If I Only Knew This When I Started …

Once you read through this post, I promise you will be ready to hustle until your haters ask you if you’re hiring!

Hindsight is great; we all know that. What can you do with it? There’s no use beating yourself up over things you could have done differently, if only you had known … .

As an entrepreneur, I can think of two reasons to conduct this kind of review where one says “If I only knew this when I started …”

  1. Looking back to see where you might have done things differently can give you insight to use in future situations that might be related or similar. As the expression goes, “Live and learn.” We hope we learn from our mistakes. Although I would not necessarily call these learning experiences.”
  1. Giving advice to those who follow in your footsteps. Are you a mentor to someone who is not as seasoned as you? You never know, when you pass along your wisdom, if the person with whom you are speaking is going to retain what you say or understand its significance. You can only hope when they face a similar situation they will recall your experience and what you learned from it. Can one person truly learn from another person’s learning experience? Yes, I believe so.


What I wish I had known when I started my graphic/web design and virtual assistant business …

It’s Okay to Make Mistakes …

Fear of making mistakes can be paralyzing. I knew that, on an intellectual level, but I had to learn it for myself on an emotional level. In the early days of starting my business, I experienced times when I fell into the pattern of hesitating for fear of making a mistake. It took a little while, but I learned to recognize the pattern enough to change it. Instead of staying “stuck,” I developed a process of asking myself what am I afraid of? Usually, the risk was not too great, and I was able to move forward. Reaching that point was very liberating and my business has grown as a result.


It’s Okay to Say “No”…

Sometimes as businesspeople we do not want to say “No, I cannot do that.” I have a friend who says, “No is a complete sentence.” She is right! It’s not that I am a people-pleaser. I did not have this issue in everyday life, but I did in the early days of my business, and I know why. When I was starting out, I felt it necessary to accept every opportunity that came my way, even if it was not in my best interest. I was building a client list. I knew each freelance job could possibly lead to another—and better—opportunity. I was paying my dues. Now I trust my gut, and if my gut says, No, then I say, “No.” This does not happen often, and I can usually give a reason, but there have been times when I have simply said, “No, that does not sound like something I can help you with.” Full stop.


You Must Assert Yourself When Dealing With “Difficult” Clients …

As a newly-minted entrepreneur, I wanted to be nice, no matter what. When I first encountered a difficult client, someone unreasonably demanding, I wanted to give that person the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes that approach has worked for me, and sometimes it has not. Again, I have learned to listen to my gut. If a client is overly demanding or does not keep agreements, a red flag goes up in the back of my mind. Warning. At this point I recognize the need to make a decision. Can I work with this person — and will the payoff be worth the effort? Or should I extricate myself as quickly and tactfully as I can? If I decide to hang in there, I will be direct about setting boundaries. It’s alright to say, “It concerns me that you have not kept your agreement about …” or “What you are asking me to do is not within the scope of our contract. Do you want to add that as an additional service, for the rate of ?” In running my own business, I must stand up for myself.


Time Management Matters Regardless of Whose Time You Are Managing …

Why is it easier to manage your time when you are working for a client as opposed to when you are working on your own business needs? When attending to client business, I have always been ultra-conscious of using my time as efficiently as possible. If I were to get sloppy with time management, I would actually be losing money. If I can get the work done in less time, I have more time available to work on other client projects. Attorneys refer to this concept with the term “billable hours.” However, when I started my business, I did not always apply that reasoning to time spent building and growing my business. Creating and following my marketing plan; finding new clients; setting up my infrastructure such as my accounting system; building reports I needed to measure my progress … I did not quite see the parallel. I quickly realized, however, that in order to succeed, I needed to respect my own time as seriously as I respected that of my clients.

It’s F’in Hard Being an Entrepreneur …

No, I am not whining. It is just a cold, hard fact that being an entrepreneur can be difficult. I have chosen to be an entrepreneur and I choose that route again every day. The reality is I did not realize quite how hard it would be sometimes, and the important word there is sometimes. Especially in the beginning period of building my business I worked many long hours. I found myself doing tasks I had not expected to be doing such as learning new platforms on the fly to accommodate tight deadlines. I felt isolated. I had to identify what training I needed and where I could find it. With the help of an excellent career/life coach, I have met each obstacle and I continue to do so. Now, I know to expect this work will be difficult at times. When I was starting out, I did not. Would I have made a different decision for my career path, had I known? No, I would not.


I Am GOOD Enough …!

Does everyone encounter self-doubt at times? As I have written about in an earlier post, when I was starting out I did not always recognize my own worth as an artist, a designer and a creative individual. In making the leap from part-time entrepreneur (aka freelancer) to full-time entrepreneur, I had to acknowledge my abilities, my strengths and my willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success. ~ Swami Sivananda

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Picture of Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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