My first week running my own business.

I’ve been running Vogan Creative Limited for precisely a week now — and I wanted to take the opportunity to take a look back and see what I was making of being a ‘freelancer’ or technically the Managing Director of a company.

Photo by Mr Jack Tompkins

If you ask a lot of people — I’d held the dream full-time 9–5 job for 3 years. It was in the sport I love and they were pretty flexible with letting me go away. But in the back of my mind, I knew I was never going to be an office worker — I’ve never been one for the ‘live for the weekend’ approach to work.

So I’d debated a few ideas for the past few years about the company I was going to launch — athlete management, snowboard coaching etc before settling on a Social Media Marketing agency. I created a website, changed it a few times, set up the domain, and still I hesitated about taking the leap.

Whilst it may not appear it, as I do my best to display 110% self-confidence at all times, I suffer the same insecurities that many of us are hiding. Could I make it work? Could I trust myself to work and not just sit on netflix? Was I going to come crawling back to my 9–5 after a few months when it had failed and my world had come crashing down.

Why did I want to leave the 9–5? Well, I wanted the flexibility to travel where I wanted to, when I wanted to. I’m an international snowboard judge, and am in the extremely fortunate position to be invited all across the world to judge some of the best snowboard competitions on the planet. It was getting to a point that I couldn’t keep asking for time off — and I similarly didn’t want to. There are always some things that are going to trump a 9–5: snowboarding or commentating on the Olympics were always going to be those things.

I also wanted the flexibility to walk the doggo, skate or wakeboard whenever I wanted and not limit myself to the weekends (which I was already pretty busy for!).

So I did it.

I handed in my notice and left my full-time job on the 17th October 2018.

When I left, I was in the fortunate position of already having 2 clients on board, as of 1st November, to run their social media marketing channels on a month-by-month basis — meaning I had avoided the initial panic-inducing fear of financial security.

The day after I left — I received a flood of event invitations for trips around the world during the winter: China, Norway, Austria, Bosnia, Russia, America, Canada, Switzerland, France & Norway.

So far, so good.

But what about the actual business side of things? The judging side was all looking good — but snowboard judging isn’t exactly a millionaire’s gig. We do a lot of it for the love of the sport and the experience. You won’t find an action sport judge rolling on his bed with his earnings fluttering around him.

The good

I absolutely love running my own business.

I don’t see it as work.

I don’t even see it as a job.

It’s just a paid hobby.

Social media marketing is something I’ve always had a passion for, and now I get to plan the content strategy for brands who’s aims and objectives align with my own. All in my own time, in my own home, and with my lovely little doggo only a few feet away.

Yesterday, I took him out for an hour and a half stroll in the woods. Because I could. In my 9–5, it was dark when I was getting home, so we were limited to walking the streets on his lead (he’s black in colour, so as soon as the light dips, I lose him pretty quickly!).

But not anymore — I got up early, fired through my emails and was able to stretch all of our legs. The one thing I learnt at University is that the afternoon is not my most productive period. I’m a morning and evening’s man — so they’re the hours that Vogan Creative Limited is operating under.

The bad

The insecurities are always there.

It’s nerve-wracking — but as a contractor (or freelancer), you’re only an email away from losing a client and a source of income. In the back of my head, I’ve got that voice saying “you’re not good enough for this — they’re going to drop you at any moment” — it’s stupid, as there’s been no negatives from anyone, but I’m only human.

When you run your own business, you’re always working.

Even though I try work mornings and evenings, social media is 24/7 (or 25/8, as I like to put it). So even if I’m walking the dog, and content is coming through for Instagram Stories — then I’ve gotta keep at it.

Honestly, I don’t mind though — if these 2 things are my main worries then it’s a worthwhile price to pay for the lifestyle of travel and fun.

It sure as hell beats working in an office staring at the computer screen just waiting for Friday 5pm to hit.

I struggled to remember what day it was today.

I’m not living for the weekend, I’m living for the now.

The Brilliant

I know it’s supposed to be the good, the bad and the ugly. But I couldn’t think of anything ugly about running my own business just yet. No doubt as the months go by, clients will have come and gone, and I’ll hit a hefty ditch of negativity. And I’ll write about it so you know that it’s not all as good as I try make it look on Instagram.

But if you’re thinking about running your own business, do it. Sit down with your idea, and really hash it out. Why do you want to do it? How are you going to make it work? Where is the money coming in from?

And then back yourself — give it a try. Because if you don’t you’ll be 5 years down the line thinking “I wish I’d given it a shot”.

If you want to find out more about Vogan Creative Limited — head to www.vogancreative.com

If you want to follow the world of Snowboard Judging- head to the Its A Judges Life Facebook Page