The Hard Knocks of Launching My Own Business (Part 2)

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Read Part 1 here.

When I felt trapped and unable to make my new career work after a year of pursuing a failed course, I stepped back and reevaluated my plans.

As I looked at the things that didn't work, I noticed that even when some of my clients hired me, I didn't necessarily enjoy the work. Simply put, I could not find an enjoyable or sustainable way to actually pay the bills.

What did I have wrong?

Here are some steps in my move toward a sustainable future for my business.

Spiritual Solutions
Looking at my prayer life, I realized that I frequently begged God for work and money. I was chiefly seeking God for financial security. I began waking up at 5 AM to pray, and I asked God what it would look like to seek first his Kingdom.

After doing a little research in my area, I began meeting with inmates in a local prison. As I served others, I changed my prayers: seeking God and his love first, ways to serve others second, and my own needs last.

Seeking Help
Since part time work was scarce in our rural area and my income regularly landed below my target, the most important person I needed to speak with was my wife. Our situation was quite stressful, and I needed my wife's support and prayers. At some of the most intense moments, her prayers against anxiety and discouragement helped me sleep when my heart was racing.

Between conversations with my wife and with friends, I tried some different projects that lined up with my past experience but had remained untried in my first year. It couldn't hurt.

Pursuing A Modified Path
While I thought these new kinds of jobs would prove unsatisfying, I found that my past experience came in handy and that I enjoyed the work. With a stable income in place, I sharpened some of my skills and began using them to expand my business.

I soon had a number of regular clients and fulfilling projects that were well within my skill set. Since I didn't have to frantically search for work each day, I was free to pursue projects that offered some promising rewards in the future.

Lessons Learned
We Need Others to Support Us.
Just as writers need an editor to point out the gaps we can't see, our friends and family can open our eyes to the changes we need to make when our plans don't work out.

Failure Is Not The End.
We will all fail. However, failure is not the end. For those taking the risk of pursuing a dream, endurance is far more important than getting it right the first time.

Success Comes From Trying Many Things.
I started my business thinking that one targeted line of work would sustain us. While a few clients worked out, I had to branch out into other lines of work before I hit my income goals.

We May Find Happiness in Unexpected Places.
I thought I knew what success and happiness would look like, but as I tried some different lines of work within my field, I discovered that my greatest fulfillment and benefit to my career came from work that was completely off my radar when I started out.

Launching your own business or freelance career is a process that requires thick skin and a lot faith. I don't recommend it for everyone. However, as I learned to seek first God's Kingdom and to listen for his lead, I found that he could sustain my work in ways that exceeded my wildest expectations.

Image by Cuba Gallery. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by Ed Cyzewski.