About a month from now, it’ll be exactly 8 years since I quit my job in corporate Switzerland to start my own business. It’s quite unbelievable how quickly time flies—but when I look at how profoundly my life has changed since then, I also have to say it feels like a totally different lifetime.
Since taking this first step into freedom in 2009, I’ve:
♡ … started 5 different businesses, out of which 2 have been successful.
♡ … made my dream of becoming a traveling nature photographer come true.
♡ … been on an amazing spiritual journey that has opened up a whole new world to me.
♡ … worked with hundreds of clients and given close to a thousand readings.
♡ … been incredibly creative.
♡ … designed about 30 websites, 3 decks of cards, tons of workbooks, a million social media graphics, and created 5 online courses.
♡ … filled 10 journals and written thousands of book pages (but haven’t published my first book yet).
♡ … moved to a new continent.
♡ … discovered that I’m a foodie.
♡ … gained 10 pounds and lost 15.
♡ … had my heart broken 4 times.
♡ … met my soul mate and got engaged.
♡ … lived in 16 different homes (and I’ll be moving again soon).
♡ … purchased my first car ever and driven 40,000 kilometres.
♡ … gone for lots of fun hikes and seen the most magnificent untouched nature.
♡ … met the most amazing members of my soul family.
♡ … met God.
Looking back, I am incredibly grateful for all the many blessings that have poured into my life over the last 8 years.
This post isn’t just to celebrate though. I writing this for a very specific reason: A few evenings ago, I asked Spirit to show me how I could best serve others on their journeys into freedom right now, and the same night, I got an intuitive hit to share some of the very first steps I took on my on journey.
It’s easy to take it all for granted sometimes. 8 years ago, I had no idea what was expecting me out there. I just had a dream I knew I needed to follow. I had no real plan or strategy. All I knew about entrepreneurship was what I had learned from a couple books I had read.
When I finally took the leap, God caught me in a big way. I had clients pretty much right away, I always had more than enough income to pay all my bills. And yes, I was super excited about finally being my own boss. Nonetheless, it wasn’t always easy.
I certainly made many mistakes, I worked HARD—often harder than when I was still in my 9–5, made things way more complicated than necessary, often had no idea what I was really doing, and put a lot of extra time and energy into strategies that didn’t pay off. In the end, I always had everything I needed, but I can tell you, that first year in my business was STRESSFUL.
I remember wishing I had someone to guide me (which is why I think it’s awesome that there are so many business coaches out there today who are doing exactly that). I got lots of inspiration from all the blogs I was reading, but putting all the theory into action was a different story. There was still a lot of guesswork, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of figuring things out on my own.
Not that this isn’t a part of entrepreneurship that could ever be avoided completely, but long story short: If you’re currently in the beginning stages of your business and on a mission to quit your 9–5 for good this year, there IS an easier way.
Today, I’d like to share 5 of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my 8 years as an entrepreneur—and some nuggets of wisdom for YOU if you’re ready to turn your passion into a sustainable business that supports you fully:
5 Things I’d Do Differently Today if I Could Start My First Business All Over Again
1. Pick a niche that lights you up.
One big mistake I made (because I truly had no idea it could be any different): I assumed that simply because I had been working as an advertising copywriter and content editor for 3 years and I was good at it, that’s what I should be doing in my business as well. Don’t get me wrong: In many ways, it was the best thing I could do as a first step to break free from being an employee. It was a quick and easy way to begin, and a great practice business.
However, after about a year of being in business, I began to feel that something was missing. Even though I was good at what I was doing, I didn’t feel lit up anymore. I was craving a sense of purpose that I couldn’t find in my existing career. My search for something more meaningful was the beginning of my journey as a spiritual teacher—and no, it didn’t take long for me to find that new path once I asked the right questions. But: If I could start all over again, I’d go straight for something that truly and deeply lights up my soul.
2. Know that you don’t have to do it all on your own.
The second thing I’d most definitely do differently today: Hire support right from the start. Even though I had quite a bit of money saved up and I always had more than enough income to cover all my expenses even in the beginning stages of my business, I was operating from a poverty mindset that kept me stuck in a mentality of having to do it all on my own for way too long.
As a result, I was constantly on the verge of burning out.
Today, I know that hiring a business mentor to guide me through me first steps (if I had known there was such a thing) would have saved me a lot of time and energy. And most likely, I’d hire someone to build my website for me, too.
3. Work smart, not hard.
When I got started on my entrepreneurial journey, I knew one way of making money: Work hard. Get things done as quickly as you can to make everyone happy. Be productive 9 hours a day, every day.
What I didn’t know was that this isn’t necessarily the best way to do things as an entrepreneur. In fact, it can be a recipe for failure. When I was freelancing, this way of working was part of my success because that’s exactly what my clients appreciated. And because I was still trading time for money. But: I also put a lot of effort into things I didn’t really need to do. My marketing was scattered and unfocused because I was putting random content out there just to keep myself busy. It didn’t really hurt my business, but it sure was exhausting!
Today I know: Less is more. Focus on what matters most. Let everything else go. And yes, taking breaks is important!
4. Say no more often.
In the beginning of my business, I made quite a few decisions I quickly regretted. One of them was saying yes to too many clients who didn’t feel like a good fit. I undercharged because I was afraid no one would hire me otherwise. I took on projects that didn’t light me up because I thought I needed the money while in reality it would have been smarter to keep my schedule open for my “ideal” clients (which was a term I hadn’t even heard of at the time). I had poor boundaries and just couldn’t say no to anyone because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.
Lesson learned: If something doesn’t feel good, you don’t have to do it. Have faith that there’s something better right around the corner, because there always is! When you stop settling for less, that’s when the magic happens!
5. There is never a perfect moment for anything.
I was a big action taker in my first years as an entrepreneur. Whenever I discovered something new that I was totally excited about, it didn’t take long for me to try it out. Starting a blog? Getting on Twitter? Writing guest posts? No problem! But: There was also a part of me that was holding back in the exact areas where I really needed change. The things that my soul was craving.
First of all, finally quitting my 9–5 to start my own business was a step I had been procrastinating on for years. Then, when it was time to let some parts of my business go, I hesitated again—for way too long. I thought I needed more preparation, more confidence, more time, another try, more money saved up just in case.
But the truth is: Nothing in life will ever be 100% certain. There will always be things you can’t control. No amount of waiting guarantees that there will ever be a perfect moment. In fact, the only perfect moment is when YOU decide!
When you commit to your dreams 100%, that’s when the universe aligns to support you fully—not the other way around :)