By Rebecca Clark, The Fresh Feminist
Stop wondering if this is the right time.
For a lot of people starting a business is an end goal. It is the pipe dream they think about when stuck working in a job they hate. They just need to save up that extra bit of money or move to a bigger place or wait until the kids are older. There is always something standing in their way and unfortunately often this means the business never gets started. They are waiting for the right starting point that never comes.
If I had waited for the right starting point, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. I have wanted to be a writer for a long time. Considering my post-university life, I knew freelancing was an option and an ideal situation but I thought it would take me a while to get there.
I needed to be ‘good enough’ for people to hire me and I didn’t think I was.
I just needed a push
But then any chance of getting hired by a magazine or publishing company (or anyone really) became very slim when I graduated in the middle of a pandemic. All my ideas of what my life would be like after university dissipated. Needing to do something meaningful in lockdown, I decided to give freelancing a go. It would give me some experience and keep me writing until I could figure out my next step.
Little did I know that once I started freelance writing I wouldn’t stop. It allowed me to earn money doing what I love and with the freedom not many recent graduates get to enjoy. I am not saying it was a smooth ride. Starting any business is a learning curve. But it was a learning curve I was more than capable of dealing with no matter how much I doubted myself.
When we have dreams that matter to us, we think about them a lot and create a perfect situation in our minds. Perfect situations rarely, if ever, exist. You have to make do with what you’ve got because you are good enough right now. Keeping going is the key to all of this. If you are passionate about what you do, clients will see that and they will want to hire your enthusiasm not just your skills.
It's been a tough year...
The last year has been a challenging one to live through, never mind start a business in. But there are many people like me who were left high and dry and forged a new path for themselves. It is not about where you start. It’s about where you are going. Your passion for what you do is a strong enough driving force to get you through the rest.
Here is my advice for anyone starting a business during these difficult times...
1. Don’t hold yourself to impossible standards.
When times are dreary and we commit to doing something we have always wanted, we can become desperate to make it an immediate success. That’s not how life works. Success can be a bumpy road so give yourself grace.
2. Allow yourself to explore.
The point of first starting a business is the point where you know the least about it. Sometimes it takes experience to work out what you want your business to actually look like. Going through phrases of trial and error is completely acceptable. When I first started, all I knew was I wanted to write about what mattered. It took me a while to realise that what that meant for me was helping women-led and other socially-responsible businesses with their content marketing. I needed to experiment to find my niche.
3. Ride the waves of dips in confidence.
There are times where everyone who took the risk of starting their own business thinks ‘What am I doing?’ You question everything you thought you knew and start looking for 9-5 jobs online. It happens but you can build your confidence back up by remembering how far you have come and that if you keep working towards your goal, you will get there. Your next step might not be the perfect one but it will teach you something at the very least.
Starting a business will be a journey at the best of times. Don’t wait around for perfection. Take life and make it what you want it to be. You are good enough and you deserve it.
About Rebecca Clark
Rebecca is a feminist freelance writer from London dedicated to helping women-led business create the content marketing they need to thrive. She is particularly passionate about writing launch content for online courses as sharing skills and uplifting others is so important.
Connect with WWD