The Boldest Thing I’ve Ever Done: Starting a Business

Hello my friends, Jamie Cavanaugh here from Design Higher and today I’m sharing with you my insights on starting my new business. It really is the the boldest thing I’ve done so far!

The short of it — it brings up all my stuff! It’s been a struggle keeping all that chatter in my head under control.

So I’ve been thinking about this A LOT and wanted to share it with you. If you’re in a similar situation, it might help. So here’s what can get in your way.


First of all, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed! I have worked myself into a state of sheer overwhelm over and over.

As a teacher, I really love learning new things and it’s my job to dive in and figure things out. But creating a brand new website, while developing systems and processes to save time, while creating and marketing products, all while supporting a healthy lifestyle based on how I want to work. Let’s just say, it’s a lot!

Now, before I move on, here’s an audio version of this exact blog post, if you’d prefer to listen to this post rather than read it.

Check out this recording here:

Feeling like you don’t have enough time

Part of my challenge is I’ve started my business while working full-time as an educator, so the idea of “not having enough time” is an easy excuse to fall back on.

What are the excuses that are keeping you from meeting your goals? We so often use feeling of overwhelm, fear, anxiety, tiredness or simply “not knowing what to do next” to get in our way.

The big surprise is this: when you’re doing something you love, you will have boundless energy! This is what is happening for me. More importantly, you won’t rely on working only when you “feel like it;” instead you’ll embrace the motto, you gotta “plan the work and work the plan.”

That’s what I’m doing. Each goal is planned and calendarized. When I follow the plan, I grow closer to my goals each and every day. Here’s the most important thing > just keep moving forward!

(I talk more about productivity here and specifically about Trello and the Think Creative Collective e-course that has transformed my calendar.)

Take it one step at a time. Don’t try to do it all!

While you may think you’re good at multitasking, you know what?

No one is.

I tried to do too many things at once while I was working on the details for my new website AND developing the content at the same time.

I realized I needed a good editor. I learned that developing outstanding content is a process. In fact, this whole thing is a process!

In my head, as I planned my new business, I wanted all of it to work out smoothly and to “nail it” right out of the gate. As a designer, I know you know how difficult that is; there’s a lot of trial and error and testing involved in launching. It’s our perfectionistic tendencies talking for sure, right? 😉

So this is key. Ask for help.

One of the smartest things I did was to hire a designer to do my branding. (Shout out to Jamie Starcevich and her team at Spruce Rd!)

You may convince yourself you can do it all, but don’ unless it’s in your wheel house. Pick your lane and stay in it.

My wheelhouse is web design and development (And there was PLENTY to keep me busy here!) So, that’s what I focused on.

But, here’s the thing: I also needed to write all the content, set up the social media, and start my email list. So I found people to help me in areas that I needed the most help. So, I hired a designer to do my branding, a professional to edit my writing, and someone with InDesign skills to create my content upgrades.

It can be hard to find the balance, but you can’t do it all so invest in your business and hire people to help you.

PODCAST - Starting a Business: The Boldest Thing I've Ever Done

The Boldest Thing I've Ever Done: Starting a Business - Podcast //
The Boldest Thing I've Ever Done: Starting a Business - Podcast //


The biggest lessons I’ve learned are mainly lessons about myself and how I deal with the unknown.

Living with the unknown

That’s basically what I’m doing: I’m dealing with a big unknown. Some days that unknown is welcoming, exciting, and I look forward to it, and other days it scares the living daylights out of me.

But, here’s the thing:

If you don’t mask your feelings and just sit with them, then that sick-to-your-stomach-nervous feeling will go away. Trust me.

Starting a new business is a process, and 100% of the time you don’t know how things are going to turn out. Life wouldn’t be very exciting if we did, right?

You don’t know the future of that big endeavor you’re planning! It could be the best thing that ever happened to you, so get started!

Feel the fear AND DO IT ANYWAY!

I’ve learned that if I can allow myself to feel the fear, anxiety, overwhelm, self-doubt and all the other emotions going on inside my head, I won’t die. It goes away

If I can just say “Hello fear! How you doing today?” and acknowledge it but go on with my work, it eventually disappears. If I don’t allow myself to spin out, freak out then it all ends okay.

All of that noise is our primitive brain talking. Don’t let this trip you up.

And finally, be kind to yourself

We all know we’re supposed to be nice to others (we learned this in Kindergarten!), but our biggest challenge is being nice to ourselves. Give yourself a break. Show yourself the compassion you show others and quit judging yourself all the time.

Plan your work and work your plan, do it for yourself, and make YOU proud!!

You show up for other people all the time; show up for yourself and get it done!

Are you starting a big endeavor? How are you feeling?

Thank you my friends! This is Jamie Cavanaugh from Design Higher wishing you all the best, you got this!

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