Do you ever wonder how you ended up where you are right now? I know I do! Here’s my story.
Hey there! It’s been a few weeks that we’ve been travelling side by side in this wonderland of solopreneurs and business owners journey together. I figured it might be a good time to share a little bit more about myself. So here’s my story of how I got to where I am now.
When I arrived in Switzerland seven years ago, I felt professionally lost. I had left my career as a magazine journalist, my native country, and the ability to express myself fluently in my mother tongue outside of my apartment. For someone who works in a very language-related industry, it was not an easy experience.
Now when I look back at that time, I realise that the language learning was actually the easy part. I learned French quickly, thanks to good teachers I luckily had. Finding a fulfilling professional project proved to be much harder.
Even though I learned the language, I lacked confidence. I could never be at the same level with native French or English speakers, I thought. I would never find a job. I would never be happy again.
Eventually I found a job, became an even more fluent French speaker, left my job, fell pregnant, became a mom and did not even have the capacity for work-related thoughts for almost a year. That might still have been the happiest year of my whole life, but unfortunately those maternal hormones wear off eventually and you inevitably start to see that there are also other things in the world than your perfect, beautiful, rose-cheeked baby girl. That is when I really started feeling lost.
That was a miserable period in my life. I wasn’t happy at home – I just couldn’t take being a stay-at-home mom. In the morning, when all the mandatory routines were accomplished, the day spread out in front of me as a hopelessly long chain of unfulfilling moments and I had no idea of what to do with them.
But I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted either! I’m a journalist by trade but it was not a possibility to find a journalistic job in Switzerland, despite my fluent French. I had worked in a communications agency, but long hours didn’t appeal to me as a mom and wife. I studied a little bit of photography, digital marketing and social media and created a travel / family / expat-life themed blog in hopes of making some money through it one day. I created an account on Instagram, Twitter and all the other platforms you can imagine, hoping to get my following up and the money rolling in.
None of these endeavours made me feel like I was in the right place. There was always something off. I didn’t really have the technical passion to become a good photographer. I didn’t feel comfortable showing my whole life on Instagram. I had absolutely no idea what to say on Twitter. I was all over the place, but none of those places felt like home.
And then, one December midday, I was having lunch with a friend, and I had the courage to say what I had been thinking. “I’m going to create my own business”, I said. There was no stopping me after that. On January 2018 I tackled the paperwork, put up my site (which was horrible, but still!) and started contacting potential clients. My first invoice was paid in March.
Now at the beginning of my second year as independent journalist and communications expert, I do a little bit of everything: A few journalistic clients in Finland, so I can keep writing in my mother tongue. Some communications projects to manage and strategies to draft and execute. Blogs to write, photographs to take, links to share on Twitter and photos to edit for Instagram. I admit I am not going to stop here. I am not where I want to be yet, but I am so happy to be at this point, a whole new path spreading in front of me.
The moral of the story here is: just start somewhere. It is never going to be perfect in the beginning and you only see your star constellations once you’ve already travelled a while. But, and this is an important one: listen to yourself! If something feels wrong, off, not like you, it probably is. If I hadn’t taken the step and started working with my first clients, I wouldn’t have had all the experiences I have now, all that knowledge. Or if I had taken a 9-5 job that felt wrong, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
So if you are hesitating, hear me out: Take that step. That is the only way to see if it feels right for you. If it doesn’t, you can change your mind. But try. Take that step. Be brave. I’ll be with you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
And now it is your turn to tell me your story: how did you get to where you are now?
Thanks for sharing, it’s inspiring reading!
Thank you for your kind comment! I’m happy to hear you’re inspired.
This is great advice! I trust my gut, and so far it has not led me astray – that’s how I ended up in rural Portugal renovating an old farm into an ecotourism project and freelancing as a science communications writer and more. It’s not always easy, but I am right where I want to be. Look forward to learning more from you and exchanging when possible on tips and lessons learned.
So happy to hear, Shahnaz!Your project does sound amazing as well.