Wow, today Miel Café Design turns 5! I can’t quite believe I’m half a decade into my business adventure already. The last 5 years literally flew by and I feel the most blessed being able to do what I love for a living! But, on the other side of the coin, there are the sleepless nights, the burnouts, the trial-and-error, the business management, the life-business balance and the not-that-glamourous taxes. Running your own business is not all roses, but it’s surely one of the most satisfying things I ever did.
If I look back at these last 5 years, I hardly recognize the hopeful young designer I was when I started! And here I am, 5 years in, still working at branding and web design for the bravest most inspiring clients I could ask for, but a house mortage, a newborn-almost-toddler, a book and lots of life and work later…
To celebrate, today I’m jotting down a list of the top 5 lessons learned in these mad and amazing 5 years of business. Here you go…
When I started back in 2017, I was at my first working experience (yes, I never worked before launching my business!). I was eager to prove everyone I was going to make money with my business from the very start. Probably pushed by the amount of business “motivational” Facebook groups I was in, much of my definition of “success” was coming from the pressure of making X amount of money from my business. Now, with a family and especially a baby needing most of my attentions, I see how wrong my way to define success was.
Something I learned in the past 5 years is to define success at my own terms: for some this might be making big money, for others finding a great life-business balance. For me, in this very moment of my life, is being able to be present while making my best to provide for the simple, minimalist, meaningful lifestyle I envision for my family. I believe it’s important to also acknowledge that your definition of success might change with time, and it’s totally normal.
Oh I don’t know how many times I experienced burnout at the start of my business! The sleepless nights were the norm. I was always available for my clients, no matter what. I said “yes” to everything because it felt ungrateful to do otherwise. I overbooked myself until I had 20+ client projects to complete at once. I felt the pressure even when I was not working. My mind was always there.
One of the biggest lessons I learned in the past 5 years is the importance of setting boundaries. I now finally understand making yourself always available is not only humanly impossible, but doesn’t even make you look that professional at all. Setting boundaries with clients, working at set hours, scheduling appointments, planning, batching is something that has made my relationship with my business much easier and lighter for sure, while also allowing me to live life at the fullest when I switch off. Plus I’m a Virgo, and organization makes my heart smile 🙂
Even the not-so-great ones. We all go through good and bad seasons in both life and business, and when you’re a solopreneur the two are very much connected. While setting boundaries definitely helps at keeping life and business separated, we’re humans and have emotions. When something happens in our lives, it’s easy to let it affect our businesses too. Sometimes you can’t help it, and it’s OK. I learned to acknowledge every season has its purpose, whether in life or business. You get to simply experience it, learn from it, and see what future brings up next.
Well, before starting my business I studied a lot and thought I 100% knew what I was doing. Now looking back it truly makes me smile – oh, how naïf I was! The truth is, you literally never stop learning. Whatever you do, your experience will form you professionally and, trust me, you’re never stopping educating yourself even after working in the field for many years!
Being formed with branding definitions, when I started I blindly trusted my brand vision and kept working towards it only to realize, yes, you have to be true to your goals, but it might happens they change over time. Brands are run by real people, and people are humans, they change and evolves constantly. So does their business. Goals, expectations, methods change all time and to avoid being overwhelmed by it, I learned you simply need to fully embrace change, always.
Here’s to more inspiring, creative, REAL years of business. I’m excited to see what future has in the plans for Miel Café Design, while I’ll be sure to enjoy the ride and see it grow and evolve, however it needs to, along the way.
A creative atelier curating brand and web designs for women-owned businesses.
I design and curate intentional brand designs and websites to cultivate your idea and bring your value out there.