I love that Jen is so absolutely clear that freedom is one of her core values. Now that her life is in alignment with that core value, she is going from strength to strength in her social media business. In my experience, being really clear on your core values has a significant impact on how confident you are in your business decisions. What I also love about Jen’s story is that she recognises the importance of role models for the next generation of women, i.e. her nieces and god-daughter.
Today is a guest post in my Business Startup series. The series aims to share business startup stories: stories to inspire you to start your own business; stories to give you confidence that YOU can do this too.
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Social Media Strategist
This week’s story is from Jen Smith, Social Media Strategist who made the life-changing decision to quit her corporate job and strike out on her own!
Tell us about how and why you started your own business
A little over 3 years ago I made the decision to finally quit my job as a social media manager in London, along with the 2-hours-each-way commute, frequent naps and self-confidence crushing work environment . It took me 11 months to pluck up the courage to do it. With a mortgage to pay and a huge fear of not being able to make enough money, I had plenty of excuses to hold on to a job that was not good for me for far longer than I should have.
I had to hit rock bottom emotionally and physically to see that staying put was more painful than taking the risk and failing.
Once I made the decision I immediately handed my notice in and felt the first taste of freedom. Looking back I started the business because I was sick of working for someone else and felt trapped. Now I run my business because I love it! The constant throughout has always been a desire for freedom – financially as well as in having choice and control over how I live my life.
How old is your business?
I’ve been going for just over 3 years now and tipped into the ‘4th year’ in May 2016.
What you do and who you do it for?
I’m a social media strategist and business coach for female entrepreneurs who’re struggling to maintain a consistent presence online and are lurking on the social media sidelines. I help them to confidently get visible, grow their community and get clients.
What you love about having your own business?
The freedom! I feel so blessed to be able to do whatever I want to do, whenever and wherever I want… I think when you’ve felt trapped or controlled in life, it really helps you appreciate breaking free of that. Freedom is a huge value for me, and my clients.
I’m very lucky to attract women who value their own freedom and also want to be a good role model for the younger generations they’re connected to – whether it’s their children, nieces, nephews, god-children or just their friend’s children. Although I’m not yet a mum, it’s important for me to show my nieces and Goddaughter that they can be whoever they want to be – strong, independent and unapologetic women.
What the challenges are?
Initially, the biggest challenge was finding clients. I had to work hard to get out there and make a name for myself and demonstrate the value I had to offer. Now that I’ve built that reputation and visibility, it’s not a struggle to find clients, but I have new challenges to overcome. At the moment, I’m growing faster than I anticipated, so I am working with a new VA (virtual assistant) to help delegate some of the day-to-day tasks to – that is very new to me as I’m so used to doing it all myself.
I think some of the other common challenges I’ve had to face are losing friends because they can’t relate to you now you’re an entrepreneur; switching your brain off business for just a day; avoiding comparing yourself to every other business woman in your field and feeling like you just aren’t good enough; investing in yourself to take things to the next level even when you’re not sure you can afford it.
Fortunately I’ve some amazing friends who’re also entrepreneurs and I know they’ve found these things difficult too and we’ve got through them together.
What you wished you’d known at the start?
- That it would all work out, so don’t panic!
- Your mindset is your number one priority and it’s vital you develop yourself
- Not to listen to naysayers
- There’s stages of business everyone goes through and it’s ok to be where you are
- To follow the fun…
Top tips for other women thinking about starting a business
Follow your intuition. If it’s screaming at you that this is the right thing to do, then trust yourself and take the leap. Business is hard work but it isn’t complicated, and the reward of knowing you made that money yourself never gets tiring!
Oh, and ask for help. You’ll be surprised how many people are rooting for you to succeed.
Your favourite inspirational quote
Just one?! Hmm, that’s tough. I have 2 faves:
“There will be haters. There will be doubters. There will be non-believers. And then, there will be you, proving them wrong” – Unknown
“If you don’t build your dream, someone will pay you to build theirs” – Tony Gaskins
How do you look after yourself
I love to travel, so I’m always planning my next trip. On a day to day basis, I make time for friends, coffee, sunshine and cuddles with my cat. I also love to draw mandalas – I find them deeply therapeutic and meditative and good for my soul.
Where can we find out more about you
(I’m also sharing my mandalas and artwork at www.facebook.com/thisisjensmith)
Thank you Jen!