I am celebrating 10 years of being self employed!
On the treadmill of life it’s easy to let one day blend into the next. The weeks and months roll by, and it can feel as though little progress has been made. I highly encourage you to take time to reflect on the changes that have occurred in your life, whether you are in business or not.
Looking back on the growth that has happened will either make you want to give yourself a pat on the back OR will serve as a wake-up call to course correct and change the trajectory of your life.
I do this exercise on a quarterly basis by going over what I have accomplished in the past 90 days. I see what went well, what didn’t and what changes need to be made moving forward. This practice enables us to make any necessary changes and avoid repeating mistakes and beating ourselves up when things “go wrong” (By the way, things never “go wrong”. They are merely lessons to learn and grow from.)
I thought I would use this 10 year anniversary milestone to share my business journey. The ups and downs, the lessons learned and the evolution of not just my business, but also my mindset.
I’ve decided to break this into two parts – Part 1 covers my first five years in business and Part Two the most recent five years.
Becoming a mother in 2005, and again in 2007, changed my life. After my youngest was born, I knew I didn’t want to continue in the corporate career I’d had for the previous 10 years but I didn’t know what I really wanted to do.
It also coincided with a spiritual awakening of sorts – often described as your ‘Saturn Returns’ – when the planet Saturn returns to where it was when you were born (approx. 29.5 years). This change can be felt until your early 30’s.
This was a period of big change in my life. I started to get clear on what I wanted namely; 1. To leave my corporate career 2. To stay at home and raise my children and 3. To start my own business.
I loved the Reiki and Reflexology treatments I had during my pregnancies and decided to train in both. I was developing a love of all things spiritual and had always loved coaching and mentoring, so this was an easy decision for me.
If you are looking for an idea for a business, ask yourself two questions, what do I love to do and what am I good at?
First I got my Reiki attunement, after having my daughter, and shortly after that I started a year-long Reflexology diploma while still working full time.
During this year I also discovered The Law of Attraction, Emotional Freedom Technique and Angel Cards. I read The Secret and I bought my first Esther Hicks book, Ask and it is Given (which may as well have been written in Japanese because I just didn’t get it. It was a couple more years before I came back to this book)
This was also the year I experienced my first big manifestations:
Getting the primary school I wanted for my son, winning a week-long trip to John Parkin’s “Fu*k It” retreat in Italy (lots of spiritual growth happened here!) and also the biggie, manifesting being a contestant on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire and winning £20,000.
My experience of being on Who Wants to be a Millionaire could have a whole blog post dedicated to it but, in a nutshell, it was the culmination of a very conscious manifestation. It meant I had the financial cushion I needed to start my own business. I qualified as a reflexologist and I had my first paying client – all in 2009.
Having never studied business or marketing, my first couple of years in business were a case of totally winging it. I created my first website myself, my flyers were printed from my home computer, and my first business logo cost £10 on Vistaprint. (I couldn’t understand why so many other holistic therapists also had the same lotus flower logo – a complete mystery!)
It was another two years before I was brave enough to attend a networking event.
Lesson One – I wish I had attended networking events sooner. Getting to know other business owners is essential. Starting out in business can be a lonely experience and it is so helpful to gain advice from others.
I found the first few networking events so awkward. I absolutely dreaded the elevator pitch where I had to introduce my business in 60 seconds. I resisted joining one particular networking group because the annual joining fee was £80! I couldn’t see the point and saw it as an unnecessary expense.
Lesson Two – Every networking group I joined has ALWAYS given me a return on investment. Whether it is collaboration opportunities, friendship or customers. See these as investments rather than expenses.
My client base was mostly mums from school and my Facebook friends. My marketing efforts included a gazebo at the village fair, pamper evenings at local schools and leaving flyers at Starbucks and at my yoga class.
In 2012, I started my first group workshops. A friend very kindly let me host my Evening of Abundance workshops at her lovely home. I then began to run Vision Board workshops from my own house. This began a whole new part of my business. I loved the group energy of the workshops and I that I could leverage my time from a 1-2-1 model into a one to many model.
Over the next couple of years my business grew. I had a steady stream of reflexology and reiki clients, and I continued to do Vision Board workshops every few months. They grew in size to where I was hiring venues to run them. I even raised the cost of the workshop from £25 to £45!
During the first five years of my business, as a home-based holistic therapist, the vision for my business was small but suited that season of my life. My children were still young and were my priority.
Lesson Three – I wish I had allowed myself to dream bigger, sooner! Dreaming costs nothing. Take some time to imagine yourself as the leader in your industry. Imagine being interviewed on podcasts and in the press for your expertise. Imagine writing a book. The seeds for your Big Vision are born in your imagination – so start dreaming NOW!
In 2014 I made the first major investments in my business. I bought my first online business course – B-School, by Marie Forleo for $2000 which was a HUGE investment for me. Later that year, I invested £5000 in my first Business Coach – Bernadette Doyle, and I joined a £500 a year networking group. I knew that in order to grow, I need to uplevel my skill set, my mindset and my network.
Lesson Four – invest in your business regularly to uplevel your skills and expertise and also your network. Remember your network is your net worth!
I felt extremely out of my depth in all of those programmes. I felt like the class idiot and wondered if any of it was going to pay off. I told myself that I was lucky enough not to have any student loans after University and this was my business equivalent of a student loan.
Working with Bernadette stretched me WAY out of my comfort zone. It was a complete baptism of fire. I went from printing my own flyers, to learning about opt-ins, landing pages, conversion rates and doing my first webinar. I also learnt about the power of group accountability, sales calls and even flew to Belfast to attend her event – talk about feeling like a fish out of water! I probably had my biggest period of growth during these 12 months, and as uncomfortable as it was, I am truly grateful.
With all the training and coaching I received, I was able to increase the value of my live Vision Board Workshops from £45 to £197. Most rewardingly, I met a group of ladies who I call my “Soul Sisters” to this day. We remained the best of friends, formed our own mastermind and, five years later, are all speakers at the same magical event coming up in October.
By the end of 2014, I had grown to the point where I was ready for much more. On New Year’s Eve 2014, I did a special new moon intention setting ceremony to expand my vision for my business. I was ready to go global.
In 2015, that’s exactly what happened. I will reveal all in Part Two.
On reflection I can see I didn’t do any of these things sooner because of fears that were keeping me stuck.
Fears such as:
- Imposter Syndrome – in the first few years, I felt like a complete fraud in my business most of the time.
- Not feeling good enough – others seemed SOOO much more experienced than me that I felt totally inadequate.
- Not taking myself seriously – treating my business more like a hobby and not investing in it sooner.
When you identify the fears keeping you stuck, you can start to work on clearing them and any limiting beliefs that may arise. The sooner you can do this, the quicker you will grow and expand your business. I have learned to understand that success is an inside job, by that I mean that yes, we have to learn our craft, business and marketing skills, however what is even more important is adopting a success mindset.
In part two of my business journey blog, I’ll tell you a bit more about another mentor of mine, James Wedmore, who has helped me hugely, especially in the past three years. James has written a short e-book packed with wisdom and the mindset that entrepreneurs need to adopt FAST – check out the book here. More about James coming soon!
If you would like to find out more about 121 coaching with me – drop me an email – [email protected] and I’ll send you an application pack