I never thought I’d want to repeat the first few months of becoming an entrepreneur until I was forced into it by accident.
The hardest part for me as a new entrepreneur was overcoming the lack of guidance. I struggled with being so new to something without a plan. The corporate world had left me spoiled and reliant on someone that had already “been there, done that.” I hated the feeling of being so unsure of myself, so I pushed forward.
I read books and blogs on self-employment and handmade businesses. I networked with like-minded people. I tried new things over and over and over again until something worked. And within a few months, I felt fairly comfortable with my business. I relished the freedom that I’d found that came from not having a set path with a manual in hand. I was better able to focus my efforts on my business goals instead of learning the basics of self-employment.
But a year in, my original plan wasn’t working. It no longer lined up with who I was as a person. Even more so, it wasn’t even a close reflection of where I wanted my business to be. I knew I needed to change, but was truly worried what that would mean for me, my family, and my business. Would I lose customers? Would I even know where to begin? Would the new market be harder to infiltrate? Would I lose all of the knowledge I’d gained in the past year? Would I completely fail and look back at the change as a waste of my time and efforts?
The answers came pretty quickly. Yes, I lost customers – and at the same time gained new ones. No, I really had no idea where to begin – but I quickly learned where I fit in. Yes, the market was harder to infiltrate – but only as hard as the first one was when I just started out. No, I didn’t lose all of the knowledge I gained – I used it as a starting point to learn more about something new. Most importantly, I never did feel like a failure. I followed my heart from the very beginning so there was no way I was going to fail.
Starting over with your products, your business, or even anything in your life in general is hard. It’s never going to be easy to resume square one, even if it’s with more knowledge than you had the first time. But sometimes it’s needed and truly the only way for you, or your business, to grow.
So don’t be afraid to go a different direction with your business if your current one isn’t up to your standards. Change it up, try new things, get rid of things that no longer fit who you are. Do whatever it takes to bring all of your passion to your business. You’ll never know what lies down a different path if you don’t explore it, even if temporarily.
Ashley Wagner — After Nine to Five
Ashley is the creative force behind After Nine To Five, a blog and handmade shop. She co-writes the blog And a DIY Life with her husband – a blog that documents their journey as they make a cross country move and follow their dreams. She has been self-employed since October 2010, making her living through various means such as graphic design, business consulting, life coaching, blogging, and handmade goods. You’ll rarely find her without a camera, her Kindle, some kind of tea and her planner.
Ashley also co-owns the project RevolutionizeHer - a blog dedicated to encouraging and inspiring women to live the life they dream of living, especially through self-employment. Her hope is to inspire woman across the world to live life to it’s fullest, be it through a handmade business or just finding their passion(s) and running with them.