What are you dreaming of? What are your wishes and hopes for your business and life?

"what are you dreaming of?" words in script on a rainbow background, with the URL carlawatkins.com at the bottom | carlawatkins.com

As business owners, our lives are so caught up in our businesses, so intertwined that we often can’t disentangle the two.

Since leaving my day job I’ve been doing, every day, what I used to do for fun – photographing, editing, writing & running my business. They’re no less joyful than they always were, but living your dream isn’t always plain sailing, and it’s important to remember why you wanted it in the first place.

After a long term dream is achieved

When you’ve achieved a long term dream, there can be a weird period of WTF which follows – you feel a sense of achievement but also a sense of loss, as you’re no longer striving for something which may have sustained you for years.

This is true for day job to self employment leaps, especially if they have been a long time in the making, but also in life dreams – moving to somewhere you’ve always wanted to live, starting a family, finishing a house renovation, going travelling…

In my case, the dream of working for myself full time had kept me going through day jobs which varied from horrendous to ok, through bullying bosses and four hour commutes, through crying at work every day and wondering if I would ever escape cubicle nation, presenteeism and micromanagers.

Carla sitting at a desk in a room full of newspaper layouts. She has medium length dark hair so you can tell it's 2008! | carlawatkins.com
In fairness this was one of the jobs where I was happiest, although I still knew working for myself was what I wanted long term – at the Telegraph, 2008

It came about in the most unexpected of ways – losing Dad was not part of my plan, and my final employer’s flexible working policy was not as flexible as it claimed to be.

So I threw myself wholeheartedly in the direction of my long cherished dream. And I love it. Every day, I feel amazed that this is my job now.

And every day, I am newly astounded by the sense of responsibility for my own income & wellbeing which entirely passed me by while I was employed. After all, when you have a regular salary you don’t have to push as hard for your business to be profitable, do you?

For the first six months, I moved in the same direction I’d always been going – because why would I change anything?

Journalling to discover new dreams

Over Christmas, and an enforced few weeks of doing not very much because whooping cough is a bastard of an illness, I found my way back to my journal, and in the process discovered some interesting truths about my new life.

Certain elements of my business, while frequently requested by clients, and so in theory profitable, did not fill me with either joy or a sense of fulfilment. I try to avoid “Shoulds” but here were several I’d been stubbornly overlooking!

Other elements I expected to hate, and particularly networking which I’d been dreading & putting off for years, had become some of the parts of my life I enjoyed the most.

With this new information clear in my mind, I’ve been reworking my offerings and the way I present what I do to keep the focus on what I am best at and enjoy the most. Because that way, my clients get the very best experience and my business is much more likely to be sustainable!

Make time to check in

When was the last time you checked in with your overall plan & direction? Do you have a sneaking suspicion that some of what you do isn’t totally in alignment with who you are and where you are now going?

Make time to check in with your dreams and make sure they’re still what you want – so you can calibrate your journey to keep moving towards them.

And of course, if your dreams include getting visible in your business and showing up in the world as gloriously you as possible – let’s chat about personal branding photography!