Top Ten Lessons After 4 Years Of Freelancing

September 1, 2017 marked the 4th anniversary of my freelance business. What started at the end of 2010 as a side hustle had grown to the point where I quit my day job and was able to make a full-time living. Sounds like a dream, eh? I have to honest, it's been an exceptional ride {mostly in pj's or without pants} and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I am grateful every single day for the opportunities I've had and I can't image ever working for someone else again {I'm a pretty dope boss to myself, just sayin'.}

 

Has it always been easy? No. Have there been challenges? You bet! That's life! Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grown, and I've put together the top ten lessons I've learned along the way. I hope you find them helpful!

 

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Does Your Business Strategy Align With Your Values?

Have you ever done business with someone because of their flawless online presence, just to be disappointed with their {more than} flawed way of doing business? You and me both, my friend. Checking out the web and social media profiles of businesses and service providers {whether they are online or local}, before doing business with them, is standard m.o. nowadays. And if you've done it? Then your clients have done it with your business as well. 

 

Being the same online as in person is essential for an outstanding customer experience. Your online presence sets your {potential} clients' expectations, and you need to live up to them. 

 

What's that you say? You have to have a stellar online presence to cut through the sea of competition, and to get the customers through the {virtual or actual} door, and then you'll worry about the rest? Bad idea, my friend. Bad idea. Let your personality and values shine through, and live up to it - because that's what your customers connect and relate to. No ifs and buts about it. 

 

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Integrity, Kindness, and Your Business

Can a business based on integrity and kindness be successful? Yes. Yes, it can. You don't have to bend your values to make your customers happy and ends meet. Those ends will meet much faster if you stay true to your values and do business with people who feel the same way. And kindness? There is truly an unlimited supply available, you can tap into it anytime.

 

The combination of staying true to your values and being kind? That's a bonafide superpower - and you can become a business superhero by choosing better over bitter, following your values regardless of the situation, and practising onedownmanship {totally a thing}. Let's talk about that.

 

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Crisis-Proofing Your Business 101

I used to fantasize about having a reset button for my life. 

 

Of course I was only 12 years old and mostly needed it to erase any memories of my mother playing a recording of me {in our car! during a family trip!} singing some lame song called "School Bus". And to get rid of my sister. And to make my father forget that he said "no" to a perm {what? It was the 80s}.

 

Amazingly enough, I've gotten by without an actual reset button for the last 30{ish} years since then, and I've learned a few things along the way - most importantly, that the “no perm” rule was actually a good rule. My fascination with the reset button lingered, and it made a strong comeback after I took my side hustle full time in 2013. Because when you juggle life, kids, spouse, household, and your business {to name a few}, the urge to yell “I need a do-over” and hit the reset button, is strong. While I still wish to erase the occasional day {or week} from my life and biz, I've discovered that the self-care routine I developed and the business practises I put into place actually *are* a type of reset button, because those systems preserve my sanity. 

 

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First Things Don't Always Come First {an entrepreneurial lesson}

Hi! In case we haven't met: I'm Kerstin, the coach and writer in this place. I'm glad you stopped by. Get comfortable and grab something to stay hydrated - it's going to take a while. 

 

tools for better have been around since the summer of 2015, and have gone through several revisions. They have been built up, torn down, rebuilt, torn down again, kicked to the curb, resurrected, and more. Creating online coaching tools for business-care through better self-care is what I'm passionate about {and I don't use that word lightly}, but there were times when I was ready to give it all up. tools for better kept creeping back into my mind and my draft folder again and again, like something from a bad horror movie. {Very confidence-invoking, I know. Just keeping it real.} 

 

It took me almost two years to figure out why I kept wavering, and why I kept coming back anyway. Why I felt like it was a solid concept, yet I could not connect with it myself {yeah, apparently that's possible}. And that's what I mean by "first things don't always come first". I teach my clients to figure out their baseline and values first, and then go from there. Me? Well, I don't like to take my own advice. I like to make it extra hard for myself. Maybe that's my way of feeling accomplished. 

 

Is it a bad move on my part to tell you all this behind-the-scenes and in-my-head stuff? I'll let you be the judge of that, and I'm ok with whatever you decide. I've decided that sharing this part of my business journey with you is my way of telling you that you'll be ok with your business, because I've got your back. I've been there, and I'm still here. 

 

This is a look behind the scenes of tools for better, what I've learned along the way, and what happens next.

 

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