A friend sent me an e-mail asking how I decided, with two kids and no husband, to go out and try to start my own business. Here’s what I told her:
I’m a natural entrepreneur. I’ve had a lot of different work experiences in my life so I think it was not such a hard jump…WAIT! Omgosh, I’m forgetting something! I’m forgetting EVERYTHING! Let me refocus…
8 years ago, I was a homemaker and mother. I was good at it. And I had friends who called me for advice on parenting. I was a natural. I’d already been a teacher and I loved staying home with my baby but I wanted something else…
Then I got divorced. I went back to teaching but it was a miserable year. I took my girls, moved In-town and started my life over. I got an administrative job, continued to give parenting advice and I pursued my love of photography.
When I got laid off, I started my photography business. I tapped into a creative side of myself that I hadn’t listened to in a long time. My clients were happy, I was happy but I just wasn’t earning enough to make ends meet and I still had this feeling that I wanted something else…
An unexpected phone call came one day and I accepted a position with one of the companies I used to represent at my former job. Whew! I could finally relax and enjoy my single parenting, my full time job and my part time job. But I wanted something else…
Just before Christmas, I got laid off. Again. And then three things happened:
- I got WAY into social media and rediscovered my love of writing.
- I started dating on-line so I started another business to help people with their social media pictures and profiles. I used this as an opportunity to blog my heart out (with every heart break).
- And, all the while, I kept on advising my friends about parenting (only when asked, of course). One such mom, knowing I was a fan of John Rosemond’s Traditional Parenting, forwarded me information about his Leadership Parenting Institute. I scraped the money together and started the process of my certification.
And then, days away from starting the foreclosure process I met a man at church who offered me a full-time marketing job. Whew (again)! There I was, single parenting, dating, blogging, photographing, advising parents, studying for my certification and working full-time. But I was still looking for something else…
I heard about an opportunity from a high school BFF and I called a friend of mine (we always said we wanted to be in business together) and we launched a new business. My social media connections, writing and marketing experience were invaluable!
I quit my marketing job (major leap of faith), stopped working on photography and profiles, worked for a summer camp run by friends of mine and concentrated on building my new business. And I started dating a very nice man. This was a very exciting and scary time. I went “all in.”
By the end of the summer, the camp I worked for refused to pay me (I had nothing in writing), the economy was not doing what my partner and I were hoping it would do, and I made two tough decisions. I sued my friends and closed up shop. I was scared. All I could do was pray. And then I knew that I really wanted something else…
I was offered me a part-time job with insurance benefits. I took it. I won my court case and I got paid. I finished my coursework and became a Certified Leadership Parenting Coach. I fell in love.
Today I get paid for my parenting advice, and I get paid to teach classes and workshops. I also get paid to write. I still get paid for my photography every once in a while and if you ever met my kids, you could see how my application of Love and Leadership in parenting has paid off, too! All those risks, even falling in love, is paying off for me. After 8 years of footwork, exciting opportunities and failures, I can finally say that I don’t want anything else.
And after 8 years, here are the 8 lessons I’ve learned:
- Don’t give away your product or your time. Set your price because you are worth it!
- Every job is a learning experience
- God’s got your back
- Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself
- Winning rocks!
- Don’t give up, see #3.
- Get it in writing!
- Nothing (not heart aches, not job losses, not even divorce), absolutely NOTHING happens in God’s world by mistake.