Entrepreneur, solopreneur, mompreneur, online business owner, internet gooroo, when did this all begin? A long time ago now but the availability for anyone to just start a home based business with a laptop (heck even a phone) is still rising.
I began my online business just over 6 years ago after a lot of years working with thousands of real life businesses. I had just sold the company I had turned around from bankruptcy to success and given birth to my daughter. So with some money, a 3 year old and a newborn, I wondered what I could do that would make sure I didn’t have to leave my kids and only see them for bathtime and bedtime (if I was lucky), 5 days a week.
My own business was my answer to that dilemma. Online, meant I wouldn’t even need to leave the house and I could choose my hours. I could be supermum and super biz woman. Yay me, I thought. I have given myself freedom.
The online space is huge, obviously, and yet I had never felt more alone. I signed up for some online courses and the communities gave me a sense of belonging and I dropped a metaphorical boat load of cash on what was effectively trying to make friends. My real life friends and family had no idea about this online gig and all thought I was nuts and should get a job like a normal person but I wanted my freedom business at home with my babies and just doing what I was great at for my clients when I wanted to.
Whilst in these communities and hanging around on Facebook and later Instagram, I started to see women just like me (although their profile pic was by the Eiffel tower and they had better shoes) talking about their rapid rise to multiple 6 and 7 figures. I did 6 figures easily but more was possible?! And the competitive streak in me started to grow.
I clearly wasn’t working enough. I must work harder I thought and so I added evening and weekends when the kids were sleeping and my husband could help, to my business building diary. And years passed. And I forgot the whole point of starting in the first place – freedom to be a mum! I became addicted to my business and along with it, my phone.
I was always on. A client might message, I might miss a tag on social media. I was ‘on’ 16 hours a day and as I was more and more on, I was getting more and more tired and losing my motivation. How surprising?!
My identity became my online biz and instead of working on my self-worth, I focused on my net worth and the relentless pursuit of an unsustainable dream because its foundations were me and having neglected to really work on myself, I was weak. My business became a great excuse not to do my self-development work because I was making the money I needed and doing great work with my clients. That was enough, right?
I was so ready to be there and coach/mentor/support/teach my clients but I abandoned myself and worse than that, I abandoned my kids. Yes, I was in the house with them, yes I took care of them but I was never PRESENT. I was too busy on my phone and seemingly lost in Facebook.
Last year someone asked my son what I was doing in the office upstairs and he said, she’s upstairs making money, she loves it. This was the biggest slap in the face I’ve ever had andb here is where I realised I had got it all wrong. Yes, I like to make money but more than that I like to teach and be of service. I would do that for no money if there was food on the table and a roof over our heads and my son had missed that point entirely.
And so began the biggest change I’ve ever made. I put down my business and realised I could no longer use it as a shield to stop doing the deep work on me. Why do I want to help people? Because I don’t want them to be in the hell hole I have endured and focusing on helping them meant I could avoid doing the work on me because I was sooooo busy. And in my avoidance of my own work on myself, I could ignore that my own pain was still there in part. The work on ourselves is like taking a shower, it’s a daily activity to be at our best. And until I looked that right in the eyes, I was not practicing what I preached.
The dance with alignment is what life is all about. I feel like my eyes have been opened. Our intuition is strong and it is true and learning to open up and lean into that is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I now walk my talk with it.
Marie Kondo has us organise and declutter based on what brings us joy. I now choose to live my life that way. I say yes when I mean yes and no when I mean no. I don’t ask people to do the work I am not willing to do and if ever I do ask a client to do something I haven’t done, I make sure I go and do it. There are lots of ways to grow a business to 6 & 7 figures, but if it’s not in alignment with you and it doesn’t bring you joy, it will fail in the end and you will suffer until it fails. Alignment and joy should be the measuring stick we use for the choices we make. Your numbers will naturally follow.
I am aligned to being with my children and doing only the work that brings me joy. I work 3 days a week. Is that difficult? Yes, it is at times but I created my business to teach others (and by default myself) and to give me the freedom to be with my children. It also means I have to be selective about who I work with and how I work with them. I don’t have the capacity to take on 6 million clients but I can hold the space for 5 1:1s successfully. I can do small in person workshops and I can offer courses. Those offerings all align with my big values of freedom, motherhood and teaching.
I am now present with my children. When I was working 7 days a week, I wasn’t with them. When I first went down to 3 days, I wasn’t present with them the other 4 days because I felt guilty I had abandoned my business. When I was working, I felt guilty I had abandoned my children. Now there is a balance. My kids are 9 and 6. They are growing up so quickly and I don’t want to miss it. I will never get this time with them back again and so my pursuit of being the BEST revenue/profit business is over. The numbers are not my goal or my priority right now. My goals are simply to be a good mum, to be a great mentor and teacher to my clients 3 days a week and to be the very best me that I can be. The numbers will follow that.
There is still one big thing left for me to do and that is to delete Facebook from my phone. It feels a little bit like I will be losing my best friend but it is the right thing to do and Its time for me to bite the bullet.
Are you aligned to you values in your business? Are you honouring the original vision and dream you had for your business or have you got caught up in the social media shiny object trap of following someone else’s goal as if it was your own?
Remember alignment and joy in all that you do and you can’t go wrong.