a letter to my 22 year old self (and anyone just starting this CRAZY life)
Lately I have been thinking a LOT about the evolution of my business. I started playing around with the idea of having my own business at the end of 2010 and really started cookin’ in 2011. I am JUST about to finish up my third year in business.
This week I got emails from 2 people I wrote to when I was just starting my business and hustling like CRAZY.
Wanna see one?
Crazy right? There are DOZENS of these around!
And then there is this, from 2010:
I was on a roll. Big time. I was starting big projects and I was persuing all my dreams, one at a time. I woke up everyday and worked. Things were going great. I had decided to go to the World-Domination Summit. I was starting a creative podcast. Full speed ahead. But you know how stories like these go, things went sour. And not in the book-worthy way. Just in the annoying derailment type of way. No, I won’t be writing any books about this.
My computer was stolen along with all of my hard work.
Everything I created was lost. Now, this isn’t earth-shattering like a death, a breakdown or an addiction but it was just enough to push me off the path for a couple of days. My life came to a standstill. I’m a designer. My business IS my computer. So, how do you start over?
You buy a laptop. Right? I was excited. Finally, a MAC! Yes. The universe has aligned.
Not if you don’t have enough credit. Yes, that’s right. I can’t get a credit card because of my lack of credit. Womp. Womp. A mess.
So here I am, on my Dad’s dusty desktop. Without a computer to work on. No computer that can handle the adobe heavy lifting. No work. No money. This lovely computer freezes every couple of minutes and I can’t even get my Pandora to stay on long enough to listen to any music. I’m trying to be gracious. Times are tough, ladies and gentlemen. I need help.
All I ever want to do is work. I am obsessed with helping people. It’s all I want to do. All I have ever wanted to do is work. I hate this feeling. The constant pull of my heart. That feeling that I’m not helping, that I’m not working to make my business great. I feel sleazy writing this message right now but I don’t know what else to do. I am making a call for help to the creative community. A bat signal of sorts to my creative brethren. Help a sista out?
So, I decided to change my business. Completely. I am going to start offering a slew of non-design services until I can make enough money to buy my new computer and get back on track. Risky? Yes. Scary? Hell yes. But I don’t have much of a choice. As soon as I am able to get the cash for the new computer, I will be back, but for now? Brand new You’ll Look Great. Please know that any bit helps!I would greatly benefit from the help.
Like I said, I just want the chance to do what I have always wanted to do: help creatives realize their dreams. If you think one of these wonderful services might be for you, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.
AND NOW! My note to my 22 year old self!
HEY GIRL HEY,
First of all, I know that these last few months have sucked. Like really, really sucked. You wanted to go to New York and work at a fancy advertising agency and do fancy stuff and date a hot developer and get a dog and eat fancy hot dogs. You wanted to spend 3-4 years doing that before finishing your great american novel that would turn into a oscar winning movie.
But that is not what you are doing. You are 22. Living at home. Your computer just got stolen. And you have over 70k in student loans and NO WAY to pay for it.
And so you are doing what you KNOW how to do: you are hustling.
And you are doing a great job.
Originally I thought I wanted to warn you about some of the things that are coming. I wanted to tell you to not work with that client, to not buy that thing and not to listen to that woman who SEEMED to understand you so well but was actually manipulating you.
But you are EXACTLY where you need to be. Dad is going to get really sick. Something crazy and unexpected is going to happen at Mom’s job.
And you need to be there.
I know there are a million things you rather be doing. I know that right now, you are being called to this and you aren’t sure why because this seems to SUCK just as much as the job search but GIRL this is it.
You are where you are supposed to be.
Every single client that will make you cry, make you angry, make you want to quit…..
They will make you who you are right now. You have some friends in your life who are totally different from you and you’ll think that you should be more like them. You will try to “think” more. You’ll try to be more introspective but in reality you are just the way you should be.
You will be KNOWN for this. For your tough skin. For the fact that you go after things. The fact that you do not sugar coat things. You're YOU.
And people will constantly try to tell you what you are not ready for. Keep ignoring them.
So, listen. Keep sending emails to random people. Keep working that digital pole. You have a million different offerings right now and I want you to freakin’ give your all to each one (I know you will) and learn the lessons you HAVE to learn.
And yes, you suck at things. That’s ok. You will do a REALLY bad job sometimes. You will screw up. People will get mad at you. You will think no one will work with you again.
Things will ALWAYS work themselves out.
Things will get better. You will get better. And WAY faster than you thought they would.
Moral of this story and of this letter:
Don’t change a DAMN thing, girl.
You ARE DOING IT.
You can do it too!