March On: My First Week as a Solo Entrepreneur

In 2018 I made the decision to quit my job, move to a new city, and leave everything that made my life feel secure and comfortable behind me. I make bold moves — often and willingly — because I am not a “part-time” kind of person. I go all in. In business, in life, and in my relationships.

Opportunity was at my doorstep and it came in the form of my longtime friend asking me to pursue a new venture with her. Cue Event Hollow, an online marketplace for weddings, where you can browse, build, and book all the vendors you need for your wedding in one place. I was hooked. And as a social media freelancer, I was ready to take my career to the next level. I wanted to be a part of something bigger, contribute to a company who could value from my unique perspective and expertise. And so we sailed off into the sunset that was Event Hollow.

Just kidding.

We didn’t exactly set sail into the sunset. Building a company is a lot like treading water. For a long time…

Those first few months were like a crash course on how to be a startup founder. We attended countless networking events, began writing our business plan, actually googled “what’s a pitch deck”, and laid the foundation for our product to launch.

Fast forward a couple of months and we were pitching our company to anyone who would listen. Our parents, our friends, advisors, entrepreneurs, and eventually, investors.

In my experience investors care about two things:

How you are going to make money, and how you are going to keep the risk low.

And guess what? I was the weakest link and the highest risk on my team. I was 23 with virtually zero experience that held any merit on paper. (My degree is in liberal arts for God’s sake) And investors (also everyone else) questioned my place at my own company. The very company I had helped build — that I had dedicated my entire life to. I was in jeopardy of losing my place there and I was absolutely terrified.

I was also discouraged. I knew I had talent, I knew I was capable. Why could no one else see that?

I realized there was a disconnect between what I knew and what they saw.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to clarify my message and build up my digital assets. It was time to put my game face on.

It was time to build a personal brand.

I started sharing consistent value, simply by sharing my experiences and lessons I had learned from entrepreneurship. And with every blog post, Instagram story, and LinkedIn article, I watched something pretty amazing happened:

  • My message was clear, and in turn, people knew who I was and what I am all about (the best part).

  • I had people of all ages asking me for advice about their own personal brands!

  • I was invited to speak and share my expertise at events and workshops.

  • I filmed and sold my very own digital course!

  • People began reaching out, instead of me having to find clients and brand partnerships.

  • Investors, advisors, and other entrepreneurs started seeing me as someone who was credible, confident and a thought leader in my field.

When you build a personal brand you are in it for the long haul. Believe me, there is no overnight success here. I have put in the long hours, and continue to share a consistent message over and over and over again.

All things considered, I am a baby entrepreneur with an infinite amount of lessons to be learned. I do not define myself as an expert personal brand strategist.

But believe me when I say, I will be.

This week marks my first week as a solo entrepreneur and a full-time personal brand strategist. I am forging my own path, making my own rules, and praying to God I make it out alive.

Because remember, I am not a “part-time” kind of person. When I love something, I go all in.

Anna Vatuone