A few years ago I made the leap, leaving my stable 9-5 job for small business freedom. I had worked my ass off for a year after leaving the advertising agency I worked for to build two amazing businesses that I poured my heart and soul into. One business was centered around creating self-care products for super-woo wild women, and one was a membership business helping connect naturally-minded businesses with their local target audience.
Then, in business, just like life, we have ups and downs.
We don’t have clean black and white stories that start with “Once upon a time…” and end with “…happily ever after.”
In the course of building these businesses I got hit with some hard news. I was diagnosed with a handful of autoimmune diseases.
I physically couldn’t make my retail products anymore AND didn’t have the energy or emotional capacity to run and market two businesses.
I was determined to stay at home and focus on my family and building my own businesses. At this point I couldn’t imagine going back to a 9-5 anyways with the fatigue I was experiencing. That wasn’t even an option anymore
I had to make money and support my family, while also being super mindful of my health. For me, the stress and lack of sleep that come with the hustle = flare-ups, high fatigue, joint pain, etc.
I didn’t know what it looked like to run a business, make money and NOT go hard ALL THE TIME to make it work, but I had to figure out a way to eliminate the hustle.
When the universe removes your options and you have no idea what’s going to come next, it’s usually because you’re getting ready for something big.
At the time I was directionless, overwhelmed, and literally didn’t know what business looked like for me without hustle.
With my membership business and my masterminds I was helping women set their businesses up for success. Setting goals, streamlining processes, and applying strategy to their marketing. I was also working with people individually on helping them create businesses that aligned their talents, interests, and skill with something that was actually doable, profitable, and scalable!
They kept having these amazing a-ha moments where they uncovered their real desires and then sparks flew when they could easily see how to could build out their dreams step by step.
It’s a beautiful, exciting, amazing thing to watch.
I realized that I hadn’t been able to see the forest through the trees. Here I was helping people build out their dreams and I hadn’t been applying it to my own business.
I had to put myself through my own process and discover what it mean for me to have a sustainable business without hustle or overwhelm.
I wanted to get back to basics, using my design and marketing skills for good, instead of promoting business that didn’t share my values. I dedicated myself to positive marketing and helping impactful clients build up their communities. I was going to make this work.
I dove head first into research and education.
I studied other successful businesses in the female entrepreneur world and soaked in marketing conferences like a sponge – I’m talking major major notes books filled with the juiciest stuff from people like the founder of The Onion, and Mark Zuckerbergs sister who ran Facebook’s marketing department for years.
I took all the courses and watched the webinars and studied the tips and tricks until I realized…
Most of what I was learning were just bandaids.
No amount of Instagram engagement work is going to make your business more successful if you don’t even know what your message is.
Having a message does nothing if you don’t really know the challenges and deep desires of the people you’re talking to.
AND none of it works if it’s not a tool you’re using as a larger plan that you have for your business.
I scrapped it all and started laying my foundation.
I knew from starting my other businesses that the hard part for me was that there’s no boss. There is no one telling you want to do, making the plans, no one giving direction.
When you’re working for a business that isn’t yours, the parts that you don’t see are essential to that business’s growth and success. It’s all the things you don’t see that keep it running, like parts of a machine.
You see successful businesses and it looks so easy right? What we don’t take the time to fully understand is that they didn’t get there by accident, and it didn’t happen over night.
Those businesses have laid strong foundations. Those business have a plan. They have goals, they have structures, and they know what they’re doing.
So that’s what I did.
I went through my business, aligned it to my purpose and my life, really got to know my clients as people instead of demographics, created a message that made sense to them, got more strategic, and created a plan.
This brings us to the present.
I refuse to waste my time and energy and money on things that ultimately don’t support my growth.
Everything that I do in my business is intentional and gets me one step closer to my goals.
I went from constant hustle, so much hustle that it was literally making me sick, to realizing that to make my business sustainable I had to have a solid foundation to build on.
Without that solid foundation, no amount of marketing, branding, or strategies are going to help. You’re putting a bandaid on a broken arm and expecting it to heal and grow.
The empowerment that comes from standing on solid ground is a beautiful thing after emerging from the fog of overwhelm and lack of direction.
I cant wait to keep this going and see what the future holds!