“It’s ok, I can do this on my own”

“I’ll just copy what she does. She knows what she’s doing.”

“If I just follow what it says in that free cheat sheet I downloaded I’ll be fine.”

Any of this sound familiar?

They do to me because I’ve said them.

I remember when I first started my business. I had a 9 month old baby, and like lots of new mums, I didn’t want to go back to my J-O-B.  My decision was made easier because my job had changed just before I went on maternity leave to something I didn’t really like. 

I called my boss and said I wasn’t coming back. He was disappointed, but fine with it. (He has six children so he understood me wanting to be with my son. I know! Six children!)

Anyway….

“Hmmm.” I thought. “Now to find some clients.”

I’d worked with freelancers in my job and they always seemed busy and well paid. And I thought it would be the same for me. 

I started learning about growing a business online. I signed up for courses, downloaded pdfs, and watched online gurus have bigger and bigger launches, wondering why I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was in learning mode, but I did it for far too long. There was too much learning, not enough doing.

In the end I found my first client through a freelancing website.  She wanted help with her marketing, I put forward a proposal, and we started working together. I still work with her today.

“Amazing!” I thought. This is the start of things to come. Clients, work, money – it’s all going to start rolling in.

It didn’t.

Pretty soon, I was starting to scramble around looking for any pieces of work. My standards for the work I was willing to do went lower, and all the while my fee was getting cheaper and cheaper to win more business.  (You can see where this is heading, can’t you?!)

It got to the point where I was doing pretty basic marketing admin, like writing social media posts, for £1 a post. Yep. £1 a post. Plus, the person I was doing it for was really particular about what she wanted, so often I would end up redoing at least half of the posts. But I was still just being paid £1 a post. So I was doing the work twice for the same amount of money!

Honestly, it was a mug’s game. I was working hard, earning almost nothing. Clients? Yes. Money? Nope. I was just about covering my childcare costs, and that was it.

So what saved me and stopped me working for peanuts?

I’d like to say I had an epiphany, I realised what a fool I was, and that I put a line in the sand and said “No more!”

What actually happened was I had another baby. 

And it was during my time off with my second son that I realised I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing.

I stopped working with clients who wanted to pay peanuts but were pretty demanding.

I did some work on my mindset around money – that was long overdue!

I also started working with a coach in a mentorship group, working alongside other businesswomen growing their business. We each have a plan for how we’re growing our business and as a group we celebrate the wins, and learn from things that don’t go to plan.

Now? My two boys are aged 4 and 2. I work two days a week with my clients and on growing my business, and the rest of the time I’m mum.

– I’m no longer chasing around for clients taking any small piece of work I can.

– I’m no longer signing up for every free pdf and download I think I need, and then being on an email list for someone I’m not interested in. 

– I no longer have to try and copy what I think someone else is doing to grow their business. I have my own plan I follow.

– I’m not struggling on my own, wondering if what I’m doing is the right thing to do, or should I do launch a podcast/run an event/do webinars/how to launch etc etc? I have the support to show me what I need to change and what I’m doing right.

– I’m no longer doing donkey work! I’m earning more money and I work on growing my business in a much more strategic way. And, I’m having a lot more fun!

How about you? How did you start your business? Is there anything you’d like to change about where you are now?