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Becoming CEO: Month Four of Solopreneurship

becoming CEO- Jessica Lawlor

For those who are just catching up, in December, I made a career (and life) changing announcement. I resigned from my job working in public relations to take my business, blog, brand and teaching full time. I’m bringing you along for the ride, giving you a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the exact steps I’m taking to make solopreneurship work in the Becoming CEO series.

You can check out previous posts in the Becoming CEO series here:

Let’s take a look at month four of solopreneurship! Here’s my month by the numbers, an income breakdown, lessons learned, the ups, the downs and how I’m feeling.

Month Four By The Numbers:

  • 10 phone/Skype calls (as compared to 4 last month)
  • 6 in-person meetings (as compared to 5 last month)
  • 16 meetings total (as compared to 9 last month)
  • 17 yoga classes taught
  • Two podcast interviews released (Listen to my interviews on the Chasing Creative Podcast and Say Yes Podcast)

Month Four Income Breakdown:

Each month, I’ll share a percentage breakdown of my income. As you can see, I have multiple streams of income, so as time goes on, I’ll be curious to see which areas develop more than others, as well as what NEW areas might be added.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 12.10.27 PM

A few thoughts on the income breakdown:

  • It’s so wild to me how much my income breakdown changes from month to month. For example, consulting became a smaller area for me this month as I transitioned a consulting client to become a regular PR/social media client. I know the changes are because I’m slowly starting to figure out my services and develop regular monthly client relationships, but it seems that one month something is way up and another month, that same area is down. Ebbs and flows, I suppose.
  • PR/social media is my fastest growing area by far. I came from the PR world (and love PR) so this feels like a natural progression, but I didn’t expect it to grow this fast. Social media is something I love doing, too, but now that I’m managing 4-5 social media clients at a time, I’m realizing it’s not something I can take on too much more of at this time because I’ve hit my capacity with how much social media I can really handle each day, week and month. That being said, if you have an amazing social media project, don’t be afraid to reach out! I like to evaluate all projects equally, but I think it’s good that I am learning when I hit my capacity.

Lessons Learned from Month Four:

  • Don’t let a bad day turn into a bad week. This entrepreneurship rollercoaster, man. One day, I’m WAY, WAY, WAY HIGH and the next day I’m feeling WAY, WAY, WAY LOW. There’s often no rhyme or reason for these emotional swings, but I’m trying to remind myself that this is normal and that I can’t let one bad day ruin my entire week. When these negativity spells hit, I often try to give myself a little grace and take a break to go to yoga (that always helps) or to take an afternoon nap. There’s no need to “push through” and force myself to work when I’m in a negative mindset. When those days happen, I remind myself when I go to bed that tomorrow’s a new day and pretty often, I wake up and do make the next day better.
  • Make time for personal projects. I’m SO thrilled to have Personal Branding Bootcamp out in the world. It’s a personal project that I am personally excited about and an offering I think can really help others with their businesses and brands. I’ve been talking about this product since February and it took quite awhile to get it done, but now that it’s launched, I’m realizing how important it is for me to have a personal project to work on that relates to my own blog/brand, not just client work. It keeps me excited and energized. Next up? Revamping the 30 Days of Gutsy course content into some type of ebook or guide.
  • Revamp your schedule, as needed. My work schedule is ever-evolving as I learn more about when I’m productive and energetic and when I’m not. For awhile, I mentioned that I’m keeping my mornings clear from meetings and calls because that’s when I get my best writing done. This is still definitely true, but I find that when I have a span of 5-6 hours ahead of me with no client calls, meetings or places to be, I tend to procrastinate, thinking I have an endless amount of time to get things done. I’ve actually started making going to 9:30 a.m. yoga a habit twice a week because when I know I have somewhere to be at 9:30, I jump out of bed at 6 a.m. ready to bang out 2-3 hours of work before I need to leave my house. Ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? (Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion). This is the exact reason for the changes I’m making to my schedule.

The Highs and Lows:

There are always going to be good days and of course, there will always be not-so-hot days. Here are the things that made me super smiley and excited this month, along with some challenges I faced.

The Highs:

  • I launched Personal Branding Bootcamp and sent out my Personal Branding Checklist to my email community.
  • Because of the promotion of the checklist, my email community grew by nearly 100 people in May.
  • I received the sweetest card from one of my yoga students and wrote a blog post about how it helped remind me of my why.
  • May was a busy month for client prospecting! I had more calls/meetings than usual and sent out a couple of proposals.
  • I’m due for another client update post (coming soon!), but I’m super proud of my work with my client Muck Rack- we ramped up our efforts last month with a new Sunday edition of their popular Muck Rack Daily newsletter, a brand new monthly Twitter chat called #MuckRackCafe and lots of awesome content. If you are knowledgable about PR and journalism, we’re always looking for smart writers to contribute to the blog, so check out the submission guidelines and send me a pitch!
  • I welcomed a few new clients and extended contracts with two other clients.
  • I got offered the opportunity to teach yoga at a Rowing Camp for high school girls in Philadelphia this summer. Super pumped! I’m listed as a coach on their website (never been called a coach before!)
  • I taught a yoga class at a local Relay For Life- super fun!
  • I had a blog photo shoot! Photos coming soon 🙂

The Lows:

  • I was super excited to launch Personal Branding Bootcamp and I’m proud and happy that it’s out in the world, but the launch was definitely a bit quieter than I had hoped. I’m hoping as people go through the checklist, things will pick up, but I definitely expected launch day to be a little more robust. No big deal! Everything is an experiment, right?
  • I’ve talked before about the rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship, but this month, for whatever reason, I had a couple of really low days. There was really no particular reasoning behind those feelings, but it’s just something that happened.
  • Memorial Day really threw off my whole week! I was excited to “give myself a day off” as many people have off from work on Memorial Day, but when I jumped back into work on Tuesday, I had trouble getting myself back in the groove all week. Any other solopreneurs experience this?
becoming CEO- Jessica Lawlor
Scenes from my business in May: a sneak peek of my blog photo shoot, teaching a super energetic and fun yoga class, a glimpse of my Personal Branding Checklist launched this month and behind-the-scenes with 6ABC at my client, Crossing Vineyards and Winery.

How I Feel + What’s Ahead:

I’m feeling really good about my business right now and super excited for what’s ahead.

This month, I’m working on revamping my work schedule. I’m moving to Ocean City, New Jersey for the month of July and I want to be able to take advantage of living at the beach, so I’m experimenting with waking up earlier and working only in the morning, so I can take the afternoons off. I’m pumped that this is something that’s even possible for me since becoming a solopreneur!

I’m feeling a little bit anxious, of course, too. I’ve heard from other solopreneurs that business decreases in the summer, so I’m getting a little in my head about the possibility of that happening. It doesn’t feel like that’s the case for me right now, especially given my monthly retainers and proposals out for review right now, but you never know!

I’m also super excited about a few potential projects in the works. As I mentioned last month, I’m really looking to take on less clients overall, but seek out higher-quality, higher paying relationships. The prospective clients I’m chatting with definitely fall into that category.

Most of all, I’m still loving my freedom. The novelty of taking a 9:30 a.m. yoga class or meeting a friend for lunch in the middle of the day hasn’t worn off. In fact, it continues to excite and motivate me to keep moving forward!

Onto Month Five! Stay tuned- I’ll continue sharing these recaps monthly.

Have any questions about becoming CEO and my fourth month in business? I’d love to answer your questions and hear your thoughts about this journey!

Want more gutsy content delivered straight to your inbox twice a month? Be sure to sign up for my FREE #GetGutsy e-newsletter filled with inspiration, ideas and action items to get out of your comfort zone. When you sign up, you’ll also be sent a FREE copy of the Get Gutsy ebook, filled with 19 inspirational stories to help you get gutsy.


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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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