This holiday is the first time I have taken time off work all year.
2017 has been mostly a blur but definitely monumental.
In November 2016, I got a letter from my former employer that my contract was being terminated. Myself and six others were literally given one month notice. I wrote a bit about it here. I did not have the time to process my emotions during that period. I mean, the year was coming to an end and I would be slightly jobless by the new year. I had to do something.
Being a freelancer since 2013, I had a couple of longtime clients. At some point, I was frustrated. I wasn’t sure what direction to take next. I had discovered earlier on that I could not thrive as a freelance writer. I just couldn’t write long-form articles under pressure. Writing is my creative outlet and I couldn’t ruin that. So I dropped the idea altogether and tried to diversify my skill set by picking up new skills.
In March 2017, JunElevenCo was founded. I knew it was something I eventually wanted to do but I wasn’t sure I was ready but I did it anyway. I switched from being a freelancer to a business owner.
You know how you plan your life and then it totally goes off course? I did not plan to be an entrepreneur. If you asked me what I wanted to do five years ago? I would have told you that I wanted to be a novelist/freelance writer but life happens to you. Fast!
I don’t think I’ve worked as hard as I have worked in 2017 in my entire life. You know what they say about the first few years of business being the hardest? That shit is true! And all those quotes on Instagram about the travails of entrepreneurship? You best believe it!
The year was mostly a blur because nothing major happened other than Junelevenco. I could barely attend events and conferences because any extra time I had was used to rest and maybe read one or two chapters of a book. I checked my Goodreads a couple of days ago and I was sad. My track record was ruined. My non-existent social life? Minus zero. I could not find the strength or the energy for any other thing that was not work-related. Every fiber of my being was invested in my job and worst still? no one could understand.
When you come from a family that isn’t particularly business – oriented, it’s an extra struggle and you have a lot of explaining to do especially if you work from home and your family members think you’re just sitting at your computer all day and skipping meals intentionally.
But you know the best part of it all? It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.
A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me how I was doing so far (Thank God for Twitter DMs for when you need to catch up with acquaintances) and I said,
I love what I do. Digital Marketing changes every single day which makes it exciting and overwhelming at the same time. As for the business, I’m learning everyday. Also, I have the best support system I could ask for.
It wasn’t all sweat and eye problems, I had a few good highlights too:
- I fell in love with the most amazing man. Yeah, shocking. When work and family were pulling out my hair strands, this man was tucking them in and giving me scalp massages. He definitely made my year.
- Speaking of hair, my natural hair has reached a growth plateau which means it has been in the same spot for the most of the year but I couldn’t care less. I wore my frizzy twists EVERYWHERE.
- I wore makeup for a total of ten times or less in 2017. A teenage me would be shocked by this revelation but it is what it is. Instead, I took time to work on my skin and build my self-confidence. Ladies, Apple Cider Vinegar toner preferable infused with Green Tea and Rose petals and Rosehip Oil is the plug. Thank me later. I’m still pretty insecure about my dry skin but that’s a work in progress.
- I finally got published on She Leads Africa after monthsssss. I’m going to go back to writing seriously in 2018. Huffington Post anyone? In the meantime, I try to make sense of Digital Marketing on the JunElevenCo Blog.
- I read a total of 27 books out of 52 in 2017. I’m trying not to be sad about it because I have a track record of squashing my reading challenges. But then, I discovered audiobooks this year and my life has not remained the same. Next year, I’ll probably have a more realistic reading challenge so that I can squash them early enough. (PS: I’m always accepting Audible gift cards)
- I also found myself speaking on a panel in 2017. Being my first time, I wasn’t particularly proud of it but we move!
- When I had a bit of stability, I started a couple of side projects at different times spontaneously because I had to find non-work related but related projects before I lost my mind.
- I don’t listen to music much but Tasha Cobbs‘ new album was on repeat for most of the year. This album is FIRE!
What can I say? 2017 wasn’t bad at all and I thank God for it.
2018, bring it on!