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As the end of one year approaches and the promise of a new one is right around the corner, I’ve been reflecting back on my first full year of being a self-employed business owner.
During my Amplify Your Bank Account workshop (my first ever btw!), I shared a lot about my experiences with business depression, creating my own money rules, and making money on my terms.
It’s been a rough year — one full of failures, successes, tears, celebrations, and a lot of second guessing myself. But in my heart I knew this was the right path, or at least the right general direction, so I pressed forward even when I wanted to throw in the towel.
I’ve never been so broke, or so rich within the same month, as I have as a self-employed solopreneur. I’ve depleted my emergency fund and found myself in some more credit card debt, due to keeping my business afloat. But I’m starting to see my hard work pay off, and my down slope is turning upward as I enter the New Year.
Before stepping forward into a new phase, Coach Jennie (my business coach) has challenged her community to focus on the positives and share a more personal look into being a solo biz owner.
So here are 10 spectacular things happening my life right now.
1. Enjoying Fall and Memories
It’s fall across the country, which is my absolute favorite time of year. It always reminds me of my beautiful mother, the wonderful smells in our home, and the fun crafts she would do with us during the cooler months. Although we lost her to cancer when we were still kids, my siblings and I think of her often, but most especially during this time of year.
Aside from that I also love wearing layers of clothes, drinking hot coffee, and decorating my apartment with fall decor. (I may or may not go overboard on that last point). In fact, I’ve already unpacked all my boots, scarves, coats and gloves, in anticipation of wearing them.
2. Newlywed Photo Shoot
Speaking of fall, the hubs and I booked a photo shoot to capture our newlywed status. We eloped in December 2013, so we never had real wedding photos taken, and both of our families have been hounding us to send them pictures.
In fact, the same awesome photographer who took the photos for my blog, also did our couple photo shoot. She’s an amazing photographer and I love her approach to the normally sappy or overdone shots.
3. Giving My First Keynote Presentation
As I mentioned, I wrote and recorded my first-ever live online workshop for the #AMPLIFY14 Biz Summit. It’s complete with slides and a 10-page workbook! This was a huge group project that my accountability masterclass group and I took on, where each of us presented a separate topic for our session.
Mine, of course, was about unlearning faulty financial advice and making money on your terms. If you want to see it, and get access to the workbook, you can purchase lifetime access the recording for $50. And the best news is that your money is being paid forward to other entrepreneurs across the world through Kiva.org micro loans.
4. Collaborating with One Woman Shop
In addition to working on my Amplify workshop, I’ve also been creating a finance ecourse in collaboration with One Woman Shop. Cristina and Sara approached me a few months ago about working together on a course for their exclusive membership community. And since I’m already a huge fan of their site, I excitedly accepted the challenge.
It’s a 12-week finance ecourse for solopreneurs that will be free to any paying member of the OWS community, but I’ll also be offering this to my community for a fee as well. Here are a few of the topics I discuss:
- Paying and calculating estimated taxes
- Creating financial systems and getting organized
- Applying for a DBA and Tax ID number
- Getting off the income + business emergency roller coaster
- Hiring a bookkeeper versus using software
- Becoming an LLC versus staying a sole proprietor
We’re in the process of finalizing the content, editing it, and working on the design details, but expect to launch it later this winter. So stay tuned!
5. Upgrading My Home Office
It’s tough to feel inspired or productive when you work in a cluttered, dark space. And that’s how my home office has been for most of this year. I started saving for new furniture, decor and supplies back in the spring of 2014, but never had time to actually go out and purchase new stuff.
Finally, last weekend we made a trip to Ikea and I purchased a new desk, office chair, bookshelf and a few accessories, in hopes of taking my home office to the next level. I’m still organizing everything, but here’s a sneak peek, and I’ll be doing a big reveal on the blog soon.
6. Growing the Club
The Careful Cents Club has been growing at a pretty fast rate lately. We’re nearing the 400 member mark and I haven’t done any marketing at all. It’s basically just all word of mouth, and freelancers sharing with other go-getters.
I started this private Facebook group back in the beginning of 2013, and it’s grown into something amazing. I love interacting with the community, talking about books, business headaches, personal wins, and everything that comes with being your own boss.
What’s next? Well, I have a few ideas in the works but still trying to figure out what makes the most sense to ensure it remains a super valuable resource for solopreneurs.
7. Taking a Course on Hand-Lettering
Since embracing my artistic side more this entire year, I recently signed up for a 30 day hand-lettering course from Caroline of Made Vibrant. It’s a bit challenging, but takes my mind off of any work or money stress I have.
Since I’ve been so busy with the AMPLIFY Summit and finance ecourse, I’ve only taken the first few lessons and haven’t started the 30 day challenge yet. But my goal is to dive into this more in November and round out the year with some hand-lettering practice under my belt.
8. Participating in NaNoBlogMo
You’ve likely heard of #NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, where writers across the globe participate in a monthly challenge of writing a 50,000+ word novel. You basically sign up for free, track your progress, connect with fellow writers online, and become accountable to this group so your novel gets finished in one month.
I call myself a writer but by no means am I a novel writer, so I wanted to do something a little different. I’m so glad that Alexis Grant and Jenny Blake formed the idea of #NaNoBlogMo, or a month for collaborating on all blog-related projects.
I’ve added my name to the spreadsheet (and you can too!) and started tracking my daily/weekly word count progress. What am I working on? Well, I don’t want to reveal too much yet, but at the end of November, I plan to have a complete ebook guide that will launch in January.
9. Offering Biz Mentoring
I never thought I would call myself any sort of coach or mentor, but due to multiple solopreneurs asking for my advice and help, I’ve morphed into just that. For the past 3 months I’ve been working one-on-one with several newbie freelancers who are trying to quit their full-time jobs and build a freedom business.
I feel so blessed to share any advice, knowledge, and tips I’ve learned, with other solopreneurs as they change their lives and businesses for the better. I’ve also been doing lots of 30 minute mini-chats, so if you want to book a Pick My Brain session, the slots fill up pretty quickly.
10. Feeling Optimistic Again
This spectacular thing may be a bit more abstract than the others on this list, but it’s a BIG win for me. Going through all my business struggles this year, wanting to give up many times, and transitioning away from a few long-term clients, has really rocked my entire mindset of being a solopreneur.
As the year is coming to an end, I’m feeling more optimistic about the future, and can’t wait to see what 2015 holds! I’ve been mulling over a few ideas that I previously was completely against — like launching a reader Q&A podcast, and a new service to help freelancers land clients without going to job boards.
I can confidently say that things are looking up, and I’m feeling a lot less stuck!
What projects are you working on? Share one spectacular thing that’s happening for you right now!