Published January 22, 2015
My business turned four years old on Monday. *party horn* Day One feels soooo long ago. Last year I wrote about what had changed for me over three years of entrepreneurship, and this year I want to hit the highlights of what feels different four years into this adventure.
I'll share more business-y posts for the next three weeks as I bring back Entrepreneurship Month on the blog, but today I want to share how doing purpose-driven work has changed me on a personal level. My business has been a huge vehicle for personal growth, and that's something we don't talk about a lot because we're busy reformatting resumes, choosing the best WordPress plugins, and optimizing our social media postings.
Today, let's remember why all the work we do matters in our own lives.
Here are the most significant things that have changed for me over the last four years:
I don't call myself an actor anymore, and I don't struggle with that.
The thought of moving on from acting brought on a painful identity crisis. You could say that Kleenex sponsored my career change with all the tears they dried up. But I don't have any lingering pangs now. I still miss acting, and probably always will, but I don't miss being a professional actor and everything that comes with it. I don't have regrets about my acting career, and I'm grateful to be doing other work now. There was a time when I thought I'd never have peace around this. Now? I rarely ever think about it.
I have the freedom to move wherever my family wants or needs to go.
As an actor, I was fairly limited in the locations I could live and still have access to bountiful professional work. Now my work can happen anywhere with an internet connection. That kind of location independence meant that we could move for my husband's work and I didn't have to miss a beat. This also meant that he had more options because my location wasn't a concern. Moving closer to our families has meant seeing them more often, something I constantly starved for in LA. This has made a huge difference in my quality of life, especially now that I have a kiddo and want him to be able to spend time with his grandparents and aunties.
My work is still important to me, but I'm less enmeshed with it.
This shift might have come on its own, but CAF has certainly facilitated this change. I don't eat, live, and breathe being a career coach the way I did being an actor. I still looooove what I do, but I don't feel trapped or identified by it.
I had my first $10,000 month last year.
Like, ever. I know many people hit this milestone much sooner in their online careers, but this is when it happened for me. Laura from four years ago wasn't convinced this was possible. I feel a mental shift now that I've had a 10k month, like it wasn't that hard and I can do it again. And hopefully again and again and again. I feel like I've moved up a weight class and am ready to grow into the next level of my business, which means the next level of Laura, as well.
I feel a relaxed confidence in my ability as a coach.
My first year, I think I got a little nervous before every coaching session. I still look forward to coaching calls, but I don't doubt that I can help the client on the other end of the line. Part of this is because I've narrowed my focus and don't try to help people solve every problem under the sun. By choosing specialties, I've gotten to know a few topics in more depth and get excited when someone asks a question I've never heard before.
I feel less alone.
If I need feedback on something, there are lots of people I can email or text. If I want to hire someone, I know where to look or where to ask for recommendations. I have a regular assistant. I hired someone for some tech help for the first time last year. I trust that I can find whatever support and camaraderie I'd like to have.
I trust that I'll figure out the how part.
How stuff is going to happen or get done used to stress me out. I wanted to know, now, how it was going to work out. I still get stressed sometimes, but I figure that it will work out, even if I can't see how all the dots connect just yet. Assuming things are going to work out and that I can handle things has meant being more decisive and things happening a lot faster than they used to. No more brooding over possible offerings for months or wondering if I can pull off a launch. It's go time a lot of the time. This just feels cleaner and lighter.
My work makes a positive difference for others.
I just so happen to be working for myself, but this could have happened at a purpose-driven job, as well. As an actor, I frequently questioned the bigger worth of my pursuits. I enjoyed it, but did it really matter to anyone else? I don't question that now. I know that I help people in ways that are important to me and them, and that feels really, really good.
Those are my biggies to share at year four.
I'd love to know...
What has changed since you started working for yourself? Or what do you wish would change for you if you did?