Starting my company of one is one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made.
It changed my perspective, my practice, it enabled me to strengthen my internal alignment, and overcome self-limiting beliefs along the way,
Has it only been 3 years?
Because it feels like a lifetime!
My first year of freelancing was one of experiments. I worked incredibly hard but spread myself thin across too many directions – and paid the price for it.
My second year of freelancing was all about process. I focused on clarifying the type of work I wanted to do, the kind of work I didn’t want to do, and started making choices that would help me achieve that. The choices weren’t always easy but they were worth it and I got to learn a lot about myself in the process.
This third year has been one of clarity and focus – which made it my best year yet, both business-wise and from a personal perspective.
I made a big leap in terms of defining my business and my role as a content marketer in the cybersecurity space.
I got to continue working with great clients with which I have long-standing relationships.
I launched the Cyber Empathy podcast.
I took a bit more time off than in previous years. And I moved my work from my living room to an actual office, which had a massive positive impact, allowing me to work with more focus and (finally!) work less.
Consistent trying can change your mind. pic.twitter.com/Amki2zWCzJ
— Janis Ozolins (@OzolinsJanis) October 15, 2021
Sounds easy? Don’t be fooled. (This is not Instagram)
To get from there to here, I did a couple of things consistently:
- work on issues that ate up most of my energy and kept me in a state of anxiety, stuck in fight or flight mode – through transformational therapy sessions
- learn from multiple disciplines (psychology, cybersecurity, business, marketing, journalism, etc.) and let those learnings mature and permeate everything I did
- apply what I learned the best I could, through my work with clients, personal projects, and in all my relationships, from my closest friends to mentoring startup founders
- develop my decision-making process and document progress
- reflect on achievements and failure with more kindness towards myself and others, something I’m still working on with intent.
What happened this year is that I saw the compound effect of 10+ years of consistent work, peppered with strokes of luck, and, most of all, littered with people who make my heart sing.
And there’s one more important realization that I’m taking from this year.
Get more attention by opening up. pic.twitter.com/dKJmW6LWTz
— Janis Ozolins (@OzolinsJanis) October 4, 2021
My business is personal to me.
It’ll never be any other way.
My company of one is a huge part of me. I’m the one it depends on to keep going, to make it better, and to serve its customers with dedication and enthusiasm.
On its third birthday, I felt like celebrating my commitment to my company of one with a public display of affection and a pledge for the years to come.
What I want most of all for my business is to keep it:
Personal – because you cannot make a real, positive impact without skin in the game and because, on the other side of the screen, there is always a real person with real emotions, needs, and expectations.
Ethical – because doing the right thing for/with the right people is what gives my work purpose, what keeps me sane, productive, and hopeful.
Empathetic – because kindness, curiosity, and connection give my work meaning. Without other people to relate to the content I create or help develop, there would be no results, no serendipity, no constant growth.
Brave – because, looking back, I’ve accomplished things in the past decade that I would’ve never thought possible. This is to remind me to dream bigger than I allowed myself to do in the past.
Anchored in reality, in principles, and in constant practice. Without a strong process, it’s easy to lose momentum or the willingness to stick through the rough parts. Anchors keep us focused on the long-term so we might overcome our biological tendency for instant gratification.
Focused – because coming up with 1000 ideas is not nearly as impactful as executing on a single one to the best of my abilities. Focus and follow-through make great friends for a solo business owner like me.
Resilient – because my business depends on me, the next stage is all about diversifying my income streams and productizing my experience and know-how so that it can serve more people who need the kind of work I do.
Reliable – because I know from experience that working with trustworthy people makes everything 100x easier and more impactful. Because I believe that using our energy to find ways to work together is also 100x more powerful and effective than protecting our egos.
Don’t like bureaucracy? Become one. pic.twitter.com/c6EvArOCAX
— Janis Ozolins (@OzolinsJanis) November 7, 2021
From freelancer to solopreneur
I’m not a big fan of labels but we do need them to make sense of the world. Sometimes, we need them to make sense of ourselves too.
Looking back at the past year, I realized I made an important shift in how I see my business and how I plan to grow it. I went from being a full-time freelancer, working exclusively for my clients, to being a solopreneur and doing a mix of client work and projects designed for larger groups of people.
This shift in perspective and intention turned into bolder plans and a more mature approach to making them happen.
In my view, as a solopreneur, you don’t need a stage, a big brand name, or a big budget to make a difference. You can do that from behind a screen on the condition of committing to what it takes to run an entire business on your own.
Saving the best for last, I couldn’t miss the chance of saying THANK YOU!
to all the new friends I’ve made this year
to all my old friends whose unwavering support fills my heart
to all the new clients I’ve started working with
to all my old clients whom I respect and admire
and to everyone who spent their time on the content I created, who gave me feedback, who cheered me on, and who made my day better, even without knowing how much I needed a boost!
A creator never works in a void. We lose, find, and heal ourselves in relationships, as a dear friend says.