What I love to do more than anything else is to write. Most times I like to write for fun. But as an entrepreneur, you must find ways to make your talent sustainable.When I first started my micro-business in 2014, I thought things would fall into my lap and clients will fall out of the sky. Well, not really, but I thought I knew a lot of people and once I told them what I do, they’d come knocking on my door and give me business.
I was so wrong.
This was not the case. But luckily I was resourceful enough to find ways to generate income to meet my basic needs.
I continued to put my best work forward and a few people found me and hired me for gigs. I also got a lot of help and advice from subject matter experts and people who have been where I am. The list is so long; I feel so blessed and remain eternally grateful for that push in the right direction.
I also showed up in the right places and networked my heart away and therein I started to grow my income a little at a time. I interviewed a friend of mine 2 years ago and he said something interesting about entrepreneurship that stayed with me: “Some days it’s a case of either feast or famine.”
This statement is so true. Some months you may enjoy the wonderful rewards and fruits of your labour and other times, you have to work thrice as hard to keep those customers coming so you can remain sustainable.
The key is consistency, creativity and finding your ideal customers wherever they are. This can be the hardest part of being an entrepreneur. It’s very easy to lose heart and give up, but that’s why ‘many are called, but few are chosen’ for this sometimes crazy, roller coaster, but rewarding life.
People have this misconception that writers, speakers and business owners make a lot of money just because they have “a business” and they’re visible. But this is far from the truth.
Many times, the projects we engage in as entrepreneurs are offered free of charge or allow us to build enough traction to get to the next level as we grow our audience and clientele. Sometimes we do it just for the love and the joy and benefit it brings to others.
Success depends on how hard and how smart you work, your networks in some cases, and in many cases, if your heart is in the right place – The Law of Attraction comes into play.
But easy does it. You can’t expect overnight success. These seeds are planted years in advance and need proper care and nurturing. You keep working at it and getting your brand out there and it’s only a matter of time before you receive all the rewards you are seeking.
But while you’re waiting for your tide to come in, I’ve devised 3 ways you can keep your head above water:
Adjust your lifestyle
When I quit my day job and moved back to Trinidad (from the sister isle of Tobago) 3 years ago, I had received a good bit of security (savings) to get me through till I started getting clients. However, I knew I couldn’t do the same things to which I was accustomed. So yeah, that meant no Friday night Ruby Tuesdays for sure.
And no margarita Mondays.
And yeah, no dinner with the girls and movie nights every Tuesday, unless the boyfriend is paying ha ha.
But after working from home for a few weeks, you know what else I realized? I kinda loved it and I did not miss hanging out so frequently. In fact, I was always busy and glued to my computer or going someplace interesting meeting new people.
There are things I could still do, like go for a drive to the seaside, go to the beach, run away to Tobago for a couple days, karaoke Tuesdays, walk around the Savannah and enjoy the simple, yet beautiful things, like random coconut waters and snow cones with friends and family.
When I wanted to treat myself and celebrate a birthday in the family, I can do that too. And the rewards motivate and rejuvenate you to work harder.
In fact, I found myself richer in many ways, being able to have all this freedom and flexibility to do the things I truly loved and spend time with the people that matter most.
Reduce your expenses
Since you’re working from home, there are other things you can do without as well. Like a reduced cellular plan. Cut back on your bundled minutes and/or put a cap or credit limit so you won’t get carried away with marathon talking and spending.
Cut your cable and get one of those free gadgets or stream movies from your computer.
Mix it up and work out at home some days instead of a monthly gym membership. It takes a lot of willpower to exercise at home, but if you want it badly enough and care about your body, you’d do it.
Cut out the snacks and beers. Drink box wine (which I believe has fewer calories than beers and lasts forever and cool for entertaining!)
Stock up on healthy foods like (loose, not canned) chick peas, lentils and beans, fruits, various delicious soups, veggies, ground provisions, baked, steamed or grilled lean meats and fish.
Stay away from the carbs like rice, pasta and bread. Instead invest in (expensive but long lasting) couscous and quinoa. And for goodness sake, you don’t have to have something to eat everywhere you go! I keep reminding myself of that.
I’m not one to tell people what to do, but for heaven’s sake, put down the candy bar while you wait to cash at the supermarket.
Try some eggs (boiled or scrambled) and have some fruit, instead of stopping for doubles (street food) every morning. You don’t need to have a coffee and bottled water each time you go out either. Carry your own. And if you smoke, now’s a good time to quit!
Stay away from the competition and just do you
When you look at your peers doing great and lofty things, no matter how open minded you are, sometimes it gets to the best of us. But a word of advice, “all that glitters is not gold”.
You don’t know the real deal behind all that supposed success. What it entails, what is the outcome and what goes on behind the scenes (the long nights, the tears, the frustration).
Just focus on you and continue to produce good work, showing up where and when you have to, working smart. Soon you will also have something to show for your hard work too.
But it’s not about bragging or showing off, it’s about sharing your lessons and journey, inspiring and motivating others who may need that extra push to step into their destiny.
There are countless people that thank me every day for being so honest and sharing my journey, because now they feel they can fly. And that in itself is my reward. It makes me feel purposeful and appreciated that my work is not in vain.
If you consider your track record, I’m sure you can fill a book with your accomplishments and milestones.
Be thankful for your blessings great and small because gratitude opens the door for more abundance.
Oh and instead of talking and dreaming, just start doing. There’s more business to get, more hearts to win and yes, as business people, the bottom line matters: more money to be made to live a comfortable and sustainable life.
By Carolyn Correia
Photos courtesy of – www.unsplash.com
Carolyn K. Correia is the author of Thinking out Loud, How To Find Yourself and Claim What’s Yours and she missed the boat on love. She is also a communications consultant, freelance writer, blogger and motivational speaker. Learn more here www.carolyncorreia.com or stay updated on Facebook –CarolynCorreiaAuthor.