Reflections on Two Years Self-Employed
Your Biggest Vision
Season 2, Ep. 47
Two years of being self employed and there is so much to reflect on. Entrepreneurship has taught me more about myself than I ever knew possible and I am so grateful for all that I have learned and how I have learned how to fall in love with the process. In this episode, I share what I wish I told myself as I was starting my business and the most important lessons I have learned over the first two years of being self employed.
Tune in to hear:
- The most important lesson I have learned in my first few years of being self employed.
- What I wish I told myself when starting my business and what I would want any entrepreneur to learn no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey.
- How I view obstacles in my business in order to propel me forward.
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Leah Gervais: So two years ago, I was working at a nonprofit in New York city that I actually really loved. And I think that that’s kind of an important note because I think a lot of the times people go into their nine to five or I’m sorry into starting their own business because they hate their hate their nine to five job. They can’t wait to get out of it. And that actually, that was not the case for me. I really did like my job, but just six months prior to that, um, I, in March of 2018, I went through a personal tragedy. Uh, when I unexpectedly lost my dad and I had had my business up to that point, I had had it as kind of a side hustle that I dabbled in a little bit. Um, I, you know, did have hopes or, or I guess I should say magical thinking, like kind of fantasies of it becoming my full-time job, but I wasn’t actually in a position where I could realistically make that happen anytime soon.
And I didn’t know how, and so I was kind of going back and forth all the time between, like, is this something I really want to pursue? Or isn’t it basically. And my dad passing really solidified the decision for me that, yes, being self employed is something I wanted to pursue. This is something I wanted to go all out with. And it wasn’t something that I knew that I wanted to dabble with anymore. I felt like my dad’s passing really woke me up to how short and how precious life is. And we still fully believe that. Um, and this was a big part of that. I felt like I owed it to myself to really see if I could have my own business and make it on my own. And I just knew at that point that if it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out. I’d be exactly, honestly, in the same position that I was in then where I would have to get a nine to five job.
So I was on a mission for six months after he passed away to get myself prepared to realistically quit my nine to five. Now what that looked like for me are a few things to consider, you know, in whatever context it looks like for context, it looked like, it looks like for you. For me, it meant knowing that I was making as much from my side hustle as I was from my nine to five job. And there are a few reasons for that one. I knew that the stress of being self-employed, which by the way, is a choice. Like you don’t have to be stressed, but everyone in my life was pretty much like, Oh my God, you know, you’ll have to, you’ll have to make all your money on your own and you want to have this stability and you won’t have healthcare and whatever.
So I knew that I wanted to have the confidence, at least that I could make at least as much money on my own as I was making at my nine to five job. So that was one big consideration. Another big consideration was that I wanted to feel like, well, I, I guess I’m just gonna leave it at that. I wanted to know that I could make as much money on my own as I could make from my nine to five job. So my goal was to have three consecutive months where I made just as much, if not more from my side hustle as I did from my nine to five job. But to be totally honest with you guys, by the time I knew I wanted to quit and I did put a date on my calendar for when I was going to quit, I knew exactly when it was going to be, I don’t think anything was going to stop me.
I think that even if I didn’t make that income goal, or if anything else kind of popped up, I just knew in my heart. And I felt like I was kind of living a double life because on the weekends and between the hours of 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM, and between the hours of, uh, you know, 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM, I was doing something I was so passionate about and I was really falling in love with my business. And though I liked my nine to five job. I felt like I was kind of putting on a facade there. Not that I was aligned, but like, you know, I couldn’t tell you when they were about what my plans were. I couldn’t tell anyone there what I was really up to and it totally transparent way. So as far as I kind of was showing up there, it was like as if this was going to be the trajectory of my entire life.
And it was just exhausting. Me and I was at the point where I was just so ready for freedom. And this was all pre COVID, obviously. And I’ve always loved New York city so much. And I was already do explore and experience New York city. I was ready to have, you know, work out of coffee shops in random parts of the city. I was ready to be able to take myself out for happy hour with my computer. I’ve always loved doing that. I haven’t studied for the LSAT that way don’t judge me, um, or, you know, get up or later at least stop working really whenever I wanted, I just was ready for it. It might seem kind of simple on the surface just to say that like you get to design your days, but it’s absolutely not simple. So many people don’t get to. And I was so ready for that.
So I think no matter what, whether I, whether I reached my goal or not, I was going to quit. So when I had my quit date, my quit date came in September. Um, and so I actually ended up staying at my nine to five job after I had given my notice for over a month, which I think is quite unusual and was a little bit interesting, but that was how it played out. So when my quit date came, I had fulfilled my goal of exceeding my nine to five income with my side hustle income for three consecutive months. So that was great. And that gave me a lot of confidence, but there were a lot of other reasons why it seemed like I wasn’t quite ready yet for one though, my income had gone up a lot. So have my business expenses at that time, I think a big reason that my income income went up a lot is because I was investing a lot of my money back into my business.
I was so unavailable to be like the best kept secret or to have a business that no one knew about. So I was learning about advertising. I was paying for advertising. I was paying for coaches. I was paying for mentors. I was consistently trying to Up-level and really, really quickly. So that resulted in me having quite a few business expenses. And I don’t remember exactly, but I think I still might have had outstanding an outstanding balance on my business credit card. This is all very personal. And I don’t, I actually do know I’m sharing this, I’m sharing this because I want to be honest about what things looked like when I made that, because I think that for a lot of people, they feel like there’s a million reasons. They can’t do things and that’s not necessarily the case. So for me, I did hit my financial goal, but I also had a lot of business expenses and I probably didn’t have the kind of conventional wisdom of what you should have in your financial situation.
Likewise, I was greasy stricken. Um, I was in shock after losing my dad. I was paralyzed. And a lot of the days I was able to channel that into work. And I was really able to almost find motivation in and purpose. I guess this is the better word in his loss, but some days I couldn’t get out of bed some days I was still totally paralyzed. Some days I still would just follow the mind. I still fall to my knees sometimes when it really hits me to my core, that I’m never going to see my dad again. And so that was also a little bit worrisome for me. And for people around me, people were wondering like, do you have the emotional stability, honestly, you know, not really to handle and absorb the stress for lack of a better word, the stress, the, uh, lack of security, the lack of sureness, the, um, sort of just intensity that comes with being self emplyed.
Um, you know, you want to take a day off to grieve, great, but that’s a day of, of income that you’ve lost or of work that you’ve lost. Um, you know, uh, you’re gonna get me in comments, you’re going to get me emails. You’re going to get people that you’re going to try to sell something and it’s not going to work. And especially when you’re a new self employed person that stuff can really mean a lot to you. You can give that a lot of meaning, I guess, I guess I should say you can make it feel like you’re not doing a good enough job or that you made the wrong decision or that this isn’t right for you or that you’re not, you know, you’re not cut out to do it. And so those were also big concerns, especially as I was feeling so emotionally fragile and, you know, there were other practical things that I think could have stopped me if I let my ego talk me out of it.
Like I was engaged at the time. And, um, we had an expensive wedding, just like all weddings are Tang and we have, you know, a royalty wedding, but weddings are expensive. And so going from a stable income where I knew that I would be able to probably not pay for that much of it, because I wasn’t making that much money at my income, but I knew that, you know, I knew I could plan on what I could afford, where I wasn’t able to do being self employed. So I’m not going to keep going into all these reasons why I should or shouldn’t have done it. But I just want to give you an honest picture of what it looks like. And the fact that I still had plenty of reasons on paper, why I wasn’t ready for this or why this wasn’t a good idea.
And I even remember a few days before I messaged a woman named Emily Williams, who ha who had, you know, she was someone I had been learning from in my early days of business. And I just said, I don’t, I don’t know if I’m ready. I don’t think I, I don’t think I’m ready. Like I’m not there. And she just was like, you’re ready. Like, you just need to do it. You need, because no one’s ever going to give you permission other than yourself. So I had all those doubts and I had all those comparisons of looking at other people and thinking they were more ready than I was. I’m not ready to do this, but you know how the story ends? I did it. I bet on myself. I was so excited and, uh, I think it was November 9th. So coming up here in a few days was my last day.
And that November pretty much all the things, you know, the good, the bad and the ugly that can happen when you become self employed did happen that November, I launched a new program and I was relatively confident about it because my business had been taking off so quickly and it didn’t do poorly, but it did not do great. And so of course I was starting to go into this mode of like, Oh my gosh, should I do the right thing? Did I make a mistake? Was I too early? Would it have killed me to just say another few months? Just so I could have gotten this launch off the ground, you know, gotten more information, et cetera. So I went through all of that and in November I had a five figure month and I think that was my first five figure month. And that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have the extra 40, 50 hours per week to be spending on my business that I didn’t have when I was home.
So it is all the things. If you are considering quitting your nine to five job, or if you’ve already quit and you’re still going through the ebbs and flows, just know that that is part of it. Everyone experiences it. And everyone can like, we all are going through the same things together. And so this brings me to what I really want to talk about, which is what do I wish I could have told myself at that time? And I think that this is such a peaceful realization when being self employed can really let this sink in. So a lot of us start businesses, quit. Our jobs, want to quit. Our jobs, want to, you know, chase our dreams because of the life that we think we will have when we do or the waywe think we’ll feel when we do or the money we think we’ll have.
And we do. And those desires are exacerbated by social media, which I actually don’t hate on as much as everyone else, but nonetheless, we can’t deny that we see other people doing what they doing, what we want to do, having what we want to have, being who we want to be. And I’ve always been the biggest believer that if you can see it, you can do it. If you can see it, you can have it. If you can dream it, it can be yours. For the most part. I know that there are obviously like very intense exceptions to that systematically not going to get into the election, but you guys know where I’m coming from. Nonetheless, I’ve always really had that kind of like, if you can do it, I can do it mentality. So what’s the deal. Then we see all these people having businesses that they want, having financial success that they want, having the things that they want doing the things that they want.
And we want to do those two and we start pursuing them. And then all of a sudden you’re in these situations where I did have a five figure month and that was so great. And it was everything I thought I wanted and I had worked for it for so long. And I thought that once I had it, I would feel so like I made it, you know, I would feel so accomplished and, and so sure of myself. Oh, yikes. And then at the same time simultaneously, I am grieving and I’m in shock and I’m also having a launch that didn’t go well. And I’m also dealing with a lot of self employed expenses. I didn’t think I had. So they all exist at once and I’m not using this opportunity to save. Don’t look at someone’s highlight reel and think it’s a reality because I think that your highlight reel can be a reality.
That’s really what I want to say here. My point is that what I wish I would have told myself is that the biggest downfall that I would have over the past three years, even before I quit my nine to five job. And the biggest downfall I see my clients have is when they give themselves deadlines on what they want to create. And I just experienced this. I don’t know if you guys all follow me, but we, I just had a six figure month, a hundred thousand, more than a hundred thousand dollar month, which still blows my mind. And it was an, and for in that month, I didn’t have, I didn’t have an income goal that month. I did not start October thinking, I’m going to make a hundred thousand dollars this month. This is how I’m going to do it. I’m going to create a perfectly, I didn’t do any of that.
I just let it be, uh, you know, I just I don’t want to say just let it happen because of course my off, but it was that detachment from the deadline that really made it happen. And so what does this look like? Well, let me actually first say why. I think that the downfall is the deadlines, because I see this over and over. People say this month is gonna be my first five figure month. This month is going to be the month. They get three clients. This month is a month. I’m going to launch my new program. This month is a month that I’m going to, you know, have X, Y, and Z success, whatever it is that you’re, that you’re you fill in the blank for. And I think that setting those goals is fine. I don’t want to get into how I practically do this, but I feel like the downfall is in the deadline.
Why is this the downfall? Because it keeps the focus on the destination, not on the process. And we are in the process for a reason. So everything you’re going through right now, no matter how challenging or confusing it might seem, it is preparing you for your outcome, but you don’t get to decide when you’re ready for that outcome. That is between you and God. If that’s the way you want to look at it, you in the universe or just your own internal being really it’s all the same, you know, a good example of this is pregnancy. Um, I’m, I’m not a mother I’ve never been pregnant, but, uh, I can imagine that, you know, there are plenty of moments where you feel like I don’t want to be pregnant anymore. I want this to be done. I want this to be over. I’m not comfortable.
I don’t feel good. I’m not sleeping well. Like whatever kind of things are happening, you want it to be over. You’re having these obstacles and you were just ready for it to be done. You’re ready for the baby, the, to be complete, but we don’t, we don’t act like that. I mean, sure people have their, their, um, complaints. And that’s obviously understandable, but we don’t actually want it to be done before it’s ready. Because if it is, then we aren’t ready to see it through, right? If you have, if you end up, like, if I’m going to be very careful as I say this, but babies that come out prematurely often, you know, they sometimes have a difficult first few months of life. And that’s because pregnancy is designed biologically for you to be ready to then have your baby and for your baby to then be ready to be birthed into the world.
So it’s the same thing with your goals. You know, when you have something, when you have a desire, no matter how clear on it you are, if that $10,000 a month is your desire of quitting your job as your desire. Um, if a six figure month is your desire, and you are saying it has to happen this month. And then you are wondering why a bunch of resistance is coming up for you in pursuit of it. And you see those as things that are blocking you from letting you have it. When in reality, they’re actually preparing you to have it. You are going to always be focused on the destination and not the actual process. So the advice I wish I would have learned, and the thing that has, I think got me really far since then is focusing on the process and letting go of these timelines because they are controlled by something greater than us.
And I don’t mean that in an overly religious way. I think it can be interpreted in a religious way, but we are humans and we are only human. We do not understand why things need to happen the way they need to happen, especially if we’ve never done them before. So thinking that you are ready for something, why isn’t it happening yet? If it’s never happened for you is simply a logical thinking because it’s never happened for you yet. How would you know what you need in order to make it happen? And so what, what do we do here? You know, what kind of options do you have? How do you, how do you bring to life, the lifestyle, the vision, the happiness, the money, whatever it is that you’re working for in your self employed business, during the process so that you can actually have the self employed business and the life that you always wanted, you have three options.
So when you’re going from point A to point B, when you are up-leveling, when you are going through a transformation, whatever you are working toward, you have, you really have three options or an option that is not there is for you to call the shots and get there in a way that is on your schedule or your terms. And I see this all the time with people in the self employed space, they think that they are, you know, dictating how long things take them, or they get really attached to their monthly goals. And I’ll talk about how to reverse that in just a second, but it is again, it’s just not, it’s not, I don’t recommend it as a mindset. So you have three options. Option one is for you to go through the process, experience all the ups and downs, experience all the ebbs and flows and allow them to have meaning, allow them to be upsetting, allow them to be frustrating.
So using my example from two years ago, that first month when I was self-employed, I went through the process of wanting to have, I didn’t even know I was going to have my first five figure month that month again, I think it was my first, but I didn’t even know I was going to, I just wanted to make more money on my own than I had made at my nine to five job. And so I went through that whole month when a launch didn’t go as well as I wanted to, or when I was having struggles with grief or when my self employed business expenses were high. And I went through every single one of those obstacles feeling like, what if I made the wrong decision? I’m stressed out. I don’t know if I’m good enough for this. Um, I don’t know if I’m actually meant to do this.
Am I worthy of doing this? I gave a lot of the obstacles, meaning, and I still arrived at the, at the destination. So you can do that, right? You can go through whatever you’re going through and think every challenge has a meaning against you, or that you did something wrong or that it’s trying to tell you something or that it is setting you back. Or you can go through the process and not pay any mind to the things that are stopping you. And that is how the people that live in sort of like that fairytale world that you see, look, they might not be honest about it. They might actually not be happy. That’s not really our decision to decipher, but I know for me, I have always, it’s always been about the pursuit of a lifestyle for me, the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of alignment.
And I have learned that the way that I have that and that I live that out is by simply deciding that I’m living that out, excuse me. And the happiest most successful people are. So because they have decided to not give worth to the stumbling blocks along the process, excuse me. They fall in love with the process. They have fun along the process. They shrug things off that hurt them during the process. They think, okay, this launch shouldn’t work out next. Like, let’s see what else we can do. Um, you know, I had to take the day off because I’m grieving or I’m sad, or this election is driving me nuts.
Great. I’m going to let myself do it. And you know what? I’m going to order extra food and some wine, and I’m going to enjoy it the way that you live, the way you want to live, the way that you have the life and self employed business that you want to have is by accepting and deciding you’re going to have it in your progress and in your process the whole time, not by waiting for the destination, not by waiting for the transformation, not by kicking and screaming on the way there.
And then the third option is to back out. And that’s what a lot of people do. If you don’t want to go through the process, if you don’t want to experience the growing pains, if you don’t want to experience the obstacles on the way. Yeah, no, one’s making you do this. You don’t have to do this. And I don’t say that in a cold way. I’m not trying to say that in a judgemental way. You can know that myself, but I think having the awareness that those are our three options, when we’re in the pursuit of something, we don’t dictate the outcome. We don’t dictate the deadline. We don’t get to decide that. So let it go either have fun along the way, kick and scream along the way, and, you know, make it harder on yourself or just decide it’s not worth your pursuit.
And that’s okay. There are plenty of things that like, I’m sure I could go for. And I just don’t care enough. Like I probably could work really hard to lose the corn team. Wait, I have, uh, put on. And, but I don’t care enough because life is too short and that’s okay. You know, there are people that they just don’t want to, they don’t want to go through the process and that’s okay. There are people that don’t want to be mothers because they don’t want to go through the process of Parenthood. That’s okay too, but you don’t get to skip the pregnancy to have the baby. You don’t get to skip the pain of pregnancy, the growing, the literal growing pains. I literally can’t even imagine you don’t get a skip. The, the weight gain, the feet, swelling, the whatever comes with it. You know what?
I’m sure every woman is different, but you go through the process and I’m sure for some people, the process is a lot harder than others, but know that the way you have a fun in the process is by just deciding you’re going to have fun in the process because every single obstacle that comes along with the process and to you is preparing you for the thing you’re working toward. It is not against you. So that brings me to the final thing I want to discuss today, because I think something you might be wondering, especially if you’ve been one of my clients, I focus a lot on monthly goals. That’s always how I work with my clients. We reverse engineer, how are you going to hit your goals? And I too am a big monthly goal fan. I think it helps my team. It helps me.
It brings me clarity. It works for me. So how am I kind of telling you both right now that you can let go of the deadline? You should let go of the deadline, um, because the deadline robs you of the joy of the process, and you might need to have a container for your goals in order to have a structured work ethic. Here’s the key switch. Have your goals have a deadline align around them if you want. I prefer not, but like, if you have a focus of the month, that could be a good way to look at it. Like this month, I’m focusing on landing three clients, not so much like this month, I have to get three clients or X, Y, and Z. This month, I’m focusing on three clients. Now here’s the shift. Instead of thinking this month, I want three clients.
And if I don’t get them, I did something wrong. And you might not consciously think that, but really let yourself sit with the last time you didn’t reach your monthly goals. Were you hard on yourself? Did you think that you didn’t do a good enough job? Did you think that your self employed business wasn’t good enough? Did you think your strategy wasn’t good enough? That’s all the same thing here. So instead of thinking, I’m working toward three clients this month, and if I don’t hit them, then I did something wrong. You think I am working towards three clients this month and if I don’t get them, then that’s because something better is on its way to me. And that’s how we live in. That’s how we train our brains to see the possibility everywhere, because then you see maybe I didn’t want three clients, maybe I only one client, but there are a premium client and I’m actually going to make more money and have less time of a time commitment.
Or maybe if I wanted, I thought that this would be a $10,000 a month for me. And I didn’t hit that. And instead of making myself wrong and feeling like I failed at my strategy and feeling like my self employed business, isn’t good enough in the next two weeks, I’ll get an opportunity to make a $15,000 contract or something like that. You don’t see that if you’re in the Headspace of I did this wrong, I’m not good enough. My self employed business isn’t good enough. I am not doing everything possible for myself. Any of those negative, that negative type of self chatter that comes up with us feeling like we had this deadline. And if we don’t meet the deadline, then we did something wrong. So all this is to say, I hope that this is summarized.
Clearly. I know it’s kind of abstract, but the biggest thing I wish I could have told myself two years ago when I was terrified and excited and optimistic and alone and, um, nervous and all, all of the things, all of the things when I left my nine to five job and my self employed business was, you know, I had no idea that in two years I would be having a hundred thousand dollars a month, like or anything like that.
I just wish I could have gone back and said, you’ve already made the decision to be successful. Let go of the deadlines, let go of all the attachment. Do what is fun for you see each obstacle in the process as something uniquely designed to, to strengthen you and get excited for what’s going to come out of that because greater things than we could even imagine. What? So I hope that this is helpful for you guys. I hope that this has given you some release for any, any kind of time constraint you’re giving yourself and just remember like, yes, I think goals are great. I think monthly goals are great, but they are only there to guide you. They are not there to rule you. Only you rule you, you and the man upstairs. And if you guys have any questions about this, please feel free to, you can always see me.
I love chatting with you guys on Instagram. My handle is @LeahGervais_ with an underscore at the end. And the final thing I want to share is that if this is the type of thing you’re interested on really bringing into your life, both from a mindset perspective and from a strategy perspective. And if you’re interested in working with me directly on how I was able to shift out of these artificial deadlines, so that I fell in love with the process of being self employed and had bigger outcomes, results, transformations, then I alone could have seen for myself. Like that’s what I need about.
There’s something better waiting for me. If I would have said like, I want a $50,000 a month and that’s what I would’ve worked toward. I never would’ve had the a hundred thousand dollars a month. So if these are the types of results that you want to see in your business in life, I encourage you to check out and apply for my 2021 mastermind.
I’m going to go ahead and put the link under this video in Facebook. And I will put it in my Instagram bio there’s absolutely no strings attached for applying can apply to see if it could be right for you, but it is the most intimate high-level way to work with me next year, period. Um, it is also the only group program I have available that have direct calls with me and it is, um, an intimate group.
So if you are self employed, an online based self employed person that is ready for your next or your first six figures, and you want to do it in a way that allows you to fall in love with the process that allows you to see the meaning in the process and really allows you to have and bring into reality the life that you probably have wanted since you even considered starting your self employed business, this is the program for you.
So I would love to see you apply again, no strings attached. It’s just about having a conversation. We can see if it’s right for you and you literally have nothing to lose by just looking and applying and so, so much to gain. Um, I could go on and on about the things people have done from this program. Uh, but I won’t because you can see that on the page, Leah jervais.com/mastermind.
Let me know if you have any questions, but either way here is here process here is to whatever you’re going through, moving through, becoming so that you can have what’s even better on the other side, wishing all lots of love. I hope you have a great day. Thank you guys for tuning in.
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