How following my heart led to the business of my dreams
It feels strange to say, but it’s been two years since that fateful day when I took the leap and decided to start my own business.
It came at a time when I was vulnerable. Very vulnerable. My son had just turned one, I had gone back to work recently so we could buy a house. I had three kids in childcare (I can’t even bear to think how much money THAT cost me!). And we’d moved house, giving me a 2-hour commute every morning. Even though I was only working part-time, it was a huge drain mentally. All our money had been poured into the house deposit and our new (huge) mortgage. It was a pretty dumb time to make changes to my work.
But, being a typical headstrong Aries, I don’t let little things like money and practicalities stand in my way. So, I made the leap. A very costly leap to start my own business. That’s a story for another day, but let’s just say I got burned badly.
The first year as a business owner
So, my first year was a mixture of work, appointments, juggling three kids, husband and household, while doing bits of business stuff at night and whenever I could. The first year was really a steep learning curve, trying to work out what I needed to know, what I needed to master and what on earth I was supposed to be doing. One thing I wasn’t doing was making money. In fact, by the time I paid for endless courses, coaching, even psychic advice, I had burnt through a lot of our savings and had nothing to show for it.
The website was good once I fixed it up. The idea was potentially great (helping mums make a career change after having kids? Yes please!). I had loads of content and ideas, my audience was growing. But no money. Because what I didn’t really comprehend at the start was just how long it would take to build up the business to a point where people would invest in advertising on my site.
And I was beginning to see that the business model I was looking at required:
- A huge following on social media – which meant time, effort and advertising
- Something to actually sell – Not only did I need to sell something that my advertisers weren’t selling, but I also didn’t want to write resumes or LinkedIn profiles, and job applications.
- Businesses needed to sign up to the directory and pay for it. The biggest issue here was that I was looking to other startups and small businesses to advertise with me, and their budgets were as limited as mine.
- Someone who was passionate, informed and ready to grow it into the business it deserved.
After a while, I began to see that I’d been charging head-on down the road, blindly forging ahead with all the passion and zeal of a first timer. It was only when I stopped to take a breath, I realised that this wasn’t what I wanted. And it certainly wasn’t sustainable to keep throwing money at it when it wasn’t making any. And poof, like that, my passion was drained.
It all changed when I took a step back to assess where I was going
Throughout my first year, I met loads of beautiful people in business. As we connected and shared, I began helping them with their businesses, planning their content and helping them grow their audiences. That was the fun bit of the first year.
The six months or so that followed were nothing more than deep soul searching, heart seeking times, looking for my passion and drive.
And I found it, finally. For most of those six months, I felt like I was wandering through the desert, with the answers always just over the next mountain, I could feel them, but they were just out of reach. Who was I? what did my business do? What can I offer of value to people?
Just take a bite of the elephant
Finally, enough people told me that the only way I would know the answers was to just start. Literally, do something, and then another little something and another, until the ball starts rolling and you’ll end up at the new place. It was like I wanted to know what it would be like when I was on holiday in a new place I’d never been to. I wanted to be there, I wanted to start planning my days and adventures and know who I would meet and where I’d be, but I wasn’t even packing my bags yet.
And then we get to the last six months. After I took action, everything did indeed start to snowball from there. I took a huge leap first of all, and put out an offer. I priced myself cheaply, over-delivered and gave people amazing value. And many of those initial clients keep coming back for more every time I put something up. I made sure I got feedback from my clients and used that to make improvements along the way.
And now, it feels so surreal to say I’m sitting here planning for my third year in business. And hoping that this will be the year that it all falls into place. Like a kid, I’ve spent the first year just getting my head around this whole new world of business, and online media. The second year, I’ve found my feet and I’m starting to explore. The third year will be the one where I find my voice, and my place and stand up to be counted. This year will be the one that really kicks off the future for Your Business Wife. I don’t know where it will lead me, but I’m excited about the journey. Like any two year old, I’m still having some tantrums and working it out as I grow and change into who I want to be. But that’s all part of the fun.
And one day, when I’m running a proper, grown-up business, I know I’ll look back on these days and wish again for the simplicity of my home office, with my trusty laptop, messy desk and chaos all around. And I’ll be glad that the journey I took was the path less travelled.