Happy Thanksgiving to those of you listening to this episode when it first airs. This year, among so many other things, I am thankful for all of you who tune into this show on a weekly basis and for all the guests who have been so willing to come on the show. I hope today’s show gives you a little break from all the buzz of family, food comas and Thanksgiving dinner table clapbacks!
If you’ve tuned into the last couple episodes you know I’m currently doing a series of solo episodes during our hiatus. I’ll be back with more great guest interviews in January.
Now let’s dive into today’s episode where I’ll be sharing what a “day-in-the-life” looks like for me as a new entrepreneur.
As I planned to leave my 9-5 job, I literally googled “day in a life of an entrepreneur” because I was looking for ways to get organized around all the ideas I needed to put into action. I came across a few YouTube videos and blog posts but very quickly discovered that I would need to create a schedule and process more tailored to my lifestyle. Most of the videos and posts I found were from people who were more established and further into their entrepreneurial journey.
At the time I wished I could have heard from someone who was still early on in their journey and was still trying to figure things out. Of course, it takes a certain level of vulnerability to share a work in progress and in a world of curated content, being raw and unpolished may not always play so well on a highlight reel.
In any case, I hope this view into where I am this early on helps to fill in the blanks for you if you’re curious or gives someone the boost of courage they need to take the next step. The cliff notes version is that this process is 1-part prayer, 1 part messy and 1-part a superwoman feat as you leap into the unknown.
To set the tone for the “day in a life” I think it’s important to share a bit more about my transition from my 9 to 5.
I would consider my first two months or so of entrepreneurship to be more of a transition period. I am now 6 months in. During the first month, I continued to demo my new app to companies as well as created content and ran campaigns around the app. Once I caught up on those, we went on vacation. It was so liberating to just up and leave without having to coordinate a million schedules. It was also the best way for me to reset, get separation from my previous role. and also spend some much-needed time with my family. We spent time in New Mexico and visited the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks national monument and also spent 9 days at a Disney World resort. The girls loved scaling the tent rocks and are still talking about our time at Disney. Part of this transition time was also me catching up on doctors’ appointments, errands, lunch with friends I had been neglecting, house reno projects we had been pushing back. It was a great time to clear up all the backlog and free up space in my mind. So that was between May and June of 2018.
Getting down to work
By June I launched my website, serwaaadjeipelle.com. I had been chipping away at it throughout what I call my transition period. I am very much bootstrapped as an entrepreneur and didn’t feel the need to hire a designer to build the site especially since I could use a platform like WordPress. Of course, that could change in the future but for now, it serves its purpose. I also spent time setting up my Gmail and google analytics accounts and laying out a social media strategy. If you follow my personal Instagram account, @Serwaa_ap you probably noticed a difference in my social media presence between pre and post-May of 2018. By early August I was ready to start launching my podcast as well as the consulting side of my business.
Ok, now that we’ve set the stage,
I wake up daily at 5:30 am especially since my husband wakes up around that time to work out. I used to work out with him but quickly substituted that workout time to finish homework from the MBA program I’m wrapping up at Cornell. This time is now more dedicated to my business as I have transitioned into full-time entrepreneurship. So for about an hour after I wake up, I check emails, scan the news, social media, website and podcast analytics and tie off any loose ends on projects from the night before. I would love to say I have an intentional prayer or meditation practice at this point in the day but quite frankly my mind is already reeling with all the things I need to accomplish. Taking a quick pulse check in the morning puts me at ease.
By 6:30 am, I go upstairs to get my two toddlers ready for school. By then hubby has jumped in the shower and made breakfast for the girls then comes up to help with getting the girls dressed. With my 5-year-old becoming so independent, this part of the day is getting easier and easier. While the girls eat breakfast, I’ll pack big sister’s lunch and then go sit at the table with the girls. We try to have a stress-free breakfast together every morning and that really depends on how well we prepped the night before.
By 7:30 am, hubby leaves with my oldest. We’re still figuring out the drop off pick up routine but for now, we each drop off one kid because their schools are in opposite directions. Between 8 am and 8:30 am, I drop off my youngest but before we leave, we’ll sometimes have a little dance party or tea party and there are days when her cute little smile almost convinces me to keep her home and play all day! When I think of how rushed the mornings used to be, I am so thankful for this phase in our lives.
After drop off, I sometimes run errands or go for a walk. When I get back home, it’s so quiet and calm. I grab a cup of coffee and make breakfast. This is around the time I try to pause and reset from all the morning’s activities. If I’m being honest on days when I’m eager to dive into a project, I don’t even get to the making breakfast part. At this point, I don’t have specific days assigned to any particular strand of my business or type of tasks. I can imagine that will organically happen as things start to pick up. But to give you an idea of some of the things I work on,
- Reaching out to potential podcast guests
- Researching and prepping questions for upcoming guests
- Creating content for free challenges or masterclasses I plan to launch
- Managing ADS I’m running for different facets of my business
- Working on client deliverables
- Podcast interviews
- Virtual coffee chats
- Client check-in calls
- Send and respond to emails
At about 12:30, I stop for lunch and run errands. This is not the best time to go out since everyone else is out for lunch as well.
I usually aim to be done with my top 3 work items for the day by 2 pm. Sometimes I squeeze in a client call at 2 pm but for the most part, I like to bake in a 30-minute break before I pick up my oldest daughter from school. It has been a bit of an adjustment going from having both kids in a daycare that closes at 6:30 pm to now picking one up at 2:30 pm when I’m now hitting my stride with work. But given the lack of distractions, I find myself getting quite a bit done before I pick her up. After I pick up my daughter, she takes an hour nap during which time I wrap up anything I didn’t get to finish. When she wakes up, we have snack time and it’s off to either ballet or gymnastics depending on the day. I usually take my laptop with me to her activities and get ahead on social media posts, edit pictures or update my website. It’s a good time to work on things that don’t require too much focus.
By 5:30 pm
I’ve picked up my youngest daughter and we’re home. The girls get 30 mins to an hour to unwind and play while I check emails and get dinner on the table. If you’ve heard me talk about my meal prep process before, you know that getting dinner on the table is pretty quick. This is when we also get things prepped for the next morning. My oldest
out her outfit for the next day, we pack her backpack with homework and whatever else her teacher has asked her to bring, By 7:30, hubby and I put the girls to bed and spend a bit of time together then go back to work.
From 8 pm until bedtime I’m putting together a to-do list for the next day and working on low hanging fruit I can knock out before heading to bed.
I probably work more for hours now that I did when I was in my corporate role but I have to say it doesn’t feel like I’m working. I see the impact of every minute I spend working on my business and this brings me a sense of accomplishment every day.
Now it certainly hasn’t been all roses and sunshine. There are definitely ups and downs as book new guests and clients I’m excited about or lows as I a process or tool I implement doesn’t take or needs more technical expertise than I currently have. From moments like these, I have learned to leverage my tribe, I’ve learned to step away and let whatever it is cool off and come back with a new perspective. Most of all, I have learned to accept that the process of building a business is not a sprint but a marathon with lots of pivots, twists, and turns. I don’t sweat the small stuff, I learn from my mistakes and celebrate every win no matter how small.
So that’s it in a nutshell! A bit of insight into what a day in my life looks like as a new entrepreneur. Of course, this changes daily as new opportunities come my way so I stay flexible and open to change. For those of you now starting off on your own entrepreneurial journey, I would love to hear what your day looks like or if you’ve found ways to get more organized.
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