Being your own boss requires about 27-48 different hats on any given day. One minute you’re handling client facing portions of your business, the next you’re trying to keep your Instagram story relevant, and then (if you’re like me, literally this happened) you’re like ‘why is this random number from California calling me?’ only to realize two seconds to late it’s a meeting you forgot to actually write down.
So, yeah, it’s not always sunshine and roses, but that’s okay because most days it’s pretty freaking sweet. Something that made me have a looooot lot lot more of the ‘pretty freaking sweet’ days was looking at my mindset and making some “MAY-JA” changes.
I’m not a guru at this mindset stuff, heck, most days I’m maybe like “one-half woo, on the woo woo scale”, but I notice the second I remind myself to keep a handful of thoughts in the forefront of my brain, things start to materialize in amazing ways. Back in February when I re-launched TheCrownFox under a new business model and service offering, I would write these ideas out every single day to make sure I didn’t let myself get sidetracked. So, if you need a little boost in the ‘what the heck am I doing?!” department, give some of these mindsets a whirl.
I HAVE A DESIRABLE AND SPECIALIZED SKILL SET
Hey! Yes! You do. Even if you think you don’t, trust me you know how to do something that someone doesn’t. It doesn’t make you vain, cocky, narcissistic, or selfish to acknowledge that you’re good at something. When I say “something”, I literally mean “anything.” You don’t need a degree in rocket science, or 25 years experience in corporate America to have a skill set that someone else needs and could use to make their lives better, their jobs easier, or their businesses grow.
Shifting your mindset from something like, “but why would anyone pay me to do this?” to something “I have a desirable and specialized skill set” is the first step into seeing real results in your business. For most of 2016 and before I spent time feeling like a bit of a fraud. I was young, I had no business acumen, I saw a lot of other designers that were really impressive, and I thought… “Okay, so clearly no one needs to pay me to do this.” And you know what happened? Very few people actually DID pay me to do this. It wasn’t working. The mindset was all wrong and I would go into meetings or consults with this negative belief that it didn’t really matter anyway, so whatever.
This showcases in a lot of ways – maybe you aren’t being as ‘obviously negative’ as I was being, but maybe you do things like not-actually-ask-for-the-sale, or under-cut-your-prices-drastically-because-you-don’t-think-you’re-worth-it. These seemingly small actions really are your brain saying that you don’t think what you are bringing to the table is WORTH anything and to be honest, it’s hard to make someone give you money when you don’t think you deserve it.
I HAVE EXPERIENCES THAT OTHERS CAN (AND WANT) LEARN FROM
Another mindset issue that is very similar is acknowledging that your experiences are unique and could really help someone that is even ONE step behind you in business. So that reason alone is reason to share what you’ve learned.
I used to think that blog posts had to be ‘expertise, expertise, expertise’ and newsletters had to be ‘even more expertise, even more expertise, even more expertise.’ Well, it took a bit of time, but I’ve realized that a) I freaking hate reading content like that and b) a lot of other people do too!
So instead I’ve switched my mentality to one of learning and of journeys. More sharing things like, “here’s what I’ve tried” or “in my experience, this happened” and less of, “my way or the highway and by the way that highway is on fire and there are wild animals chasing you.” (Does anyone else read those sorts of articles or see those sorts of Facebook Lives and just cringe inside? Stop telling me I have to do everything exactly like you did it or my business will totally fail, puh-lease.) But rant aside, know that that sort of content is gross and you can instead feel comfortable and excited about sharing YOUR experience and things YOU LEARNED, even if you’ve been in business for about a week and you’re teaching us something that you think is so-so-so basic, someone is literally Googling that issue right now and you can help them. Take the time and remind yourself of that: you have experiences and knowledge that can help someone.
BEING A CREATIVE DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN I’M UNORGANIZED
This one’s a little specific to creatives, but I think you can apply whatever stereotype your industry has and have your own version of this mindset shift. I grew up being extremely Type A. I legit was going to major in MATH. Just math. Not engineering, just straight up I-liked-calculus-way-too-much-and-got-a-5-on-my-AP-and-also-a-nearly-perfect-score-on-the-math-part-of-my-SAT-exam-MATH. Somehow that switched into fine arts when I got to college, despite having taken one art class 2nd semester of senior year of high school (with all freshmen). History aside, something started to switch inside of me and my Type A slowly morphed into something a lot less organized and efficient.
I’m not saying all creative are unorganized, but I am saying that if I get really reflective about myself, I began to think that to be a good creative I wasn’t allowed to be this meticulous, detailed, perfectionist. So I didn’t do that anymore. Fast forward a few years and now I’m a creative for hire and OH MY GOD I better be organized. But it took some legit mindset work and reflective work to a) acknowledge I had a lot of silly pre-conceived notions about what “I had to be” and b) work to getting back to a version of myself that was equal parts creative and organized.
I give you this brief glimpse into my history because I know I’m not alone in thinking we “have to be” certain ways to fit whatever molds we think exist. You can be creative and organized. You can be a good business owner and not wake up at 5am and have a ‘miracle morning’ every morning. You can be a sassy speaker and still appeal to people that are more heart-centered and kind. YOU CAN BE AND DO whatever you want, okay? Seriously.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO STRUGGLE TO HAVE SUCCESS
On a similar idea of pre-conceived notions, you don’t have to have a success story that stats with you at the very bottom. You don’t. You can start in the middle. You can start on top and just move laterally.
This was BY FAR the hardest thing for me to acknowledge in my business and in my life. I can get reaaaaaally intense right now and share way to much personal details, but I’ll just sum it up like this: somewhere I grew this idea deep down that anyone that was truly successful had started from rock bottom.
SO GUESS WHAT I DID? I got real, real, REAL freaking low. And I remember thinking to myself, “well, this is good because NOW I can rise up.”
WHAT?! NO. Just rise up from wherever the heck you are right now. Stop going down. You don’t need rock bottom to be a strong, empowered, successful person. You just need to do the damn thing.
I mean if you already did it, like, it’s fine – I’m not judging you, because I did it too. But if you’re reading this and way in the back of your mind you know you’re doing it to yourself right now, just stop. Stop spending money on your credit card that you know you don’t have. Stop dating that poisonous person who makes you feel like you can’t run a business. Stop saying you’ll make it someday. Switch your mindset and remind yourself of this: you don’t have to struggle to have success. You can just have it. You can. You can start from exactly where you are at this second, remind yourself that a) you got a desirable skill set and b) you can help others and start doing it.
TO OWN A PROFITABLE BUSINESS, I HAVE TO HAVE A PROFIT
Lastly, and perhaps the most important (I don’t know honestly, I think they all are pretty essential) – stop thinking it’s bad to charge for your skills, your knowledge, and your experiences. The most surefire way to never have a profitable business is to never actually charge for anything.
You cannot pay yourself $3/hr and have a profitable business. You don’t even want to work with the people that think that is acceptable pay! They don’t respect you or your work if they pay you that little.
The next time you’re about to ask for a sale, and you start to feel the doubt creep in, stop and remind yourself that you HAVE to have a profit for your business to work. That’s what a business does. It makes money. You are a business owner and you have to make money to continue making that statement true. You have a desirable skill set, you have unique knowledge and experiences, and you are allowed to profit from that.
I can’t say these shifts will solve all of your business and life woes, but I will say that they will help enable YOU to make the necessary changes and adjustments to grow your business to new heights, too. Take these as they are, or tweak them to better fit your needs, and write them down. Put them everywhere - on your bedside table so you see them in the morning, or on your computer so you can remind yourself before you interact with potential clients. And repeat them so often that you can’t help but believe and know them to be true. That’s what I spent a few months doings (and still time every day doing) and the growth has been amazingly huge for me, so I know it can be for you too.
I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!