When I launched myself into self-employment 3 years ago, I genuinely had no idea whether it would work or not. I had no inkling that I’d spend more than 3 years running my own business successfully. Cheers to many many more!
So, hearing my friend’s words ringing in my head about actually celebrating milestones, we broke out the bubbly for a leisurely break between emails.
For 3 years running my small business, I’ve been working in specialist social media management, training businesses and as a photographer, helping other small & medium businesses. At the beginning, just the act of setting up my online portfolio www.emmacreese.com, updating my LinkedIn profile and proudly setting my Facebook status to ‘self-employed’ all seemed like ginormous steps. They were in some ways, as this branding defined who I’d be as a business person, and also what my business would be defined as.
I’m proud to say that I’ve worked with national companies & international charities, had photography/content jobs commissioned by luxury London restaurants, helped some incredible small businesses bursting with passion, grown my blog, the business has navigated a global pandemic – oh, and I’ve travelled the world in the meantime. I’ve worked with dream clients, random clients, businesses who I never could have imagined I’d work with, charities with causes very close to my heart, and clients who I’ve come to discover their amazing business stories.
I’ve also been lucky enough to exceed my goals, take as many 4-hour lunch breaks as my heart desired, appeased a 4-pawed CFO (Chief-Furry-Officer) and given back to the charities with both time, networking and donations.
Chatting with friends and other freelancers, I keep finding myself saying that the highs are higher, and the lows lower than when working in an office, but it was definitely the right choice to make for me. I’ve been so lucky to have had mentors that have guided me through stressful patches, I’ve discovered supportive networks & people (you know who you are!) who totally understand the problems I’ve uncovered and common sense has stood me in pretty good stead.
I’ve shared some of my business milestones and lessons along the way:
3 months into my freelance journey (sorry for the cliche, but it is definitely a journey!) I couldn’t quite believe that I was a (MacBook wielding, coffee drinking, flatly photographing, stereotype embodying) freelancer, running my own business and helping other professionals market their wares as a social media manager. Half a year along, I had started the long process of discovering what my own strengths and weaknesses really are as a girlboss businesswoman. (I also learned that I don’t really like the term girlboss – it seems a little demeaning though it’s meant to be empowering.) 9 months in it still felt like only yesterday that I handed my notice in, after months of indecision, planning, list making, counting down and then rejoicing at how right my decision felt.
A year into this adventure, I, quote, “actually can’t believe I’m writing this. I’ve managed to survive 12 months as a freelancer, and I’m grinning from ear to ear as we raise a champagne toast to a thriving business. Launching a small business, let alone one specialising in social media was never a career path I ever could have imagined for myself, and yet here I am.” 18 months along I wrote all about how I still loved the freedom, the challenges, the clients that I work with, the creativity it allows me, the spreadsheets I have to wrangle, ticking off my multiple to-do lists, meeting passionate new people and having a furry Tabby cat as my Executive Assistant. (2 years in, she was promoted to the boss, which left me scratching my head.)
I’ve learned so much, and I know that I’ll keep on learning as I continue. Trusting my gut feeling, making sure to keep upskilling, not being afraid, talking decisions through, not getting too stuck in my own head and knowing when the right moments are to push – all lessons that I’m learning and I’ll continue to learn doing social media management and photography.
Cheers to that – and cheers to everyone who has encouraged and supported me. Thank you!
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