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My Enormous Personal Development Journey Since Going Self Employed

OMG being self employed is the biggest trigger for doubting yourself on every level.

And given I’m quite a sensitive soul, I’m staggered quite frankly to have successfully built a business.

Just to give you a flavour, here’s just some of the things that have thrown me off course in the last three years:

1) loneliness
2) a couple of really shockingly horrible clients
3) choosing a really unusual business (Instagram trainer) that many people don’t understand
4) not really knowing what I was doing and having limited knowledge about marketing myself
5) not earning as much as when I had a permanent job
6) exhaustion
7) having to increase my skill set with a whole range of new skills that took a long time to master
8) feeling insecure about other people doing really well with their businesses while mine was in its absolute infancy
9) how painfully slow it is to build a business

Katya Willems writing to do list.

Running your own business can be cripplingly lonely

Why Would You Carry On?

I mean I read that and it’s a pretty damning list. But weirdly some crazy stubbornness and confidence has pulled me through.

But I would say one of the things I’ve increasingly learnt is to be self compassionate, kind to myself and my own best friend. To learn to keep offering myself a more generous perspective on my achievements rather than being annoyed with myself for not doing it all faster and better. Because in reality it was incredibly brave of me to leave a full time secure job and just chance it with going self employed, when I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do.

To go from having status in a job, a decent salary, a clear role, being respected, needed and good at what I did, to basically blowing in the wind while I figured out my next steps was probably the ballsiest thing I’ve ever done.

Katya Willems Instagram Trainer.

Back in my corporate days!


And I think what was really ballsy was I stuck to my guns about allowing myself the space to figure out what that role was. And in fact that took me nearly two years.

Had I listened to my fears – which were loud and ever present – I would have quickly got myself another permanent job or chosen a freelance role that was relatively secure. But that wouldn’t have been right for me.

Somehow I managed to listen to my instincts, to experiment, to follow my curiosity and finally come upon Instagram Trainer – which truly lit me up.

And even then it was a slow journey to raise my profile and really become skilled and adept at being an Instagram trainer.

A Worthwhile Journey

But oh my goodness as tough as it’s been, it’s been a fascinating, challenging journey.  I love learning, I love meeting new people and I love helping people discover their own creativity and get good at Instagram.

If you’re thinking of starting a business, I’d say be prepared for the ride of your life – it’s hard, you need to be resilient – but the pay offs are huge.

You Don’t Need to be an ‘Alpha’ Person to Succeed

And maybe my favourite lesson is that you don’t need to be an ‘alpha’ person to succeed. I always thought you had to be a loud, dominating, overconfident character to succeed as that’s what I’d always observed in more traditional work environments. But since I’ve gone self employed I’ve realised you can be a kind, nice, thoughtful person and those can be incredible assets as a business owner. Yes you still need to be super tenacious, but kindness and compassion go along way!

Instacake attendees in Manchester.

At the Instagram event I run called Instacake – it’s all about collaboration and supporting one another.

Going Rogue Podcast

If you’d like to hear about some more unassuming and un-alpha business rebels – I’ve just released my new podcast series ‘Going Rogue’ . I interview a bunch of creative business owners who’ve followed their instincts and built an unconventional business. .

If you enjoyed reading this you might like to try My Favourite Business Podcasts


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