Welcome to the month of October! I love this month for many reasons, but mostly because fall is my favorite season of all. The temperature is cooler and there's this crisp feeling in the air. Sans COVID, this would have been festival season. I love the sight of orange everywhere, pumpkin patches, colorful trees, the falling leaves. But most importantly of all, I love October because it is anniversary month here at The Brielle Agency (TBAG).
Seven years ago in October 2013, I left my corporate job in Washington, D.C., and headed down south to Georgia to lay down roots. It's been 7 years of learning and growing, and here are 5 things I've learned on my journey to what I can now confidently call a thriving, successful freelance career as a book editor.
1. It's true what they say about surviving the 5-year benchmark: If your business can survive the 5-year mark, you're going to make it. I found myself soaring as a freelancer after I reached the five-year mark. However, my experience is based on the fact that I was having babies during those 5 years while trying to build a business. Each birth was a set-back for business growth. It's the price I had to pay for being a woman trying to combine the two. Which brings me to lesson #2.
2. Success is a bumpy road, especially for mothers: You're going to need a good partner, faith, and God! I have all three. From the very beginning, before he was even my husband, this man went to work (and did a lot around the house to free me up so I could focus on growing my business) while I stayed home on my laptop trying to make things happen. To this day, he has never complained, not once. 7 years later, the fruits of his sacrifice and labor are showing. Which brings me to lesson #3.
3. Time is your best friend on the road to success: Don't spend it on things that don't matter. Over the years, I have learned what is worth my time and what's not. And that includes everything from my involvement in organizations, volunteering, friendships, clients, social media, emails, and other activities. I used to be spread all over, so thin, and I was broke most of the time because none of it was paid labor. Once I freed myself from trying to do everything and be everything to everybody, I finally had time to focus on the things that matter - my family and my business. Which brings me to lesson #4.
4. It's okay to say no: People will either get over it or they won't. I believe I burned more bridges by saying yes and resentfully doing the work than I did by just saying no. This lesson is one that every person trying to build a thriving and sustainable business must be willing to learn. If possible, learn it early, it will save you years of exhaustion and resentment. Which brings me to lesson #5.
5. Let honesty, integrity, and kindness be your guiding principles: Your reputation is your ticket to success or failure. Build a solid reputation. Deliver what you say you will (a little extra doesn't hurt) when you say you will. It's the difference between those who make it past the 5-year mark and those who don't.
What lessons have you learned on your journey as a business owner? Feel free to email me.