Welcome back for another Day in the Life post!
Brianne actually replied back to one of my email newsletters and then I told her I was following her on Instagram and loved her work so we finally decided to have a virtual coffee chat and we hit it off immediately!
I knew she would be perfect for the series, because she shares her successes and her struggles openly and I so admire her for that.
We started our businesses around the same time, so it’s been cool to see how both of our business have grown over the last year.
Let’s get to the post!
Want to be featured in the series? You can check out the guidelines and how to submit here. I’d love to feature you!
I always go to bed too late. This whole work/life balance thing is either a myth or something I’m not very good at. Ha! When my cat jumps on my head at 6:00 in the morning I never feel prepared for it or ready to wake up (sometimes she gets antsy and it becomes 5:00am). She loves to sprint across the bed and she’s learned that if she steps on something crinkly that always wakes me up. (Little stinker…sometimes cats are too smart for their own good.)
Just over a year ago I was still employed by “the man” or in other words my corporate shared office full of red tape and anxiety at a local Real Estate firm. Back then I was doing the side-hustle thing, which I was completely willing to do because it meant freedom and that was the light at the end of the tunnel.
Since then I have become a full-time Brand Strategist + Photographer. And though I had visions of sitting at my beautiful desk space with music playing in the background, a lot more free time and an exercise schedule I actually kept up with…most of that didn’t happen. 😉
I don’t have kids, besides my fur child, and all I have to do is keep my 750 square foot apartment clean….and somehow that feels incredibly un-doable. I have lots of little piles all over the house and cat toys strewn about. It’s currently just me at my business Brightly & Co. and I LOVE what I do. This month happens to be phenomenally busy, I wish I could hire a VA right now (but c’est la vie – soon though!), and even though I’m busy I still have so many moments of doubt.
Doubt that I’m good enough, doubt that I’ll make it as a business, doubt that all the work I’m putting in will pay off, doubt, doubt, doubt…
If you’re reading this right now, I know you’ve been there too (perhaps you’re doubting right now). I hope you find comfort in knowing that we all feel this way at one time or another, maybe even frequently. You are not alone my friend. Just keep doing what I do; consistently re-evaluate your motives and make sure they’re leading you toward your ultimate goals, discover/learn new things, never stop trying and have faith.
By trade I am a Brand Designer, Strategist, and Photographer, by heart I am a mentor and teacher. I’m discovering that I love working with aspiring business owners and transitioning seasoned business owners more than anything. Which technically means I’m still figuring it all out and you know what? That’s a-okay with me. 🙂
So, let’s jump into some real talk here and dive into a day in my life. I hope this makes you feel right at home knowing you’re probably doing some very similar things throughout your day. Be ready for some #realtalk here, because I’m not going to cover it all up and make it pretty. This isn’t Instagram, we’re deep diving into a real day.
I don’t do normal things when I wake up, like take a shower, put on makeup and clothes. I used to HAVE to do these things when I worked in the corporate world and I think my rebellious side likes to come out in the morning and defy the “norm”. So, I usually just throw on my robe and slippers (turquoise of course), make my tea and feed the cat.
I live in Oregon which means it’s often times cloudy here, so especially during the winter time, I like to sit out on the couch next to my big beautiful window where light can still stream in. All Oregonians have a major vitamin D deficiency, so I always feel like I need as much light as I can get. Plus, I used to work at a shared desk space in a tiny renovated attic with a small window in front of me. Again, my rebellious side says, “You can sit in front of the big window with your robe on and ENJOY that cup of tea…”
However, I do like to get right to work. I accomplish the majority of my hardest tasks in the morning and I always feel the need to get started as soon as possible so I can get as much done as possible. The only problem is, my neverending to-do list always just seems to get longer throughout the day…as I add new things. haha!
So here’s how I like to start my day (not every morning is this lovely, but I do try): Sit down with my cup of tea and look over my agenda for the week and day. If I didn’t already write it out the night before, I take the time to write it in the day of. This is usually handwritten, there’s something about writing by hand that makes it feel more real to me. Then I like to write out at least 3 things I’m thankful for, I’ll often pair that by looking up a verse of the day from the Bible.
I use Asana for all my tasks to keep track and be able to brain dump when necessary. I also use my amazing new planner “Conquer Your Year” from the adorable Natalie MacNeil. This planner helps you break down big goals into 90-day increments and I’m loving it so far.
I double check Asana to make sure I didn’t miss anything that should be on my agenda for the day (I always go by high priority, what needs to be done first).Check out what a day in the life is like for brand strategist & photographer @BrightlyAndCo! Click To Tweet
Instead of jumping straight into email, I tackle my to-do list first. Which often requires sending out emails, writing (lots of writing – blog posts or my weekly Brightly Bulletin, social media posts and sales pages, you name it…), client work & social media. I save reading emails until mid-morning or early afternoon. I do this on purpose so that I’m only tied to my schedule and not someone else’s. It helps me accomplish more, plus I used to have to be tied to my email every hour of the day when I worked at that corporate job, so it feels very freeing to have that weight lifted.
Limiting my time on social media is also really important to me. I’ve realized that this can be a huge time suck for me and if I don’t keep it in check hours will just disappear from my day. So I check social media and engage in the morning, right after lunch and then again after dinner. I’ve included this into my meal times because I find it more relaxing and it helps me watch my time easier. 😉
Each day can totally vary. Some days I’ll have meetings in the morning, usually video meetings, but these sometimes happen in the afternoons as well.
During the Spring and Summer months, I’m often up and ready for a photo session that morning or headed out late afternoon to catch that delightful magic hour light all photographers talk about. 😉
After lunch (which is often right around noon, depending on the meetings and appointments I have that day), I’m usually checking email and working on design work or editing photos. During this time, I often have the TV on…editing photos for me is fairly easy and mindless, so I like to consider this a good time to allow the TV to be on and catch up on my favorite shows. This is how I multi-task. 😉 By editing photos and watching Kimmy Schmidt.
Around 5pm I stop to eat dinner, I like to take at least an hour or sometimes two to relax during dinner. But then I’ll pop back on the computer for another couple of hours to get organized, plan my social media posts or finish up editing or design work.
#truthmoment – I always stay on the computer far longer than I should and go to bed late… hence repeating the cycle of the start of this post. 😉
#realtalk – I don’t like working out so I rarely do. However, when the sun is out I often feel more motivated to do so. I’m a work in progress.
#confessionsofaworkaholic – I don’t take very many breaks. I always try to take on too much work throughout the day and end up feeling exhausted by the end of it.
My goals are to drink more water, exercise more and take more breaks. Being self-employed comes with its own new set of problems. Like feeling guilty for taking breaks, because you could be working on something…hands raised if you’ve ever felt like this.
My day can be a total wreck where I feel like I got nothing accomplished all the way to the opposite where I’m running around town and feeling all kinds of accomplishment.
Don’t let me feel alone here, comment below and tell me if you can relate to any of the things I mention above. Is my day similar to what a day in your life looks like?
Brianne has been helping entrepreneurs cultivate intentional and authentic brands since 2015. She founded Brightly & Co. back in September 2015 and has created a Brightly community dedicated to inspiring, encouraging and teaching others how to grow a successful Brand. When she’s not designing, coaching or taking photos for clients she likes to share her expertise via LIVE video (Facebook, Periscope, Instagram and Webinars). Her main topics are usually on personal development, brand development and marketing.
Her heart’s mission: To help entrepreneurs feel confident and equipped with the knowledge they need to share their ideas and grow their business. Brianne wants everyone she works with to feel encouraged, supported and inspired to do greater things than they previously imagined.
Based in Portland, Oregon Brianne spends her free time watching sarcastic comedies (or Disney movies) while snuggled with her sweet kitty or trying out fancy cheese plates at every restaurant and exploring new cities with her hunky boyfriend.
Hello hello! I’m SO excited to get the Day in the Life series going on the blog! If you haven’t been around here, I shared a Day in the Life post back in November because, well, I love reading day in the life posts from other business owners.
I then got the idea of starting a series on the blog featuring all kinds of business owners, from people doing this full time, part time, side hustle, whatever. I also wanted to feature different industries and people from all over the globe because I think it’s so interesting to get a peek inside someone else’s day.
My first guest is the always amazing Jessica Freeman from Jess Creatives. We “met” on Twitter (I think?!), started messaging on Instagram and now we’re texting buddies! This online world is surreal, isn’t it?
Anyways, I’m so excited to have her be the first guest on the series and if you’re interested in being featured, check out the guidelines. I’d love to feature you!
Onto the post!
Yep, that is when my alarm goes off 4-5 days per week. (Sometimes we sleep later on Fridays.) Don’t be fooled – I do not just leap out of bed right away. My husband and I wake up at this time to go hit the gym before work. Feel free to call us crazy, you wouldn’t be the first!
It takes a little bit to actually get OUT of bed, and to drive over to the gym. I will say, it’s nice because the gym is a little less crowded that early in the morning! My brother-in-law is a personal trainer who trains his clients via a custom app, so our work-outs are always planned out ahead of time. Just another thing I don’t have to think about 🙂
Another reason we go to the gym so early is so that my husband doesn’t have to hurry and get ready, and race off to work. We get back from the gym and eat breakfast, shower, watch GMA, and play with our dog until my husband leaves from work.
Full disclosure: I have been known to take a cat nap on the couch during this time. 🙂
I always tackle emails first thing in the morning. Sometimes I have several emails, sometimes only one. I’m not an inbox zero person, nor am I an only-check-your-email-twice-a-day person. I like to be responsive to client questions, new inquiries, collaboration emails, etc. Some would say I’m chained to my inbox, but it doesn’t bother me all that much, honestly!
I’m a graphic and web designer, so inevitably, past clients are asking me questions about their website, needing a file or a hex code, etc. Like I said, it’s important for me to be responsive with my clients – even after the project is done!
After that, I usually jump right into client work! This day, I was working on finalizing a client’s site, so we could launch! I was migrating this client from WordPress to Squarespace, which I’ve done numerous times. But, during this process, he also wanted to transfer his domain and email to a new provider. This makes everything a little bit trickier!
And, let’s be honest – I usually pop in and out of Facebook throughout the day. Facebook groups help me feel more connected to other entrepreneurs, and it’s also how I’ve connected with many of my clients!
I like to write and schedule out my weekly emails the day before they go out. I like to be consistent in what time I send them each week. Consistency in general is just important to me, even down to the specific time, haha!
I just send a weekly email to my list (via ConvertKit) with links to my weekly blog and video. I usually like to throw in a bonus tip, or remind people why the topics I’m talking about even matter to begin with. I know a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with what to say in a newsletter, I used to as well! I try to write my emails with a specific person (like a friend) in mind, to make it more personal and easier to write.A day in the life of #freelance graphic designer @jesscreatives. Check it out on @brittneyllynn's blog! Click To Tweet
I had a call with a new client this morning! If I’m being totally honest, I don’t like talking on the phone much. I’m usually awkward, not really sure what to say. But, I know that sometimes it’s easier to just hash things out over the phone, and people want to really connect and see if you’re a good fit!
What was fun about this call was this new client was actually my babysitter 20 years ago. Crazy, right?! She is now a professional (and amazing) photographer who needed a whole new brand and website.
I work with entrepreneurs in all different industries – copywriters, photographers, salon owners, and everything in between. I love the variety of people that I get to work with, and the variety of projects I work on every month – websites, logos, books, social media graphics, etc. The variety of everything is one reason I love being my own boss!
Lunch time! Okay, yes…. I am usually one to sit at my desk and eat. My husband wishes I wouldn’t, but why would I sit at the kitchen table when I can watch YouTube videos while I eat?! It’s true, I love watching YouTube videos – usually Gary Vaynerchuk, or the occasional Jimmy Fallon video.
But, this week was crazy beautiful outside, especially for January. We have a two-year-old dog named Morgan, and since it was so nice out, I decided to play with him in the backyard. I’m obsessed with him, and I’m pretty sure I’m his favorite (don’t tell my husband). He spends most of the day quietly laying at my feet, but he does love a good game of fetch!
Our trainer makes a meal plan for us each week, and then on Saturdays, we meal prep for the entire week! So, I only have to heat up my lunch each day.
I love being a part of a mastermind group! It’s great to have people to bounce ideas off of and learn from. Maggie and I have been in a mastermind group together the last few months, and have been collaborating on several things. I love that even though there is an ocean between us, we can still hop on a video chat! (But really, it still kind of blows my mind we can do that.)
If you’re wanting a mastermind group, I highly recommend connecting with others in Facebook groups. I’ve always liked having a group of creatives that are all in different industries. If you can also find people who are in similar stages of business, that’s great, too!
So, on top of client work and blogging, I also have a YouTube channel and a podcast! My husband and I edit these each week. I do most of the video editing now, but he helps tweak the audio for my podcast.
I actually use my old iMac to do all the video and audio editing, so those files aren’t taking up a ton of space on my new computer. It’s also helpful because my husband can edit on one computer, and then I can still do client work on my other computer!
I promise this is not staged… but it just so happened that when I finally remembered to ‘track’ my day for this blog post, I also had a coffee chat scheduled with Brittney! You know, Brittney… the girl whose website you’re on right now. She’s fabulous, if you hadn’t noticed. We actually connected through Twitter! Then, Instagram…. And now we’re friends who text each other lots of emojis and GIFs.
My husband usually comes home around 5 p.m., and I’m actually pretty good about “shutting down” when he comes home! We take Morgan on a walk, and then eat dinner! Like I mentioned earlier, we meal prep all of our food for the week, so it’s just a matter of heating up dinner. I seriously love meal prepping, I couldn’t imagine going back to cooking a full meal each night. Also, I’m obsessed with our dog. Who can resist that cute face?!
My husband and I don’t have much of a night routine. Nor, do we often do much in the evenings. On this day, we ran some errands. Want to know something random? My husband and I gave up Netflix for 2017! Yep, no Netflix binging for us anymore. So far, we’ve been doing a lot of reading, learning new languages (thanks to Duolingo), and doing more DIY projects around the house. We don’t have cable, either! (And, I’m not allowed to just keep working all night.)
We go to bed around 9–9:30, since we wake up at 4:30 in the morning! Some days are more tiring than others, just depending what exactly happens during the day. I’m an introvert, so the days that I have client calls and podcast interviews, I’m definitely more mentally exhausted on those days.
No day is perfect, but I like to try and have a (somewhat) balance of fun and work! We’re our own boss because we wanted freedom, might as well try to have a little bit of fun or relaxation in each day, right?!
Jessica Freeman is an award-winning graphic and web designer, helping service-based entrepreneurs create a brand that shines through every level of their business. Outside of designing, she also loves producing for her YouTube channel and podcast. Jess lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Aaron.
One of the mistakes I failed to mention in my 6 mistakes I made in my first year of business post was that for most of the first year, I was flying by the seat of my pants (aka I had no business plan whatsoever).
My “business plan” (if you can even call it that, ha!) was “find clients who will pay me.”
While finding paying clients is absolutely important (check out how I got my first five), I wouldn’t really call that much of a plan.
When you’re just starting out, I don’t think there’s any reason why you need an 84-page document on how you’re going to build your business but I do think it’s important to have a bird’s eye view of what you want your business to look like and how it will function.
In today’s post, I share the aspects you should be thinking about to create an actionable, revenue producing business plan. I hope you enjoy!
Defining your why is so important. Actually, it’s the most important step to take while you’re creating your business plan.
Let me tell you, if you’re going into small business ownership solely because of money…you need to figure something else out.
Money cannot be the main focus of your solo business. It will not work. You will get burnt out and you will end up despising the business that you built.
On the days when you are struggling, when money isn’t coming in, when you’re having a hard time, when you feel like you can’t do this anymore (and rest assured, you will have ALL of these days at some point), money is not what will keep you going.
Hence why you need to define your ultimate why.
Answering these questions will help you define your why so you can push through the rough times and truly savor the best times.
If you’re just getting started with your solo business, you may be still figuring out what the heck it is that you’re even going to do.
I recommend thinking of the things that you’re already good at and enjoy.
Considering all of these questions together, at the same time, will help you figure out what niche you belong in and what you will succeed in. Sometimes a business idea is staring at your in your face, you just need to recognize it!
The fact of the matter is, there are hundreds if not thousands of people out there that offer something similar to you. This isn’t to compare yourself or feel bad because someone is better at something than you, it’s to realize that there are people out there that already offer what you want to offer.
So how are you going to set yourself apart?
This isn’t to scare you and make you think you shouldn’t try because there are other people offering similar services/products, it’s to get you to think strategically about what you can offer the world that’s unique.
Writing out your past experience in life (whether related to your professional job or not) can help you start to see your unique perspective and how you can offer something different to the world.
You do have distinguishing characteristics that will make you stand out, you just need to be able to clearly define what those are so you can find the right audience that will love and support you.
Now that you’ve defined what makes you different, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to sell.
It basically boils down to three options:
There are pros and cons to each. I initially started only offering services, because that’s what I was comfortable with and knew the best. I would advise you selecting what you are most comfortable with and what makes sense for you.
You can always add or take away in the future, but don’t try and overwhelm yourself with doing everything at once. Remember, you’re just getting started!
There is a lot that goes into pricing products and services. Charge too little and you’re viewed as a novice and people take advantage of your low prices leading you to burnout, charge too much and your customers will go to someone else that charges less for the same product or service.
My personal opinion is there’s no right pricing for anything.
Some people pay $10 for a cell phone. Some people wait in line for days and pay $800 for a cell phone (hello, iPhone).
I know a lot of people feel conflicted about pricing, whether they feel like they’re charging too little or too much.
Your circumstances also play a major role in determining pricing for your services and products. Are you relying solely on your income? Do you have children to support? How much of a nest egg do you have? Where do you live and what is your lifestyle?
Here’s how I do it: I know how much I want to make in a year. It is a reasonable salary, something I could obtain if I were working a regular 9-5 job in this same field.
Once I determined that number, I worked backward and figured out how much I would need to make per hour to get to that salary. Then, when I’m pricing out clients for projects, I make it based on that hourly rate.
I’m sure some people think I charge too much. Others think I charge too little. I charge what I know I’m worth. Whether that fits into someone else’s budget is up to them.Learn how to build an actionable business plan for your solo biz with these tips from @BrittneyLLynn! Click To Tweet
Your client/customer process is important to consider while you’re building up your business. Say someone says yes to your pricing (yay!), what are your next steps?
I send mine a contract, detailing out everything we have already discussed and any other stipulations depending on the project.
Then, I have different processes for each type of client.
For ghostwriting clients, I use Google Docs to share a folder with the client and get them set up as a project in Asana.
Determining the tools that you will use (check out mine) and how often you will be communicating and what you need from them will help you stay organized and always one step ahead of the game.
If you’re selling products, there is still a customer process that occurs.
You don’t have to have all of these things figured out before you get started, but spending some time considering how you want to handle each of these situations will make it easier for you in the long run.
Ah, my favorite part of the business plan! You can have the best services or products in the world, but if you aren’t marketing them you won’t get very far.
First things first, most solo businesses (especially an online business) will require some type of content creation on your part (or you can hire someone to help you!).
Content doesn’t have to mean blogging. Some people hate writing and don’t want to upkeep a blog. The great thing about right now is that you don’t have to do blogging.
You can create a podcast. A YouTube. Webinars. There are a lot of different options right now so pick one that you love doing.
Next up is your email newsletter. It’s funny, I have friends that work in other industries and they’re like, “email marketing still works?!” Uhhhh yes friends, yes indeed.
Particularly if you run your business online. You need to have an email list. You’ll then have to think about what type of content you will send them (gotta give them a reason to stay subscribed!).
Social media is another way to market yourself. I recently saw on a Facebook group a question about how important social media actually was to growing a business.
Here’s my take: can you build a business without a social media presence? Yes. Social media has only existed roughly over the past 10 years and obviously businesses have succeeded without it.
However, you’re going to miss out on a lot of business if you aren’t on social media. Why? Because that’s where people spend a lot of their time.
You may not like that answer but it’s the truth. The fact is, people spend a ton of time online, and specifically on social media platforms. It’s going to take you a lot longer to build a presence online without social media, but it is doable.
Last thing you’ll want to determine while you’re building your business plan is what success looks like to you.
If you’re building your solo business, you’re probably doing it for a reason. Everyone has their own reason. Reasons can include:
Comparing yourself to other’s successes will not get you anywhere. This is why it is crucial for you decide what success looks like to you.
Maybe you want to spend more time with your family. Maybe you want to travel wherever you want, whenever you want. Maybe it gives you more free time to do other things you love.
Whatever it is, it’s important to keep this as a reminder for when times are tough. You may have a different idea of what success looks like compared to other people, and that’s okay.
I hope this post was helpful for you. The point of building a business plan is not to have a document that you are tied down to and have to follow to a T, it’s to give your business some guidance and a path to follow to create your own successful solo business on your own terms.
Click the button below to get access to a free workbook to help you figure out your solo business plan. It’s time to get to work!
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I’m writing this post as we travel to visit family for the holidays. As we trek along for the 12-hour drive (yep, we’re crazy), I think back on my first year of business.
If you haven’t been reading for long, I started my business in January 2016. I began as a social media specialist for small businesses and then grew into offering a wide variety of marketing services for online business owners.
In just one year I’ve grown my client list (check out how I got my first five) and connected with so many people across the globe. It’s been a wild ride to say the least and I’m so grateful for it.
My hope in sharing these mistakes is that for those of you just beginning your journey to learn from, however sometimes you need to make the mistakes to really learn. Mistakes are a part of life but it’s how you learn from them that really matters.
In the beginning, I was solely focused on getting client work. Which was great! That was what was going to increase my income and get my name out there. It was necessary for me to focus on getting clients.
However, at some point, I stopped focusing on my own business.
I stopped blogging. I stopped writing email newsletters. I ignored my social media profiles.
Client work always took priority and while most times that is absolutely important, I also needed to give the time for my own business and treating it like my own client.
It can be hard, because when you work with clients, that’s primarily what pays your income. But if you continue to never dedicating time to work on your business, it can end up growing into something you don’t enjoy doing.
My hope for this next year is to make sure I spend time on my own business while still dedicating the proper amount of time to my amazing clients.
Gosh this one is hard to admit. But it’s true. I compared myself often to other business owners and it’s something I continuously work on.
“Look at what she’s doing. Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Why did they get more email subscribers in their first month of business?”
“I wish I just made half as much as her in one month!”
It feels gross to admit these thoughts but I’m all about sharing the good and the bad of running a business.
Comparing never gets me anywhere except in a negative headspace. I’ve recently unsubscribed from a lot of blogs and email newsletters that were causing much of the comparison. I also try to spend my time wisely on social media.
Because you can end up spending all day comparing yourself and where does that get you? No where.
Stay in your own lane, focus on your business, and celebrate the wins of other businesses. Other people winning doesn’t mean you can’t win in your business.
When I first started, I didn’t want to spend money on anything. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat, especially if you’re just starting out.
While keeping things low cost is great when you’re just getting started, at some point you do need to invest in services/people to help you do things that you don’t have the time to do.
I mean, let’s get real, I was manually pinning 30-40 pins a day on Pinterest. That is crazy. And I don’t have time to do that anymore.
So I invested in BoardBooster for $10/month and it saves me so much time.
As my business continues to grow, I’ll continue to invest in my business to save me time, effort, and money.@BrittneyLLynn shares the 6 mistakes she made during her first year of business. Check out the post & learn from her mistakes Click To Tweet
Man, I stressed way too much about everything.
“Did my email subscribers like my email or was it stupid?”
“I just need one more client to get to this amount of money each month!”
“I don’t have any good photos to share on Instagram. Ugh!”
Yes, in all honesty I stressed out about Instagram photos. Instagram. People. If you’re stressing about Instagram photos it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your life.
Fortunately, when I started, we relied upon my husband’s income to live on (read our debt paying story to find out how!).
That means I didn’t have to stress about earning a living wage to be able to feed, clothe, and house us.
So if you’re in that situation your stresses are valid and very different from mine.
But I was stressing about things that did not need to be stressed about. I’m slowly learning to take a chill pill some times and realize that it takes time to build a profitable business. Not everything is worth stressing out over. Especially Instagram photos. Yeesh.
I don’t think I talked about this on the blog (but I did on Instagram stories, follow me!) but I had a major breakdown about my website.
Long story short, the free WordPress theme I initially used on my website was banned from WordPress earlier this year.
This free theme had thousands of users, so I thought I was safe from that ever happening.
In fact, I had no idea it was banned. I tried to update it and I kept getting errors. I put a call out on Instagram stories and the wonderful Jess from Jess Creatives told me that my theme had unfortunately been banned.
Uh, what? How is that possible?!
I quickly purchased a new theme from Bluchic (amazing, feminine WordPress themes!) and installed it in a weekend.
I should have done this WAY earlier than I did but lesson learned: You always get what you pay for and free is not always the best.
I think this may have been my biggest mistake of the year.
I didn’t realize that one of the things I missed most about working in an office was interacting with my co-workers.
I should have known. I’ve always loved collaborating with other people and always think two brains are better than one.
I’m also an introvert so I recharge by being by myself.
I figured since I didn’t mind being by myself that I would be totally fine working alone as a solopreneur.
Wrong. So wrong.
After about a month I was going crazy. My husband travels often for work and while my dog is a great coworker he doesn’t talk much.
I started feeling really isolated and alone.
Another contributing factor to feeling isolated was that my friends and family don’t really get what I do.
I mean, they understand I work for myself, and they know I do marketing, but they don’t really get what it’s like to run an online business.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to talk about your business all the time.
Two of the best things I did for myself and my business:
These two things alone have helped immensely in feeling better during my days. My mastermind especially has been amazing. There are just three of us, but it is so incredible to have two other people who get what it’s like to be a business owner. They have both been so incredibly supportive and helpful and I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for all of us.
If I could recommend anything to you for the next year is to find a mastermind group, or even a business coach, to talk business with. It will do incredible things for your mindset.
Part of running a business is making mistakes. There’s just no way around it and the mistakes you make help you grow as a person and as a business owner.
I hope in sharing my mistakes that you remember to take time for yourself and make you a priority. How can you run your business if you aren’t taking care of yourself?
I’d love to hear about your mistakes from the past year and what you’re hoping to do for 2017. Please leave a comment below!
There are affiliate links listed in the post, which means if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission, which comes at no additional cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products I use, love, and have experience with and have found helpful in running my business.
Maybe it’s because I’m nosy but I love day in the life blog posts. I love getting a peek inside someone else’s day to see what they’re up to, who they interact with, and how they spend their time.
I’ve always been fascinated with how people spend their time. Your time is your most valuable asset, and ultimately how you spend your time is what makes up your life.
I first learned of these day in the life blog posts when I read healthy living blogs back in the day. Fun fact: I used to be one of those healthy living bloggers!
Yep, I would take pictures of my food, write up healthy recipes, the whole shebang. It seems like a lifetime ago. I closed down the blog (so I don’t think you can find it anywhere…) but it was fun while it lasted.
My life has changed so much since I stopped that blog but I still love reading day in the life posts.
Once I started my business, I started wondering, what did small business owner do during their days? Was it all perfect and Instagram-worthy?
Or were people having days like mine, where you’d struggle all day just to get one project done?
So, I started searching around online for day in the life blog posts.
After finding a few, I realized that there weren’t too many out there, especially from solopreneur business owners. Then I realized, “wait, I’ve never written one of these!”
“They” say you should always write what you like to read, and I like to read day in the life posts so why not!
Of course I want to share what a day looks like in my life, but I want more people to share what’s it’s like in their day. The good, bad, and ugly. I want to get more people involved.
In my path of being open and honest about the ups and down of being a solopreneur business owner, I thought it would be interesting to feature other solopreneurs and what a day in the life looks like for them.
People that do this full time.
People that have a side hustle.
People that keep a part time job.
People that work in industries outside of my own.
I want to show the good days, the not so good days, and the days we’ll never forget. They all matter. Not every day is productive. Not every day is perfect. But it all adds up to make up our lives.
So with all of that being said, I’m starting a new series on the blog called, Day In The Life. This will feature other solopreneurs, side hustlers, and business owners in a variety of different industries and what it’s like to live a day in their shoes.
If you’re interested in being considered, please view the guidelines before submitting.
Now, without further adieu, here’s a day in my life!
Date: November 29, 2016
I have a range of time that I wake up. Sometimes it’s 5:30. More recently it’s between 6:30-7. I try to just go with the flow because sometimes my body needs more rest, as well as it also depends what time I go to bed. Walked Murphy- listened to
After brushing my teeth and getting into walkable clothes, I take our dog Murphy outside for a walk. Almost 98% of the time I walk him in the morning, unless if it’s raining or really cold (which rarely happens here in Dallas). I like having this time in the morning to move a little and to get some fresh air. And of course, he loves it!
I almost always listen to podcasts during our walk. I’ve told you about my obsession and I just can’t seem to stop. Sometimes I listen to business ones, other times it’s more fun or story telling. Just depends on what mood I’m in!
I usually walk him for 30 minutes and then I’m back home to start the day.
I’ll be honest, some days I don’t really “get ready.” Or getting ready entails me putting on yoga pants and pulling my hair up into a bun. On this particular day, I had a in-person meeting so I decided to put on some make up and actual real clothes.
I’ve also been curling my hair as of recently. We’ll see how long this lasts 🙂
Not so sure about this curled hair thing. I have such thick hair so it gets a little overwhelming!
I know many people say to not start your day with emails, and while sometimes that happens, most times it doesn’t. Some days, my email inbox dictates my day. Just the nature of my business!
I respond back to a few, filter one I don’t need to respond to, and open up my Asana account. This is where I keep ALL of my projects and to-dos.
I light up my candle and start work for the day! My days can really vary. Sometimes that annoys me, sometimes it’s awesome. I try to keep normal business hours, but sometimes I don’t start working until later in the day, and sometimes I start early in the morning. Variety keeps it spicy!
On this particular day, I was doing some ghost-writing for a client. I have several clients where I ghost-write their blog posts. It’s fun because sometimes I get to learn about topics that I don’t initially know a lot about.
I send it off by 9:45 and then send out a proposal for Instagram management. Even though I’ve been doing this a year, proposals are still scary for me. Not sure if that feeling will ever go away!
Whoa! This day got away from me because I don’t normally wait until 10 to eat. But hey, there is no typical day! I make some oatmeal with a sliver of pumpkin pie (because uh, duh we had some leftover) and a little honey. I’m a creature of habit with breakfast and will typically have one of three things: oatmeal, eggs, or a smoothie. I went two years having as smoothie every weekday morning. Don’t know if I should proud of that or disgusted.
I also always have my trusty water bottle next to me. I try to drink a ton of water each day. This day I was using my Bubba water bottle but I normally use my Hydroflask because I. am. obsesed.
I take a little break to read some articles, some business related, some not. Of course I use Feedly to read all of the websites I keep up with.
I made a note that my stomach kept growling. On this day, my husband was also working from home and he heard it from the other room. 😳
I finish up my blog post for the day, which was this post. I write all of my blog posts first in a Google document and then transfer it over to WordPress. I have some sort of mental block while writing in WordPress so to combat that I write in blank document first.
I also create an image to be pinned, check the SEO, schedule an Instagram post in Buffer.
I publish the post and then immediately create five distinct tweets in my tweet excel sheet. This helps me cut down on time I use to schedule tweets while not paying for an extensive program. It works for me right now!
At the same time my husband tells me about the AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit that Leah Remini was doing on Scientology. I read her book and watched the Going Clear documentary. Strange stuff. He ends up being baffled by me because I asked “what’s a Reddit AMA?”
He was like, what?! How do you not know? You’re the online business person!
Ha. Apparently I’m behind the times. He also had to tell me what the mannequin challenge was.
Yay, a package! It’s from Amazon and it’s a long, plaid tunic shirt I had ordered. Well, it was supposed to be long.
Apparently I didn’t look at the sizing correctly and I ordered an L, in Chinese. Which is a XS. Hahahah. Yeah I’m not an XS. My bad!
I sit back down at my computer to schedule out more tweets on Buffer. I now use the $10/month plan and it’s perfect for me. I schedule it all through my Feedly, so I don’t have to visit a million sites.Ever wonder what a typical day is like in a #solopreneur's life? Check out @BrittneyLLynn's day in the life post! Click To Tweet
I start making lunch. Lunch is usually leftovers, but today we didn’t have any so I made a wrap and vegetables. Random, I know.
I also tend to clean up a little around the apartment: dishes, laundry, picking up things.
While I eat lunch I take a look at my Google Analytics and post in a Facebook group I’m in for a course I took.
Sometimes I take time away from my computer to go sit outside, read a book, or watch a short tv show. Other days I work at my computer. Today I worked at my computer because I had a meeting later in the day
Back to work it is! I write up another contract for a client. I have a template that I use so it doesn’t take me too long.
I head downstairs to a coffee shop to meet up with a girl that I’ve been working with for a little over 7 months! She’s in town and this is the first time we’re meeting. It was so great seeing her in person.
I walk back to our apartment after we’re done. In-person meetings can really have a positive effect on your day. I can easily hole up in my office and not talk to people for 5 days (true story) but it’s so good for my mental health to get out every once in a while.
I come back and talk about life, business and other things with my husband. He’s my best co-worker 🙂
I start doing research for a digital product I’m creating for you guys and I can’t wait to share more details soon! Hoping for the beginning of the year launch.
I call my dad so we can catch up on The Walking Dead. We’re both big fans (those this season has felt a little slow, anyone else?) and we always talk about it the day or two after it airs on Sundays. Ryan took Murphy out. I usually take him for an afternoon walk, but sometimes Ryan will run with him.
I send some of my clients some snail mail. I really want to try and be better about connecting on a personal level with my clients in the next year. I’m horrible with mail and crafting cute packages, but I’m going to make an effort!
I also fold some laundry and talk to Ryan more about this product I’m going to be selling. Bless him for always listening to my ideas.
I start getting out all of our Christmas decorations and organizing what will go where while Ryan makes dinner. I typically make dinner, only because I really do love cooking and it relaxes me at the end of the day. He said he wanted to take over for dinner today though and who am I to stop him?
He made a Chicken Lime Coconut Soup and to be honest it wasn’t that good. (Ryan actually hated it more than I did, so I’m not being picky or anything!)
It actually ended up being worse as a leftover. We laughed so hard because we were just like, how does it keep getting worse and worse?! Anyways, I won’t link to the recipe we used 🙂
I cleaned up the dishes while he showered and then I changed into my jammies and read on the iPad for a bit. I do prefer to read actual books but dang, the iPad makes it so easy to get digital books! I use my library account to rent books for free. It’s awesome!
We typically end our day watching a tv show and just hanging out. We don’t typically go out often during the week, as we just like to end our days being relaxed and together at home. But, it is nice that a couple of our closest friends live in the same building we do, so we can always go hang with them if we’re wanting some interaction during the week.
We’ve been making our way through Game of Thrones (yeah, I know, so late to the game) and while it took me a little longer to get into it I’m excited to continue watching!
I like to get into bed around 10. That’s really an average time, sometimes it’s 9 (grandma alert) sometimes it’s closer to 11. I don’t typically go straight to sleep but this night I did.
I’m a sleep diva and wear an eye mask to go to bed. I know, I would totally judge me too. But I love sleeping in complete darkness!
So as you can see, I didn’t work an extreme amount this day. Some days are a lot heavier, with me working until 7pm. Other days I get up earlier and stop working around 3. It just depends on what I have going on.
I look forward to sharing more of these posts and if you’d like to be featured please check out the guidelines and submit!
This post is probably the most personal piece of content I’ve published thus far in my solopreneur business journey. I went back and forth (and back and forth) about whether or not I should post it, as it could be polarizing or it could cause for comparison. We’re all in different stages in life, so please don’t compare your story to mine.
I wanted to share this story because maybe it could cause a flicker of interest for you and bring up something you maybe haven’t considered an option as a way to finally become a small business owner.
Here’s my story. I hope you enjoy!
Oh, that debt monster. Debt is one of those things that not a lot of people talk about, but almost everybody has. Isn’t that interesting? Something that millions of people have in common, but to talk about it feels almost…impolite? Inappropriate? Improper?
I get it. I’ve felt that awkward “I don’t really want to talk about or acknowledge how much debt I have” feeling.
It’s funny, because by accident my husband and I became the “frugal friends” or the “debt-paying friends” with several sets of our friends in Wisconsin when we started our debt paying journey. I wouldn’t necessarily say we were frugal (I mean, we did go to Ireland during our debt payoff), but we certainly did sacrifice.
We’ve shared with many friends and family how we paid off our debt and it’s something both my husband and I have been passionate about since we started.
I want to share our story not to brag, but to show that normal, average people that make normal, average incomes can get out of debt. No matter how much you have, you CAN do it. I’m not saying it won’t be easy, but you can certainly finally slay the debt monster for good.
I also wanted to share our story because paying down our debt was truly what afforded us the opportunity to temporarily take a pay cut while I started my business.
Okay, so let’s get to it.
First off, I’m not going to share the exact amount of debt we paid off. For one, I don’t see any reason to, as the amount has little to do with the method. Just know that it was a significant amount, including a mixture of credit cards and student loans.
If I’m being honest, Ryan really started us down the debt paying path. He had always tracked his expenses (even in college) and I most definitely….did not. I felt it was annoying to update an excel sheet every single time you purchased something. “What’s the point,” I thought. “I can see everything online in my checking account.” Boy, am I eating those words now.
Anyways, we hadn’t combined our finances until we got married, so after the whirlwind of the wedding, honeymoon, and the holidays, we finally sat down December 2012 and did a close up look at all of our debt.
We can both admit, that night was ugly.
Not in the fact that we were arguing at all, more so in regards to feeling totally overwhelmed. I can’t quite remember, but I’m sure I cried.
It seemed impossible. How could we ever pay all of this off? Are we still going to be paying student loans when our children are taking out loans? We discussed a lot that night and went to bed feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Around this same time, Ryan had mentioned this guy named Dave Ramsey. He had said he had heard of him a few times and that he gives advice on how to pay off debt.
I wasn’t interested. I had heard that Dave can come off a little…brash and I do not respond to that type of teaching.
(I swear this is relevant). I never used my iPhone to stream music or podcasts. I had my iPod, why would I need to use my iPhone? I guess you can say I’m old school 😂.
Once my iPod was stolen, I had no way of listening to music besides the radio (uh, that gets old real fast with FM radio djs…am I right?) so I reluctantly started using my iPhone.
Ryan mentioned that Dave had a podcast that I could stream through my phone if I wanted to give him a try.
Uh…what’s a podcast? Nobody actually listens to podcasts, do they? (Jokes on me now because I listen to podcasts all-the-time now).
So eventually I listened. God definitely had a hand in all of this because I was very, very reluctant to change my ways. Guess all it took was a stolen iPod!
On his show, they do these segments called “debt free screams.” People call in or come into the studio and give their 5-minute debt story and then at the end they scream that they’re debt free.
After hearing several of those, it was like a switch went off.
We started furiously making budgets and building excel templates to track.
Ryan was the brains behind our Google Doc excel sheet and it has worked so well for us in the past three years. I’ve even shared the template with friends!
We actually had tried using multiple online tracking programs (Mint, Every Dollar, You Need A Budget) and we always came back to our homemade excel sheet. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
I share the background behind the story of me becoming a business owner because this is what it looked like.
I’ll admit, it sucked at times. We had to say no to a lot of things. A lot.
While all of our friends were buying new cars and houses, we were renting a really crappy apartment driving cars made in the 90s.
While co-workers would go out for lunch every day, we’d be heating up our leftovers for the third day in a row, sometimes begrudgingly.
While friends would go to fun concerts, go on a shopping spree, or buy new furniture, we buckled down and barely spent any money going out.
Some people start a side hustle that they hope to eventually turn into a full-time gig. And it works for them. And that’s awesome. I know plenty of people who have done that.
While my previous job was not physically demanding, it was emotionally demanding.
I had a really hard time and some days it was hard enough for me to get up and go to the office. The idea of me having to work outside of my regular work hours (which often seeped into the evenings and weekends) was totally draining to me. I could not wrap my head around it.
So, I didn’t. We decided to focus on paying down our debt first. Would a side hustle have helped us pay our debt faster?
Would I have had a life? No, probably not.
And I value having a life outside of work. I value spending time with friends and family. I like sleep (just being real). So I decided against growing a side hustle at the same time.
So, fast forward to July 2015. My husband had been interviewing for a job in Texas. Never in my mind had Texas ever come up as a possibility but the more we thought about it the more we liked the idea.
He gets the job and then I have to quit my job in Milwaukee.
The stars aligned because the same month we moved down here to Dallas was our last month of debt payments. It truly felt like we were starting a brand new life in Dallas, because we were finally going to be debt free.
With quitting my job, we had to have the conversation of what’s my next career move?
Ironically, my salary was what essentially was paying our debt each month.
I realize that some could consider me “lucky” because I have a husband that is paid well and that we can survive on just his salary for a few months. And yes, that’s true. I would not have been able to go down this particular path at this time if it hadn’t been for us being a two income household.
No one was holding us accountable for 30 months as we chipped away at our mountain of debt. We could have said screw it hundreds of times and blew our money on something stupid.
But we didn’t. We committed to something and we stuck with it, even when it was hard. We didn’t get “lucky” we worked really hard.
Like all of my other blog posts, I would like to leave you with some pieces of advice or tips I’ve picked up over the last few years to help you start your journey in paying off debt, if that sounds like the right path for you.
Just like in business, you have to know your why behind paying off your debt. It is the one thing that keeps you going when you really want to give up.
Our why consisted of several things:
Reminding yourself often of your why keeps you accountable. Write it on a post-it and put it on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, wherever you need it to remind you.
Do whatever it takes to constantly remind yourself of your why behind paying off your debt.
Many people out there follow the rule of paying off the debt that has the largest interest rate. That makes complete sense, however that is not what we did.
We did the debt snowball, per Dave Ramsey’s teachings, and paid off our smallest debt first. The only reason to do this is to gain mental momentum. And boy, does it work.
Once you pay off your first debt, you feel on top of the world. You feel like you can conquer anything. Then you end up using that momentum to continue paying off debt.
I would highly recommend listening to his podcast or grabbing his book, The Total Money Makeover (affiliate link), to learn in detail his methods. It can be really eye opening and offer a different perspective.
There were several months in a row that we legit had to fix our two cars at least 4 times. My husband’s old car broke down almost for 4 months straight. It was ridiculous.
There is always going to be an unexpected payment that comes up. You may not be able to chuck a large amount of money at your debt mountain every month.
And that’s okay. You’re doing the best you can. Get frustrated and then move on. Do not let it set you back for good. Keep going. Which that leads to…@BrittneyLLynn shares the one thing she did to become a #smallbiz owner (it may not be what you expect!) Click To Tweet
About a year in, we had hit a lull. We were chipping away at one of our larger debts and it felt like our wheels were just spinning.
It was frustrating. It was difficult. I wanted to give up so many times. But that’s when you need to buckle down. That’s when you need to dig deep and find it in you to keep going.
I found listening to the debt free screams to be really encouraging when I was down. Hearing people pay off twice as much debt as I had and being able to relate to the feelings they had while paying off debt helped us to keep going.
I’ll admit, we never encountered anyone who outwardly judged us for paying off our debt, so I consider us lucky.
There may be people in your life that will question why in the world you would do something like that. They may say things like,
“But student debt is good debt!”
“Everyone has a car payment!”
“Can’t you just go shopping this one time?”
Student debt is not good debt. Student debt is still debt.
I can guarantee you not everyone has a car payment (we’ve never had one and hope to never have one in the future).
And no, sometimes you can’t just go on a shopping spree.
I don’t say all of this to be mean or judgemental, I’m just being honest. I think our society has slowly come to accept debt as a fact of life because so many people have it. But you don’t have to hang onto your debt.
You can buy a car with cash (We did, even while paying off our debt. Is it brand new? No, not anywhere close. Is it a safe, reliable car that gets me where I need to go? Yep.).
You can pay off your credit card each month.
You can make extra payments to your student loans (they allow it, I promise).
One of Dave’s common sayings is “live like no one else so you can live like no one else.”
That’s what you’re doing when you commit to paying off your debt. You are committing to temporarily living like no one else so then you can eventually LIVE like no one else with no debt. I’d much rather temporarily sacrifice to live like no one else in the future.
Whew. When I started writing this post I didn’t realize it was going to be 2,000+ words but I couldn’t edit any of the above out.
My hope is that if you’re wanting to start your own solopreneur business someday (whether it be part time or full time), you may consider paying off all of your debt as a way to get you there.
I’m so grateful that we took the time and paid off all of our debt. Life in some ways is completely different now that we’re debt free and in some ways the same. We still have bills to pay and our cars still break down but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Can I admit something? I feel like I can be honest with you all, especially since revealing a business update and what’s going to be changing around here.
Over the last few months I’ve had a hard time with finding balance as a solopreneur.
I’ve felt tired. Burnt out. Overwhelmed. And just kinda down.
There are so many articles out there about how important it is to have work/life balance but it’s hard to come across ones that actually reveal how hard it is to create that balance, especially as a business owner.
I’ve always had a regular 9-5 job, where I could literally turn off at the end of each day. I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have a 9-5 like that, but I did. And at the time I guess I didn’t realize how awesome that was. Because now I can’t turn my brain off.
I’ve slept horribly and I’ve felt more anxiety about work related things than I ever have before, so I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it. I thought I was alone but when I started actually asking other solopreneurs, they’ve been through the same thing I’m going through right now.
I’m still a work in progress, as we all are, but I’d like to share some of my struggles and what I’m attempting to do about it in hopes of helping someone else out there that might be going through the same thing.
I think everyone struggles with this from time to time (or maybe all the time).
There never seems to be enough of it. And when you run your own business there’s always something you can be doing. Always. There’s always a blog post to write. A new product to create. An email to send. An email to respond back to. An Instagram post to publish. It’s never-ending and it’s made me feel more pressure than ever before since this is my business.
My solution: I’m trying to be better about recognizing that there’s always more time and I don’t have to get everything done in one day.
Social media is amazing but man can it drag you down fast.
Within minutes of hopping onto social media I can start feeling unaccomplished, unworthy, and left behind.
Shiny object syndrome is when you have a new idea that captures your attention in a way that gets you distracted from what you are currently working on and not staying focused on your current goal.
Of course I love seeing other business owners launch new products, sell new services, revamp their websites…but then a small part of me sometimes thinks “hey wait, I should be doing that right now too!”
But in all honesty, that’s not what I need to be doing. I need to stay in my own lane, and focus on my priorities for my business.
I am already a very strategic person, so I don’t often do things just to do them. But it can be difficult to not get distracted when everyone around you is creating new and awesome things.
My solution: Focus on my priorities and remember my why. Instead of focusing on what I’m not doing that I think I should be doing, I’m going to focus on what I have and what I can do right now.
Speaking of priorities, oof. I’ve always thought I was someone who knew what to prioritize, but I’m realizing it’s a whole different ball game when I’m running my own business.
Because here’s the thing: Everything is important. My client work is important. My website is important. This here blog is important. My relationship with my husband is important as are my relationships with my friends and family. It’s ALL important and they are ALL priorities, but I can’t have them be priorities every single day.
I’m only one person and I’m the only one running my business right now and I simply can’t be the best business owner, wife, friend, daughter, dog owner, and any other title I have every single day.
That’s why prioritizing each and every day is so important.
My solution: Every day I have three main priorities. Sometimes they are all business related (such as send a client a project, write an email newsetter, etc). Sometimes they include working out or going out for date night. Sometimes my priorities include hanging out and reading. It all depends. What matters is I’m taking a look at everything I have going on in my life and I pick out the top three for each day. This helps me focus on what matters for that particular day, so I don’t feel overwhelmed with having to do #allthethings.
Do I have an ever-growing to-do list that I’d like to get to after those three things are accomplished? Of course. But if I never focus on any one particular thing, nothing will ever get done. Having the three priorities helps me stay focused and not too overwhelmed.@BrittneyLLynn discusses her struggle with finding balance as a #solopreneur & what's she's doing to fix it. Click To Tweet
Since there is always something us solopreneurs can be doing to improve our business, it can be difficult to feel accomplished. There isn’t a boss that’s there to pat you on the back. There’s just you. And sometimes we can be pretty mean to ourselves.
“That’s not good enough.”
“There’s no way someone will like this blog post.”
“I only worked 7 hours today and feel like I did nothing.”
We have to learn to know that what we’re doing is enough. We all have off days. Nobody is productive 100% of the time (and if you are, I guess you’re a robot.).
You’re probably accomplishing a lot more than you think, but you end up focusing on all of the things you didn’t get done instead of the things you did. At least that’s how it is/was for me.
My solution: Instead of only having a to-do list, have a “I did” list. I started writing down each time I finish a project, task, blog post, whatever and then at the end of the day I get to see all of the things I actually did accomplish throughout the day.
I’m kind of ashamed to admit this about myself, but when I would see other online business owners say how they worked “18 hours a day for a month straight!” I felt resentful.
Who do they think they are, working 18 hours a day? They’re probably doing it to brag.
And for a while, I would work in the evenings and on the weekends not because I wanted to (or even needed to) but because I felt like I should. And that’s ridiculous. I decided to be a solopreneur business owner because I wanted to control my schedule and not work 80 hours a week.
So I’ll admit, I take most evenings and weekends off. Are there times that I work in the evenings and on weekends? Absolutely. But many times it’s because I want to, not because I feel like I have to.
Though I love running my own business, I also need a break from it. Some people can work all hours of the night and not burnout and that’s great for them. A saying from one of Brene Brown’s book (can’t remember which one so if you know please leave it in the comments!) is “Great for her, not for me” and I repeat this to myself often.
You don’t have to do it like everyone else. You can pave your own way.
My solution: Have designated times to be working: this includes checking emails, being on social media, responding to comments. Take most weekends off.
I’ve barely just revealed these struggles to my husband, and I’m obviously just now sharing them here on the blog.
For a while, I thought these feelings would just go away. When they didn’t, I started to think that maybe I wasn’t cut out for this whole running your own business thing.
Now I realize that everyone has their own struggles that they go through, but many don’t share. I’ll admit, I didn’t want to share. I didn’t want to seem weak, or ungrateful, or unprofessional.
But then I realized I’m part of the problem if I don’t share my wins and my struggles.
So here I am. Sharing what’s been on my heart and mind. Hoping to help just one person out there who’s feeling alone as a solopreneur working to build their business.
My solution: Open up more to my husband, friends, and family more about the internal struggles I go through each day as a business owner. Find other solopreneurs and talk openly with them about the struggles we go through.
I never want to come across as ungrateful or unappreciative of the opportunity I’ve had to build my own business, but I also don’t want to act like everything is glamourous and perfect when in reality it’s often, well, not.
I plan to continue sharing the good, bad, and funny of being a solopreneur business owner and I hope you’ll join me by sharing more openly the struggles that you’re having. I can guarantee you that you aren’t alone.
Hey there. It’s been a bit since I’ve updated the ole blog and there has been lots going on behind the scenes. This isn’t a typical type of post I normally do, but I’ve been feeling the need to share what’s been on my mind, my heart, and give you guys an update.
I’ve felt this urge to share more about my journey as a solopreneur business owner, as I think a lot of people can (hopefully) relate to everything I’ve been going through. I hope this post gives you some insight into what it’s really like to be a business owner.
It’s been a whirlwind few months. To be honest, it’s been slightly crazy since getting back from Europe. We moved to a new apartment in a new part of town, which is great! We love it so far and are enjoying trying new places to eat and things to do.
I also signed on two new clients. In the same week. In all honesty, it was totally stressful for me but you can’t plan timing on these types of things and they are two clients that I’m so thrilled to be working with.
Work also picked up with one of my current clients, which is obviously awesome too! I’m so grateful for each person and business I get to help.
With all of this growth though, I started feeling a little scared.
Can I handle all of this? Will they like my work? Will I be enough for them? How do I continue to grow?
I’m at near capacity for taking on new client work. I like to leave room for growth with my current clients (as many times one project turns into two, turns into more) and I also don’t want to work 80 hours a week doing client work, so I have to draw the line somewhere.
So with all of that in mind, I started to feel stuck? Unsure? I don’t even know what the feeling was but I basically felt restricted since I couldn’t grow anymore client wise.
Which, of course, this is what I wanted in the first place! This is why I built a business, to serve others.
But I still have this nagging feeling that I wanted to do more than client work. I feel like there is a whole group of people out there that still need my help, but I’m unable to help them by being a client because 1) I don’t have as much time and 2) People can’t afford to hire out for an online marketing manager/copywriter/etc.
As a small business, growth can be great but it can also be uncomfortable. I don’t like being uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is hard. Uncomfortable takes time. Uncomfortable is…well, uncomfortable.
As I started to feel these what I like to call “growth pains” I also decided to take the plunge and invest in the biggest purchase for my business thus far: an online course.
It’s been absolutely eye-opening and we are only two weeks in. I’m taking Alex Beadon’s Killer Impressions course, if you’re curious.
While the course has been amazing thus far, it also started to become, you guessed it, uncomfortable.
It started bringing up questions about my business that I hadn’t yet faced and I’ve had to really start thinking about where I want this little business of mine to go in the future. While answering these hard hitting questions and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone was part of the reason why I signed up for the course (nothing like a monetary investment to give you a kick in the pants!), it doesn’t make it any easier.
As I’m making my way through the modules (it’s dripped out over 7 weeks), I had to answer questions about my business that I’ve never been asked before. That I’ve never even thought of. And in all honesty, things I’ve avoided answering until now.
Maybe it was because I was scared of what growing my business meant. Maybe it was because I wanted to avoid answering these questions because they were, well, hard. And required time to sit, ponder, reflect, and think.
Eventually, I came to the realization that 1) There’s a group of people that still need my help and 2) They may not be able to afford me and even if they could, I only have so much time left I can give.
But I still want to make a huge impact in the world.
I want to help as many people as possible, especially without the barrier of money.
I know how hard it was for me when I was starting out (heck, it still is!) to spend money on my business and I know that’s a huge barrier for some for investing in courses, info products, etc.
With all of that in mind, I’ve decided to pivot my content and offerings to be geared toward the solopreneur that’s just starting out. Think of me as your solopreneur strategist.
As I analyzed my business, most of my clients have been running their business for at least 2+ years (many of them at 4 or more). Which is great! I love working one-on-one with this type of business owner.
But as I mentioned above, there are many more people out there that still need help. And they haven’t been in business for 2 years. They’re just starting out.
I can totally relate to those people, because I was just starting out a year ago. I remember how confused, lost, and overwhelmed I felt when I was starting out.
I, along with what I assume many of other solopreneurs who are wanting to get started or are just getting started, also can’t afford to hire someone else to help them out.
So I want to help bridge that gap, and gear my content, courses, digital products and more to the struggling solopreneur.
To the people who need some help getting started.
To the people who have a business idea but aren’t quite sure what information they should follow.
I know I certainly couldn’t afford $400, $600, $1,000 courses and products when I was starting out, and I want to give the people who need the most help getting started a way to affordably grow their business.
I have a lot of ideas for new features and methods of content to share with you all and I can’t wait to get started. I’m not sure of a timeline of when all of these new projects will be started, but if you want to be the first to know, feel free to sign up for my email list.
I want to share more behind-the-scenes of running a solopreneur business, including the good, bad, and ugly (which sometimes ends up being the funny 😂).
I want you to know that we’re all in this together, taking it one day at a time. You can do this. I believe in you.
I can’t wait to get started!
Everybody is using different tools to manage their social media accounts. I can guarantee you that any business or brand out there is using some type of automation tools to help them maintain their social profiles.
But I also think many times people associate automation with sounds robotic, and that’s totally not the case.
The fact is, it’s nearly impossible to manually manage your social media and still have time to actually…you know, run your business.
I wanted to share the tools that help me manage my social media accounts as well as client accounts. Some are free, some are paid, all are awesome!
Buffer is now one of my favorite tools to use to schedule out content for my social media platforms.
I primarily use Buffer to schedule content for my Twitter and Instagram accounts.
I love Buffer for several reasons.
1) It makes for easy scheduling when I’m reading articles I want to share.
All y ou have to have is the Chrome extension installed for Buffer. Once you have this installed and you click on the Buffer button, this pops up:
Then you can schedule to whatever social platform you like. You can either add it to your queue that you have set up, share it next, or share it now.
You can also use the Power Scheduler feature if you use the paid version of Buffer.
This essentially means you can schedule the post to go out multiple times. This is a great tool to use for scheduling your own blog content to go out, as you want to make sure you are sharing your blog posts multiple times on Twitter.
Not everyone is seeing every single one of your tweets, so it’s okay to promote your stuff again!
All you have to do is click the Buffer button (pictured below).
And then schedule your post to go out!
3) A third reason I’m obsessed with Buffer is that you can see the analytics for each of your posts.
Below is a screenshot of my analytics for my Twitter account. As you can see, you can filter it by all of your recent posts, most popular and least popular.
Here is my analytics from my recent posts on Instagram.
This is great because you can see what types of content resonate with your audience, so you can create more posts like it in the future. You can also easily “Re-Buffer” content that you’ve already sent. This essentially schedules it again to go out. I use this occasionally for Twitter when I run out of time to input fresh content (hey! It happens!).
I wrote an entire post about why I love BoardBooster and how you can use it for your business but let’s chat about it again, shall we?
BoardBooster allows you to schedule out your pins to be “dripped” out to your feed, so you don’t have to manually pin 50 pins a day.
One feature that is ah-mazing is the Looping feature.
This lets you loop older pins that your audience maybe didn’t see the first time around. Remember, not everyone is seeing all of your tweets and certainly not everyone is seeing all of your pins.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to use BoardBooster for your business, I encourage you to check out my post.
First loves die hard, don’t they? Well, at least in scheduling tools for me 🙂
My first social media scheduling tool love was Hootsuite and I definitely still use it.
I use Hootsuite to monitor several different feeds for Twitter.
This is great for when I want to see my feeds all at once. I like the interface of all of my mentions being in one column, so I can quickly respond to anyone who tags me.Find out the tools you need to be using to manage your social media (so you don’t go crazy!) from @BrittneyLLynn Click To Tweet
Feedly! My favorite tool uh…ever. I wrote a gigantic post as well as created a tutorial video all about how to use Feedly to streamline your social media scheduling. It’s comprehensive and you should definitely check it out if you’re looking to save some time (aren’t we all!).
Feedly is my tool of choice that I use to aggregate all of the blogs I read and where I can directly schedule to my Buffer account, which I mentioned above.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming! But indeed this is not a typo. Spreadsheets are a powerful (free!) tool you can use to manage many aspects of your social media platforms.
Two ways I use spreadsheets:
I pre-write 5 different tweets for each of my blog posts. That way, when I go into Buffer to schedule out my tweets for the week, all I have to do is copy and paste.
Obviously if you use a system like Edgar this step isn’t necessary. But I realize there are many of you out there that aren’t in the market right now to spend that much on a marketing tool (me included!).
This is my way around that and it saves me hours of time.
I also log my social media analytics onto a spreadsheet at the beginning of each month. I like to track to see how far I’ve come and to set goals for myself.
I don’t get too stuck on the numbers though. A small following can still be a mighty following!
I use Canva to create all of my images for my blog and social media posts. I am thisclose to investing in Canva for Work which will save me so much time!
But for now, I essentially created a template for each of the social platforms I share graphics on.
Once you’ve created your template (or a couple of templates if you like variety!), it takes you literally minutes to create a new image to share.
This is a great tool to use if you’re not a graphic designer and/or don’t want to invest in Illustrator or Photoshop.
There are plenty of other tools out there that may be a better fit for your business. You need to take a look at your business and offerings and see what methods work for you and then give it your all!
Being a solopreneur business owner can be rough, wouldn’t you agree? If you truly want to have social media work for your solo business, you need to have a strategy. Otherwise, you’ll end up stressed out, unfocused, and overwhelmed with social media (and will most likely give up completely!)
In addition to being a solopreneur myself, many of the clients I work with are also solopreneur business owners. Using the strategy below for your business will help you have clarity, confidence, and focus for your social profiles and for your business.
Before we start building a social media strategy for your solopreneur business, we first need to identify the goals you have for your business.
Because ultimately, any and everything you do on social media should be supporting one of your goals for your business. Your goals for social media should never be to “have thousands of followers” or “earn thousands of dollars.”
Say one of your goals for your business is to increase your client load to two more clients. Your goals for social media should support you in getting two more clients.
This may mean creating posts that shares your services, featuring testimonials from happy clients, participating in Facebook groups to get your name out there, or participating in relevant Twitter chats where your target audience hangs out.
You don’t have to do all of these things and you can create ideas that are unique to your business. The important thing is that you make sure everything you share (your content plus 3rd party articles) are all supporting your business goals.
Once you know your goals for your solopreneur business, you’ll have a better understanding of what your goals should be for your social media platforms.
The next step is identifying your target audience and narrowing in on where they hang out the most.
What I find helpful is to write out a paragraph describing your target audience in detail. Give him or her a name and describe who they are, what they like, where they shop, what sites they visit, and what their values are.
Here is a great article that helps you create an audience avatar.
Using the information that you discover about your target audience and what resonates with them most will help you understand exactly what type of content they will want to read about, both on your blog and on your social platforms. This will help you also discover which platform they use the most.
From the previous step, you should have identified the platform that your target audience hangs out on the most. Whichever platform that may be, we’re going to focus solely on that platform.
Yes, you will be tempted to use the other platforms. Yes, you may feel uncomfortable with not posting regularly to one of your platforms but you know what…that’s OKAY. It will still be there when you’re ready to come back, I promise.
The point of doing this is so you can fully be present on the one platform. It’s time to be helpful, show up, and start working toward your goals.
Schedule time in your calendar every other day to commit to this platform (or plan ahead if you don’t think you can be there that often). Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes, do the work and commit. Over time you will start to see traction and all of your hard work will pay off.
The best out there are the best for a reason. There’s something about their posts that resonate with people. Observe what type of content they post (video, picture, text?), how often, and tone.
Does their content resonate with people because it’s informative? Or is it because it’s more personal?
Are they sharing primarily videos, photos, text or a mix of all three?
Now this isn’t to say you should copy exactly what they do, but more of an overall observance their content and why it resonates with their audience. You can then start to brainstorm ways you can share content that will resonate with your audience.
After observing what works for others, you’ll have an idea of the type of content you’ll want to share on your platforms.
You’ll want to define how often you are going to post as well as what type of content. Keep in mind how much time you can reasonably dedicate to doing these tasks because they will take some time if you’re running a solo business.
While you’re defining your content calendar, you might as well schedule the time during your work week that will do these tasks. I find batching tasks to be the most efficient way to complete these items.The complete guide on building a #socialmedia strategy for your #solopreneur business from @BrittneyLLynn! Click To Tweet
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but you would be shocked to know how often I’ve worked with clients in the past who didn’t have a complete profile.
A running list for a complete profile includes:
Yes, you can get help from automation programs!
Some people think that automating parts of your business me and your business is less personal. If you set them up to sound like a robot, then you indeed will not come off as personable.
But it is possible to automate and sound like a normal human being, it’s all about how you set it up.
Programs I currently use, use for clients or have used in the past include:
Programs I haven’t used, but have heard great things about:
Automation is wonderful, but you will still need to devote some time to network on the different platforms. Some platforms aren’t built for much networking (i.e. Pinterest) but there are still ways to network on each of the platforms. Below are a few ideas to get you started.
I want to make sure to note that building your brand on social media will take time. It is rare for a business to suddenly explode on social media, especially these days. Don’t have expectations that overnight your profiles will skyrocket. Slow and steady wins the race.
Oh! And the best reminder —> Stop comparing yourself. To other business owners, to other businesses, to everyone and everything. Comparing will not get you anywhere and will not make you feel better. Stay in your lane and enjoy the ride.