• Dakota Brown

Inherently D: Launching A Business During a Pandemic

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

I know, I know. What was I thinking?

I won't lie to you: I ask myself this at least 5 times a day.

The U.S. is experiencing a time of economic and political turmoil, as well as struggling with containing a global health crisis. While this may seem like the worst possible time to start a business, let alone a risky venture like a freelance career, I have spent hours thinking about my decision...and every time, I know it was the right one.

This week, I left the security of my job at a successful local digital marketing firm. As someone who has striven for stability in every part of my life, this was a HUGE and terrifying step.

So, why did I do it?

Making the Decision

While I have always desired a stable life for myself, there is one thing that is far more valuable than that "stability": happiness.

It's not that I was unhappy, exactly. I enjoyed my work as SEO and Content Manager at the agency. In the time I spent there, I transformed the content development of the agency and helped to implement new systems and build a Content Team that I was proud of every single day.

But in the back of my mind, I knew I was playing it safe and cheating myself. I'd always known that, until I was my own employer, I would never be truly happy. I'd always be working on someone else's clock, and I'd always have those times where I'd have to put my own priorities and even morals aside to do the work that was expected of me.

During my period of self-examination, I realized something else: I am far too sensible for my own good. I knew that, if I didn't take the risk now, there would be a chance that I never would. I'd always find some excuse, and the consistent quality income or benefits would be enough to sway me to do "what was right for my family", even if it wasn't right for me.

At my last position, even with my status as a member of the management team, I did not receive benefits...and Idaho pay levels are significantly below industry standard. BUT, I knew that as time went on, new positions would offer these it was time to act.

Feeling pretty good about what I was planning to do, I reached out to an entrepreneur friend of mine (who I'd been doing some occasional work for when I could spare the energy from the agency) and she immediately helped to raise me up and kickstart my business.

Within a matter of days, I had my first official client! So, I did something crazy: I left the agency before fully replacing my income. Now, why would I do that?

I needed "The Fear", of course!

What is "The Fear"?

In one of the early seasons of Friends, Rachel admits to her friends that she hates her job at the coffee shop, but can't seem to leave it or attain a position she wants. That's when Chandler and Joey introduce the concept of "the fear": simply put, in order to achieve what you want, you need to be afraid of failure and use that fear to push you to success.

Having a safety net was inhibiting my growth. I'd gotten just enough clients that I couldn't feasibly stay in my current position, but I still needed to find a few more to fully replace my agency income. So I put my faith in my ability and connections, and took the leap!

Today is day one of my official self-employment, and I'm feeling pretty optimistic. My current clients are wonderful, and I have a feeling it will only get better from here. If you'd like to follow along with my adventure, I will be posting occasional updates here over the course of my freelance journey.

As I stand at the precipice of what could be the rest of my life, all I can think about is a quote from Peter Pan:

"All it takes is faith and trust."

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