Hello! What do you do?
I provide style & strategy for your online presence. I mainly do this through designing websites & creating business/communications plans for newbie entrepreneurs. I also offer other writing, design, and social media services. Plus, I loooove blogging, so I work that into my daily schedule as well. I’m starting to offer eCourses & other products along with those services too and I’m going to be offering blog & design coaching in the new year.
I’m also a creative writer! So, when I carve out the time, I work on writing short stories (like this one), poetry, and eventually a novel.
Before becoming self-employed, where were you working?
Before I decided to start Stylings & Stories, I’d been working odd jobs – at a cafe, in a tea shoppe, and at a University bookstore – and had a communications internship for a non-profit. I was having a hard time finding permanent work in my field, so I decided to take a Web Design course. Once I learned coding, I was set to start my own company! It really just started as a website for my portfolio.
What made you decide that switching to self-employment was right for you?
I just sort of fell into it, I think. As soon as I had that first website up the possibility of self-employment started to feel real. I started working my tush off, hired a life coach to get my ideas sorted, and pestered people to hire me. It’s been a whirlwind, and even though I didn’t seek it out, I think self-employment really suits me.
Did you quit your previous job and dive right into self-employment or did you take steps to get there?
I think sort of both. It took me a while to really commit to self-employment and change my mindset from seeking employment in a company to promoting myself as a freelancer. It started with a website, then a business plan, then a blog & services & products. Everything has evolved so much since I started out, but once I made that choice to go solo, I was all in!
What are your favorite things about being self-employed?
I love that I have total autonomy over my own work and schedule. It’s such a wonderful feeling to have an idea and be able to just run with it. There’s so much creativity involved and I don’t have to deal with the politics of hierarchy in a company.
I also love the process of creation, so re-designing my website every so often, brainstorming new eCourses, adding new categories to my blog. There’s always something going on.
What are the challenges of self-employment? How do you overcome them?
Since I it’s just me, sometimes certain areas of my business get compromised when I’m busy with a big project. For instance, last week my social media efforts were put on hold while I coordinated printing of my new 2014 day planner. And, when I was moving to Vancouver from Calgary, my blog suffered a little. In these cases, I try to plan ahead & schedule blog posts or social media, but if I miss a day I just pick up where I left off rather than berating myself for falling behind.
It also gets sort of lonely working from my home office. Since I also just recently moved to a new city, I have to make a big effort to build new friendships. As an introvert, this doesn’t come naturally. But I collaborate and talk with a few other online entreprewomen who keep me motivated and inspired. I find taking classes helps me to meet people too.
What does a normal day for you look like?
My morning routine involves a) slugging out bed to feed my cat who’s been mewling for 20 minutes b) getting my tea on c) reading emails, checking social media, and easing into work. After that I usually start by writing – blog posts, eCourses, important emails – then get into any design work I have on the agenda. I usually have meetings scattered throughout the week as well.
I write A TON of lists and my days sort of follow the whim of my inspiration. Some days I get a spout of energy right around 3pm and end up working until 2am and other days it’s a struggle to get the basics accomplished. It all balances out in the end! The only real constant is I never miss a meal! Love my grub.
What’s your best piece of advice for other women who would like to become self-employed?
Take baby steps and make a plan. It can seem so overwhelming if you’re always thinking of the big picture, but when you take it one step at a time, boy it adds up fast. Sometimes my baby steps get as small as 1. Turn on the computer. 2. Open the program. 3. Open the document…Think along these terms if you’re struggling with what to do next. I wrote about this more over on my blog. Also, hiring a life coach was one of the best things I did when I first started out. Oh, and take vacation time!
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Stephanie! Now, be sure to drop by her website and say hello! 🙂 Do you have any questions about self-employment? Let’s hear ’em!! What do you want to know??
+ Want to be featured in an upcoming Be Your Own Boss interview? Shoot me an email! Let’s chat!