On March 26th, 2020, I took the leap to step out of my comfortable, salary-paying career to pursue entrepreneurship full-time.
I felt the tug roughly 5 months prior. I had already created Fawn Renae Designs and Those Plant Ladies, but I had no plan to take them on full-time. What started as a side hustle and a way for me to pour into my passions, now became my life. When I look back and try to make sense of it all, I can’t. The only thing I can really say without a doubt is that it was a leap of faith.
My son was born on March 25, 2019, and I had been commuting one hour to Charlotte every day for work. I had always told myself that if I ever got to the point where I was working for a paycheck and not because my heart was in it, I needed to move on. I never wanted to feel stuck. I had worked with coworkers before who had the mentality of working just for a paycheck and I didn’t want to fall into that trap. If you feel that way and have no drive to change your story, you’re literally affecting everyone on your team. I didn’t want to be that bad apple. I had started feeling the postpartum blues, and I knew I needed to change my surroundings. I was in a place where I wasn’t thriving and I knew my mood was affecting the people around me. I only survived with lots and lots of prayer during these times!
I kept feeling God nudging me to pursue my side hustles full-time and be closer to my family. I listened. I had some resistance, of course, but I kept reminding myself that this was the right step. I didn’t have all of the answers to every question that my family/boss/friends were asking me, all I knew was that I needed to take this first step. I was asking myself these same questions!
Covid hit the world and a week before my departure, shutdowns started to happen. This caused everyone to question their jobs and hold on tight to their finances. I still felt strong and certain that I was making the right decision, but man was it hard to justify!
God kept providing for me. My first year in full-time entrepreneurship was filled with so many lessons, trials, and blessings! Here are 5 tips for anyone pursuing their side hustle full-time.
Trust your gut
I can’t tell you how many times I felt strongly about something but I didn’t put action behind it. Instead, I stayed in my comfort zone and did what made sense. This is not fulfilling nor the answer to your calling! There is nobody more qualified than you! If you till feel unsure, this quote speaks the loudest to me, “God qualifies the called.” Even if you don’t have all of the answers, the college degree, or know the right people, it doesn’t matter. If He called you, He will equip you and you have to trust that.
Don’t be afraid to grow a team
I started as a solopreneur, doing every single little task within my business. While I feel like this is very important to understand each aspect within the business, it doesn’t allow your creative time to be spent effectively. Write down the tasks that drain you and somewhat paralyze you to do them. Most likely, there is someone out there who would thrive doing that job. Organizing your inbox? Social media? Cleaning your house? All jobs that someone else might love to do!
Create an online presence
The majority of my clients come from social media or Google Ads. Sharing images of my face, work, and inspirations help others to get to know me virtually so that they come to know and trust me. Invest in headshots and branding photos to help tell the story of what it is that you do. Some people never read the captions or bios, and only see the images. Make sure your images tell your story.
Invest in systems
I cannot tell you enough about how much systems have helped my business! My top 3 are:
I use Planoly to organize, schedule, and post my social media content. No need to stress about what to post at the moment. I like to arrange my grid so that it looks visually appealing and to ensure my projects are shared on their specific reveal day.
I use Dubsado to manage my project and send out automated emails and reminders. This helps me to see where each client is in their process and automatically sends my process + calendar so they can book at their own convenience. No more endless emails to match schedules. My appointment times are highlighted and the client can choose the one that works best for them.
Use code TPL at checkout.
I use this to communicate with my team and tackle projects. This helps keep us all organized and moving in the same direction. No need for endless email threads!
This has been the single hardest thing I’ve had to learn. Being an entrepreneur means that if you don’t work, money doesn’t come in. Many days I spend 12-14 hrs working. While paying the bills is important to me, I remind myself daily that it’s not the reason I left my comfortable salary-paying job. I wanted more time with my family and ultimately more freedom in my schedule. Setting working hours has been my goal for 2021 so that when I’m with my husband and son in the evenings, I’m not thinking about work but instead, focusing on creating memories with them.
There simply isn’t a roadmap for what I’m doing. Each day looks a little different than the one before. I think this is the fun of being an entrepreneur; I’m solving problems and stepping outside of the box to create change. There isn’t another business model that I am mimicking… although sometimes I wish there was! I’m relying on faith-driven actions. The scariest thing I’ve ever done, but totally worth it in the end! Year one has been a wild ride, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m so excited to see what year TWO brings!
Thank you all for following along and for encouraging me along the way!