This year marked my official 10 year anniversary of starting my own consulting business. It was back in 2010 when I officially launched my website and grew my consulting business from $0-$300,000 in the first 18 months.
Sounds exciting, right? I got a vision, had the courage to pursue it, and "Bam!" It was raining clients and money. That's the public story...
...Now let me tell you my REAL business launch story.
I left Disney for two reasons.
One reason was because I had two small kids at home. My youngest was two about turn three and this was my last chance to be a more present mom.
The second and bigger reason was the discontent that took root in me when my Dad died of lung cancer way too young.
When he was in the end stages, I flew weekly back and forth between Orlando where I lived, and Chicago where he lived. That Tim McGraw song “Live Like You Were Dying” was big at the time and as pondered the lyrics I started to wonder if my identity was getting too intertwined with my job title and if I was fully living the life I was meant to.
And so I had to do what made no sense to anyone at the time – I left my job at Disney for the potential of achieving my potential.
That's not how it worked at the beginning and that's not how it works now.
When I first decided to start consulting, I made all the same mistakes that many of my clients do when I first meet them.
And then to complicate my challenges, I found myself in an unexpected divorce that literally decimated my finances. I was now a single mom with only $200 in the bank.
I found myself at a crossroads - Do I go all-in on my business or go back to corporate?
I had to decide if I should use the inheritance money I recently received from my grandmother who passed away on my business or on paying the bills for the next few months.
And so I had to do what made no sense to anyone at the time – I went all-on my business. I hired an amazing mentor and web strategist who helped me create a world-class website and marketing strategy and landed my first client within 2 weeks of launching that earned me 10x more of what I was earning as a freelancer.
One of my favorite things about the mentor/web strategist I hired was how he pushed me to step outside my comfort zone. He helped me rebuild my rocky self-esteem that I had as a result of the divorce and showed me gifts I didn't know I had.
I could write.
I could be engaging on video.
And dang it, when it comes to organizational consulting - I knew what I was talking about. I was the real deal.
Stepping outside my comfort zone and expanding the edge of my competence not just delivered a marketing tool that established me as an expert and brought clients to me. It transformed my confidence from the inside out.
I could boldly stand in front of potential clients and say, "I am not an expense to be managed. I'm an investment that delivers a powerful return!"
And I discovered a deep truth that I share with everyone I mentor about crippling challenges that bring us to the place of wanting our own business...
"Challenges from the past do NOT define your future potential!"
Many of you might at a crossroads like I was and are thinking about starting a consulting business or coaching practice. And while I can share with you a ton of tactics (and you can check out my website - it is literally bursting at the seams with tactics,) in this post I want to speak to your heart and let you know why your desire to start your own business matters and the difference it can make to your life.
It may seem riskier to have your own business vs. the comforts of a steady paycheck, but let's be real...
...How much security is there in the corporate world today?
An unexpected virus decimated the entertainment industry in a blink and is causing so many businesses to close or dramatically reduce its offerings.
With your own business you can:
When you're in a company, your boss and corporate culture set limits for how you express your gifts and expertise.
In your own company, those limits are gone.
You get to decide how you frame up your products and services.
You use your own creativity to decide what is the best way to help your clients.
You don't have to check in with your boss to get approval.
You decide what ideas you want to manifest and what strategies work best.
Want to travel in the summer?
Envision a lifestyle where you take every Friday off?
Want to be done with work every day at 3 pm so you can pick up the kids from school?
With your own business, you can do this. You can block your personal time off your calendar FIRST and then fit the work around it so that you are not just talking about your life priorities but you are living them.
You don't have to suffer through having to collaborate with teammates you don't share your values with and who you frankly don't trust.
You can choose if you want to have partners or you can decide to work on your own.
I have worked with many different partners over the years. Some were okay, some were awful. It took me a long time to find the amazing partner that I have found in Jen Hamilton who is the perfect balance to me, who I love and respect and look forward to talking to every day.
When I work with my clients in my mentoring program, I ask them to choose an ideal client that represents the person that if they had it all their way would be the main ones in their pipeline.
I use the example from Santa Clause 3 where Tim Allen as Santa was sent through a duplication machine that churned out a bunch of him. That's what you can do in your own business.
You can decide how to fill your pipeline and time with people you love working with and who love working with you (and who will gladly pay you what you're worth.)
The only person who sets your salary is you.
You get to decide what you want to earn and how you want to earn it. Sure, you have to put into the world to realize those profits but you are the one in the driver's seat who is setting the goals.
And then you can work with experts who can help you craft the best plan to achieve those goals. But what you want to achieve and earn is determined by no one else but you.
A consulting or coaching business is the perfect platform for expressing your unique ideas to the world.
You can start a podcast...
....write a book...
...build a YouTube channel or use any other myriad of creative communication containers that will help you share game-changing, transformational concepts that will help others.
I get that if you are at a crossroads that this idea might seem overwhelming but for now just think about the ideas that have been bubbling up in your heart and mind for some time.
When you have your own business, you have a built-in avenue for expressing them.
One of my biggest goals for my business right now as my kids are getting ready to fly from my nest is location freedom and having a business that I can run from anywhere.
I envision that at some point, I'll be able to travel all the time and run my business at the same time.
One of my mentees has a goal of at some point being able to run his business from the boat he plans to live on. Even though many companies are taking advantage of virtual working, it's not the same as having a business that is completely freed from any specific location.
Those kids I have been talking about...this is how much they have grown since I started my business...
I will tell you that starting my own business was the single best decision I have ever made because I was there for everything that mattered with my kids.
I didn't miss a thing...with the exception of one dance recital when my youngest was 4 but I had a friend tape it!
Are you the casualty of your company's latest round of layoffs?
Life beat you up a bit?
If so, you're like so many of my clients.
They say that people change due to pain, vision or consequences. In my experience, it's usually pain that is the biggest driver.
So, let's send a big thank you note to the universe for giving you enough pain to make a move that you have wanted to make and is actually more congruent with who you are.
Every single hero(ine) journey begins with a reluctant hero who needs a push to step into the nebulous and scary unknown.
Luke didn't follow Obi-Wan to the way of the Force without his family getting murdered.
Dorothy didn't head on over the rainbow until a tornado ripped her apart from her family.
If you feel that fear, feel comforted by the cosmic truth that you are in excellent company.
Let me give you one extra bonus reason why you should start your own business. If you're still reading this extremely long and personal post, your heart is telling you that this is what you're supposed to do.
You might have logical questions like:
Those questions make sense and if you're ready, my team and I are ready to guide you through what you need to do to take your amazing career and turn it into an even more amazing and highly profitable business.
The truth is while there are lots of consultants and coaches, there's only one you. You are unique and one-of-a-kind and you can and will find that audience that is waiting just for you. And if you need help getting the clarity and confidence you need to get started, Jen and I are only a phone call away. Head on over to our calendar, book some time with us and let's talk.
Sign up to receive my weekly email with the latest blog posts, marketing and mindset tips, consulting/coaching best practices and freebies!
Enter your deets below and we'll share with you behind-the-scenes secrets and actionable ideas and inspiration...just for consultant and coaches who want to make money and a difference, doing what they love.