Second Year As an Entrepreneur: Honest Talk on My Struggles, Wins, and What’s Next



If you’ve been waiting for my yearly freelancing update, I’m a little late this year, sorry! For those new to my freelancing updates, I’ve been freelancing (and transitioned to being a business owner) for a little over two years now, and it all started because of my blog. I don’t have enough space to go into the whole back story because it’s a long story, so if you want to catch up, read my posts I Quit My Job and First Year As a Freelancer: Failing and Figuring Out What to Do Next! This year’s update is all about transitioning into my role as a business owner and the crazy personal growth I’ve had this year! 🙂

Second Year As an Entrepreneur: Honest Talk on My Struggles, Wins, and What's Next

If you didn’t read the past two updates (which I really recommend doing because there’s a lot of crazy stuff in there), I quit my job over two years ago to do freelance marketing and writing full time. Six months in, I lost my biggest client and 80% of my income overnight, and on top of that, someone in my life had health problems and I spent a lot of time in the hospital with them. So my business and income were STRUGGLING for a few months.

That person gradually got better, and very slowly, my business started to pick up. Things weren’t great, but they were at least looking better. Last year, my freelancing update finished on an optimistic note, and I had just launched my business website! It has gone through some changes since, and even though I thought I was settled in my job titles, it changed again, ha! But today, Julia Renee Consulting is stronger than before, and I’m helping small businesses grow as an SEO Consultant and Pinterest Strategist! 🙂 (In layman’s terms, I use Pinterest and SEO to help small businesses reach their ideal clients and rank higher on Google)

SEO Consultant in Philadelphia

The past year has been more financially consistent, but I didn’t grow quite as much as I was hoping (and part of the reason for that will be explained under my “struggles” list). I did have some struggles this year, but I had a lot more wins this year than the last year! #progress

The Struggles

Starting graduate school

Last fall, I started graduate school full time to study history, and let me tell you, it is so much more work than I was expecting! I knew graduate school was going to be a lot of work, but not at the level of reading 800+ pages every week for just one class (and no, that is not an exaggeration). Since it’s so crazy time consuming, it does limit how much work I can take on in my business, which limits my income.

I am enjoying being in school, but it’s been hard to find a balance with running a business and being in graduate school. One thing that has surprised me is how hard it is to find a balance mentally. While I’m working, I’m always thinking of everything I need to be doing for school and vice versa. So hopefully I’ll find more of a balance this year!

SEO Consultant in Philadelphia

Being a saleswoman

I feel like I am SO bad will selling my services and products, and it’s something I’ve been trying to get better at. So I didn’t quite meet my goals with selling the products and events I had this year (keep reading to learn about them), so this year I’m going to try to focus on the value and results I provide instead of looking at it as “selling.”

Working on my mindset

I’ve written about my struggles with impostor syndrome before, and it’s still a struggle! One of the things I’ve been working on this year is raising my prices to better match the quality of my work and results (and a lot of my business friends have the same problem), but I still question myself and my work experience, especially since I’m so much younger than most people I know in my industry. I get asked all the time how much experience I actually have because of my age. I’m sure impostor syndrome is something I’ll always struggle with, but I’m going to make an effort on my mindset this year.

SEO Consultant in Philadelphia

The Wins

I spent a month in Denmark and three weeks in Florida

One of the reasons why I wanted to become an entrepreneur was so I can travel whenever I want and work anywhere in the world, and I got to spend a month in Denmark and three weeks in Florida (plus a lot of smaller trips in between). I don’t want to become a digital nomad or take big trips all the time, but I loved getting to work while exploring new places and visiting my family!

If you want to set up a business so you can travel more, check out my tips on a guest post for The Jeep Girls.

Sand dunes in Skagen

I set up my business as an LLC

I never felt more like a “business owner” than when I set up an LLC! So my official business is Julia Renee Consulting, LLC. This year I’ve been trying to make sure I have all my ducks in a row with my business by setting up the LLC, a business bank account, and stronger contracts (I’ve also been using an accountant since I started freelancing, and I can’t recommend using an accountant enough!).

I ran two workshops!

I had some more speaking engagements, but I actually ran two of my own workshops! They were workshops on SEO for small businesses, and even though I didn’t sell as many tickets as I was hoping (which goes back to my struggles with selling), I absolutely loved being able to help businesses with SEO and answering all their questions. A lot of them have completely redone their websites since, and it’s been so cool to see their progress!

SEO workshop in Philadelphia

I started an Instagram account for my business

I resisted creating a new Instagram account for so long because I didn’t want to have to manage two accounts (you can follow my travel account at @juliadentphoto), but I’m actually enjoying it! I only post twice a week and schedule things out in advance to keep everything manageable, and it’s been fun having a separate space to connect with other business owners. I’ve also done a few Instagram Lives, which I never thought I would do, and I’m going to keep trying to do more! You can follow me for SEO and Pinterest tips at @juliareneeconsulting.

I wrote an ebook

I wrote an SEO ebook! It’s called “SEO Optimization Guide for the Creative Small Business Owner: 7 Stress Free SEO Strategies to Improve Your Google Rankings and Get More Leads with Your Dream Clients.” My workshops were in person and a lot of people said that they wanted to go but lived too far from Philadelphia, so I took the content from the workshops and created an ebook. Writing it was easier than I expecting, but designing it and getting everything set up on my website was pretty time consuming!

I collaborated and launched a course

I created the ebook on my own, but I recently teamed up with my biz buddy Cassandra from The Quirky Pineapple Studio to create a course that combines SEO and content! It’s called “Use SEO & Content Strategies to Rank on Google & Reach Ideal Client.” A whole lot of work went into creating this course, but I am so excited to help people reach more clients by revamping their content and SEO!

Use SEO & Content Strategies to Rank on Google & Reach Ideal Clients

I worked with a variety of clients all around the world

The second half of this past year was really when I started to feel like I was comfortable in my business and loving the work I was doing. I parted ways with clients that were no longer a good fit, and I’ve been enjoying working with all my new clients. I worked with lots of small businesses and had clients find me from referrals, Google, Facebook and Instagram, and even LinkedIn. I narrowed down on the type of clients I work with (solopreneurs in the creative small business world) and created packages to make my services easy for clients to pick from.

To recap

This year was a year of crazy personal growth. I stepped out of my comfort zone SO many times. A year ago, I would have laughed if you told me I would regularly be running workshops, doing Instagram Lives, being interviewed on podcasts, and launching multiple products!

I also feel more connected to the small business community, and I’ve been learning so much from people. Right now I’m only involved in one local group, and I’m going to try to get involved in some more groups this year.

Coming Up

I’m getting married!

This may not seem business related, but I promise it is. I’m getting married in a month! (You can read all about how we met in Denmark and our engagement on my engagement photoshoot post). And I’m at the point in my business where I feel comfortable taking off from my business for a couple of weeks for my wedding and honeymoon. Last year I struggled to take a vacation and stop checking my email every hour or feel like I needed to work when I had 10 minutes to spare. But I’ve learned a lot this past year and am confident enough in my business to not work while I’m on my honeymoon. I’m also going to take a break from posting on both my Instagram accounts because I want to enjoy my honeymoon, but I also need a break from it all!

To prepare for the time I’m away from my business, I’m going to have whatever I can be scheduled out for my clients. And I’ve come to realize that if a prospective client is upset that I won’t respond to them while I’m on my honeymoon, they’re not the type of client I want to work with anyway.

Engagement photoshoot in Old City Philadelphia

I am going on my first retreat!

I signed up for my very first retreat, and it’s in Cartagena, Colombia! When my biz buddy Cassandra mentioned the retreat to me months ago, I immediately started tracking prices on flights and saving up because I knew I just HAD to go. Cassandra is co-hosting the retreat in October, and there are still some spots available if you want to join us!

Business retreat in Cartagena, Colombia

So in a nutshell, my second year as an entrepreneur was much better than my first, and I have a lot of exciting things coming up. I’m still nowhere near making six figures and I’m not building a team of employees, but my business has stabilized and I’m really enjoying what I’m doing 🙂 You can check out my business and get updates on everything I have going on at Julia Renee Consulting, LLC!

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Blog, Freelancing

  1. TONYA says:

    Congratulations! It sounds like you have learned a lot and will continue to grow!

  2. As a history major, I can’t imagine incorporating an even greater volume of reading eleven years after college and balancing a busy workload in my own day-to-day. I do not envy (but greatly admire) anyone who can pull off the massive amount of work. Congrats on finishing year two!

  3. What a great blog about becoming an entrepreneur! In today’s gig economy it’s so important to work through the hard times and be prepared for what’s in store. This is great advice for anyone considering making the leap to working for themselves!

  4. Heidi Roland says:

    So excited and proud of you! You do amazing work!

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