to me and I was working on cultivating and helping market wherever I could.
My day job and Music had become a chore. Photography, Business Development & Branding I didn’t even look at as work. These things came natural to me and I had a blast doing them. I would find spare time to work on these things, because I LOVED it.
When I finally realized this, my mind was literally blown. I thought I WAS doing what I loved...
The Impossible Thought:
I had moved up the “ranks” at work and had basically become the HR Assistant. I had a good job, but I wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t feel successful. I was bored and frustrated.
I remember the moment it hit me, I was at an HR conference in San Diego. Soaking up all that the speakers had to say and loving every minute of it. It was ALL about helping develop people and offering things to help better their lives.
I loved it.
Ben Casnocha was one of the keynote speakers and his topic was...entrepreneurship, and how you want to hire an entrepreneurial mind. He explained what an entrepreneur was (this was news for me, I wasn’t in this world yet and didn’t fully understand it), and I discovered that I was in fact, an entrepreneur. That’s how my mind worked. That’s what I gravitated towards. That’s how I was wired. The lights started flickering on for me sitting in that HUGE conference room, at a round table with my boss to my right and 6 people I didn’t know surrounding me. The uncomfortable chair was cutting into my legs that were being attacked by a giant white table cloth, and you know what?! I didn’t care. I. Was. Excited.
I didn’t know what I’d do, but I knew at that moment
I was going to own my own company.
And it was impossible.
I didn’t have any idea what to do or how to do it. But I knew I wanted to create something that could support, develop and inspire others. This was February of 2015.
Fast forward to one year later…
I quit my day job and was pursuing business FULL TIME! What?! So what about all the important stuff in the middle? How did you start, what did you do? How did you get the idea?
Let’s dive in.
How I Started My Own Company:
I was frustrated with all the restrictions and political red tape. I came home one day cry/yelling my frustrations, I talked with my amazing and incredibly supportive boyfriend and he asked what do you want?
“I want to start my own company. I want to work for myself.”
“Well, then, you should do that.”
“But what do I do?”
“Start with your photography. You’ve already been getting jobs, just research how you can amp it up.”
And so I did.
From this moment on, it’s going to be a whirlwind. Try to keep up. ;)
- Photography Business (check)
- Started researching “how to start your own company” (check)
- Write out a business mission (check)
- Find awesome resources: articles, blogs, magazines, podcasts and videos! (check)
** Insert thought - after doing a lot of research I discovered I loved Branding. I was drawn to it and I finally had a name for it. It was something that came naturally to me and tied in so well with marketing. It was all about helping others develop their businesses, which was part of my business mission. To help others develop and pursue their dreams with confidence.
So here were my next steps to learn how to, well, do that….
- Find an E-course on Illustrator (check) - I learned so much it was amazing.
- Create Branding Process (check)
Now that I had a business focus, a mission and knew who my client was (independent business owners who needed clarity on branding and to customize their visual identity).
- Brainstorm Business Name - Got it! (check)
- Register name as a business with the state (check)
- Create my own Branding (check)
- Create basic website (4 pages: Start Here, About, Services, Contact) (check)
- Create a Facebook Business Page (check)
- Get guinea pig client to agree to let me brand them (check) - I did this for FREE with a good friend of mine and business comrade.
- Advertise your services and Announce your new venture! (check)
By this point about 6 months had passed since that HR conference. I just kept advertising, refining, talking to people and ultimately saving up my money because I had an end goal in mind.
Quit my day job and work for myself.
Almost exactly a year later that’s what I did.
Just 2 years ago this was impossible. It wasn’t even in the realm of possibility for me, it was a pipe dream that I never gave much thought to. How could I ever work for myself? What would I ever do? How would I ever make money? Why would anyone pay me?
You see, I felt like a huge failure. I had failed at music, which was the thing I thought I was meant to do and if I couldn’t do music, than what?
What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t a failure at all, I was discovering myself and my true passions during that time. I had basically sabotaged my music career on purpose because I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose. I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate and it brought me here!
P.S. I still sing and my boyfriend still sings. He has an album coming out soon. But he’s currently working with me on his branding and promotion plan. :) haha!
If you want to read more about my story, and get some tips on how to start your own business. Click here to read more.
Your turn! Comment below:
Are you just now starting or thinking about starting a business? What's your biggest struggle?
If you've already started your business, what was your turning point moment?