The 3 Things I Learned in My First Week as a Full Time Entrepreneur

If you haven’t already heard the news, I am officially a full time photographer!! (highly recommend checking out my announcement video, which you can find here) Words cannot even describe how ecstatic I am for this new venture, and to no longer be bogged down by a corporate job that I hated. I’m two work weeks into being a full time entrepreneur, and am already learning some invaluable lessons! So of course, I had to share them with you in case you’re struggling as well. Obviously, this is geared toward entrepreneurs, but if you’re working a 9-5 from home you will likely get something out of it as well. So without further ado, here’s what I learned as a full time entrepreneur in my first week!

A woman sits on the floor and types on a laptop on the coffee table next to her. The transition from my 9-5 to full time entrepreneurship was so exciting -- and I learned a couple of important lessons. Check them out here!

1. Be maniacal about boundaries.

The biggest boundary I learned that I needed to set was spending time on my phone. Not only during the day, but into the evening as well — I found I was all-consumed by it, and that was really cutting into my productivity and focus the next day (and we all know, it just keeps compounding). I’m working on recommitting to either analog activities (mainly reading, but occasionally knitting as well while I listen to a podcast), OR if I’m using a screen, I try to make sure it’s productive. Read: while I love binging Netflix as much as the next person, I’m really trying to scale that down here. So instead, to promote productive screen time I often will color on my iPad (and listen to a podcast, or sometimes just music to wind down), or occasionally play a video game.

Boundaries can also look like: not checking email after a specific time (or only at designated times throughout the day — for instance, 11am and 4pm for 20 mins each or something), putting business hours into your signature so your clients know when you’re available (and sticking to them!), and setting time limits on distracting apps or activities. Along this line, I recently bought a subscription to RescueTime and I’m really excited to dial in my productivity and keep tabs on how efficiently I’m working!

2. Establish routines — and stick to them.

I have been certifiably terrible at routines this year. TERRIBLE. But I’m learning extremely quickly that I absolutely am going to need to create (and maintain) some. In case you’re curious, here are a couple things I’m working on!

I’ve let exercise fallen off in the last month or so (seriously, it’s just tooooo easy to do), and I know I need to get back to doing it regularly. Obviously because it’s just generally healthy for you, but also because I saw it severely impacting my sleep — far more than it was when I was at my 9-5. This is a funny story actually: in the first few weeks (starting when I gave my notice and then into my first official week of FT entrepreneurship), I struggled SO HARD with falling asleep because my mind would not shut off. And no — this wasn’t from anxiety. I would have all these new ideas pop into my head. I would brainstorm video concepts, draft blogs, and outline marketing strategies in my head. I was literally too excited to sleep. It took me a while to realize that not exercising was ABSOLUTELY contributing to not being able to sleep, and it wasn’t just from my excitement.

While we’re on the topic of sleep, I also realized that I need focus on putting the bedtime routine I created in September back into play. I actually set up an entire routine (with specific activities designated at specific times — I know, I was so on top of it), and then after a couple weeks I fell off of it. But I know that also will help my sleep quality a lot, and help make sure I wake up rested!

The last routine I realized I needed to make is a daily work schedule. Since I no longer have a boss and I wrote my own job description, I discovered VERY quickly how hard it is to stay on task and finish said task (this blog post alone has seen three sit-down attempts to write) because I kind of just waft through my day and get distracted pretty easily. Thankfully, early this year I drafted up a possible weekend schedule (when that was all I had available for a full day of work on my business) that’s broken down in 15 minute increments — the entire day, start to finish. I’m probably going to tweak it a little, but I’m so glad I already have that on hand to start from! Would you be interested in a separate post on that? Let me know!

3. Create before consuming.

The last lesson I learned in my first week as a full time entrepreneur is how important it is to create (ANYTHING) before you consume other people’s creations. This is proving to be a hard habit to break — at my 9-5, on my work from home days, I would roll from bed to my desk and wait for our daily 9am conference call to start. And to kill time, I would alwayssss immediately pick up my phone to check my notifications and scroll Instagram. At this point, the habit feels compulsory. The main reason this is an issue is because it feeds back to my first point about scaling back my phone time — for those of you who’ve seen The Social Dilemma, you know just how addicting our devices are. And it’s been a little terrifying to watch that same behavior happen in myself, where I literally can’t help myself in checking for new notifications.

Anyway, so because I’m spending so much time on social first thing in the morning, I’m consuming all of the content that everyone else is making — and it drains my own creativity. I’m really having to stretch myself to get at least SOME actual work done when I sit down at my desk before reaching for my phone, but I know once I master that it will be so beneficial to my workflow!

So there you have it folks. What I learned as a full time entrepreneur in my first official week! If you want to keep reading, you can check out my other tips + resources here!

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