Hey tired, exhausted, over caffeinated entrepreneur – I see you.
I’m so thankful that you’re here and took a minute out of your stressful day to read this. Why? Because I’m about to dish it all. The good, the bad, but mostly the ugly when it comes to choosing the profession as a Creative Entrepreneur. When I first started out I was mesmerized by the glitz and glam that the successful entrepreneurs constantly put out.
These successful entrepreneurs worked their way up and are making major bank. They’re using that to become credible and continue to grow their following and their income. But, when I jumped on that bandwagon – I was drowning in failure and crushed dreams. So, here I am telling you my story, but don’t fret! There’s hope at the end of this all. I’m just telling you the truth that you don’t hear from many entrepreneurs. Buckle up. This is the honest and ugly truth.
I started this business because my husband and I are drowning in thousands upon thousands of dollars in student debt. That’s right people. I started this business for the extra income. But, that’s not to say that I don’t love what I do. I graduated college with a BFA in Visual Communication and I love designing for my clients. Creating brands for my clients is so rewarding in the fact that I’m helping people creative successful businesses and creating a platform for them to jump off of. But that was just an added bonus to making an additional income alongside my 9 to 5 job.
From the start, I thought that after I set up a killer website and branded myself, I would be successful. People would flock to me, right? Sounds great – in a dream world. But, in reality – my website was silent. As the night.
I was crushed. I spent at least 60 hours setting up my branding and website in hope that it would give me instant success and it didn't. I’m a big fan of instant gratification and I didn’t receive it. I researched late into the night after I got of work for weeks on end. I honestly can’t tell you how many hours I spent reading articles on Pinterest, sitting in on webinars, Google searching – the whole shebang. I thought I was setting myself up for success. I put all of the tools in place and it didn’t bring people in.
Because I’m stubborn and hard working; (and I told my husband that I wouldn’t give up on this crazy idea – because this may have not been my first) I kept at it. That determination landed my first client. That’s when I felt my determination and hard work be rewarded. Not because I followed some sort of flawless funnel to the letter or paid a million dollars to a business coach (That’s money I didn’t have and didn’t want to go into further debt for. Did I wish I had one? Absolutely.) . But, my own sheer will and determination.
Great! My first paying client – when one comes, others will follow – right? Wrong. One paying client came and then it was crickets again. After reading an article about a creative entrepreneur dishing all the secrets of what it takes to be successful, I finally heard the truth. It’s blood, sweat and a whole lot of tears that makes your business successful. It doesn’t come instantaneously – like many creative entrepreneurs like to brag about. It’s hard work to become successful in your business.
I have worked late into the night to meet a crucial deadline knowing that I had to get up early in the morning to go back to my 9 to 5. I have cried over clients backing out at the last minute – seriously, 3 large paying clients backed out in one week because of extraneous situations in their life. Nothing I could control. I have sweat for my business because I need to go to the gym after a long and stressful day. It’s hard work ladies and gents. It doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. I’m still under a year with my business – but it’s picking up.
I realized as I went along that I wasn’t show casing myself honestly with my brand. I realized that I struggled with imposter syndrome – I still do as a matter of fact. I still look at others and contemplate, for a second, what if I do that? But, I constantly have to remind myself that it won't work. Imposter syndrome is when you look at another brand and try and replicate it because they’re successful with what they do, so why can’t you be successful too? That never works out.
This is slowly becoming a saturated market. Millennials are realizing that it’s not all about the “keeping up with the Joneses” it’s about being happy with your life. There is already someone out there who is great at what they do because they are being true to themselves. So, be true to yourself. Have your own voice. Speak to your clients and followers on social media like your would your friends. That’s how you build rapport. So, that 60 hours of hard work that I put into branding and web design. I threw it all away and started from scratch.
I made my website true to me and who I was. I completely rebranded my voice to be more, well, me. Lastly, I started reaching out to people. I joined Facebook group after Facebook group and started to network and make friends. There’s no glitz and glam in this business – not instantly anyways. It takes time, hard work, dedication, and a lot of time.
I’m still in my story. I’m living it each and every day. I haven’t reached the end yet. I’m excited to see where this journey leads me. One thing that I do know, is that I won't give up this dream. I’m going to continue to network and make friends within this business because those friends are where I get 90% of my business.
the moral of my story?
Be you, make friends, and don’t give up. The world needs to hear you and your voice. You have something amazing to say – so say it in your own way. I look forward to seeing those ripples turn into waves.
Photo source: Amanda Jordan, Unsplash
Hi everyone! My name is Ashlee owner of Ashlee Binderim Design Co. I am a graphic designer that specializes in branding and web design. I absolutely love to take your dream and vision and turn it into a reality. A brand and website that showcases who you are as a person and a business owner.