I’ve had a few people ask me in the past few weeks, “How did you get started?” I love that question because it gives me a chance to reflect. It also gives me an opportunity to share some experience and pass down what I’ve learned.

Here’s Cliff’s Notes version:

In 2007, my husband and I decided to start a family. I was working on the phone book, designing yellow page ads. I’ve always known I wanted to work for myself, but never really had the push I needed to do it – until the summer of 2007. With my family goals changing and my desire to be more creative growing, I faced a tough decision. Do I stay here with a secure paycheck and “work through it,” or do I leave it all behind and start something new? I took some time to really let it sink in. It wasn’t an overnight decision.

I had been freelancing for a while so I had an established client base, I had the equipment that I needed and my husband fully supported my decision. One day it dawned on me – the fear left, the doubt took a hike and I stood strong knowing that I was going to take a risk. Soon thereafter, Worx (and my son Kandon) were born.

I remember wishing I were further along. I wanted to grow faster. I wanted to achieve everything the second I started it. Now I’m looking back at eight years thinking, how did things go by so quickly? It’s like watching a child grow – it happens right in front of you, but you don’t realize it until you break out the photo album.

As humans, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future. The future is shiny and perfect. The future has everything we dream about in it. What about right now? What is happening in your journey right now that is teaching you the valuable skills and lessons you’ll need to achieve your goal? Be patient with yourself and what’s happening around you. If you’re taking action, you’re moving forward. If you’re moving forward, you’re making progress. If you’re making progress, you’re being successful. Don’t beat yourself up! You’re that much closer each and every day.

What can you do to get started and create momentum? Here are a few things I like to use as positive reinforcement.

  1. Make a list. I love lists because it gives me the satisfaction of crossing things off. It’s visual reinforcement that I’m getting shit done. And nothing beats the satisfaction of crumbling that thing up and tossing it in the trash.
  2. Meet people. Swap out the sweatpants for some work pants, leave the house and meet some people. Chamber events, networking groups or having a lunch with fellow business owners are great ways to build your network.
  3. Find a mentor. I adore my mentors because they help me get outside of my own head and focus on what’s important. A mentor or coach can help you to focus on your goals and give you the pep rally you need to keep going.
  4. Celebrate your milestones. When you achieve a goal, whether small or monumental, celebrate it! You’ve worked hard and deserve to kick back and pat yourself on the back. Grab a drink with friends, veg out on the couch or treat yourself to a steak dinner. Whatever you enjoy!
  5. Be patient with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when something goes haywire. Your progress only stops when you do. If you’re making effort you’re moving forward. Keep your eye on the prize!

Your progress timeframe may be different than the people you admire or follow. Everyone has had his or her own struggles or setbacks. They may just be a different part of the journey than you are. The progress you make, whether one step or a huge leap, is important and valuable to your success. One day you’ll crack open the figurative business photo album and say, wow, look at how far I’ve come!