Why its ok to be unsure
Meet Sarah, a creative coach and web designer who shares how starting something new often requires a leap of faith and why its ok to be unsure of our paths.
“You learn along the way and if you remain wide open, true to yourself and focussed, things will definitely fall into place eventually.”
Firstly, could you give a little background into your business and what you offer?
I offer blog and web design packages specifically designed for entrepreneurs and (future) bloggers. I am also a yoga teacher, vegan food lover and creative coach, so many of my clients come from these areas which I love! Its great to work with people who share my passions and to bring these different spheres together. I have always loved blogging and being creative, but my MA in Creative Media brought it all together and gave me the confidence to bring my own business to the next level rather than to carry on as a freelancer.
You have previously had a career as a management assistant and then in HR. What was it that prompted you to pursue a change of direction and start something up for yourself?
I really enjoy being super organised and caring for people, so initially these careers felt like a good fit for me. Ultimately, I realised that being in a fast-paced office environment drains a lot of energy from me and I missed being creative and passionate about what I am working towards. I learned a lot in that time and I wouldn`t want to change it really, but I am so glad I found a way of working that is much more aligned with my values. This didn`t happen over night though – I had a burn out in my mid-twenties and was forced to reconsider things, but it was definitely worth it.
How does life differ now that you run your own business and what has been the best thing about becoming your own boss?
I am so much happier overall and my days feel more relaxed and creative. I start to work around 11am, so there is time for meditation, reading, a walk with my dog and a healthy breakfast. This alone is worth a million dollars to me. I am free to travel whenever I want to and I can shift things around when my priorities change which I really appreciate.
I don`t want to pretend that its always been easy though, there were so many late nights and weekends, I can`t even count them anymore. But this kind of stress always felt very different to me – its absolutely not the same as working unpaid over hours for someone else. I love my work and I made a conscious decision to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
What is the reason do you think that people find themselves in careers that don’t fulfill them and what advice would you give for people in such a position?
I think collectively we are so focussed on material achievement and reaching certain milestones that we rush into university courses and careers that are not a good match. It takes a lot for a career to be fulfilling and sustainable and I think we should take more time to try different things before we settle. I don`t mean to say that anyone can do whatever they want as long as they work hard enough, that is simply not true. Some of us are born into disadvantage and will have to work a lot harder to make their dreams come true. I also don`t think that there is anything wrong with saying “you know what, my career is not my priority at this point, I actually just want to make zines and look at the sunset and I will sustain that with bartending”. It is your life and you make the rules.
If a person knows they want to pursue their own business but is unsure what direction to take and is feeling a little lost what would you suggest?
I would say that it`s totally okay to be unsure. While I have started blogging a decade ago and always thought I would end up working for myself, I had thousands of wild ideas that never became a reality and that`s totally fine. You have to start somewhere and it will very likely be scary and a bit DIY. You learn along the way and if you remain wide open, true to yourself and focussed, things will definitely fall into place eventually.
On a practical level I would advice to make sure you are financially okay so that money-anxiety doesn`t drain your creative energy. Find something that doesn`t consume you and that comes easy to you until you can live off the work you actually want to do. I have been a nanny, a freelance writer and a translator and I see it all as part of the journey.
As part of your services, you offer website design. How important do you think it is for businesses to have a web presence and a professional looking website?
I think having a really beautiful, professional web presence is absolutely key to any business today. It doesn`t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to cost thousands, but it needs to be authentic and very functional.
In addition to that I also see that people reach new heights almost automatically when they get a professional website, simply because their mindset changes and they suddenly really believe its real, that what they are doing is important and valuable.
So yes, a good website is very important, but it should not become an obstacle in itself.
What are your future plans for your business and how would you like to see it develop?
I am currently working on a DIY WordPress Power course because I know there are some people who currently can`t afford to work with me and I would love to help them too. So this course will guide entrepreneurs through creating a really good website step by step and offer some digital strategy training as well.
I have more course ideas in mind and next year I would love to invest more into international conferences. Community is so important and connecting with like-minded people in an introvert-friendly way always gives me a huge boost.
Lastly, what advice would you give to anyone about to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey?
I know starting out is a huge leap of faith and it can bring up a lot of anxiety and fear. Working on your mindset with meditation, reading and inspiration is just as important as having a good business plan. I always recommend connecting with people that are supporting your vision and have created something you aspire too – always keep your eyes on the goal!
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