One of the biggest concerns I struggled with when I entered the completely self-employed arena was how to ensure I have room for growth in my business. Being one person, there's only so much you can do on your own, and there are only so many hours in a day. So trying to cram 10 clients on top of a full teaching schedule simply wouldn't be possible! Yes, I will admit I'm a workaholic, but I still need puppy cuddle time, okay?
Over the past year I experimented with various changes I could make in my business to see what would result in the most growth, and SPOILER ALERT: If you're a control freak like I am, you're going to have to let some things go, my friend.
1. INVEST IN YOUR EDUCATION
One of the things I learned early on is that I much prefer having a handful of clients that are paying me what I deserve versus having a ton of clients that pay me less. I have multiple reasons and have very strong thoughts on this, but I'll save that for a different post. But how did I come to terms with cutting down my client list and saying "no" much more frequently? I had to gain the confidence that I have the experience and skills to back up the rates I am asking for, and that I should not accept less than that. So where did I get this magical confidence that allows me to throw around rates in the thousands without blinking an eye?
The largest amount of money that I spent on my business in 2018 was invested in myself and my education. I read any and every book that looked like it would be beneficial and I took multiple online courses. (And if you have ever looked into online courses, then you already know they are NOT cheap!) I invested in a professional camera, equipment, and really learning how to use it. I have spent countless hours learning and reading and educating myself and staying on top of industry trends and standards.
And THAT, my friend, is how I gained the confidence in myself to not back down on what I know I deserve to be paid.
Know your hourly rate and make sure you can pay yourself first! When I sat down and calculated how much time I was spending learning and reading and staying on top of trends, plus how much time I put in to one single client, and then weigh that against the fact that you could be spending that time with loved ones (or cuddling puppies), you start to realize your worth. I did not leave a desk job with security and benefits to be working more and making less.
So....I changed it. And by charging what I am worth and not compromising on it, I have fewer clients and students that I can give my full attention to. I can be fully present and present my best work. And! I have time for MYSELF.
Self-care, y'all. As a teacher/consultant, I am constantly giving of myself. But if all I do is give, give, give, then eventually I have nothing left. And in order to function at my best, I need to give to myself, too. Whether that is simply some Netflix binging with a good glass of wine, a bath, a nice meal out, or a full on vacation, at the end of the day, YOU always need to come first.
There's no way I would have accomplished as much as I did this year without outsourcing. Like I mentioned at the beginning, finding the time to do everything is tough when you are only one person and trying to teach a full studio of students and also run a consulting business. Sooo I brought in some backup.
I brought on the incredibly talented Jolene Madewell to assist me with the photography for my social media clients. I have an accountant. My mom does my bookkeeping and mileage tracking. And my boyfriend David helps me with anything tech related that I can't or don't have time to figure out on my own (also see: instahusband). And on any future social media clients I decide to bring on I will likely outsource aspects of the social media management as well (like engagement).
So what made me take the plunge to outsource this much? When I realized I was working 7 days a week and started feeling guilty when I would take time for myself. As soon as that first hint of guilt creeped in, I said absolutely not. When I set out to be fully self-employed, my intent was to make more money and have more time for myself. So I took a step back, reminded myself of my goals, and released the death-grip I had on my business.
And I haven't looked back since.
FREE INVESTMENT: PODCASTS
Listening to business and entrepreneurship podcasts has had an enormous impact in my education, as well as my motivation. And the best part is they're free! You can gain so much valuable insight and ideas by deep-diving into the brains of people who have already successfully accomplished what you are trying to. Not to mention I just love the convenience of being able to listen while I'm driving. So instead of wasting time during a 45-minute drive, I can add 45-minutes of education into my day! Sounds like a win-win to me.
I'm sure some of you out there are looking at these thinking, "But I've only been doing this for a few months....should I really be spending money to do these things right now?" And my answer is this: You have to spend money to make money, friend. I did all of these things within the first 4 months of being fully self-employed.
Yes, you read that right....4 months.
And you know what?
After I did these things my income and my happiness has consistently increased.
But how about you? Where have YOU invested in your business that has helped you grow?
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Thank you for reading!