Being an entrepreneur can have its pros and cons. One of the pros is that you can create your own routine and schedule. You can create this according to what suits your preference and personality best. I like waking up later and working into the evening, since my genius and creativity come alive in the evening. I absolutely despise the morning. I only get up in the morning if it is absolutely necessary.
Interested in how you might be able to create a life within the freedom of the entrepreneur lifestyle?
Read on for insight into Alyson’s life and how she managed to cultivate and create a life that suited her lifestyle and approach.
Alsyon has been in business for 23 years | She is an all-around creative currently living in Colorado. She was your classic art and music kid growing up through school, went to college for jazz saxophone (of all things), and now freelances as a graphic & web designer for serial creative entrepreneurs just like her. She lets all of her various creative ventures influence each other and it makes for a very interesting and fulfilling life.
Why did you become an entrepreneur/what made you want to pursue the entrepreneur life?/What was the most appealing thing about this lifestyle?
This is such a huge and loaded question for me, I’ll try to give you the short answer…
There are a lot of reasons why I’m ultimately reaching to support myself through my own business, but the simplest answer would be that it’s the most logical choice that fits the life I want to have. One of my biggest concerns with the way children (in America, where I’m from, at least) are guided towards careers is that people will say to either 1) do something you love or 2) do something that’s going to make you a lot of money. Well, one, I did go to school for something I love, but I do not live in a country that prioritizes art or music in a way that makes it a sustainable career without teaching full-time, and I do not love teaching. I 100% stand by my educational decisions, but that reality check would have been nice to have at the start. And two, supposed ‘lucrative’ fields like medical or engineering are insanely saturated and you’re not guaranteed a spot just because you completed the schooling.
SHAPE YOUR CAREER to fit around the life you want
What I wish we would say to up and coming professionals, and what I wish I’d heard, is to shape your career to fit around the life you want, not the other way around. For me, that involves things like flexing my creative and problem-solving muscles, but also having total autonomy in where I work, when I work, and even less big-picture things like what I wear (jeans. jeans every day). After a lot of soul searching and enough day job experience designing full-time, all signs pointed to launching this graphic & web design business.
The most appealing thing about working for myself is just that – working for myself. When I reach out and work with clients, I’m representing my self and my own voice instead of a large company, and I know I can stand behind that. I feel a more personal connection and responsibility to my clients as a business owner, and I can oversee the entire process. Call me a control freak, I guess.
“WHEN I REACH OUT and work with clients, I’m representing my self and my own voice instead of a large company, and I know I can stand behind that. I feel a more personal connection and responsibility to my clients as a business owner, and I can oversee the entire process.”
What has been the toughest aspect of living the entrepreneur lifestyle?
The toughest part has definitely been getting out of my shell as an introvert. Networking isn’t optional, it’s mandatory if you want to have success, so getting over myself and reaching for meaningful relationships in my community was a struggle at first. I almost enjoy it now! But I do need a full Sunday to myself to recover from time to time.
What changes did you have to make personally, emotionally, physically to adapt to this particular lifestyle?
Mostly that emotional adjustment of networking as an introvert. Clients can’t come to you if they don’t know who you are.
What sacrifices have you had to make for the entrepreneur life?
I honestly don’t feel like I’ve made many sacrifices yet, but I’m still pretty new to the business. I’ll get back to you in five years.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about transitioning into the entrepreneur life?
It can be done, and you can be the one to do it. But most importantly, think about how you want to live, and then shape your career around that. And don’t be afraid to change direction. It can be really difficult to let go of an idea of what you thought your career might be, but it doesn’t change who you are if you make a slight detour. I absolutely love being creative and solving design problems for my creative clients, but it was very difficult for me to come around to the idea that I could still identify as a musician without making it my full-time job. Basically, if you think way too much like me – it’s all going to be okay! If you’re serious about presenting a quality, well-researched product, you can choose to succeed in whatever creative or entrepreneurial field you choose. Just have at it.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
Besides the autonomy stuff, I mentioned before, picking my own clients! They are a joy and I love witnessing the fresh creative ideas they dream up in their own businesses.
What entrepreneurs inspire you?
All the entrepreneurs in my Facebook groups. I love being able to witness success of others who have been at it much longer than I have, and it gives me a model to work towards.
Some fun facts about Alyson
What is your go-to coffee?
I’m actually off coffee! Normally it would be my usual french press brew, black. But I’m on a cold brew white tea kick right now. I feel great!
What does your daily routine look like?
Wake up, drink tea & have breakfast, get working. If I don’t have a client project, I’m busy dreaming up & sketching ideas for personal projects to continually improve my portfolio. I’ll spend some time in my online networking groups to keep those relationships up, then I might send out a few cold emails if I’m feeling bold. Meal times are very important to me so I never work through lunch or dinner. I cook every single day. I will typically work after dinner, though, whether designing or sketching, learning new skills, or gigging as a musician. Then there might be a little time at the end of the day for some Netflix with my fiance!