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You Don’t Need It All To Have It All

I’m sitting in a brand new office. With doors. And a desk. And a fancy black swivel chair.

I feel like a “real” self-employed, business owner.

As much as I love being location-independent, with a business on a laptop that I can take from my bed, to the couch, to the coffee shop…I always felt like I wasn’t 100% serious about my business because I didn’t have a dedicated space to run it.

But that’s silly. And not the lesson I want to share today.

What I do want to share is that you don’t need everything you’re supposed to have before being successful in your business.

You don’t need business cards.
You don’t need a 27” iMac.
You don’t need every paid online tool under the sun.
You don’t need Ontraport instead of free Mailchimp.
You don’t need a fancy video camera or microphone.

And you don’t need an office.

You don’t need all these things to get started and you certainly don’t need them to be successful.

I went to an entrepreneur meetup last week and as everyone passed around their cards, I wrote my name on a beer coaster.

After a year of working only on my laptop, I bought a cheapo extra screen off amazon to work on multiple screens, and am just now investing in a 27” mac.

Freelance LifeI used free PicMonkey to create my graphics until I could invest in Adobe Creative Suite.

I used free Contact Form 7 on my website until I was ready to purchase Gravity Forms.

I used free Mailchimp for months, before moving to Aweber for certain features and then upgrading even further to Ontraport when I knew the investment would be worth it.

I filmed videos on my iphone in my horribly lit apartment, until I could invest in a nice camera and lights.

And I worked from my kitchen table with my Frenchy making noise in the background until I lucked out with my new apartment and have a room for my office.

I made more money in 3 months that I did in a year at my previous corporate job…before making these kinds of upgrades.

You don’t need a lot to get started. You don’t need a lot to be successful.

Work with what you have now, and upgrade when it feels possible.

Now it’s time for me to decorate this office. Give me some inspiration by tagging a photo of your workspace on Instagram with #freelancetofreedom


Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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{ 17 comments… add one }
  • This is so true! For a while I had a lot of paid services that I didn’t use enough to make it worth what I was paying for them. I had them because I thought I had to in order to prove to myself that I was taking my business seriously. But at the end of the day, it was just a waste or money considering I could use similar services for free. As I actually have the need, I can certainly revisit some of them but I’ve trimmed a lot of excess and that feels great!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yes! It’s so easy to let the expenses add up. One of the reasons accounting software (even free!) is good to have, it makes it super clear how much you’re spending where and where you can cut back on the unnecessary stuff.

  • I love love love this! I started out using picmonkey and being on blogger while working from a library computer. I now have wordpress, my own laptop, and plenty of monthly expenses. It wasn’t always possible, but now it is. I hope to upgrade more as time goes on but I’m content with what I have until then.

    This is a great post as I really believe it’s not the tool that makes you successful, it’s YOU!

  • Love this, Leah – and I’m so happy to hear that the new digs have space for you to work your magic. So much blooming in your life, lady. Hope you’re finding time to frolic! xo


  • As someone who has been kicked out of her home office to make way for 6 week long visiting in-laws… I can attest that my business is running just fine from my desk in my bedroom. Although I really do miss my office 🙁

  • YES!!! Thank you for this – I agree 100%. And working from my bed is my fave. You can go a long way with what you already have and free tools, free online resources.

  • Jan

    I am currently working from my dining table….which currently doesn’t get used for a dining table because I need it to work on.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Haha, I remember doing exactly that!

  • Truths! Just takes some want to get to the done. 🙂

  • Thank you for an awesome post. I fully resonate with you.

  • I’m curious as to why you moved from MailChimp to Aweber and then why you moved from Aweber to Ontraport.

    What were the benefits?

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      I moved to Mailchimp for some of it’s functionality with having multiple optins/lists that I’m not sure is still a problem with Mailchimp or not. I use Mailchimp with majority of my web design clients though and think do think it’s awesome, especially that it’s free for a good while. I moved to Ontraport once I had a lot of different things going on together (courses, affiliates, lists, sales funnels) so that I could have everything together in once place an no longer need a lot of different programs/plugins/software to run it all together. I was tired of having multiple lists and without exporting to excel and doing some data manipulation each time, I couldn’t easily tell who was on what list, who was on multiple lists, and what my real numbers were. Ontraport just has a lot of advanced functionality as an all-in-one program. But I don’t think it’s necessary until you do have a lot of moving parts in different places that you want to bring together. Hope that helps! I plan on going into detail about my move to Ontraport in a blog post soon.

  • Yass, all of this. I did a big purge last summer because I was “investing” so much in pro tools I wasn’t really all in on. It really forced me to go pro with the services and tools I did keep too. Not to mention opened me up to starting a second passion gig that I really wanted to get off the ground.

  • I love this advice! It’s easy to get sucked into thinking you need to pay for quality when you first start out blogging, but so many free options are so good, you really don’t have to. With a little searching (or asking your fellow bloggers), you can find free resources to get you going until you can (and want) to pay for the premium versions!

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