Are you out of your comfort zone? Good.

I quit my day job. I. QUIT. MY. DAY. JOB.

I have worked for the last 2 years for this moment. I’ve re-branded once, made many mistakes, learned from some of them, made some of them again, and now, finally, my business has grown to where I get the opportunity to quit my day job and delve into the reality of what it looks like to grow TSB full time and work from home. Throughout this whole process, Justin has kept me steady. Scratch that, he’s been steady and being the dreamer, I’ve been all over the place. He has called me out and kept me in check; if it were up to me, I would have quit long ago. Heck, I still try to quit on a weekly basis. He has led me well in this and I let him and that is the #1 reason why I am where I am. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the last few years is that you have to allow others into your dreams and to hold you accountable, I knew that I was genuinely ready to be doing this full time gig on my own when Justin told me I was ready. I had been saying I was ready for the last 2 years and the hard truth is: I wasn’t. I was so upset with Justin every time he told me that but that would have actually probably been really disastrous.

What’s been really hard: Since I was 17 years old, I have not had 2 weeks go by without a pay check being deposited into my checking account. Now, how successful I am and how much money I make is completely up to me. My success is in my own hands. I don’t know that I trust myself with that. Sales is also something that 100% does not come naturally to me, it actually brings me EXTREME anxiety. The kind of anxiety where I come home at the end of a day spent networking and cry and tell Justin I want to quit. But, the nature of growing a business, especially in just starting up, is getting in front of as many people as you possibly can, and building relationships with strangers. It is just how it is. And you know what? I’ve been out and about going door to door drumming up business, doing as many one-on-one meetings as I possibly can. I did my first elevator pitch this week (it was awful, like, I actually had two total strangers offer me advice on how to do better) and felt like I was dying inside while speaking but I didn’t even die… 🙂

The lie that I’m tempted to believe: I need to be more personable. Less awkward. Better at describing what I do. Better at selling. And only in doing all of those things, I’ll be more successful.

The truth that I have a hard time believing: I don’t have to be anyone or anything that I am not. I actually got this far from just being me and I’m really proud of where I am. So, I vow to myself to continue to be me. Sure, I want to grow more comfortable in my own skin, I want to be crazy confident, and I’ll continue working toward that but for now, this is me, this is where I am at, and I am enough.

Fear, insecurity, and being (WAY…WAY…) out of my comfort zone always creeps in and is a total fun sponge. Here, I find myself completely reliant on Jesus and what he says about me and he says I am enough. I will continue to let these circumstances, right now that is being 100% out of my comfort zone, bring me to my knees and remember how much I need a Savior.

What’s been really, really wonderful: FREEDOM – an obvious pro for anyone who works for themselves. I was growing TSB while working 40 hours a week for the past 6 months so I now had that additional time to grow TSB but also to do a few personal development things that I had been desiring to do for a long time (more on that soon). My work life is now a place that I grow and am consistently challenged. My previous job got very comfortable, not that I wasn’t 100% in it or that I wasn’t occasionally challenged, but I pretty much knew what the day would bring. Running your own business, testing markets/wording/techniques, and planning your own days, and marketing strategies look very different than that and it’s incredibly empowering. I am learning something new every day and have been pleasantly surprised at how myself and TSB has been accepted throughout other business owners.

What’s been completely different than I thought it’d be: That freedom that I was talking about has been hard to accept. For example, Justin had a couple hours free and I had a light week so we went to see a movie at 12:45pm on a Monday and I felt guilty! Like I should be working on something. I don’t work 40 hours a week. I mean, sometimes I work beyond that, sometimes I get close, and sometimes I just don’t. But after week 3 of working from home, I don’t even keep track anymore, I actually fight very hard against that urge to make sure I’m living up to that.

I get to be a work from home mama, a dream come true. I am beside myself and feel so undeserving of this opportunity but the reality is, I worked very hard to get here and have a very long way to go. Getting to the place where I can work from home isn’t where it stops, it’s actually where it begins so I’ve got a lot of hard work ahead but I can’t wait to see what kind of growth that brings: to me, to my family, and to the community of other dreamers out there who are 6 months behind me or 6 months ahead of me or 60 years ahead of me. I want to pour into and learn from everyone that I possibly can and I can’t wait to see what that looks like.

Get out of your comfort zone, my friends. It. Is. Life. Changing. Be true to you. 

You are always enough. I am always enough. All the glory and praise be to Jesus.

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Settling In

I have really settled into this time of learning I’m in and have been incredibly blessed by the outcome so far. God’s really refined me in the stillness of this season – brought out a lot of ugly but also formed a lot of confidence. I’ve also really, really enjoyed just being a wife. Culture says that there is something wrong with the woman who is OK with staying home to take care of the house and cook and clean and with our schedules lately, mine allows me the opportunity to do just that and I’ve loved it. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, gardening, baking, and making our house a home (we moved 6 months ago and I’m JUST NOW getting around to it).
There is so much value in taking the time to invest in a solid foundation and I’m finding that it looks a lot different for each person, sometimes it’s college, or a year abroad, or just a mismatched time of learning like mine. It’s a beautiful place to be before the craziness of the season of launching and building businesses – I get to spend time building a foundation for my most important ministry — my family. Justin and I have gotten a lot better about spending intentional time together and communicating well. It’s in these places where we build the foundation – the trust and rapport in our homes, with our spouses and communities. This will always be something that I work toward, into the next season and the season after and so on, I will also continue to be learning and building rapport with my love but it’s here that I am learning how to do that because I don’t know that I’ll get a time like this again.
I’ve also been learning to code through Code Academy. Classes at The Iron Yard, a coding school in Orlando, start a little later this month and I can’t wait to get started with them – even to just be in community with others learning the same skill together. Between the two, Code Academy and The Iron Yard, my goal is to be fluent in this crazy language by the end of the year. The beginning of 2016 I’ll work to re-brand Rise into a new, fun brand and I’ve also got one other project I’m working on. Both will launch Fall 2016 – I can’t wait to share previews of both!
“…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:12-16

Striving After Wind

This is a little different than how I hoped/thought this post would go back when I started doing web design last year. I launched my second website a few weeks ago and came to the conclusion that it will be the last big project that I do for a bit. Back-to-back 65 hour work weeks just aren’t how my body works, I’m literally still recovering and it was almost 3 weeks ago. It’s terrifying how quickly God’s voice fades into mine when I am not attentive to Him.

It actually makes me feel super uncomfortable to say that I can’t handle that because long work weeks was the plan for the rest of the year. I know that pursuing dreams means really hard work so that’s what I was going to do but The Lord has a much different plan. I have been reading in Ecclesiastes, (I love this book so much because it has packed into it the wisdom of an old man who has seen it all and is reflecting on the meaning of life) and he talks over and over about how everything we do is “striving after wind” – that rings so true to me personally but also in our culture in general and how jam packed our calendars are just so that we can always be doing. I think I over-work myself just to feel over-worked because I feel like that’s how I should feel. Like, I’m lazy and not working toward my goals if I don’t eat, breathe, sleep production.

Reality of it is, that is just not the case (thank GOD, because that is an empty feeling). I recently shared about how I’m feeling called into a time to learn and with that comes slowing down and being super aware of what it is that I can handle. Because, I mean, physically, I CAN handle 65 hour weeks but I don’t have anything left to give any one/thing else at the end of those hours. I am on empty. And at the end of the second long work week? Even after my project was launched? Something I’ve worked SO hard for! A step closer to my dream! I didn’t feel satisfied. Not even kind of.

So, I’m living those words that the author of Ecclesiastes speaks on – “striving after wind” – I feel that. It’s crystal clear to me that it is what I’ve been doing for the past year, running ’round and ’round not “accomplishing” anything, just striving after wind. That’s not to say anything negative toward those who work long hours. Am I going to stop working hard? No. I’m not. But realizing that God’s voice sounds an awful lot like my voice on the other side of that draining week is enough to make me take some time to take a closer look at my motives and help me to manage my time more wisely. My prayers are getting bigger, my heart is open to learning, and my palms up in surrender. I am ready to slow down, be taught, and stop striving after wind. There is freedom there.

A Time To Learn

I’ve never been more thankful for a new month and the fresh start that comes with it.

Little back story here: I did two semesters of college during which I moved out and got engaged, came up with a business idea, quit school and ran with my idea. As far as education after high school goes, I have nothing against it – I just felt like it was useless because I already knew exactly what I wanted to do and could begin doing it without any schooling so, I did. I lived it out in the form of Rise and now, 1.5 years later, here’s where I’m at:

  1. I quickly got wrapped up in my “company”. It became about Rise and less about my clients – I was obsessed with the image but wasn’t 100% confident in it. What I know now: You can build your brand without an LLC or forming a corporation. I feel like this works well in some cases but in my case, I could have saved a lot of money and energy until that was a necessity, I lost a lot of the heart of what I wanted to do in a silly name.
  2. Owning a business becomes dark quickly if you don’t invite the Lord into that space. What I know now: seeking Jesus and having the Spirit present in my decisions and conversations is a GAME CHANGER.
  3. Learning is for everyone. I say that I don’t have anything against continuing education after high school but I kind of really did – I thought that it was something many could do without, and it is but it was quite the humbling experience to end up back in college ;). What I know now: to be effective and successful, I have to take the time to really learn so I can serve the businesses I represent well.

So, how do those “now I know” moments change how I am doing things?

  • I’m going to brand my name rather than a company because truth of it is, I am not a company yet. Rise will be no more, it’s just me and I’m great with that. So, I’ll soon be launching a new website with a new brand and doing away with Rise.
  • I have a couple of different projects from now until the end of the year that are keeping me busy and I am so much more confident working for myself and not feeling like I work for this company that I hate.
  • I’m going back to school…WHAT. I sincerely never thought I’d say that, but I am and I’m actually excited about it. I’m taking three classes per semester as life allows until I’m done. I’ll continue working my full-time job and freelancing while I’m going to school.
  • I’m soaking up every bit of learning in this season I’m in. I am loving the simplicity of where I am.

Justin and I have a couple of other dreams for the remainder of the year that I’m not quite at liberty to discuss yet 😉 but I cannot wait to share those dreams and to see it come to life.

This bit of advice from a recent RELEVANT Magazine article has stuck with me:

Commit your dreams to the Lord (Psalm 37:5)
Ask Him where to start
Persevere
Dream BIG & bright
Choose joy where you are right now

My prayer in addition to those listed above is for the Lord to “restore my undivided attention to Him” in every single part of my life and it will continue to be my prayer because it led me to this peaceful decision. Though it’s been proven my whole life, I somehow keep forgetting that I can do nothing apart from Him. I mostly share all of this to be held accountable in my mission to serve my community. So, would you do that for me? Do you have any advice for me in where I’m at in this fantastic season of learning?