Making the decision to work for yourself is fulfilling and exciting, but it can also be scary and uncomfortable. Many entrepreneurs are left questioning their ability, worth, and overall direction as they seemingly trail-blaze new paths. Fortunately, one entrepreneur thought it necessary to share reflections from her first year of self-employment.

Katrina Long, a holistic healing arts therapist and founder of Manifesting M. E. Wellness, left her job in April 2018 and hasn’t looked back. That, however, doesn’t mean her journey has been easy which is why she celebrated her first year of freedom by posting a list of year one lessons on her Instagram page.

Being that Katrina’s organization is rooted in enhancing the lives of people of color, she was more than happy to sit down and share her entrepreneurial takeaways with Mogul Millennial.

Lesson 1: Preparation is key

How did you prepare for your transition? 

I took the money I was making from work and put it toward training. The politics [around therapy] are very strict and I wasn’t able to do a lot of the things I wanted to do, so I just started training. Towards the end I used the money to build my website, start my women’s circle, and get my logo together, so when I was ready to quit, I had all those things ready to go. 


How did you know you were ready to leap?

I wasn’t. [laughs] If anyone were to ask me now would I do it again the same way, I would say no. I would spend more time really launching my business beforeI took the leap. I took the leap because I was tired and burnt out, and it was making me sick. Because I have a chronic condition, I was like it’s me or y’all. In the midst of taking care of myself, I said I’m going to try to start this business and see what happens. 

Takeaway: Every entrepreneur faces a certain level of unknowns, but proper preparation and knowledge can assist you during the transition. Use your job as your investor, set up business items in advance, and create a plan to launch. 

Lesson 2:  Trust yourself and the process.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a first-year entrepreneur?

The first challenge was learning to trust myself. Learning that the gifts, skills, talents, and trainings I had were enough.

I was working as a contractor for a private practice. In December they presented me with a contract that was pennies for the amount of money I was making them. That literally forced me to have to figure it out on my own.  It was very uncomfortable. I had to make a decision. Am I going to allow you to put me in a place that’s really not acknowledging my worth? The stipulations didn’t feel good to me. I could have applied for a job, but it’s L.A. Finding a job is hard and it could take months. I needed money. January hit, and I hit the ground running. I had to trust that everything that was coming to me and everything I had was going to support me. I had to trust that because I didn’t have anything else. It worked, thankfully.

How much of your leap was taking advantage of opportunities versus creating your own lane?

Most of it was creating my own lane- like 95%. When I decided to start training in yoga, art therapy, and energy healing, no one I knew was doing those things. I see more people doing it now. I don’t know if we were just doing it at the same time, but when I was searching for a blueprint or mentor, I couldn’t find one. A lot of creating my own lane was trusting myself. For me it was trusting the things I’m doing, the things that I’ve been trained in, what I used in my own healing, and how it’s impacted me. I can present it and they can say yes or no, but trusting that if it comes to me, it might be necessary or helpful.

Takeaway: The uncomfortable moments grow us the most. In these moments we learn that what is within is enough to sustain us. Lean into discomfort, and learn to trust yourself. 

Lesson 3: It’s okay to rest. 

What is one thing you are changing as you enter year two?

I’m being more intentional about listening to myself and my body, so that I can take breaks when I need to rather than being so hard pressed to always be doing something. I’m listening to my mind and body a bit better and knowing that if I need to take a break this month, that’s okay. Saying no to things is just necessary. These days I don’t have the capacity for everything. 

Takeaway: Self care and recovery are just as important as the grind. We get more done when we are properly rested and rejuvenated. The world will still turn if we take time away. 

The entrepreneurial journey is different for everyone, but Katrina’s lessons around preparation, personal growth, and taking care of self are major keys to navigating efficiently. Take the time to create a plan, don’t second guess your abilities, and listen to your body when it’s tired. You got this!

Through Manifesting M.E. Wellness, Katrina is currently provides mental health services to communities of color. She’s doing a great deal of trauma work with marginalized communities in the L.A. area. Her offerings include mental health services and consultations, yoga, and natural products people can purchase to help relieve stress. Everything is available via her website