It wasn’t until I was nearly a year into freelancing full-time that I started to consider myself an entrepreneur. Up until then, I was a ‘journalist’, a ‘writer’ and a ‘contractor’ — but a person who runs their own business? No, that couldn’t be me — could it?
But as my confidence grew along with my client list, I realized I was making a career for myself… by myself. I started to get hired to do more in-depth work, I took on larger contracts, created editorial strategies, and developed SEO best practices. One thing led to another, and I finally was brave enough to turn myself into an LLC, choose a company name, Tigar Types, launch a website — and go for it.
Three years later, I haven’t looked back.I make my own hours, say ‘yes’ (or ‘no’) to work, manage relationships, assign writers and help my clients meet their goals. And because of my tenacity and dedication, I’ve been able to grow year-over-year, hire four contractors myself, and even contribute half of a down payment when my husband and I bought our first house last year.
My job is more than rewarding; it’s a significant part of who I am. I look forward to getting up each and every day, digging into my inbox, hopping on calls, scribbling and editing content, and, well, hustling. Often, when I’m sitting in my office, going through the day’s tasks, I imagine my daughter walking through my glass doors one day, asking me what I’m doing. It’s hard to believe I’ll tell her about her mom’s big aspirations that started at the age of 5 and took her to New York, and eventually to run my own company.
I have the great opportunity — and gift — to be a role model to my daughter as an entrepreneur.I want her to know that anything is possible. And that I’ll be there every step of the way to cheer her on, teach her, and be there for when she falls — and reaches the top.
Here, what I hope my daughter learns from me, as her entrepreneur mom:
Dreaming is not enough
Sure, I’ve made many wishes on pennies in fountains, and I’m a big believer in visualizing your ideal life. But I’m an even bigger believer in doing the work it takes to make your dreams come true. To begin my career, I moved to New York City with three suitcases, $3,000, no apartment or job — but a will to succeed. I made very little in my first years — but I worked harder than I’ve ever worked. And it did — and continues to — pay off.
No matter what she hopes to become one day, I will encourage her to make a vision board… but also apply to internships, get a part-time job, and dedicate herself to being the best she can be.
If the main motivation in my career was to be rich, I definitely wouldn’t have gone into journalism. And while I’ve been able to build a six-figure career for several years now, my initial salary was barely $30,000 a year in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I often wonder how I made it work, but I did — and mostly because it brought me joy.
If my daughter decides she wants to be a surgeon, a lawyer, an investment banker, or another incredibly lucrative career — that’s awesome. However, if her interests take her in a direction that’s not traditionally well-paying, that’s okay, too. The most important thing is that you enjoy working. We spend more time in our jobs than we do with our families, so I hope she will find something that brings her fulfillment and happiness.
Take (educated) risks
Part of being an entrepreneur is dipping your toe into the deep end… and then working up the courage to dive in and swim like crazy. When I first became my own boss, it was scary not knowing when my next paycheck would come in or to deal with the normal fluctuations that happen as a freelancer or someone who works in client services. Over time, I’ve developed a stronger backbone and realized I have to invest money to make it work harder for me.
While my daughter will have her finance-focused dad guide her way, I hope to teach her about releasing her fears around money. It’s been a journey for me, but I’ve realized the greatest rewards are in educated risks. That’s true for your career — and in love, friendships and life.
Remember, failure is part of the process
Part of being a journalist is pitching ideas that ultimately get rejected. And doing it over and over again, without taking it (too) personally. Being an entrepreneur means you’ll gain clients and lose them. I was even fired from my very first job. Through all of these ‘failures,’ I became more self-aware, more focused, and closer to my goals.
My daughter is going to fail, and hopefully, more than once. And though we all need time to lick our wounds — picking yourself up and trying again is where the most important growth happens. I hope she sees these setbacks as a temporary readjustment, and remembers the only way to move forward is to get started.
You’re never alone
The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that I’m not the only one. I’m surrounded by inspiring leaders. They’re my clients, my subjects for stories, and the friends that keep me sane. Women have an innate way of building community, and as my daughter cultivates her own group of supporters, I’ll remind her that it’s okay to lean on people. And to ask for advice. To be eager and curious to learn all she can from others who came before her or walk beside her. Of course, she’ll never be alone because I’m her mom — but she’ll need other people, too.
You’ve got this
Last but not least, my baby girl: you’ve got this. Whatever ‘it’ is for you — you’ll rock it. And I’ll always be your greatest fan, rooting for you every step of the way.
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