This one is going to get personal, fam. If you aren't into it, move along. I'll be back next Monday with some good good marketing content for ya! Xoxo see you next week.
But if you have struggled with your mental health while owning a business and want to hear about some of my experiences....read on.
A quick timeline of Bad Axe Enterprises:
2014: A friend asks me to manage her Facebook for her biz, I say yes
2015: I set up my LLC and Bad Axe Enterprises is "official"
2016: I actively try to hide the fact I'm running a business, don't have a website
2017: Get a bit more official, start a website, write two blog posts. I mostly help friends and fam with social media and online marketing. Making about $100/mo on average
2018: Someone reads one of those posts and offers me a corporate job as Marketing Director, I say no...then yes. I put Bad Axe more or less on pause.
2019: I quit that job because I'm actively turning away Bad Axe clients to maintain a day job, which I come to realize is silly. I hit that hustle HARD for Bad Axe after quitting my 9-5...and my mental health suffers.
2020: Bad Axe is our main income. In a year of huge personal and global changes, I prioritize mental health and am able to achieve more than I imagined would be possible.
Cheese town, gosh, but it's true. There's not really another way to put what's happened this year into words. If you would have told me in January of 2019 that Bad Axe was going to be our household income by January of 2020 I would have laughed you out the door.
Why? Because imposter syndrome was wrecking my brain.
If you've been here for a while, you'll have heard parts of this before. Feeling like you are a fraud and like someone is going to pop out of some corner of the internet and go "AHAH, SHE'S GOT NO IDEA WHAT SHE'S DOING!!" is not uncommon, but it can feel very isolating. Ridiculously enough, it's what kept me from building my own website, taking my social media presence seriously, saying yes to that marketing job right away, and eventually quitting that job to do Bad Axe full time sooner than I did when I realized it wasn't working out.
I actively set up little roadblocks in the way to hamper my own success.
I mean...why?!?! 🤷♀️
At the beginning of 2019, I decided it was over. The roadblocks, the fear. I was going to take steps to actively weed imposter syndrome out of my life. You can read all about that adventure here. In part of that process, I started to feel...off.
I was definitely unbalanced, mentally. My focus was off and everything felt incredibly difficult. I was putting so much effort towards halting progress when I was listening to that Imposter Syndrome voice, and it was exhausting.
So I stopped stopping. I did things I hadn't done previously: I took myself seriously. I invested in the business. I made real boundaries for social media use. I put plans in place to help me achieve goals.
What came next? Victories. Small ones at first. Client inquiries, clearer headspace, a more engaged audience online. Which led to more and more and more wins, until I had to start dreaming bigger and daring my skills to expand. I got...I don't know, what's the opposite of growing pains? Growing pleasures? It was joy that was hard won, but so sweet.
It's not all good days. It's never going to be. Sometimes I'm on my phone all night. Sometimes a project falls to pieces. Sometimes a potential client tells me I'm a fraud (yes, it happened once). Sometimes a global pandemic shifts the way businesses operate overnight and I'm rebuilding websites for all the wrong reasons (you know, "quarantine" as the reason vs "we have had a great month and need to expand our online offerings").
This has been the hardest year so far, but thanks to the plans and systems I've put in place for myself, I'm staying in a better space mentally than I was in 2018.
Let's talk about some of those plans and systems, shalllll we? These are my top ten things that allow me to protect my mental health, prioritize intentional technology use, and be a bad ass boss/mom/lover/human.
Honeybook for invoicing, scheduling, contracts, proposals, and more. I started using Honeybook on Jan 1st 2020, and wow. I really should do a full write up on it soon.
A spreadsheet for planning my content out in advance. Sounds simple because it is. Simple things can make the biggest impact!!
Do not disturb mode and bed time mode on my phone (or, physically putting my phone in another room)
ReceiptBank app for tracking expenses with the help of my bookkeeper
Oh, yes, and hiring a bookkeeper
CanvaPro for designing social media posts, print media, and so much more
GoogleDrive for all the things. All of them.
Food. Water. Good food, enough water. Sleep. Sleeping in.
An accountability partner. Someone who calls me on my shenanigans when I don't follow my boundaries. Someone I tell all my hopes, goals, dreams, and fears. For me, it's my man. But you do not need to be in a romantic relationship to have someone care about you an hold you accountable. This person can be a trusted friend, ally, family member, mentor. There is no app that replaces the intimacy of having someone who cares about you tell you how much of an asshole you are being. This is actually number one most important thing for me, having someone to keep me on track.
Whew. LONG POST, huh? I'm grateful for you reading this far, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to comment, email, or slide into my DMs on Instagram. And remember, it's not an act of weakness to get help with your mental health. You can find free support here.
Stay Bad Axe,
New Bad Axe Blog posts get published on Mondays weekly. I explore all things digital marketing: from websites to social media, graphic design to branding and so much more. Become a site member and never miss a post!