This week has been really special for us, because I’ve finally taken the step to register a Ltd. Company and leave the arena of “freelancing” behind. I have felt more like an entrepreneur rather than a freelancer pretty much from early on, so this has been on the horizon for a long time, but I’ve just for some reason NOT wanted to take the step. BUT as we all know, great things never happen inside our comfort zone, so it was time to make a move. Today, I want to share a little bit more about what got me to this place. I always love to read about others’ journeys, so I hope you’ll find some nuggets here for yourself.
As a warning before we go into it: I didn’t get to six-figures in six months by working only six hours a week – and I don’t believe anyone out there that is a genuine character did either.
The humble beginnings
I started my career in early education – a traditionally low-paid environment with little respect for their workforce from anyone. Back in 2014 I was employed as a manager in a failing setting and I dedicated the next 12 months to fixing things up. We made some huge changes as a team and it was it all worth it. And then I had a meltdown. I felt successful in my role, but not really respected within the company for my knowledge, expertise and commitment. I was doing things because I knew it was the right thing to do, I worked 50 hours plus a week, did the nursery shopping at weekends and continuously educated myself – for the most pitiful salary. And then I realised that no matter how hard I worked, how much more knowledge I gained, if I remained in this industry I would forever be a servant and be treated as such.
Every day someone in our team was disrespected, because of our job, where we are from, our English, or just because. Whether it was from the company owners (“hey you, go and clean that up immediately”) to the parents (“those European people just have to all go home where they came from”) everyone seemed to think it’s acceptable to treat the people that educate their children like dirt on the floor.
If I stayed in this toxic environment, we would never have enough money to save and buy our own home, we would never be taking those fancy holidays around the world, we would never be spending more than a few days here and there with our families abroad.. we would never live in a nice home with our own family or do anything else I had always hoped to do “one day”. I knew something had to change. I was overcome with feelings of frustration and resentment towards this career I had dedicated 8 years of my life to – the most important 8 years at that.
Deep down inside it wasn’t those physical rewards that interested me, no, it was what they would mean for my family. A chance to spend time together as a family every day in a home that would provide well for everyone, in an area with good schools. A chance to spend more time with our families abroad that wasn’t dictated by annual leave allowances at work. Togetherness.
Formulating a plan
Once I was over the actual meltdown phase it spurred me into action. I didn’t immediately KNOW what to do here and don’t want to pretend I did, but I started exploring different options of running my own business. I spent time diving into my strengths, understanding my weaknesses, watching other people that run their own business – and eventually one miserable December evening came across a business coach that had a group program geared towards helping people set up and run their own online businesses. I had never heard of an “online business” and felt like I had just crossed to the dark side (insert Start Wars picture here).
So in the background I secretly formulated a new plan: Start a business alongside the day job, grow it and quit the job. It sounded sooo simple, but guess what? Actually implementing it was hard work! My first business idea was still remotely related to the industry I was in and it became apparent within 3 months or so that it wasn’t going to be a successful idea right now. It would take too much time to build up and that’s the one thing I was short on. But then I decided that there were other ways in which I could use my expertise. I came across the term Virtual Assistant and immediately could see how my specific knowledge and skills could be the starting point here. And this is where the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship started. I had the first few clients in a matter of days.
Then the hard work began
As I promised you at the beginning, my story is not one of making loads of money and not working for it. Most of my days followed the same pattern. Get up at 6am, work on the biz, go to the day job for 7.30am return home at 6pm work on the biz till 10pm and then sleep. At the weekends I tackled the big jobs. I didn’t take a day off for about 8 months. I turned down those lovely party and BBQ invites in the Summer and worked over Christmas and when abroad with the family – and I didn’t complain about it once. Being an entrepreneur is sold as this new lifestyle where everything is about cocktails at the beach, but no one wants to honestly tell you how long they couldn’t afford to even make the cocktail at home, never mind drinking it on the beach in some fancy location.
All was well.. until..
.. I hit a brick wall. 3 months into my journey, I was at capacity. I couldn’t take on any more clients and I wasn’t making enough money to quit the job – yet. It was decision time. I asked my job if I could cut my hours a little and while they initially agreed they changed their mind within 3 weeks to say it’s not possible – and that was when I made the decision to start building a team and resign as soon as I can.
Fast forward another 3 months and the happiest day of the last 5 years came around. I handed in my resignation and started my journey towards being an entrepreneur full-time.
The first month in my new role as “CEO” of my own company – or so I treated it anyways, was exciting but scary at the same time. No more guaranteed income, no more regular paycheques. Now it was up to me – and the best news? We were expecting a baby! So while the pressure was really on now, I have to say it helped to keep on track. Failure was just not an option anymore. Going back to a job would not help us now that we’re expecting a baby. It would only solve a problem temporarily, so this business was just going to have to work.
Now, nearly 10 months after quitting, I have to say I would never want to go back. I have achieved so much in this time period, helped so many people and have big plans for the future, and there is no way I will go back to being someone else’s servant and helping them to finance their dreams.
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