I am 3.5 years into running my own online business. The time has flown by, but it hasn’t been easy. And when I look at the past 3.5 years, I can’t even believe how far I have come.
I started my business in a good place, at least that’s what I thought at the time … I think. I had my second baby on the way. I was in an unfilling and unsupportive marriage. I had a corporate job that I hated, and more money in the bank than I knew what to do with.
I saved, planned, waited, and strategically jumped ship when I could no longer swallow working 70 hours/week making someone else rich.
I did everything right. I spent months working on my own website and creating a social media presence. I got business bank accounts and credit cards, got accounting software, took a million courses. I was over-prepared, if that’s even possible. Because that’s usually how I roll.
I hit the ground running thanks to some insanely expensive advertising and my own personal network. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the financial change I was about to experience. When you think about cutting back, sacrificing, living on less, it all seems to make sense. Sacrifice now for what you are trying to build. But how can you do that when you have a family to support? When everyone around you is expecting you to maintain their cushy lifestyle and keep everything running smoothly at home, as if you didn’t even have a job?
The hard truth it, you can’t. You can’t jump into running your own business and being self-employed with everything remaining the same.
I had built this business that was making money, but it was never enough. It finally hit me one day that I had everything I had ever wanted. Two beautiful children, a home in a desirable neighbourhood, a husband, a new car, and my very own business that supported it all.
But I was so unhappy. I was stressed, isolated and alone. I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders - because I did.
CHOOSING TO TAKE MY POWER BACK
It took me two years of floundering before I finally made the hard choices to be happy in both my business and my personal life.
I finally acknowledged that despite achieving everything I thought I ever wanted and needed to be happy, I was more unhappy than I had ever been.
This was a very, very scary place to find myself. Thirty years old with two small children and at a complete impasse with my business, and my marriage. My entire life was crumbling around me and I felt powerless to stop it.
But you know what changed? Speaking my truth. Admitting that I was unhappy, unfulfilled, and needed more - from my business, and my partner.
Because what’s the point in being unhappy? You’re doing it for everyone else, not yourself. Do you think you’re giving your all when you’re at your worst? Are you being the best parent, spouse, and business owner? Hell no. We all know it, but we’re too scared to say it.
Because then what? Once you say something aloud, that makes it real. And real is scary. Because real demands action. Real demands solutions and changes. And change is hard.
I’ll never forget the look on my family’s force when I told them I was leaving my decade-long marriage. They had no idea. I had been so fake, for so long. I couldn’t admit to myself that I was unhappy, and I sure as hell wasn’t willing to admit it to anyone else.
That was the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have ever done for myself. It’s been well over a year and a half now, but it’s still hard. That’s the type of pain that really never goes away, at least that’s how it feels to me at this stage.
But the freedom to be my own person, to choose my own path, to be away from that toxic and unhealthy relationship, has been life-changing. Empowering doesn’t even begin to articulate the level of peace, joy, and excitement I now feel on a daily basis. I didn’t think it was possible, really. I had accepted that keeping my family together was the only way and that I just had to be unhappy in exchange for that privilege, but I was beyond wrong on that one.
Having the strength to leave an unhappy marriage was what gave me the strength to make changes in my business. Once I started taking control in my personal life, it got so much easier to do the same in my business.
Before, I was scared to turn down work. I worked with people and on projects that didn’t fulfill me because I had a scarcity mindset. I felt obligated to earn every penny I could, work every hour I could, and take advantage of every opportunity that fell in my lap.
I was tired, stressed, and doing work that didn’t fulfill me. It was in December of 2016 when I finally decided to pull the trigger and change my business to specialize in content marketing, rather than generalize in digital marketing. And, I have never looked back.
Today, I turn down jobs on a regular basis. Is it hard? Yes. Do I often question what I’m doing still? Of course. But I am so committed to protecting my happiness now. I know that if I keep doing the right things, the right clients and opportunities will come along. They always do, when you’re open and available to them.
If you spend your time doing work you don’t love, you don’t have the emotional space available to do the work to attract your ideal clients and projects. It’s really that simple. In the beginning, you gotta do what you gotta do - but at a certain point, you need to make the hard choice to have standards, expectations, and goals for your business. If you don’t run your business, your business will run you.
THE LESSON HERE?
You deserve to be happy. But no one can make that happen, except for you.
Demand more. Expect more.
You teach others how to treat you, so if you don’t love and respect yourself - how can you expect others to?
Just because you’re on the wrong path now doesn’t mean you need to stay there. Sit back and think about how you feel about your life. How do you feel when you imagine feeling this exact same way for the next 10 or 20 years? To me, that thought was horrifying.
But now? My days are filled with laughter, joy, exercise, clients I adore, great food, and the best company I could ever hope for.
Taking my power back changed my life, and it can change yours too. You just need to have the courage to take it and the rest will follow.
Content Strategist & Coach