Ever thought of becoming a full-time entrepreneur? I first met Chanèle at a networking event she hosted and I immediately loved her personality and hard work.
Late last year, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, she announced that she had decided to become a full-time entrepreneur.
I’ve had readers request that I feature someone who’s turned an idea to business. So one of my goals is to have some full-time entrepreneurs share their stories for workers who want to go that route.
Chanèle has always had an entrepreneurial bone in her and started ‘freelancing’ when she was in the University because she wanted to gain as much work experience as possible in the PR, marketing, and social media field to ensure that she would land a job.
“In 2016, I decided to formalize my freelance work into a real business called Vision Vertical in partnership with my husband. He’s amazing at design, video creation, project management and branding. I contribute my expertise in writing, PR, social media and content strategy.”
She is also the Founder/ Editor-in-Chief of Do Well Dress Well “DWDW”, a platform that empowers women to succeed in style.
“I consult, write and speak on everything from personal branding, networking, and entrepreneurship to career development and style.
I also run ideate networking, a series of fun and intimate networking events for millennial women living west of the downtown Toronto core.
For 2 years, I ran everything in addition to working a full-time job in digital marketing but in November 30 2017, my 26th birthday, I made the personal decision to take a chance on myself, resign from my job and become my own boss.”
Wondering why she quit her full-time job?
“Deciding to leave my job was (and still is) the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve always been a person that has liked to play it safe and I’m not too much of a risk taker.
However, as I spent more time thinking about the future of my career and the goals I wanted to achieve – being a full-time employee no longer was a part of that vision.
It’s something I’ve been working towards for the last 2 years as I guess you can say I’ve become very disillusioned with the whole “9-5 job” thing.
For all of my jobs, my growth has been stunted because of lack of budget or simply no room to grow. It became frustrating for me as I always felt as though my future was out of my control.
I started DWDW because I wanted to create something that no one could take away from me. I felt as though my full-time job became my identity and I wanted to create my own unique personal brand.
Eventually, as I began to invest more into it and built a community, I began to realize that this is what I’ve been meant to do all along and I started working towards being able to do it full-time.
The final deciding factor was a combination of things. I was feeling completely stuck in my corporate career and even after doing a bit of job searching, nothing ever seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.
Although things weren’t growing much in my career, I was beginning to get a lot of great opportunities for DWDW which would require more of a full-time commitment. Eventually, I decided to just go for it.”
So how is Chanèle able to manage her new life as an entrepreneur, stay organized and juggle it all, you ask?
“I will definitely admit that I haven’t fully adjusted to my new life, but I am getting better each day. I’m glad that I resigned from my job just before Christmas as I was able to spend extra quality time with family.
Through the quality time with them, my anxiousness subsided and I began to feel much more confident. I’ve found that super organization has been key for me.
I primarily relied on my iPhone calendar before but I soon realized that wouldn’t be enough to manage my entrepreneurial life. I bought a brand new planner and having something physical has really kept me on track. I’ve also found that making time to connect with other entrepreneurs has really helped me.
It’s so easy to get caught up in your own bubble but when I meet up with other people, it reminds me that I’m not alone. I do have to give huge credit to my husband. As a project manager, he is able to create schedules and processes in a way that just doesn’t come naturally to me.
He has been so generous with his time in terms of helping me become more efficient and of course, listening to me vent on a rough day, cry on a tough day or scream with excitement about a business win.
What keeps me going is knowing what my “why” is. I wake up every morning genuinely excited because I know that my work has an impact on women now and in the future.
I am creating and cultivating a community of successful and stylish women who live remarkable lives. My mission and the legacy I want to leave behind is bigger than myself and that’s what pushes me to keep going even when I’m having a tough day.
I’m completely reliant on a number of different tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, UNUM (to map out my Instagram feeds and write captions), BoardBooster (to keep my Pinterest account going) and Buffer (to schedule social content).
Oh and I can’t forget the Notes app on my phone. I save everything there from blogposts to business ideas when I’m on the go.”
She shared what a day looks like.
“No one day is the same but that’s exactly how I like it. I’m not big on routines. Here’s a recap of a recent day:
8:30 AM: My alarm goes off. I am not a morning person at all.
8:40 AM: My alarm goes off…again. I turn it off and grab my phone to see if there are any immediate notifications. I quickly check my emails/ social media to see if there’s anything I have to respond to right away.
9:00 AM: I go downstairs to my kitchen. I usually have a cup of peppermint tea but if I’m still a little sleepy, I’ll have lemon tea to give me an extra boost of energy. I’m not a big breakfast person but some mornings, I may have a plain bagel with butter, apples and cinnamon oatmeal or bacon and scrambled eggs.
9:30 – 10:00 AM: Emails! I like to get them out of the way. I may also post on social media.
10:00 – 12:00 PM: Researching/ writing content ideas for pieces for DWDW or a freelance piece for another outlet.
12:00 – 12:30 PM: Lunch time break! I’ll usually just warm up some leftovers (usually pasta) but if I want to get some air, I’ll jump in my car and head out to get something to eat. I may also watch a show just to clear my head.
12:30 -1:30 PM: Working on a speaking proposal. Public speaking has become a core part of my business.
1:30 – 4:30 PM: Business development/ content creation for Vision Vertical.
4:30 – 7:00 PM: More emails and finishing up pressing deadlines.
7:00 – 7:30 PM: Dinner with my husband and we usually have CBC News on in the background as we chat to each other about our day.
7:30 – 8:00 PM: A call with Jovita who works with me on Ideate Networking.
8:00 – 11:00 PM: Family phone calls. After that, I write until I get tired. I’m a night owl so I get my best ideas after 8pm. I write a to-do list for the next day and head to bed!”
She has something to say for anyone thinking of becoming a full-time entrepreneur.
“Do it for you. Entrepreneurship is not a joke and not easy. The idea of owning your business has become super trendy and you can easily get caught up in it and convince yourself that’s the direction you need to take.
It’s okay to continue working full-time, in fact, you should do this for as long as possible. My work experience has been so valuable to me as I run my businesses.
Working a 9-5 job is not bad and you can gain so many skills, resources and helpful contacts that can be useful to you if you decide to start your own business.
If not, that’s cool too – being an intrapreneur still sets you apart in the workplace and will open up some amazing career opportunities for you.
I would also highly recommend having a community of people around you. Full-time entrepreneurship is lonely! Even though I work way more hours in a week than ever before, spending time with other people is a priority for me.
I regularly meet up with my mom just to hang out or catch a movie, I schedule a lot of coffee chats and I’m also a member of Make Lemonade, a coworking space for women in downtown Toronto. This has been key for my sanity as I now spend a lot of time working from home alone.”
How do you relax?
“I love reading, watching shows/movies and of course, taking a nap. I’ll never be one of those people that will glorify the idea of not sleeping to get work done.
Sure, it’s important to “hustle” but if you’re exhausted, the hustle can wait till you wake up in the morning. We need to stop rushing our success and thinking that an all-nighter will bring us any closer to it.
I’d personally rather be well-rested so I can fully be present on this entrepreneurial journey I’m on. I’d hate to look back and all I could remember is how exhausted I was.
My absolute favourite way to relax, however, is to jump on a plane and head to Barbados where my entire family is from. I grew up spending a lot of time there when I was younger and it continues to be the place where I can go to relax, unwind and gather my thoughts.”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
This quote by Marianne Williamson is by far my most favourite quote as everytime I read it, it impacts me in such a special way.
So often, we talk ourselves out of doing things (in my case, it was holding off on starting DWDW for 2 years because I was terrified) because we think we’re not good enough but really, we’re worried that we’ll make too much of an impact and our success will make others feel inadequate.
But, here’s the next part of the quote…”We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” Amazing, right?!”
Follow Chanèle’s journey via Instagram using these handles: DoWellDressWell, Ideate Networking, and Vision Vertical. Don’t forget to check out her websites all linked. A huge thank you to Chanèle for sharing her story and tips with us.
Are you thinking of becoming a full-time entrepreneur? Share what you want to venture into in the comment section below.
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