What I’m Struggling With as a Solopreneur
One thing I’ve struggled with over the past few months is finding continued inspiration and motivation. As you can imagine, it’s hard sometimes being your own boss. There’s no one telling you what to do or when to do it. There’s no clear laid out path to success to follow, you have to pave your own way.
Ironically enough, most of the time this is what I actually LIKE about starting my own business and working for myself. I get to be creative and think outside the box. I decide what nights I work and what nights I relax or hang out with friends. I can focus on what I’m good at and outsource for the areas I struggle with.
This summer and fall, I felt like I was doing just enough to stay afloat. I wasn’t brainstorming or being creative or coming up with new ideas. I guess this is understandable, I’ve been so busy with the shoots I had that I didn’t have space to stop and think.
And then last Wednesday morning happened.
My alarm went off as usual at 5:30am, but this time I didn’t get up and run off to the gym. Instead I just laid there in bed starring at the ceiling, listening to the cars rush past my apartment and to the rain fall on my windowsill. Maybe it was because it was dark, cold and rainy, and I didn’t feel like going to the gym.. or maybe it was because I was finally listening to my heart and what it really needed.
For the next hour I just laid there and thought about my business. I imagined what I wanted it to be. I thought all the ways I could get there. All the things I wanted to do. And then it dawned on me: I hadn’t done this in months. I haven’t stopped to really think in months.
It felt so good to brainstorm and dream and make plans. To feel enthusiastic and passionate about what I was doing again.
Recently, Alexis Grant and Jessica Lawlor (two fellow entrepreneurs/bloggers) wrote posts about what they struggle (or struggled) with while growing their businesses and creating the life they want. I was inspired to join the conversation and share what I also have been struggling with lately. I don’t think I come off on this blog as someone who has it all together, but maybe I don’t show the struggle as often as I should in an effort to stay positive. So here we go.
Here’s what I’m struggling with right now.
Accepting I’m not there yet. I may know what I want my life to look life, but actually getting there takes time. And to be honest, I’m really far away from that picture I have in my head of my life. It requires a lot of patience and faith (every. single. day.) to trust that I will actually get there if I work hard enough.
Saying no. I want to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way. Every shoot, every blogger meetup, every client request, every volunteer opportunity, every social outing. This is partially because I’m a people pleaser and partially because I have the disillusioned belief that I can do it all. (Spoiler alert: I can’t.)
Unplugging. Since I run my photography business outside of working a full-time job, I’m working on weekends and weeknights all the time. I have no set schedule for when I work and when I don’t. I try to squeeze work in whenever I can: responding to emails on the way to the gym, designing an album while getting ready to meet up with friends.. but this means I never truly unplug.
Knowing what to do next. Unlike a typical job, there’s no one here telling me what the next step is. Should I invest my savings in a new lens or marketing tactics? Should I be spending more time on this blog or in person networking? I read tons of articles, I get advice from other successful photographers, I do my research: but I’ll just say it: sometimes I have NO IDEA.
Being too hard on myself. I’m doing the best I can with everything I have going on right now, deep down I know this.. but sometimes I beat myself up for not being a better friend, skipping the gym six days in a row (that happened last week), spending a night in front of the TV instead of doing work, etc.
Sleeping. I’ve been averaging about six hours of sleep a night recently. This isn’t because I’m up late working, either. This is because I can’t turn off my mind anymore, causing me to wake up at 3 or 4 am and be restless until my alarm goes off. I’m a classic overthinker, especially when I’m stressed.
Self doubt. Who am I to be starting my own business? … Do I have the personality that it takes to be a successful photographer? … Do I want this bad enough? ..This is a scary, dark place, my friends. And it creeps up when I’m least expecting it.
So there we have it. What are you struggling with right now?