MKW Graphics
Helping small businesses turn brand vision into visuals
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Tips + Thoughts

To call myself a blogger feels all too millennial. Instead, I consider this portion of my website to be part knowledge library, part design magazine and part entreprenurial-digital-nomad travel journal. Hope you enjoy reading my musings!

- MKW

Real Life: Feeling OK about not having a Plan

As you probably know by now, this Saturday I am leaving on my next major adventure to Costa Rica, and to be honest, I’ve got some real throat-tightening, second-guessing, nerve-wracking anxiety about it. Here’s why:

I am not afraid of travel. I am definitely not nervous to be in a new place. In fact, I thrive in new environments and am not shy about meeting new people and doing new things. I know that the group I am going with is going to help push me to be a better business person and creative and think outside the box. Slightly nervous that I will not be able to speak spanish practically at all (despite taking 3 years of it in High School). 

I am not afraid of taking risks (calculated risks, that is). Many people would say that starting your own business is taking a risk, and I would agree. There is a lot of uncertainty tied to being a freelancer or entrepreneur. Where will your clients come from? How will you manage your time? What kind of clients do you want to work for? And yes, these are all questions that I answered and continue to answer when starting out. BUT, being self-employed was kind of easy for me, the path of least resistance. 

I come from a whole family of entrepreneurs. Not only entrepreneurs, but female entrepreneurs in the service industry. My idea of a workday is still tied to tagging along with my mom right after she started her interior design business and bought her dream car, a red convertible. The work day went a bit like this… wake up and answer emails, catch a workout, go to a client meeting, get your nails done, go to another client meeting, get some frozen yogurt then go home and answer emails. This lifestyle to me was ideal. Realistically it’s more complicated than that. You end up working weekends and vacations and weird hours and with demanding clientele, but I also saw how my parents were able to do this AND spend all summer in Lake Tahoe working remotely.

Starting my own business was not as much of a risk as much as it was trial and error to see if it would even work. I had a safety net, my parents to lean on as I got started. I lived at home for 6 months to get my footing before moving to Solana Beach and built up a pretty good roster of clients that definitely filled my week with work. Solana Beach for the last year and a half became my perfectly sized playground. I jumped in to the Chamber of Commerce and started working with local businesses. I joined a co-working space and started attending events in my area to get to know local business owners. Don’t get me wrong, I met some really really great clients and friends here! 

And now, I’m moving… and part of me is a bit concerned about losing what I built here. This trip to Costa Rica was definitely prompted by a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. Rewind to April.

Fortunate:

  • I found WifiTribe, interviewed, and was approved to join for any country of my choosing 
  • I could afford to travel internationally
  • The travel bug bit and it bit hard. I had just come back from the most amazing 18 day Europe trip where I was hooked (again) on living abroad

Unfortunate: 

  • Europe withdrawals
  • we put our childhood yellow lab down
  • I totaled my car 

This undoubtedly scrambled me up and prompted me to make a change. The first was to get back on an airplane and go somewhere new. My parents raved about Costa Rica when they visited last year and I love being in tropical locations in the summertime. It wasn’t feasible to pay for this trip and pay rent for a room in San Diego that I wasn’t going to be using (not rolling in the dough that much, guys) so I decided to move out. 

The moving trucks come tomorrow and unlike any other move I’ve made, I don’t know what my next steps are and that is terrifying. Yes, I am going to Costa Rica, yes I will come back to San Diego for a week or two after to meet clients and to be here for the 2nd Savvy Giving fundraiser. But then what…? I’ve made the tentative plan to move up to Tahoe for what I am calling my ‘fall semester’. Somehow thinking in terms of semesters feels less permanent. I love tahoe, but it definitely won’t be the same as San Diego. Less people, no ocean, but plenty of lake. I think I will like the change of pace but I honestly don’t know! This is the first time in my life where I truly don’t have a concrete game plan which I think is what is bringing on my feeling of uncertainty. I have always done what’s easy for me. Grew up in San Diego so I stayed in San Diego for college. Studied abroad, yes, but I wanted to do that since I was in high school. Started my own business, but did it becausethe need was kind of already there and it wasn’t too hard or out of my control. I am now at a crossroads in my life, 24 yrs old, no home, no car, no serious relationship, no particular ties to any city… all of which is scary and freeing at the same time. I don’t know where I will be in 3 months, 6 months or a year from now. Til then you’ll be playing a lot of ‘Where in the World is Michelle?!’ on my insta stories. Carpe Diem! Arrivederci! Adios! and all the other words that are written in script on wood boards at Marshall’s.