Finding your voice is challenging, no matter what kind of career you have. Sarah Steckler got some interesting advice on a performance review about a decade ago. That advice impacts how she shows up in her life and business. I've known Sarah virtually for a few years now. I've never known her not to speak up for what she believes in. I am so excited to share her Millennial Career Diary on the blog today.
What do you do as a self-employed person?
I'm a Productivity Strategist & Planner Creator! I teach you how to organize your mind, create sustainable & mindful productivity, and turn your ideas into planners & journals!
How did you get into your current role?
After getting married in 2014 and moving cross country, I knew I needed to find a career that I could take with me anywhere as my husband moves often for work. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, so the idea has always been in the back of my mind. In 2015 I started planning out ideas, and in 2016 I took the leap and started my LLC.
What does a day in your career life look like?
Truly no day is exactly the same. For the first three years of my business, I worked 70+ hour weeks and made very little income. Now that I have a better foundation for my business, I typically work anywhere from 2-9 hours on a given M-F. I start my day doing things I love, like going for a walk, journaling, playing Animal Crossing, and then get to work at my home office. Most of my work is done behind a computer since I run my business online. These are things like creating content, podcasting, developing courses and programs, supporting students, and creating more journals and planners.
What has been your favorite project to work on in the last 6 months? Why?
I love the process of creating and self-publishing new journals and planners, but from a big picture, I think what I love most is creating content and helpful materials. Whether it's for my podcast (an ongoing project) or continuing to develop and update the curriculum for my students inside Publish with Purpose. I love the creation process, teaching, and being able to engage my audience with what I create. So content creation! It's a never-ending ongoing project that takes many forms, but it lights me up.
What has been the best piece of career advice you ever received?
“If she could find her voice, she could truly lead.” Someone left this comment on a performance review of mine about a decade ago. It's always stuck with me. To me, it's always meant to trust in yourself, believe in your abilities, and to continue to build your own self-confidence so you can make decisions and take action without always seeking approval from others. Leadership is about so much more than “leading the way” – it's really about having the agency to take consistent and solid action within your own life and with what you alone have control over.
What advice would you tell other millennials looking to get into your line of work?
If you want to be an entrepreneur, just know that it's the biggest self-development journey you may go on, and it never ends. The highs will feel incredible, and the lows will make you doubt everything and have you wanting to quit. Starting your own business and showing up online as you are is something that will take practice and will serve as a mirror for just about everything you might have been insecure about. But it's incredibly rewarding, and if you're adaptable and open to criticism, you'll find an incredible amount of joy in the time freedom it can provide.
What resources (books, websites, YouTube channels) have helped you the most when preparing for your role?
I got caught up in a lot of toxic positivity and harmful self-development back in 2014-2015. There are a lot of “mindset” resources out there that can easily take anyone out of logic and into magical thinking. So with that being said, my best recommendations are resources and tools that help you stay grounded. You can't think your way into success alone or “manifest” any one thing if you don't do the work. Find supportive peers who can help you take action. That's the best way to learn, to get out there, do the things, make mistakes, and improve. I definitely recommend checking out Jason & Caroline Zook of Wandering Aimfully. They give some of the best, real, down-to-earth business advice I've come across.
Any other advice, tips, or stories you want to share with readers?
I've “failed” many times at what I do. I've created courses and planners that no one enrolled in or bought. I have learned the hard way that you have to manage your energy otherwise you won't have time to do anything you want to do in your life & business. Trust the process. Know that entrepreneurship is essentially experimentation. Everything is an opportunity to see what works, what doesn't, what you love doing, what you might never want to do again. Never shut down your curiosity and just keep going 🙂
If you want to tell your own career story, I would love to feature it. Check out our Get Involved page to let me know you want to share your story.