Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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7 Lessons From the First Year of Business

7 Lessons From the First Year of BusinessI still have a hard time believing it, but I launched my business, Signify, on July 1st of last year! Some days it really does seem like yesterday, and others feel more like a seasoned pro. Regardless, it’s been an intense learning experience.

I created Signify out of a desire to help my friends. I knew people with small nonprofits and purpose-driven for-profits and social enterprises that needed someone like me who could lend another set of hands and breakdown marketing and communications for them. They cared deeply about their mission, since it was the driving force of their organization, but marketing and communications weren’t their strong suite. They knew they needed to look and sound more professional in order to get noticed and grow, but they didn’t have time, or maybe even the know-how.

So, I stepped in. I’d already been freelancing, giving them advice, volunteering, and helping them as best I could along the way, but with this as my full-time business, I was going to be able to help them even more.

Many of these relationships became my first clients, and they’ve even stuck around for multiple projects, or referred their friends to me. It’s been a wonderful way to sustain and grow my business. Whether they need writing, consulting, or strategy help—and most often a combination of all three—these organizations have been a privilege to serve. I wanted to assist cause-focused organizations who were doing great things in the world. They were already making a difference, and I knew I could help them create a bigger impact.

It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m eager to start year two.

But first, here are seven lessons I learned from these first twelve months.


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5 More Strange Things About Working From Home

5 More Strange Things About Working From HomeAfter I started working from home full-time last year, I wrote a post about five strange things that came with the territory. And it’s hard to believe, but it’s been just over a year since I started my own business. It doesn’t seem like 12 months could possibly have passed, but if I counted the cups of coffee, I know they’d confirm it.

Working from home 24/7 has been a really interesting adjustment that I honestly didn’t expect. Since I’d previously worked from home two days per week, I assumed it would be a fairly easy transition, but in some ways it has taken me by surprise.

Here are five additional observations:

  1. I don’t see other people regularly. As an introvert (though most people find that surprising), this doesn’t bother me most of the time. In fact, I thought it would be an asset. But I’ve realized that I am more creative and energized by making a little time each week to see or talk to people, whether that is through client meetings, phone calls, or get-togethers with friends. Sometimes I’m ready to see people, and sometimes I have to force myself if I don’t already have something on the calendar, but it always proves to be beneficial in some way.
  2. I occasionally crave leaving my apartment. If the week ahead calls for a lot of writing, or a bunch of similar tasks, I’ve found that I’ll accomplish them faster if I change up my environment. This usually means going to a coffee shop or cafe at least one day a week. I didn’t foresee getting tired of seeing my apartment every day, but it does happen sometimes, especially when my To Do list involves repetitive functions. So, the best option is to switch up my surroundings. And if I don’t plan for it ahead of time, I know it needs to happen when I start feeling the need to unload my dishwasher or vacuum during the middle of the day. I think I’d like to eventually belong to a co-working space, but at about $100+ per month, that’s an expense I don’t need right now.
  3. I’ve taken binge-watching to a whole new level. With no commute, five o’clock can easily mean that the computer gets turned off and the TV gets turned on. And I don’t feel as bad about being a night owl since I don’t have to get up early, get ready, and drive to work. So, that means bonus hours of binge time! Last summer I made it through all 16 seasons of CSI, and watched endless hours of Olympics coverage! 😉
  4. I do less laundry. Yep, I basically don yoga pants and a t-shirt everyday . . . and they’re likely the same ones for an entire week. I will take a moment to note that I do not stink, though! Come on, I still have some standards. And if I have to get out of the house for meetings, to see friends, or to work from a cafe, I’m probably wearing the same outfit to all of those that week as well. #classy But I prefer to position it as further doing my part for the environment.
  5. I’m only dressed and made-up from the waist up for video calls. While part of me gets annoyed that I have to get properly dressed and put on makeup to not leave my apartment, at least I have the satisfaction of only doing it halfway. I look decent from the waist up, but I’m still wearing yoga pants and fuzzy socks. And in talking to others who work from home, this is pretty common. So, there’s a peek behind the curtain!

And that’s more about the glamours life of working from home! This is how the magic happens, people.

If you work from home, do you agree, or have additional items to add?