How I Knew I Was Ready to Start My Own Business
This isn’t business advice or tips or a list of to-do’s, but this is a story about the moment everything changed and I knew it was time to bust out on my own. Here’s how I knew I was ready to start my own business – in one clear and precise moment.
I always had a dream to work for myself
and have my own design firm, but it always felt like something far away in the future. “One day” I would be self-employed. I never thought of myself as being entrepreneurial, but it’s funny because I look back on my childhood at allll the times I started some sort of mini business! My best friend and I started a leaf raking business in sixth grade; I used to babysit after school every day in high school; and at one point, I bought hologram stickers for 10 cents each and sold them at school for 25 cents (ha!).
I’ve wanted to do interior design forever – I was totally that kid who re-arranged my bedroom every weekend. (Here’s that story.) I went to college, got my interior design degree, and worked in the design industry for about 10 years before I finally launched on my own in 2015.
Here’s what happened after 10 years.
When I lived in California, I worked for a home retailer at their corporate headquarters as a set designer and stylist for photo shoots. I would work with the buyers to select the furniture, and then would design a set and photograph it in-studio. We would do anywhere from one to three sets per week, so this kept me pretty busy and was an awesome opportunity to try new things and flex my design muscles in a bunch of different styles.
For one shoot for a dining chair event, I designed this chic all-white modern loft with a beautiful wood dining table to really showcase the eclectic mix of chairs. And it was dynamite! I had designed floral arrangements and styled fruit and this cool mix of chairs. I was so so so happy with the design – it was by far my favorite thing I’d created for this company and in my role as stylist.
And so we brought in the company’s Chief Creative Officer to get her approval – she had final say on the visual side of things. I expected her to walk in and rave about how amazing my work was.
I was a little naive, obviously.
Because, what happened instead…
…was that she just stood there. She took it all in, inhaled sharply, and pursed her lips. She stated very plainly (and loudly, to a room full of my colleagues),
“I don’t like it.”
No helpful critique, no feedback. Just a complete distaste for my design.
Cue the sad trombone – whomp whomp.
A few years prior, that bomb would’ve destroyed me. Someone telling me that they didn’t like my creative work would’ve been crushing. That kind of feedback used to cause me to second-guess my skills and talents, my ideas and creativity.
But there was something about this day and that moment with that particular design with that particular set where I finally didn’t feel like I had done something wrong because someone didn’t like my work. Instead, I almost burst out laughing. This was THE BEST thing I’d ever created – and I knew that I was onto something.
That was the moment.
That moment is exactly when I knew it was time to go on my own and start Lesley Myrick Art + Design and help high-achieving women bust out of boring homes. I knew I was ready to call the shots; to have the creative vision; to be the one that actually got to make the final say on designs. And so, I hired a business coach. I started reaching out to friends to let them know that I was offering design services. And I started styling and photographing my apartment to build my portfolio. I started, with baby steps and small projects and working with what I had.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
I want you to pay attention to these moments. There will be little signs and nudges along the way, and maybe like me you’ll have a moment that pretty much smacks you in the face with the realization that you’re ready to start your own business. Let me be clear – that’s just the start, and it’s not going to be easy, I assure you, being self-employed is no joke!
But I knew in that moment that I was ready to start my own business and do my own thing, no matter how scary it felt.