I still remember being awakened at 4:30 am in the morning by the buzzing and the ringing. My Blackberry slept beside me on the pillow so I could make sure that I didn’t miss a call, text, or email from my boss, Joshua.
My MBA, yoga guru boss was a serious Type A who apparently never slept, and would send me texts and messages at all hours of the day and night. He would expect a response within 2 hours… regardless of the time of day.
We were in the middle of building out this brand new 20,000-square-foot fitness, swim, and ice rink facility in Thornhill, Ontario called The Pavilion. At 25 years old I had the responsibility of working with a $250,000 budget to build out the teen and kids gym area along with the entire group fitness program.
I enjoyed the job (for a while). It was fast paced. I learned an extraordinary amount from Joshua in a very short period of time. The salary was fantastic.
It’s funny how the first (and last) and only real job I ever had was working for 2 male entrepreneurs and a crazy, frantic, yogi boss who also considered himself to be an entrepreneur, and that job entailed the build-out of a start-up venture worth 30 million dollars.
The biggest takeaway I got from my 1.5-year stint in that job was that I could never work for someone else, especially a team of men. I had no idea how I was going to do it but I knew that I must take charge of my own career and future instead of feeling like a robot taking orders from someone else.
Overcoming The Two Biggest Hurdles To Building A Business
I had two massive obstacles to overcome when I got started building my private nutrition business.
First, I had no idea how to create any systems specific to client processes, customer service, or client program delivery. Second, I had zero understanding of how to market and sell anything. As you can imagine, my first two years in business were utter failures, to say the least.
But I never quit. I kept going. I kept pushing and trying new things. Some things would work slightly and others would set me back. I attempted to sell some MLM products thinking that the “easy, passive revenue” would keep me afloat for a while. Surely it couldn’t be that hard to sell “magic”. Turns out, it is.
After a painful year and a half and mounting debt, I had to ask the Chiropractor to release me from our office space rental agreement. I couldn’t afford to pay for a clinic space where I only saw a couple of clients per month despite her assurances she would refer clients to me.
Accepting The Responsibility To Live My Life On My Own Terms
Returning to the Women’s Fitness Clubs of Canada to oversee their three clubs’ nutrition departments helped me to frame my understanding of the major hurdles I had experienced when I tried to build my private practice.
I learned sales. I learned how to create packages. I learned how to create scripts, templates, systems, and what exceptional customer service looked like. I got my entrepreneurial chops working as an independent contractor for that company.
Then I started to feel like my business wasn’t my own. I had to deliver weekly sales quotas and complete my weekly lead tracking sheets. I had to explain my decisions and answer to someone else. I felt conflicted because I couldn’t follow my instincts and my heart when handling clients… I was playing by someone else’s rules.
So I quit.
I thought I knew what I was doing but quickly realized I still had no idea how to actually start up and run my own business. I asked for help and it came in the form of a male-dominated (there were only 4 other females in the group when I joined), high-level mastermind group. I followed their teachings to a T. I learned direct response marketing. I learned copywriting. I learned how to run an Internet-based business. I studied the online gurus who seemingly have it all together.
I learned how to make money on demand. I gained confidence.
I also lost my own voice. I lost my authenticity. I lost my vision. I muffled myself so I could be a version of what the gurus said my business should be.
All of a sudden I felt like my business should be run a certain way. I was so overwhelmed with all of the things I saw others doing and the things I thought I should be doing that I forgot the real reason I started my business in the first place.
Only after having my very own Eat, Pray, Love moment where I was alone, crying on the floor of a hotel room did I decide to say FUCK IT and just do what I wanted to do.
After a night of tears, a bottle of wine, more crying, and asking myself over and over again what did I really want and how did I want to feel was I ready to accept that what I wanted for my life was mine and mine alone to create.
It was that night that I accepted and committed to building the business and life of my dreams, on my terms. Period.
The business of my dreams includes myself and my kitchen table. Not an office space.
The business of my dreams includes having a small team of 2 people to help us manage the day-to-day who work diligently and independently.
The business of my dreams doesn’t include traveling around to networking meetings and conferences and traveling to and from the west coast every 90 days.
The business of my dreams includes me personally answering client questions and never delegating any writing to someone else.
The business of my dreams can be run from a laptop anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection.
The business of my dreams provides me with an abundance of income for doing the things that I love and the actions I love like creating big ideas, creating valuable content, and empowering others.
The business of my dreams feels exciting and gets me out of bed every single day because I get to share my expertise, knowledge, and focused energy with my ideal clients who also want to take daily focused action to create their own dream businesses and lives.
The business of my dreams holds space for me to be uniquely me – a workaholic, type A “bossy bitch” who gives 100% of herself to her family, friends, business, and clients daily.
Many might say that the “business of my dreams” is hardly a business that can make any real money. I used to listen to those small and scarcity-minded people. I listened to them until I realized that their ideas of what my life should be like in no way matched the vision of what I wanted my life and business to look like.
So I stopped listening to them. All of them. I just stopped listening.
I started to listen to myself.
Only you can decide what is right for you in your business and life. It’s up to you to learn the marketing fundamentals and sales systems required to ensure you are successful. Once you understand the tactics, it’s up to you to make them your own, with your own voice and vision.
You can and certainly will learn from others, but never mistake their counsel as the only correct way to build your business and life.
It’s pretty exciting and liberating when you start to build the business of YOUR dreams. But the only person who can decide what is right and what feels good for you is YOU. Comment below what the business of your dreams and your perfect life looks like.