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Lessons Learned from 2 Years as an Entrepreneur

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Amber Rose Monaco

Two years ago, I had a really bad weekend. It started on a Friday afternoon in early February. Snow was on the ground, and I was eager to start my weekend filled with clearing out my DVR queue.
Right before I signed off for the day, an blast email went out announcing a colleague's upcoming promotion. It was huge - like $30,000 more a year huge. While I was elated for her, I was also really angry. I was angry that I wasn't getting a promotion; I was angry that I wasn't allowed to get a promotion; I was angry that my boss (seemingly) didn't care; but mostly, I was angry because I hadn't done a single thing to change my dead-end situation.
After crying in front of my boss, I left work feeling unappreciated and lost.
I had put the expectation on my job to give me a lot of fulfillment. I was putting pressure on my job to bring me happiness in all ways. In this moment, I was really out of line. It's not my job's job to make me happy or to bring me fulfillment. That's my job. My job was doing its duty: to pay me every two weeks in exchange for my time and a decent work product.
Instead of watching mindless television, I did a lot of soul-searching. I thought about what I wanted and what I didn't. I thought about quitting, with no notice. I thought about going back to the restaurant world. I thought about changing my resume and getting aggressive about finding something else...something better....something with growth opportunities.
And, I thought about starting my own business.
I went to work that Monday morning, two years ago today, and I started my own business. I turned Climb Out of The Cubicle into something legitimate. The State of Maryland and the IRS now knew that I was serous about this. Filing for a business entity was the catalyst I needed to move forward. Now that this was real, I needed to step up my game.
In the next week, I had 3 new clients.
Looking back over the past two years, I have learned some pretty interesting lessons. I knew that I would be learning about business, but my parables came from beyond the business world. I didn't know that curriculum was waiting for me, but I dove straight into the learning pool.
Here are the 4 lessons I learned in two years of business:
Things change
In the last two years, I've changed Twitter handles, profiles pictures, website themes (oh so many!), website developers, business card styles, my editorial posting schedule, my medium for posting, and my physical location. I changed the focus on my business. I changed my offerings about 12 times.

I used to use a pen name - not anymore.
I used to ­­­­­­­­­­work for free - not anymore.
I used to keep my business a secret - not anymore.
I used to play small - not anymore.
People won't get it
For everyone one person unsure of entrepreneurship, there are 10 more people scared to death of online business. People don't understand online businesses because you can't see them - you can't physically go there. When I tell people that I "coach millennials to have a better life outside of their job," I get confused looks and questions about sports teams. I'm not that kind of coach. (FYI: I'm a coach for real life, not for sports.)
Most people don't want to work for themselves. Most people like knowing that someone else is in charge of their paycheck. I get it. Really, I do. Working for yourself is hard, and the fear of money can be constant. Plus, there is the hustle. It takes a special person to have the kind of hustle of a successful entrepreneur.
Sometimes, it sucks
I think I went into working for myself with the idea that you worked in your jam-jams, if you worked at all. I read The Four Hour Workweek, so I just assumed that would be me too.
It also seemed like entrepreneurs were constantly out on a "lunch meeting" or saving the world. That wasn't (isn't!) my life at all. I rent an office. I put in 8-10 hour days. I rarely talk to people. Plus, you can see the façade other entrepreneurs put on Facebook and "imposter syndrome" sets in. Sometimes, it seems like everyone in the whole world knows what they are doing, except you.
This is all normal. But I wasn't expecting it.
Consistency is key
I know; I know. Everyone says this. But its more true than I could have ever imagined two years ago. Consistency is hard too, especially if you don't have a team to help. Consistency requires doing the same thing over and over. It means that you have a firm grasp on your client roster, your editorial calendar, your personal calendar, and your big picture vision.
Two years ago, when I made Climb Out of The Cubicle legit, I had no idea that these lessons were waiting for me. I thought that the money would start raining down on me as my client roster went to a waiting list.
Boy, was I wrong.
Honestly, I'm really glad I was wrong. If I was "so busy" with a full client list, I would have never had the opportunity to pour so much time and effort into each client I've had.
I've also never felt more appreciated and grounded from the lessons I've learned these past two years.
I no longer put the expectation on my business to make me happy. I'm happy because of the life I have created, and the business is just portion of that pie. There's no more pressure to improve my job title or professional status. I just go to work and give it all to what I love and magic happens. Seriously, it's like magic that pours out when I am being my true self.
Looking back on that soul-searching weekend, I know more about myself and what I want now than I ever thought possible. I created some really great opportunities for myself. I never would have had the courage to do so if that email wouldn't have come in on that snowy Friday in February, two years ago.

This blog post was originally published on Climb Out of The Cubicle. It has been printed with permission from the author.

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