My Freelance Diary: How to start, step by step!

Living as an entrepreneur can be quite a ride. 
Sometimes after all the work, the endless hours we put in weekly and some roadblocks we face, I keep asking myself, is it all worth it? Did I see a reward for starting something by myself? Am I happy with my current life balance?

The answer to all of it is yes. 
The journey as a small business owner is absolutely worth it, and if you have the patience to see your business grow and create a life on its own, especially the passion to do what you do, it’s the best reward of all.

After spending some time with a ton of talented, successful and enthusiastic entrepreneurs a few days ago in company with GoDaddy, on a special global project, I got the chance to learn how they started, how they evolved and what was challenging right at the beginning and nowadays.

There’s something sure: no one has a secret recipe, a magic ball, or a manual to start your own business. I’ve learned the past 5 years since I started the blog and now my full-time job since November 2017, the one thing you need to keep going and grow, it’s passion. It’s waking up in the morning motivated to do better, to work hard and to have set goals of what you want to achieve.

Here’s a tiny guide to help you (that no one gave me at the beginning and wish I had it back then) on how you can start that dreamy project you have in your head for a while and don’t know where or how to start.

1. Start a morning ritual and set up your mood
If you aren’t a morning person like me, I found super useful and motivating to have a new ritual every day that helps set up my mood and get ready for what you’ll do the next few hours.
My ritual?
• Once a week I spoil myself having my favorite breakfast outside home.
• Mondays are “list love day” where I plan ahead my week, divide my tasks I have to do, and check everything I have pending to deliver.
• Coffee guys, coffee!
• I know this might sound crazy, but I dress up every single day even if I’m working from home. It helps me to cheer myself up, I swear it works.

2. Pretty, mobile optimized and an efficient website, it’s all you need
No matter the business category you are in, a website is the KEY of your entrepreneur life. When I started 5 years ago, I had a bit of knowledge how to start a basic blog and it wasn’t the prettiest or had the best copy, but I worked hard to create a solid brand at first.
Since day one, I’ve been using GoDaddy as my website partner and let me tell ya, it never disappoints. They offer endless hosting, email services, and now creative services where you can design and create a beautiful site (even transactional ones) with a ton of different templates I loved.

Want to see an example in real life? I thought so! Check Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s Tourneur des Bois site here, all done using GoDaddy’s website builder tools. Cool, right?

3. Surround yourself with positive, empowering and happy people.

There’s nothing better than having by your side people that believe, trust and support your project and journey.

When I decided to quit my full-time job after being in the corporate Marketing world for 8 years, I received a bunch of feedback like, are you sure blogging is a real business? or how are you going to feed your children? and even, you just bought a new home, will you be able to pay for it? The answer to all this for you is: Stay away from these people.

You’ll have enough stress of the unknown, of the change and everything that represents this freelance life, so trust me on this one.

4. You got to know your numbers.

The first few months this was the hardest part for me of being a freelancer. I had no clue my numbers, what I needed to achieve on a monthly basis to make this work including expenses, income taxes, equipment, and people.

Taxes: If you live in Canada, as soon as you hit 30,000 (in year one, or two, or three doing business) you need to register for a tax ID number. You’ll charge provincial and federal taxes depending on where your clients are. Numbers aren’t my thing so I called the government and did my registration online over the phone, easy, breezy.

Expenses: Track – every – single – thing.

Had a meeting in a coffee shop? Bought paper and pens to do a special shoot? Upgraded to a new phone? Have an agent you’re paying commission? These are all applicable expenses you can deduct. Also, check the unique expenses you can claim based on the type of business you have, like hair salon (if you do beauty and fashion reviews), for example.

Your time is also precious, so take in consideration the number of hours you need to work when you price your next project.

5. Find your own magic 
One thing we all agreed as freelancers, business owners and magicians (aren’t we all) is that you need to find that special magic that is, YOU. Don’t copy trends, or other businesses, or other experiences. this is my number one business philosophy that can’t insist enough. People love unique personalities and they will know when your work isn’t coming from your heart and pure inspiration. You are unique, you are talented and you definitely GOT this. 
I know this is the most difficult thing for all of us (and I’m including myself in this list). If you have an idea in mind, start. If you want to launch a new e-commerce site, start. I swear the key to jump from a full-time job to a freelance one is to make some risks that you’ll probably (like 90% sure) will fix later on. People love to see that idea grow and evolve over time, and if you don’t do it right away, someone else will, so let’s roll!

 7. Don’t expect quick and easy results, it’ll take a while, and a lot of work
If you want to have free weekends, stop working after 5pm and live stress-free, this won’t be the picture you’ll get the first years of your freelance life.
No one told me this but, creating a brand is the exact same thing as getting pregnant and having a baby. You’ll have morning sickness, growing pains, insomnia, the stress of the unknown and anxiety some hard days. BUT the most rewarding gift you’ll ever have after a while of work, it’s a creature you created that has its own life, personality and on top of everything, you’ll make a living out of it. It’ll happen if you have the passion if you don’t see this as work, and you’ll see, 80 hours are just a fun ride at the end of the week, each week.

We certainly don’t know what will happen tomorrow but I’m happy to love what I do, to find ways how to expand all the ideas I have in mind and to work hard as much as I can. It’s worth it friends, so worth it.

Did I miss something? Have more questions? 

Drop me a line, I’d love to help!

Endless thanks to GoDaddy for sponsoring this post. All opinions, struggles and little victories are entirely mine.