I love January.
Yes, it’s just after Christmas and everyone’s skint. Yes, it’s cold (usually. Not for me this year, it’s the height of summer here in New Zealand!). Yes, you have to drag yourself off the sofa and back out into the world to do things like earn money and do a big food shop. BUT it’s also a fresh start, a chance to make goals and plan trips and do-over the stuff that went wrong last time, a whole brand New Year.
As I’ve been setting business goals over the past couple of weeks, I’ve inevitably found myself looking back as well as forwards, and to the girl I was this time last year.
At the beginning of January 2016, I was finishing up my last few days as a contractor at the company in the UK I’d been working at for the last 15 months, and on the cusp of travelling to Central and South America for what I thought would be 9 months before heading over to New Zealand on a working holiday visa. I had vague ideas about doing a few design jobs to top up my travel fund throughout the year, and no particular life plans beyond that other than ‘let’s just see what happens’.
And now. At the end of 2016, and at my 6 month semi-anniversary of actually calling it by it’s name and running Ink + Honey as a business, so much has shifted and changed – in my mind, as much as in the real world. I’ve gone from 1 or 2 clients, mostly friends of friends, to being booked up a month in advance of this new year. I’ve completed some exciting and beautiful branding projects for the most inspiring solopreneurs and small business owners over the past few months. I’ve become an Etsy seller, with my latest collection of pre-made branding designs going live throughout January. And I get to create everyday, doing the stuff that makes my heart sing, whilst I travel.
There’s still an awfully long way to go, but the thing is, at least now I’ve figured out the direction that I’m going in. The big shift, I think, came when I admitted what I was doing, when I called it by it’s name. It’s really scary at first to say it out loud, and tell people; ‘I’m a small business owner. I’m a graphic designer, and I run my own company’. WOW. No pressure there then.
As soon as you do that, you create accountability and you make it real. It’s not a hobby, or a side project, or a ‘some day’ dream. And with that comes the potential that maybe it won’t work, that maybe you’ll fail.
But here’s the thing. If you never do that, if you never make it real, then you never even take the chance that you might NOT fail. And what then? No-one ever moved forward by staying still. No-one ever achieved big things without taking a leap, a chance. And I firmly believe that it’s better to take a leap and fall on your arse than to never leap in the first place.
So this year, if you’ve been dreaming of setting off on your own, of doing what you love for a living, of seeing the world, of freedom from routine, take a leap. And if you’re on the cusp of taking your hobby to the next level, and taking a shot at doing what you love for a living, make it real.
Call it by it’s name.