While I had a full-time job, I started two businesses: This one (Make it clear) and my online gift business Gift Boss.
Two years ago, I had no intention of running my own business, let alone businesses. So I thought it would be worthwhile going back in time and writing down how it all happened. It’s quite a detailed account, so I’ve broken it up into several parts. If you’re still with me, great. Let’s get started!
Part 1: The small business itch
I haven’t always been entrepreneurial. In fact, I fell into a ‘trained-to-be-an-employee-from-birth’ school of thinking, where it was expected that once you graduate from university or high school, you’d simply get a job and then work for other people until you retire or die.
Day in day out, you’d serve someone else’s customers. Earn money for someone else’s books. Get told what to do and when to do it. Complete the same annual performance review process. Give the same feedback on the employee engagement survey each year. Wow, doesn’t that sound monotonous?
Sure, the regular pay check, superannuation, employee benefits, training and social camaraderie that comes with a 9 to 5 job is a massive benefit that I could have been fairly happy continuing until retirement in approximately 30 years’ time. But after 20 years working for other people (gosh, that does sound like a long time now that I’ve done the math), I had the unmistakable, gnawing, relentless feeling that there was more to life than simply turning up to a job that no longer stimulated me.
It started with a growing awareness of the possibility of owning my own business. I watched several friends start their own businesses or freelance careers after experiencing similar feelings of corporate restlessness, or life-changing events such as starting a family. I was in awe of the flexibility that a small business afforded them, the risk they took financially and all the fun stuff they got to do such as create a website, build an Instagram following, write blog articles, and most importantly, work the hours that suited them, from the comfort of their own home.
Working 9 to 5
I was working as a Digital Content Manager for a large bank. It was a great job. I got to work with talented writers and creative agencies. I got to create content that smashed benchmarks and delivered a more engaged audience on social media than had ever been achieved before. I was part of a team I loved and made incredible life-long friends who supported me through some tricky personal situations.
Some of the content that did so well during my time in the role involved sharing the stories of Aussie millennials who had left their 9 to 5 jobs to start their own businesses, side hustles, passion projects or volunteer initiatives. They had found success doing what they love. Going against the grain may have caused them some anxiety at the start, but they stuck to it, hustled like crazy and changed their lives for the better.
Quotes such as this from one of our interviewees really resonated me:
I wasn’t excited about my career anymore. I always thought working as a marketing manager was what I wanted to do with my life but it wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would be.
I related because although my job was great, I didn't feel fulfilled. I had no aspiration to take on more responsibility in the company, get a promotion or climb the corporate ladder. My heart and soul simply weren't in it anymore and I needed to do something about it before I became resentful.
So this is really where my entrepreneurial journey started. I had the itch, I was inspired by others who had blazed the trail and I saw the logistical possibility in making a complete career shift.
In Part 2, I take a look at exactly how my freelance copywriting business, Make it clear, started.
This is the section where I tell you a little bit more about me. Not just as a freelance copywriter, but who I am as a person. The things that I like, the things that challenge me, my small business journey, freelance life, my copywriting and marketing tips, personal stuff and more. Because if you have a clear picture of who I am, then I feel you're in a better position to decide if I’m the freelance copywriter for you. Let’s go!