I started business as a freelance marketing consultant in 2015 while studying electrical engineering at the University of Auckland. In 2017, I declined a job opportunity and university to take my marketing freelancing full-time and that was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Throughout the years, there were so many things I have leant the hard way, by making costly mistakes - that's for another topic but here, I have listed down some things you should always keep in mind if you are thinking of starting your own business full-time.
1. Doubt and hate exist so embrace it all.
You have heard of "You grow when you get out of your comfort zone." That is definitely true and the moment you step away from your comfort zone, your friends will cheer you on. However, the further away you get from your comfort zone, most people around you will start doubting you.
Do you know why?
Because they think you have "changed".
They just think you have become selfish, only considering your own path. This is normal and it shows that you are walking in the right direction; if you feel lonely, keep going because you will run into someone in a similar situation. People you will meet along your journey will be the ones who will shape your future.
So if people around you doubt and give you negative energy, tell them to f**k off in your head and keep going.
2. You can't please everyone.
Don't ever waste your time trying to please everyone because it is literally impossible.
You may genuinely be the nicest person in the world but there will be thousands of people thinking you are fake. Ignore the ones who you feel you cannot deal with and focus on people who matters to you instead.
3. If you ever feel you are risking too much, think "What's the worst thing that can happen if you try?"
There will be times when you have to risk more but often, you will feel fear of failure, which is normal. If so, ask yourself what will be the worst possible outcome(s) once you have executed that action? Write them down and analyse how you can overcome each scenario.
Almost all the time, you will be able to find a solution yourself by doing this. It has worked for me for all these years.
4. Failure is part of success.
This, you probably heard of a lot of times and it is true. Failure and mistakes really teach you so much... I have a countless number of mistakes I have made over the years including trusting the wrong people, damaging my reputation and more... But remember, your ability to bounce back from the mistakes is what really shapes you.
Again, remember this: your ability to bounce back from the mistakes you made is what shapes you.
Brush off your mistakes, learn from them and do not repeat the same ones again.
5. Do not compare your chapter one to someone's chapter twenty.
It is very easy to feel useless... You just launched your new freelancing marketing business than on Instagram, you see someone who's 5 years younger than you absolutely killing it with his marketing agency, making $1,000,000 per year!
Here's a thing. We all start at different points so do not ever compare yourself to others. I also get many emails and Instagram DMs from freelancers asking "How are you able to make so much?" It is because I started much earlier than most of the people who message me this kind of question.
Instead of comparing, be inspired, learn and reverse-engineer how you can achieve what he/she has done - from someone who is multiple chapters ahead of you. Good things take time.
6. You won't be the "boss of your life"
I cannot stress enough how false "becoming your own boss" is when starting a business or becoming a freelancer. Well technically yes, you are the boss when you look at your business' ladder but you are the only one in there!
If you are a business owner, especially in the service industry, your business decisions cannot be solely made by yourself but also have to consider your existing clients first. There are no weekends; if your client calls you on a Saturday afternoon, you answer that call and that mistake you make, you have to be accountable and take action accordingly.
Honestly, you have so much more freedom if you are working as an employee. If you screw up something, your manager is there to help you get through that situation. You may work overtime often but most of the time, you will be finishing every 5pm with weekends off.
Founder & Editor | Say (Seowon) Song
I run Caramel, a restaurant creative agency with the biggest portfolio in New Zealand, helping restaurants grow by providing creative and technological solutions. In addition, I manage a few restaurants more hands-on.