get your free ebook - Facebook post ideas - CLICK HERE

5 Years Ago Today, I Started A Business

Posted on Feb 2, 2017 by Rachel McLean

Today, I am celebrating a very special milestone. Five years in business for myself.

In January 2012, I was working for an advertising agency. I loved the work that I was doing – we were getting more and more requests for social media help and that work was being sent to my desk. I loved it. But I had read somewhere this quote, “Don’t wake up every day and go to work on someone else’s dream”. I knew I was meant for something bigger – whatever that was. So I resigned, registered an ABN, a business name, got insurance, engaged a mate to design my logo (Hearsay Creative are still my go-to designers) and on February 2nd, 2012 I generated my first quote.

I remember being full of uncertainty. What if i was charging too much? What if they said no? How would I fund this? I had about $2000 in my bank account, with bills due. I worked two days a week in a menswear store to cover my living expenses for the first six months. But friends referred me to their friends. People I met networking asked me for proposals. Clients came back for more work. I slowly began to grow a business that could fund my personal living expenses. And then a bit more.

Staff came on board. I had an office! Business cards with embossing! A PO Box! Everything was coming up Millhouse. And then I found out I was pregnant, and if I proceeded with the pregnancy would be a single parent.

I decided that to take on this baby, as a self-employed single mum, this would be my greatest challenge of my life. This decision represented all my decisions. If I chose to have this baby, I am saying yes, I am one determined, unstoppable force and I can do anything. I take the hard road, the road less travelled. If I decide to continue with my life the way it is, I am missing out on the biggest opportunity to grow as a person, into the type of person that I want to be.

In June 2014, Emily was born. I was 25 years old, living alone in a tiny retro unit with a newborn baby, with no idea what I was doing. Friends brought me lasagne. Friends came over so I could shower. People held her so I could rest my arms. When she slept, I worked. I don’t remember when I slept.

I spent the next 18 months loving her, but also anxious to get on with growing my business. It was ticking over, profitable, but no growth. I was so hungry to grow and so ready to take my business to the next level. I had to learn patience, gratitude, flexibility.

2016 was the year things began to change. With Em in daycare two days a week and spending more time with her father, I had TIME to grow this business. I spent more time with clients than I ever had before. I networked. I redesigned my website. I rebranded back to Rachel McLean. I took every opportunity that came my way to grow – even if they were unpaid gigs. And I worked with some incredible clients, big and small, from global corporations to local retailers and startups. I’ve presented to hundreds of people on social media, entrepreneurship and growing a small business.

It has taken me five years to get to where I am today. I’m not a millionaire (yet). But the life lessons I have under my belt from these five years have played a pivotal role in my personal growth, in the people I hang out with, the clients I attract, my relationships and my relationship with myself. There truly is no better way to get to know yourself than starting your own business and sticking it out, through the thick and the thin.

To those who have played a role in my last five years – whether in business or in my personal life – thank you for being there. To everyone working with me now, this year and beyond, let’s smash this. Because from where I am standing, 2017 looks pretty damn awesome.

  • Testimonials

    Rachel is changing the way Brisbane small business owners are building their businesses, leveraging the power of integrated social media to do so.
    Cat MatsonChief Digital Officer for BrisbaneBrisbane
  • QuickBooks Connect Sydney

    On Being A Social Media Presenter

    5 Years Ago Today, I Started A Business

    Are Facebook Likes Irrelevant?

    Are You Good At Selling?

    How To Make Money With Facebook

    When To Pull The Plug On A Social Account

    Facebook Pages Can Schedule Live Video

    How To Combat Social Media Overwhelm

    What we can learn from Trump

    (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    Digital Brisbane Small Business Power-Up Events

    Is Facebook Even Worth It Anymore?