The year is 2007. I am 18 (showing my age here). I had been starting little businesses since pre-K, but this one, this camera slanging, photo taking business starts making me money. In 2007 I was starting my sophomore year in college and kept booking clients. Before I know it I am shooting 30 weddings a year, breaking my first 6-figure years at just 21 years old. I was learning business owner lessons the good old fashion way.
I have never had a “full time job”. I’ve never had a full time boss. I’ve only known this life. And I wish that as a teenager, I had a resource like Beyond Boss. I wish I had a network, and social media tips, and all the information I could need at the tip of my fingers…literally.
What I did have was the opportunity to try and fail and try again. I want to share a few of the most poignant lessons that I have learned, and continue to learn. This might get a little vulnerableAft, but stick with me.
1. “Freedom” is your career is a relative term, and it will evolve.
At 21 “freedom” meant being able to travel, being able to work as much as I wanted and make as much money as I wanted. I loved being an entrepreneur because I never had to let anyone dictate my time or what my limits were. I could grind and grind and feel the warmth of the “wow you are so cool” sun (enneagram 3 life).
Today, at 32 with a husband and two kids, “freedom” looks like finding ways to fulfill our financial needs and wants, and to honestly work as little as possible while doing that. Sure, there are seasons of grind, but in general, passive, recurring income and quick wins are my bread and butter.
What fulfills you WILL change. How you view your freedom WILL change.
2. People will hire someone else. Not everyone will like you, your style, your product, and that is a good thing.
Wow this one is always a tough pill to swallow. I remember there was a time when I would spend 90% of my therapy sessions balled up about a client that didn’t hire me, or a client that gave me shit about a product. I never felt like I was good enough.
Those moments still hit, often. But, I now know that every NO is making way for 3 YES’ that are fufiling, aligned with my WHY, and get me genuinely excited to do what I love.
Rejection is a redirection onto a more perfect path.
3. You cannot do it all alone. After the first months or years, you need to outsource.
Sure, money is probably going to be tight in the beginning. You get into a rhythm and routine doing it all half assed, on your own. And then if you are like me, you wake up one day and realize you are doing SO much stuff that you aren’t good at, that you are starting to half ass the things that you ARE good at.
You can also check out our Un-Funk Your Biz workbook to get an idea of what to outsource and when. This was absolutely one of the business owner lessons I wish I had learned sooner. It would have saved me sleepless nights, tears, and thousands of dollars.
4. You are going to make some huge mistakes. There is no such thing as failure, only lessons.
Owning a business is like having children. When you decide to do it, you accept that you will never have complete control over all of the variables.
I remind myself daily that we are human beings, not human doings.
YOU choose whether you learn and grow from mistakes, or if you let them consume you and force you to quit on yourself and your dreams.
Caitlin Thomas is the Founder of Beyond Boss, a professional photographer, and a mama of two. She is passionate about helping other women make more time for living and enjoying life, without sacrificing their dreams and ambitions.