October 12, 2015 was a scary day for me. It was the first time in over 15 years I didn’t have a workplace to go to. I have left jobs before. But, I was young then. I had a safety net, i.e. my Mom and Dad. What was I thinking to do this now?
Best decision ever.
I always knew the traditional 40-hour workweek in one place for the next 25 years until you’ll escorted out or transported in a pine box wasn’t for me. But the decision to finally go out on my own seemed a little extreme.
Nevertheless, I spent 15 years sketching out this concept of virtual administrative support. The rest of the world caught up with me (ha, ha) and the virtual assistant, virtual bookkeeping, and online business management business was born.
Mistakes in the First Years
Like most I didn’t have the luxury of just drawing a line in the sand and quitting my job and starting my business without any pre-planning. I kept my full-time job while working on my business because I had to do this thing called eating. And for some strange reason my daughter and cat insisted on that as well. But the luxury of having another job while starting my journey was that I could make mistakes and not have it lead to the end of the world. The mistakes I made are numerous, but here are some in no particular order.
I made lots of changes in how to market and what services to market. I changed my business name and entity type twice requiring new paperwork be filed. Money was spent on ads in areas I didn’t live because I might move there someday. I created three different websites and even paid for a custom web design which I realized I didn’t know how to install. My business card design changed more times than I can count and I’m a virtual business so practically no one receives a business card from me anyway!
I provide bookkeeping services. I enjoy learning about bookkeeping software. And that’s the problem. I couldn’t decide on what I wanted to use for me because I kept wanting to try out different ones. I kept re-keying/ importing the content into different programs. I eventually stayed up all night to transfer records from a project management and accounting program that cost $300 to put my information back into a 100% free program.
Surrounding Myself with the Wrong People
Another mistake I made was in not telling the right people what I wanted to do and spending a lot of time telling the wrong people. The wrong people are people who will always be 9-to-5 workers and can’t imagine being anything other than 9-to-5 workers. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with 9-to-5 workers. Most of my life I’ve been a 9-to-5 worker, but when making the leap to entrepreneurship I needed to surround myself with others who have been where I was headed. I needed to share and get feedback from others who walk the same path. I had to learn that everyone can only see what has been shown to them. For some family members, friends, and former co-workers they literally just could not see why or how I could support myself doing what I do.
On this day of Thanksgiving in the United States, I want to take this time out of too much eating to thank my clients worldwide for helping me to realize my dreams. And to all the entrepreneurs (solo and those with teams of their own), thank you for sharing your stories and encouraging me in sharing my own.