When I left a secure job working for a city government to start my own consultancy, I wasn’t sure what the future would bring. But I knew one thing for sure, I wanted to create a business that would allow me to be as much a “fulltime” mom as I could, and be able to contribute financially to our household. I was excited and nervous, but jumped in with both feet, setting up a home office, reading up on marketing, consulting and anything else I could get my hands on. I was also out and about, meeting with friends, talking about what I was planning, getting new ideas and following up on leads. My business took off pretty quickly, and, before long, I was living the life I’d dreamed of, enjoying being an almost full time job while earning money doing work I was passionate about.
When the recession hit, my clients hunkered down, and held on for dear life, leaving me essentially unemployed. I thought of offering courses, and floated my ideas past my former clients and a few CEO’s I knew, but no one bit. I thrashed around a bit more, signed on to work on a variety of teams offering future payouts, and volunteered, hoping that paying business would come my way, but something always seemed to happen–the deal didn’t go through, they decided to do something else, they continued to appreciate receiving my services for free and so on. Right before my eyes, my business had dried up, and I was at a complete loss as to what to do about it. My mojo was gone.
I spent hours writing new business plans. I tried all sorts of marketing and visioning exercises. I did art therapy, uncovered hidden barriers, worked to release all sorts of real and imagined holdings, all of this helped me know my inner self better, but none of it lead to an increase of business or income. I became disheartened, depressed, in short; I was stuck. I was spinning my wheels, circling the drain, beating myself up, researching, planning but not taking the first step in any direction. I literally became afraid to reach out and ask for help. I became unsteady and nervous when I did have an opportunity to meet a prospect, and found myself agreeing to do small jobs that really weren’t in my niche just to be working, all the while wondering what the heck I was doing.
One afternoon, I took my self back to the time when business came easy, wondering what had changed. How had I become so stuck? What could I do about it? I sat quietly at my desk, and closed my eyes. The image of my beating a dead horse came to mind. The industry I had been so passionate about had changed considerably, and was no longer vital and growing. It felt old and stale, and I couldn’t find a hand hold amongst the changes. I realized it was time to start something new but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, thirty years of my life had been tied up in one niche, and while I could see some alternatives, none seemed to feel right.
Some years earlier, I had started an inspirational blog. I had been inconsistent in posting, never promoted it and had one follower–a woman from half way around the world who wrote lengthy responses to each of my posts (all five or six of them) telling me how she loved my writing, how it helped her and how I felt like a friend. It felt sort of good, so I spruced up my blog and started writing more. I began experimenting with content, and reading other people’s blogs. The thing I loved about blogging is that you can blog about what ever you are interested in, you can find a tribe as unique as you are and if you choose to, you can make a difference, sell things, share stories, art and all sorts of other things. No one stands over your shoulder and says you cant or shouldn’t write about what ever you want. In this I felt a sense of freedom. Somewhere along the line, I started to think that blogging could be a profession, a calling, my next chapter.
My old fears advanced and retreated as I began my journey into blogging. Would people be interested? Would I find a tribe? As I embarked on my blogging journey, I kept the mantra “just keep walking, one step at a time,” marching through my head as I embarked into the unknown. After all, when I left the City 17 years ago, it was much the same–I had a vision and kept walking toward it.
The learning curve for the blog has been high–I’ve had to learn WordPress, I have had to create content week in and week out and now, I am learning how to promote my content and monetize it. Each day I remind myself to just keep walking, just take one step at a time. In just starting, in setting course, in moving yourself toward your dreams, you begin see new possibilities, and before long, you look around and discover you are unstuck.