LESSONS I LEARNED IN The First 6 Months of Running My Business as Told to FIDM Students
Ok, so I lied. It's been more like 8 months. But that's not nearly as catchy.
Last Wednesday, I took a half-day at the office and headed down to FIDM's (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) San Francisco Campus. I was invited by one of my former instructors (hi, Ed!) to come speak to his soon-to-be graduating entrepreneurship class, which is a part of the Visual Communications major. I don't like to get too caught up in planning my dialogues for speaking events. I find it's beneficial to both me and my audience that the conversation be tailored to the energy in the room, and authentic to the unique experience of the moment. With that said, as I spoke, I found myself reflecting on my first few months as a purely independent entity. Call me a freelancer, a contractor, or the world's smallest creative agency. Here's what I've learned.
+ Seek out mentorship. Ask for it, and don't be discouraged if someone says no. Someone will say yes. There is no experience that can compete with the good advice of someone who has been where you are or where you're hoping to go.
+ Don't let the fear of going down the wrong path paralyze you into standing still. Do something. Do everything. You won't know what works, what doesn't work, or what you love most until you start trying things out.
+ Expect and embrace failure. But be damn sure you learn from it.
+ Don't be afraid to change courses or let go of the things that are no longer serving you.
+ Be confident in who you are and what you do. If you're not all that confident yet, pretend until you are. No one will believe in you if they don't think you believe in yourself.
+ Make it work. Don't turn down opportunities out of fear. Bite off more than you can chew. You will figure it out and next time, you'll know exactly what to do. (Ok, well you'll know more.)
+ Help people. See job postings that aren't right for you? Send them to your friends and associates that they are right for. If you help someone land a job or gig, they're going to (probably) return the favor someday. And even if they don't, doing good feels good. And who doesn't like that?
+ Take care of yourself. You need you to be at your best. You may be pulling 12 hour days, but are you eating well, sleeping well, exercising, and socializing? Find the balance. This is crucial.
+ Have faith. Have faith that a dry-spell is not a game-ender. Have faith that more work will come; it always does. Have faith in your ability to make it work; you will. Have faith that you are on the right path, and good things are happening every day; they are.
Thanks again to Ed Dahl, FIDM SF, and all of the wonderful students that are soon to set out on their own journeys. Don't be a stranger!