I’ve been suffering from some MAJOR imposter syndrome lately.

I know we all get this. I also know that I am going to work my ass off until my business is successful because I’m just that gosh darn stubborn.

But… how do I know when it’s okay to stop working my ass off? I currently measure my success based on what other creatives online appear to be… with the massive followings, with people knowing who they are, with all of the happy perfect instagram posts… but because we don’t get to see what’s going on behind the online world, we don’t know if they actually are successful. Are they satisfied with their businesses and lives? Are they happy? Do they make enough money that their businesses will be afloat in five years?

I need to stop comparing my measure of success to theirs, because it’s never going to be the same.

At this point, a few things that I want to accomplish in order to feel successful are:

  • Making enough money in my business to be able to buy a house.
  • Being able to attend in-person networking events and having people recognize me as a local business owner.
  • Having 100 business owners on my mailing list that I send communications out to on a regular basis.

Today was the first Bravo Call for Social Glue Sessions Round 2, and in it Reina was talking about Visibility. This is something that I’ve been trying to wrap my head around for a month or so. What I know is this:

  • my target owns a small to medium sized businesses in the local area.
  • my target uses LinkedIn, and sometimes uses Facebook & Twitter.
  • my target reads traditional media.

I was hoping to focus on Facebook this year for doing the online marketing thing. But now I’m not sure that it’s not wasted effort. I’m also wondering if I should be attempting to get into traditional media somehow – whether that’s through advertising, advertorials, sponsored columns, etc.

Argh, this building a reputation is hard and I question myself way too much about everything.

Also, this stream of consciousness is a bit rambling.


I’m quite anxious about the small groups for social glue sessions – it’ll either help ease my imposter syndrome or it’ll make it worse.


Also, I need to be more mindful this year on marketing, client relations and building my business. I want to make each step forward deliberately so I can be sure that my business succeeds.

Weekly Update: Dec 29, 2017

Wednesday December 27, 2017

Highlights

  • Got a call today from hospital – ferritin levels were down to 46ng/mL. Was looking to get between 50-75ng/mL.
    Amazeballs!
  • Got the on-boarding process questionnaire and client wrap-up questionnaire’s done.
  • Client news: got a client’s website on their server and waiting for the okay to go live, sent off invoice for deposit for another client’s website.

Takeaway

We’re spending this week reviewing 2017 and making some plans for 2018. So far we’re looking at shuffling our service offerings a little bit, looking at a product to sell, and better streamlining our client management process. I’m really looking forward to 2018 – I think we’re going to kick it this year.

Thursday December 28, 2017

Highlights

  • Client news: got deposit and signed contract for that client I mentioned yesterday. Exciting!
  • Rejiggered our current service offerings on our website. Added Accessibility and Emergency Website Fixes into Web Design, renamed Creative Solutions to Graphic Design, and combined Email Marketing, Analytics and AdWords into Online Marketing. More in line with what our current clients want.
  • Seeing Star Wars tonight! Finally!

Takeaway

I’m really excited about working on this client project. I’ve done some work on their website in the past. It was a bit of a pain in the butt because of how their previous designer set everything up – not creating the theme as a child theme, never updating themes & plugins, etc. So I’m looking forward to making everything easier for the client and making the website much more user friendly for the visitor. I think we can do a lot to help make a website that’s better for them.

Friday December 29, 2017

Highlights

  • Got a form submission from the website for a new website quote. John’s working on this. A little worried as a problem client from 2+ years ago (who didn’t end up paying for their website) was recommended by the same person who recommended us to this potential client.
  • Added two new pieces to the portfolio finally. Still need to add one more, but it’s getting there.

Takeaway

It’s been an educational year and I hope that 2018 will go well.

Weekly Update: Dec 22, 2017

Tuesday December 19, 2017

Highlights

  • Chose my 2018 Word For the Year: Flourish
  • Got all caught up on all of the emails that were sent while away on vacation. I miss Cuba already, but the vacation was extremely healing.
  • Got five major tasks completed.

Takeaway

Today I’ve discovered that when John starts panicking and getting anxious, I have the ability to maintain my calm and take control. This is a good thing, because he’s always the one I can depend on when I get anxious, so to know that I can be that for him… well, like I said, it’s a good thing.

Wednesday December 20, 2017

Highlights

  • Heard back from a potential client that was hoping to reduce the quote because she had a marketing consultant who wants to decide where elements are placed on the homepage. At this point thinking about passing on the project completely as it sounds like it’s going to be more work than originally quoted for.
  • Spent afternoon at hospital for phlebotomy. Results from two weeks ago were super positive – ferritin levels were down to 80ng/mL. Huzzah!
  • Got four major tasks completed<./li>

Takeaway

I started listening to the Meditation Minis podcast a while back and it’s been such a huge help in learning how to centre myself. Since going into business for myself, I’ve embraced a lot more of the things that I wouldn’t have looked twice at before – and meditation is a huge one. But these short guided meditations help me to focus on the now; something that both my anxiety and depression don’t like me doing. (And anything they don’t like me doing feels like a huge win for me.)

Thursday December 21, 2017

Highlights

  • Played in Adobe After Effects to create an animated gif for a client. Good reminder that I’m not an animator.

Takeaway

I had a minor breakdown today; we had been looking at houses last night. We’re hoping to buy at some point in the next year, but with prices, I don’t know how we’d be able to afford it. Goodness.

Friday December 22, 2017

Highlights

  • Almost ready to go live with one client site – we’ll begin transferring the site from staging environment to live environment early next week.
  • Got caught up on all actionable emails
  • Started planning 2018 – thinking about setting up a maintenance package for our clients, removing a few of our services from our website (analytics), and combining a few others (emergency website fix & website design, email marketing & adwords)
  • Created a “Client Onboarding Process” checklist to hand all of the onboarding to John.

Takeaway

Hard to concentrate today. Last weekday before Christmas. Coffee + christmas music = OMGYAY.

One way to look at it is that it’s an absolute blessing that I now run my own business. I can’t imagine how I would be able to handle this if I were still working full-time for another company. I have to keep reminding myself that.

You see, the past few months have been a little crazy.

About a year and a half ago, my doctor ordered some blood tests for me as part of my annual checkup. One of the tests was to check my ferritin levels, and at that point in time my levels were high. Quite high. Since then, they’ve been increasing. I’ve been having regular blood tests, ultrasounds, appointments with specialists, and a long waiting period.

A couple of weeks ago, I got the diagnosis of hemochromatosis – a genetic disease where a person accumulates too much iron in their body, and (if left untreated) could lead to bad organ issues. And the treatment is regular phlebotomies… which means once a week, until my ferritin levels are under control, I get to spend some time at the hospital while they take 500ml of blood from me. Once a week.

I have appointments booked until late January.

And I DO NOT like needles or hospitals and I am extremely anxious about this.

It’s fortunate that I can make my own schedule. I know that. It’s fortunate that I can take my work wherever I want. It’s fortunate that they found this when they did and will be able to manage it.

Having flexible time so I could deal with other health issues. It’s a reason I wanted to work for myself.

… but that doesn’t mean I’m ecstatic about the fact that I’m needing to drive to the hospital every week for this, or how much time it’s going to take away from my clients. I’m going to need to spend some time over the next few weeks trying to balance out my calendar to take this into account.

Photo by Samuel Zeller

I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to start my own business.

For most of my life I have struggled with social anxiety and clinical depression. Because it’s something that I’ve had to live with for as long as I can remember, I’ve learned how to survive through it… I’ve also learned that it’s something where the environment that I’m in has a huge affect on how I am mentally each day.

The corporate environment was always one that I struggled with – because it could be extremely hectic, emotional and political, and these were areas where if I could feel any kind of conflict, my anxiety would shoot through the roof. The conflict may not even have been something I was involved in, but if it was going on in my environment, I felt it acutely. It would leave me unable to focus on my work at the best of times – at the worst, I would need to retreat to the bathroom in tears in order to prevent a panic attack.

When my anxiety wasn’t bothering me, my depression was. It left me feeling trapped and hopeless.

There were some days that were an absolute fight to push myself outside of my apartment. There were some days where I didn’t make it out the front door. There were days where I didn’t make it through an entire day at work. And there were a lot of days where I wasn’t able to produce my best work because of where I was mentally.

(Side note – I really wish the corporate environment could be more mental health friendly.)

But whenever I was able to work from home, I accomplished more… and what I did produce was more in line with what was needed to further the company that I was working with at that time. I was able to focus better, and that in turn allowed me to better pay attention to the small details in the website or graphic design that I was working on.

So, my “why” for creating my own business – because while I can survive the corporate environment, I don’t thrive in it. Because when I control my own environment, I can better create. Because when I can better create, I can better focus on helping other businesses reach their goals.

This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a few months. I have had a general idea, but I want it to become more specific and more defined so I can pinpoint what it is that MoonSoar Services does, so I can better target my ideal clients, and so I can measure my own successes.

And for right now, this is where my mission stands:

I want to help Canadian small and medium sized businesses with strategic website design, taking their roadblocks and developing a website that will allow them to convert visitors into customers, access new markets, and grow their brand.

That’s not to say that it won’t change. Goodness knows, it’ll evolve as my business evolves. But this is my starting point.

6:15. John’s alarm goes off and he hits snooze until I roll out of bed and make coffee.

7:00. I check my email and get organized for the day ahead. Monday includes a brief review of everything that’s due the upcoming week – I have one deadline and a large project due in a few days, so most of my effort this week is going to be focused on these two projects.

8:00. While coding a website for a client, I have the Dream, Girl documentary going in the background. I’m extremely impressed and excited with the documentary – it’s inspiring to hear the story of other female entrepreneurs.

9:00. I continue coding my client’s website and am quite pleased with how it’s coming along. I wanted to give the JointsWP Foundation 6 WordPress framework a try and am REALLY liking it. It’s speeding the process up a whole lot, and I really like the Foundation framework as a whole.

11:00. I spend the next hour doing some networking and marketing – typically it includes answering emails, connecting with people on social networks, reaching out to new people that I want to meet.

12:00. Lunch break – usually something quick, like leftovers. Today, it was leftover chili. I also grabbed a 10 minute power nap because it’s Monday, yo. That’ll teach me for staying up late curling last night.

1:00. I’m switching to do work for another client this afternoon. I’m working on some printed material for this client, along with their web material. I really enjoy this because because it gives me the opportunity to work in a variety of areas and it’s always something different.

3:30. I need to take a break so am taking full advantage of the fact that it’s still so beautiful out in the middle of November. I go out for a walk along the river.

4:00. I do another couple of hours of design work the client I had been working on earlier in the afternoon, just to finish up some loose ends that I had from the afternoon.

6:00. I watch two episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 while I make (and eat) dinner (sausages, coleslaw and sautéed mushrooms), do a little bit of work on my blog, and answer some emails.

8:00. Most nights, this would be where John and I go over everything that happened today, talk over any roadblocks we may have, figure out strategy for coming days, etc. However, I spent half of yesterday at the curling club, so tonight I get to play catchup. Vacuuming, mopping and washing the guinea pigs’ bedding.

9:00. This is the point where I actually get to relax, snuggle my guinea pigs and read a book. Over the past couple of years I’ve had less and less time to read, but still make sure I get a little time every night to read, even if it’s only a little bit. Right now, I’m in the middle of Stephen King’s The Shining and I am loving it.


I have a few favourite times of each day. I’m really lucky that I get to work doing what I love – designing/coding websites and designing marketing materials. So I do definitely enjoy a large portion of my day.

That said, though, there’s nothing quite as wonderful as spending time with John and our guinea pigs at the end of every day. It allows me time to really unwind and centre myself, so that I’m relaxed and able to get a good night’s sleep to prepare myself for tomorrow.

Someone told me this weekend that not everyone has it in themselves to start their own business, but I’m not convinced that’s the case. As long as you have the drive, and are able to weather the good times and the tough times, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to do this yourself.

You’ve got to know that there will be days that are harder than others.

The biggest roadblocks I’ve faced have had to do with my social anxiety. This is something where, when things that are at their worst, I am unable to function normally. I’ve been working with my doctor and my therapist to work on getting a handle on things, so for the most part things are good right now, but whenever there’s a first that I don’t know what to expect at all, I have a huge roadblock that I need to get over. These include:

  • Chamber of Commerce networking events
  • picking up the phone for that first call to a client
  • reaching out to a potential client
  • following up with clients who are overdue on payments
  • seeing people I know when I don’t expect to
  • and joining new networking groups.

Today’s prompt in the Classy Career Girl #MyStartupStory Challenge is “My Business Vision.” It actually coincides with a lot of what I’ve been working on and mulling over on my own for the past few weeks, so this has given me the real opportunity to get it all down in words.

In the past, I’ve worked a lot with small and medium sized businesses who don’t necessarily have the resources to bring graphic design, web design or marketing in-house. These businesses know that it’s important, but don’t have the know-how to put a plan into action on how to turn their website into an effective sales and marketing tool.

I’m a problem solver, and I specialize in working with businesses to create beautiful websites and marketing pieces that convert visitors into customers.

Through the use of measurable and achievable goals, I work with companies to identify website roadblocks, research how competitors may be solving these problems, and help these companies create an effective, useable and accessible website that differentiates them from their competition and can be used as a sales tool.

I utilize design to tell a story that speaks to that company’s customer base so that they can connect with these individuals on an emotional level. When I’ve finished working with a company, I want them to have the pieces in place that they can work with to improve their sales and become a more profitable company.

When I was interviewing at my most recently past job, one of the questions that I was asked was where I saw myself in five years. Because I am a socially awkward penguin, I answered, “I want to be running my own business.” Even then, I knew that working in a corporate environment wouldn’t allow me to create my best work; I had just come from another corporate job where I was feeling stifled, and needed a quick fix. Fast forward almost five years from that interview, and the company I was hired at did some massive downsizing… and I found myself without a day job.

Thankfully, I had already been getting ready to go out on my own. I had already done a lot of the ground work, I had already been working with some clients, and was at the point where I couldn’t juggle both jobs. Although I knew it was time to make the jump, I was afraid to do it. The downsizing made the decision for me.

Last May, I took a week of vacation and headed up to the cottage to spend the time really jumping into my business. I knew it was going to be a side project for a short period of time, but needed that initial break in order get started. So, overlooking Lake Huron, I made the initial commitment that no matter what, I would make this business successful.

I wanted the freedom to work from whatever location I wanted to on any given day. I wanted to work on different types of projects. I wanted to not be dictated by a 9-5 schedule. And more importantly, I wanted the ability to work with companies and organizations that I could help become more successful.

So that’s what I’m now able to do, and I’m loving it.