A very honest business update.
Around one year ago, in the beginning of April 2021, I started my activities as a one-person-company. After a few months of preparation that is. I thought it important to do a one-year check-up. Both for myself as publicly.
I like to make a point of being transparent. Of being real. The white and black and ocean of greys in between. There are already so many perfect lives portrayed on the internet. And even in real life, we mostly talk and be open about our successes and amazing things going on in our lives. We hide the other 90% away. The part that is every day, the part that is maybe not so beautiful, special or successful.
Why are we so ashamed of our failures and our normalness? Who do we fear to be abandoned in a world dressed in sparkle?
Why are we so afraid to talk about money?
And because no wish can be manifested without accompanying action, I’m writing this dairy blog. To be vulnerable, so you feel safe to maybe do the same.
Was this last year a financial success? Absolutely not. Is success only measured with money? Also no. Did I learn valuable things, both about myself as in practical tools? Yes.
Overall, the result is very grey.
And by talking about this, I really wish to make clear that big wishes and life changes, do not happen with the snip of a finger. I did not move up North and instantly started living a fairy-tale life.
Big changes need big lessons, big commitments, big mental changes and a whole ocean of ups and downs.
Only by taking life actions can you create life reactions. And you know what would be even scarier for me? To leave everything as it is, to stay the same and play it safe.
We did not come into this life to play it safe. We come here to experience, expand and learn. It is to you to take the cards (that you chose for yourself) and deal with them. To not wish for (your interpretation of) someone else’s cards, because that would be to deny yourself.
A year ago, I acted on something I felt for a while already. That it would be better fitting to my desires and ambitions, to start operating under the umbrella of my own little company.
I had a very difficult time with setting healthy boundaries and with people pleasing. My chaotic personality and ADHD caused anxiety when put on a never stopping fixed work schedule. And I had way too much creativity that screamed for attention.
Also, life is not about those special occasions like your yearly vacation or special event. It is almost cruel to yourself to live life always thinking back to or looking forward to. Life is in the now. It is the everyday life. How you wake up and go to bed. The people you talk to. The everyday things you do. That is your life. And most people try to avoid looking at that painful truth by living in de past, the future and the 'would be'.
I want to, very consciously, create a life for myself, that is in line with my inner world. How much of a fairy-tale that might be. I'm here to learn how to take what makes me, me and to project that to my outer world. I'm here to inspire you to do the same. I'm here to heal your relation to that balance point, that translation barrier between in and out.
And in this journey I've set for myself, it is very important that I learn about and experience what exactly it is that makes me, me. What do I want? How do I want to feel? What everyday actions do I wish in my days?
So very often we are not very conscious about why we want what we want. Often, we think we want something, but are unaware that this thing will not actually lead us to the underlying desire of that need.
I'm constantly getting to know myself better. I'm becoming more me, every single day.
A year ago, I started out with a few activities under my self-employment umbrella.
My main activity would be a webshop with care products from Iceland and Norway, made with salt and seaweed. As a marine scientist with a big interest in holistic life and a passion for Iceland, this seemed like a good idea. However, selling online with a very small marketing budget and following, proved to be as good as impossible. I also noticed that I kept prioritising other things than marketing and building this website. Being enthusiastic about the subject was definitely not the same as the every day actions that are required when selling products online. A nice example of not getting what you want from something you think you want. After one year, I decided to cut off this river branch so that more water can flow into the river that holds the other branches of my company.
I'm also making and selling artwork. Something I originally never intended to. I just wanted to make a few drawings to make my webshop prettier. But I feel myself constantly drifting towards it. And fun projects are starting to find me without me having to search for them! More of that please!
My third branch is tourism. Something that took a lot of time and effort to lay the right connections, and gave me super nice project for the summer half year of 2022 and already a little one for august 2023! I realised again how much I enjoy guiding. Big dreams in this department and gratefulness for what found me already.
My fourth activity is writing. This blog and freelance. However, all current columns and articles I write are voluntary work. I consider writing a hobby. But it also keeps sticking to me very tightly. Gives me the suspicion that there is future in it somehow.
The fifth and last branch is video and photo. Also, a hobby with potential. Storytelling and the visual arts are not narrow for me. I will keep creating without any pressure to achieve something with it.
And as for the financial result? Money was invested and only earned back with way too much effort. Profit zero. Could be worse off course. After all I did not lose anything and my husband Koen had a very nice job with steady income.
However, while this gave me freedom to 'work it out' for a year, this was no long-term solution. We are renovation a house and so many more dreams for the future. Continuing to live without setting aside savings money every month seemed not an option anymore after a year time.
It slowly became this big doom hanging over my head. I was not so much about creating this life, as it was to make it work financially. It became so bad that this pressure completely killed the creative energy that was the spirit of the company.
Plus? I was lonely. So lonely. I longed for connection and interaction with other people. I longed to get put into the world again!
Thus, we decided that I would take on a part time job. This took away all financial pressure on my company. So that the creativity could flow freely again, without narrow, limiting goal. The work hours fit so well with my chaotic person and gave me the time and freedom the build my life during daytime. I get to be social again! And it gave me an excuse to buy my own car, which gave me so much more freedom again in all that I do!
How does it look like for my second year self-employed? Much better. I'm slowly defining and narrowing down to what works for me. I'm networking. I'm inspired. Instead of having to search very hard, things start to find me. I'm more and more letting go of control and oddly find myself more in power because if it.
So much more art ideas in my mind. And I'm nourishing the big dream of organising a writer’s retreat in the future. But I know I have to be careful to of putting too much on my plate at once. Too much creativity will smother itself. Everything in its right time.
Will I create profit enough to pay myself a salary the coming year? Probably not. Will it be better than last year? Yes. Do I love what I do now more than 6 months ago? Definitely yes.
An ocean of greys.
The biggest challenge keeps being the same. Finding ways to connect what I want to do on an everyday basis, to the energy of money. So that I'm actually able to live off it.
Definitely to be continued.