My First 2 Weeks of Owning a Design Business

My First 2 Weeks of Owning a Design Business - how it all started & 12 things I've learned

Remember a couple years ago when brightly colored pants were coming back into style? I sure do. I'd see a girl walking down the street rocking those fuchsia skinnies and think, “Dang, I wish I could pull those off.” Even if fluorescent pants or bright red lipstick wasn't your thing (yep, I've been there too), we've all been in this position.

So many of us waste our lives in the shadows—wallflowers swooning over what someone else is doing. We can't help putting them on a pedestal and thinking, “If only I could pull that off...” If only you could wear those pants or that lipstick. If only you could quit your job, and finally do what you love. If only...

Why not me?

A couple years ago when brightly colored pants were coming back into style, I made a subtle shift that changed everything. I got fed up with wondering and swooning and putting others on a pedestal. Instead of thinking “if only I could pull that off,” I started thinking “why can't I?” Seriously, why not me?

I bit the bullet, bought a few pairs of fluorescent pants, and started rocking the heck out of them. From that point on, I can't tell you how many compliments I got. So many girls told me, “I wish I could pull those off...” Life is funny that way.

Back to Biz

Not unlike those colored pants, starting my own business didn't begin with any magnificent cosmic event. It wasn't some magic spell or the alignment of any number of stars. It all started with wanting it badly enough and seriously asking myself, “Why not me?”

Step out of the shadows and take charge of your own destiny.

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Last Friday brought the close of my 2nd week on my own—that's right, this girl is her own boss now! Looking back through my planner, I've been one busy lady and already have some insights to share (surprise surprise). Let's review, shall we?

What I've been up to

  • Launching a shiny new homepage (icons coming soon)
  • My LLC paperwork came in—AKA Melissa Yeager Designs, LLC is finally legit!
  • Sealing the deal on some exciting new branding projects
  • Organizing the home office and figuring out there's really not enough room to do yoga...
  • Creating a fancy new business Facebook page
  • Receiving my first check made out to “Melissa Yeager Designs” (super magical, as expected)
  • Opening my business bank account (hey, girl, hey)
  • Experimenting with a BUNCH of apps to boost my productivity and make my client experience seamlessly awesome (more on these findings soon)
  • Starting t25 workouts in my living room
  • Struggling with stairs and walking in general after said workouts
  • Connecting with awesome new industry friends
  • Chatting with some dreamy potential clients
  • Blogging like a boss
  • Designing as much as possible

What I've learned

  1. Being kind really does pay off. I've received such amazing support and encouragement from so many people I've met over the years. Seriously, I'm so blessed to know you all.
  2. QuickBooks Online and Quickbooks Self-Employed are NOT the same thing. They're two completely different products (contrary to what their practically identical branding suggests).
  3. An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is basically a social security number for your business, and you need one before you can open a biz bank account. You experienced bosses may be giggling, but I'm new at this. All of these terms sounded so intimidating before, so I'm pumped to start getting it all figured out.
  4. Helping people is the best. When you find out all your hard work is actually making a difference to people—some you've never even met before—it's the absolute best feeling.
  5. Set the tone for your day early. Starting your morning with meditation and stretching is awesome, especially when you're going to be sitting for the majority of the day.
  6. If you actually want to focus during said meditation, save the coffee for after. Trust me, your attention span will thank me.
  7. There are hidden fees associated with starting just about anything. Don't get discouraged. Separate what you really need to get started from the nice-to-have's. There's definitely costs associated with starting a business, but once you pay your dues the world can be yours for the taking.
  8. Facebook wants to boost everything. When you create a Facebook biz page, the book of faces will try to trick you into boosting posts at every turn. Peer pressure is not cool, FB.
  9. If you try to do it alone, you're missing out on the best part. I used to find “networking” super intimidating, but making new industry friends and client connections is my new favorite thing.
  10. It's hard not to get too ahead of yourself. I want to sign up for ALL of the killer invoicing and eSignature and social media management services, but I'm not there yet. And that's perfectly okay. Just gotta take a deep breath and live in the now.
  11. I hope you like hats. I was skeptical when I heard I wouldn't have a ton of time for actual creative work while starting a business. Well, it's true. All those small biz owner hats are very real, and time is in limited supply.
  12. This ain't easy, but it's SO beyond worth it.

If you're struggling with some elusive unicorn goal of your own, know that your dreams aren't that far off. Step out of the shadows and take charge of your own destiny. I know it seems like you'll never get there, but if you set your mind to it and work your tail off, you can do anything. It will not be easy, but it will be so worth it. After all, why not you?

Stay tuned for more on my adventures in small biz ownership. Any small business tips or realizations you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments below!