I started this post a few months back when I was pregnant and never finished it, because well…I don’t think any of our stories or journey’s are ever really finished. Nonetheless, as I approach a slight brand refresh and redefinition of my why to find my businesses true purpose, I wanted to share a bit of my entrepreneurial journey thus far.
I hope my story resonates with others, both in my position, not quite there, and ahead of me, to always keep trying. Life takes us on so many different twists and turns, some that we’re not prepared for and others that we’re able to plan out perfectly.
At the end of the day, I feel like wherever we’re at and wherever we go is exactly where we are supposed to. I believe in God’s will, and although it can be hard to understand it, I know in my heart that it is right. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today and wouldn’t be able to share my story and journey with you in hopes that it not only helps you to know that someone can relate, but for you to get to know me a little better.
A Look Into the Past
My life now is a 180 from when I was pregnant with my son. Back them, many moons ago in 2013, I was working full-time in the military. It was just my husband and I living in our cute townhome in northern Virginia living a typical, but exciting military life. We loved it! On the tail end of both of our military careers we found out that we were expecting. We always knew we wanted to start a family (even though we knew we had a big change ahead), so we were super happy. Nothing really changed with our lives throughout my pregnancy, except for my body (and horrible diminished appetite ?). I continue to go into work everyday and do the best job I could do. Shortly after we found out we were expecting, my husband EAS from the military and took a few months off to decompress, adjust, and look for a job.
After a few months he found a local, but not so great paying job, but it was okay because I was still working full-time. Like I said, our home lives didn’t change much and we had a lot of time to spend together and focus on preparing for the pregnancy. Now, let me clarify for just a second…our lives were not perfect, but things were stable and more secure, specifically in the area of our finances. We made pretty substantial salaries in the military and even on one income, we were still very financially secure. We visited DC on a weekly basis, went to the movies, out to eat, and travelled to and fro from VA to GA several times throughout my pregnancy with no financial worries.
Okay, so jumping forward to my son’s birth, because not much else happened throughout the pregnancy (thank goodness!) we got news that my husband got a law enforcement job back home in Georgia. We had been pondering over where to move post-military throughout the entire pregnancy, and we knew that we either wanted to stay where we were or move back to Georgia to be close to family since we were having a baby. Well, God brought us back home and from there our world and lives changed. I eventually EAS from the military myself after my leave was up and I found myself back home and a new stay at home mom to a newborn. So yeah, we I say our lives changed 180 degrees…I mean a full and complete 180!
How & Why It All Started
I knew that I’d need to keep myself busy, yes in additional to having a newborn, because I was so used to working. I’d been working since I was 16 and becoming a mom wasn’t going to stop me. I got the grand idea to open an Etsy shop selling digital and printable goods when my son was a few months old just for fun. I’d had an Etsy shop in the past and figured, why not…I have nothing to loose and time on my hands. I enjoyed graphic design and it was exciting to learn a new skill and be able to put my work out there for others to appreciate. At the time, I didn’t even see opening a shop as an entrepreneurial endeavor, but lo and behold it was and it was the beginning of me becoming an entrepreneur.
I will say that my entrepreneurial journey hasn’t been all roses and sunshine…it’s actually been quite difficult at times. Between handling customer service issues, like multiple revision requests from clients, redoing service packages, creating terms and conditions, and trying to write contracts to protect myself and my business, being an entrepreneur can be quite a feat. In addition to those things, just being part of the female entrepreneur niche has had it’s challenges.
My Real Thoughts On Community Over Competition
When you have hundreds of others around you offering the same services, blogging about the same things, and in general, sharing similar content, it can be difficult to differentiate yourself. The market is saturated and everyone is either trying to stand out or follow suite with what those who appear to be successful are doing. It can be hard not to compare, and although the phrase “community over competition” sounds great to say, it can be a lot hard to believe and live, when you’re not having the same success that your peers are.
…it’s not all rainbows & lollipops
It’s super easy to support other’s when its rainbows and lollipops and your making money and on the same level as your peers, moreover when you’re actually friends with them and you all work together. However, just like real life, we unfortunately can’t always be BFF’s with those we want to be, it has to be mutual and people aren’t always receptive. I’ve probably been the most guilty of not being receptive, because I’ve been so focused on my business to look around and make the effort to reach and make friends. It’s not that I didn’t want to reciprocate the feelings of interest, it just took me a long time to realize that you need friends in business. I’ve really had to open myself up to this idea, because for a while I felt a bit like an oddball. I even wrote a post about it a while back.
Nonetheless, feeling this way never sway my determination to be successful. I had to learn how to leverage the two and create an effective strategy to facilitate success in my business. The one thing that made me do this was my maternity leave that I took after having my daughter this past September. When I had her, my business actually had a lot of momentum, yet still a foggy purpose and mission. I tried so many times throughout the latter months of the year, after having her, to return to my business, at the very least return to blogging, but I couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t know where to start…or start back. This is when I realized that I needed to approach my business and the purpose for it with more intention.
Rebel Without Intention…how I figured it all out
Intention, intentional…what have you, had been this buzz word that I’d heard throughout a large part of 2014 and some in 2015, and I thought it was just a trend. It seemed cheesy and woo-woo, and I thought a lot of people were just using the word, because they saw others in the industry using it. Well, all that while I was thinking that, I really didn’t understand what it meant. I knew what “intent” meant, like I knew what it meant to do something intentionally, but not so much how to apply to running a business. I needed to ask and answer one question for myself: What did it mean to run a business intentionally?. When I realized I needed to answer this question, my purpose became so much more clear, like immediately, no lie!
This is when I knew what I really wanted to do in my business and how to use it to help others. I’m thankful for having to go through some bumps in the road, figuring things out, and reapproaching to understand better where my passion laid for helping female creatives and the way in which I would do it. I’m pretty much in a place where I’m starting over. It’s not easy or fun to start over after building so much momentum and putting in all that work, but it is exciting. So this is how I became an accidental, intentional entrepreneur.
The journey has had twists and turns, as I’m sure it will have many more, but through intention is how I know I’ll accomplish my dreams and helps do so as well. It’s been a slow start, still figuring things out, but that’s the beauty in this whole process. I can tell you that there’s yet to be a dull moment, even in the boring one’s. I’d rather try my best to help others, than to do them a disservice and not even try when life and motherhood overwhelm or throw me for a loop. At the end of the day, I know I have value to offer and that others can benefit from it and that makes it worth it. It makes it worth it to me to show others in a similar scenario as I, that they can do it too. Life, marriage, kids, jobs, school…whatever, you can always accomplish your dreams. I’m simply here to help guide you along the way through strategy, support, and design.
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