How Self-Surrender Helped Me Launch My Business
“Those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10
Post-grad life was hard at first. I had marketable skills. I had a killer resume and a degree with honors. I’d had plans on what I “wanted to be when I grew up” for years. But by the time I walked across the stage at graduation, I had no idea what to do with my life, professionally.
About a year ago, I became really honest with myself on what my talents were and what I truly wanted to do - and felt called to do, based on the gifts God had given me. I knew God had given me the gift of being a solid writer. And I knew that, based on my own personality and work style, I wanted to be self-employed.
So the natural course of action, after much research and prayer, was to start my own copywriting and copyediting business. I’d already been freelancing for several months, so I had industry knowledge and even a few clients I could count on.
All I had were my skills and background in writing, and the desire to be a business owner and to eventually be self-employed. Realizing the fact that my success was entirely dependent upon the amount of work I put in was what scared me the most, but also what excited me more than anything about this new path I’d found.
Starting a business is truly a school of self-surrender. There have been few experiences of my life in which I’ve been forced to step outside my comfort zone and trust in God more so than in the months since I first decided to start a business.
From the earliest days of writing out my business plan, and now every day as I work toward the goal of being self-employed full-time, I’m constantly having to learn and re-learn how to ignore the doubts, trust in the abilities God has given me, and to let go of my own unreasonable standards.
Surrendering myself and my work to God has enabled me to move forward doing work that I love, and it’s truly the reason I ever got my business off the ground in the first place.
Ignore the Doubts
While starting my business, there were so many times when thoughts like “I have no idea what I’m doing,” or “I’m just not good enough,” and, “This will never work,” filled my head.
So much of starting a business is making a conscious effort to ignore those little thoughts that try to discourage and focus instead on surrendering ourselves and our work to God. I’ve learned that two things help to dispel doubts and encourage self-surrender: learning and doing.
At one point, I was terribly intimidated at the thought of building a website from scratch. Words like “self-hosting” and “plugin” stressed me out because I had no idea where to begin. My doubts convinced me that I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out, and therefore wouldn’t be able to get very far with my business. But instead of listening to those doubts, I focused on learning what I didn’t know. I read articles, studied blogs, and asked questions until I was confident in this facet of business-ownership, and I ended up building a website I’m happy with.
Similarly, when I began to craft my very first contract, I was again faced with that little voice of discouragement telling me, “No client will sign this! It’s just not good enough!” I learned an effective response to doubt is to just do what it is you’re trying to do. I wrote up that contract, had a legal professional look it over, and sent it to my potential client. They signed it and we moved forward with the project. Sometimes the best response to doubt is to put your head down, pray, and then get to work.
Trust in Your Abilities
Self-surrender also helped me (and continues to help me!) let go of the insecurities I’ve had about my own skills. Many of those doubts prodded me into thinking that in terms of my writing abilities, I wasn’t good enough, talented enough, or experienced enough to start a business.
But so much progress can be made in placing ourselves and our talents in God’s hands and asking that He do with us and them what He wills. A few times, I’ve faced huge projects for which I feel my abilities are wholly inadequate. In those moments, I pray that I’ll be able to surrender those feelings of insecurity and ask God to help me use my talents to the best of my ability. And I remember the hard work it’s taken to get to this point, and the skills I’ve honed in the process, and focus on trusting in my abilities, and having confidence they’ll help me get the job done well.
Learning to Let Go
Self-surrender enabled me to let go of unreasonable expectations that threatened to discourage me. Early on, I frequently found myself expecting far too much too soon, or becoming impatient with the rate of growth my client list was experiencing.
My husband and family constantly reminded me of the huge strides I’d made in such a short time, how I had truly accomplished the periodic goals I had set for myself, and how, at that point, I already had more clients than I’d initially envisioned.
To help yourself surrender unreasonable expectations, celebrate your successes. Don’t just let success come and go without recognizing and being grateful for it. Surrender your need for the end goal to happen right now, and enjoy working towards that goal. The process itself is a gift!
Surrender Yourself – And Your Work
The converse of all of these things had the potential to hold me back and even derail my aspirations to start and run a business. Had I listened to all those doubts, held on to insecurities, and set unreasonable expectations, I would’ve thrown in the towel on my adventure in entrepreneurship a long time ago.
Thankfully, by God’s grace and the encouragement of loved ones, surrendering myself and my work has enabled me to let go of the things that would hold me back, and to trust that because I’m praying for God’s will to be done in my life, all that He wants me to do – with my work and otherwise – will come together in His perfect time.
Sarah Coffey is a freelance writer, copywriter, and editor. In college, she converted to Catholicism, met her now-husband Jesse, and received a B.A. in History. In 2018 she took the entrepreneurial plunge and started a copywriting and copyediting business – Coffey Copy & Content, LLC – and hasn't looked back. She loves using her talents for writing and editing to help business owners, students, and writers convey their messages powerfully and cleanly. She is also currently working on a Master's in Sacred Theology through St. Joseph's College of Maine and writes on matters of faith, theology, business, and travel. You can read more of her writing here.