Running your own business can get really tough sometimes. It’s not easy being boss. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, hard, and lonely. The journey through entrepreneurship is not a road most people take and so we often find ourselves looking to external sources to make us feel less overwhelmed, positive about our endeavours, and supported by friends, loved ones, and fellow bosses.

The boss life is hard, no surprise there, but it’s worth it.

One thing I often see creative entrepreneurs doing is not giving themselves enough credit for breaking out of the 9-5 to follow and build their dream jobs. If you are a creative steering away from a full-time corporate job to be boss while pursuing your dreams, you truly deserve to acknowledge that risk as an accomplishment.

We often forget that taking the first step is the hardest. We often do not even see taking the leap as an accomplishment.

Maybe we feel so invested in what we do that taking the step feels like a minor decision. Maybe we forget that we can be our own cheerleaders in our lives and businesses.

So how do we become our own cheerleaders?

As a young creative entrepreneur growing up in a middle eastern, first-generation family in the States, all eyes were on me to set a good example for myself and my family name. Being the oldest of three siblings meant that they most definitely looked to me for guidance.

We were becoming a slowly modernized American family—blending middle eastern roots and American traditions quite nicely. Yet, there was one thing about me that my family always overlooked and never really took the time to understand: the creative entrepreneur in me.

Of course my family loved me, but they never understood what it was I did for a living.

If asked, my mom would say, “She makes websites.”
I always shook on her sleeve when I would hear her say it in front of me and say, “No, I own my own web development business.”
To which she would shrug and continue her phone conversation.

Trying to explain to my mom how I was self-employed was even harder. “You don’t have a boss?” she would say—but that’s a story for another day.

My family did not understand what I did and although they support me as a human being, they have not been able to support my endeavours as I would have hoped. I accepted it and after years of trying to show my family that I do more as a creative entrepreneur than just make websites, I decided that I myself am very proud of taking the road less traveled to following my dreams.

It was perhaps the hardest lesson I had to learn growing up, but it was definitely the most valuable.

You see, we learn to take our own accomplishments for granted sometimes unless someone else approves them.

We (as creatives) fail to see that if we are able to be thriving bosses, we can also be our best cheerleaders.

So here’s what you do:

Take 15 minutes. EXACTLY 15 minutes. Grab a pen and paper or pull out your favorite note app and turn off all distractions.

Make a list of things you have accomplished just THIS week.

Then, make a list of things you accomplished THIS month and THIS year.

Once you’re done, write what your VERY first accomplishment was once you decided to start your business. Was your very first accomplishment starting your business? Was it quitting your job to run your business full-time? Was it making your first thousand dollars?

Then, read through it and tell yourself that you have done great things and that only greater things are to come.

 

I do this short exercise whenever I need some perspective or feel as if I am not doing enough or that I am not succeeding as I would like to. It allows me to remember that ultimately I am the one doing the work and that I am best cheerleader for myself that I can possibly be.

Zobia Alvi is a web developer, business coach, and writer who helps creative entrepreneurs and bloggers to craft stunning blogs and websites that help them focus on what they do best. She’s also the host of the Business By Design Podcast.