What I’ve learned in the past years as a creative online business owner

18. January 2021

I didn’t believe in my capability of creating my own work for the longest time. I would jump from freelance work to full time positions and back – I did that for three years. 

When my last full-time job ended in summer 2017, I was incredibly scared, but old memories started to show up again. My 6 year old self in Turkey, feeling free and excited and making the unconscious decision back then, to create an intuitive, slow life for myself – a life filled with books, stories, exploration and adventure. 

I had forgotten the feeling, had ignored my dreams and found myself living the life of someone else – certainly not mine.

Making the decision to not look for another full-time position right away took courage, but once I’d leapt, I’d leapt. To be very honest with you, working as a freelancer wasn’t completely new to me. I had done that before, but never with the intention to grow my creative online work – it was always sort of a filler in between jobs.

I’d spent months and years talking myself out of becoming self-employed. I was raised to always look for the safe path. Yes, find yourself a career you enjoy, but then get your degree and get hired by a preferably big company. But when I first realized, I can make this work, I can earn money my way and pay for my expenses, I slowly started to believe in myself. 

Since summer 2017 I am in this wonderful place of owning my creative online business and I can promise you, it’s been a wild journey – an amazing one, but also with many learnings on the way. I’d like to share three of the most important lessons learned with you. Whether you’re thinking about working online, or you already started and feel lost – and also as a reminder for myself, of what I’ve been through and where my focus lies now.

#1 Financial worries and making a living online

I believe for many of you, certainly for me, the question of ‘Will I be able to make a living online?’ is the biggest one. And one thing I’ve learned is, the financial worries won’t go away. 

In the past years, I’ve had months in which I brought in 8.000 € and months in which I only made 800 € – and also everything in between. And even now my income differs – there is no set amount I receive every month and I can count on. But I can count on me and you have to learn to count on you. 

I learned to calculate differently, to not indulge in spending too much money on unnecessary things – also, a big learning curve for me and a topic on its own. But one thing I’ve come to realize is: The more I enjoyed my work, my projects and saw the endless possibilities, the less I felt the need to spend money on distractions – happiness and contentment was inside of me.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that money worries will always accompany me – no matter how much I make. And I’ve asked myself several times, if being self-employed is for me, because as a highly sensitive person, I easily break down – especially when it comes to money. But every day I wake up being grateful for the life I have, the freedom and the meaningful work I get to do, that all the worries about money disappear. And this is the freedom I always longed for, ever since I was stood on the souk in Turkey and that is what makes it work for me.

But yes, you can absolutely make a living online.

#2 Some people make more than I do, and I’m happy with that

In the beginning, I had one coach tell me, I should go from copywriting to UX design – I could easily teach myself online or take some courses, but UX design is the future and you can make a lot more money. She was right! But I didn’t want to do that.

So, her business took off and mine did not. And that was okay. Because the dream of the little girl was never to live in wealth, all she wanted was to have the time to read, write and explore the world – as long as my work supports this dream, my life is complete. And it does – I traveled, I have enough time for rest every day, I can read and even work on my own writing projects. 

I currently have everything to fully enjoy my life – stays in luxury hotels, a big house or designer bags are simply not on my wish list. As an introverted and highly sensitive person I need time to rest and time to myself, I always dreamt of having an intuitive, slow lifestyle – and that’s exactly what I’ve created for myself. 

To some, that might sound like a mindset issue, I’ve heard several times, I only think that way, because I don’t believe I deserve more money – that’s not true. I know people who worked themselves up to the top, they wanted it and so they did – but for me, that never seemed like a desirable way of living. 

There might always be someone who gets paid more, who charges more and who lives a life desirable to most – but you have to define your ideal way of living for yourself, and then pursue that.

#3 Everything is always evolving

I am still finding my way – in life and at work. But along the way I am discovering my definition of living intuitively, creatively and shaping a life packed with meaning. I started small by offering freelance writing work online, and I still do for selected projects I absolutely adore – but I am also growing and changing and so is my work and my approach to an intuitive life. 

And that’s also the beauty of doing creative work online – it grows with you. My next steps look differently to what I’ve done so far, but they are the right next steps for me to take. 

For now, I am happy with where I am at, but that also means being open to new possibilities, to new ideas and then adapt.

The journey can be scary at times and you might even experience doubts – I know I did very often, but then I found comfort in knowing that I can fully trust myself. 

Love you, n. 

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