I was pregnant with my son and working in a customs brokerage. I loved the job and had every intention of returning. In fact, while I was on maternity leave, I continued taking classes that would prepare me for bigger and better things when I returned. Along the way, plans changed.
We lived out in the county and shared one car while working different shifts. That meant that we’d need to put our soon-to-be child into daycare and buy a second car. That eats a lot of your take home pay cheque. When I decided to quit my job and stay home with my son, I figured if I could earn a few hundred bucks a month on top of what my husband was making as a truck driver, we’d be home free.
I found a job through the now defunct The Virtual Professionals that gave me my first glimpse at virtual assistance. It’s not even close to what I do now – the owner was building relationships with skeezy internet marketing firms and my job was to source and secure online advertisements. After a few months, I left there and, on a whim, started selling Avon. I hated selling the products, but I was excellent at putting together training meetings, building systems and building businesses.
After almost 2 years with Avon, my son was getting bigger and I knew I had to move on to something that was more my own and kept me home more.
There’s this government program that helps budding entrepreneurs start their own business. I qualified because I had been on Employment Insurance for my maternity leave and I had a kick ass business plan. I spent a ton of time researching what virtual assistance was all about, figured out what I was good at, and just ran forward with what I had. When I started my business, my husband had no job, I had a 2 year old at home, a computer, and there was about $20 in the bank. Failing at this wasn’t really an option.
With the program I was in, I couldn’t open my business right away which gave me time to figure out how I was going to set up my business. I built my website (and oh, what a hot mess that was), tried to determine my pricing, had chosen some software that I thought would work for my business, and had gobs of different forms I thought I needed.
It took me years to realize I didn’t need much of what I thought to be essential.
I thought about getting those fancy phone lines and toll free numbers. Honestly – I never needed them. I always called my clients to save them the cost (and with a Skype subscription – super easy on your bottom line too) and if they needed to reach me, most of them preferred email anyway.
I started with Mailchimp because it was free, but there’s a whole heck of a lot that I couldn’t do with it. I’m with ActiveCampaign now (and for the price they charge, you’d be crazy to start with anything else)
On February 9th, I was given the OK to start my business. I immersed myself in the business with everything I had. Every stinking day. When my marriage was falling apart, I would wake up at 3:30 am to get some work done before my son woke up. Yes, I was exhausted. And not surprisingly, when you don’t plan to do it all yourself, things fall apart fast and hard. Because I was working with Danielle LaPorte, the referrals were coming in faster than I could count. More clients, less time = not good business.
When I separated from my husband at the end of 2010 my business was earning, oh about $300 a month. A MONTH. That’s a far cry from where I was a year ago. I left, I was on welfare and quite literally, just scraping by.
I hit a huge break when someone approached me because she was shutting down her VA business and had heard good things about me. We came to an agreement for me to take over some of her clients. #WIN. Then a friend started telling me about crystals and dropped the name Hibiscus Moon. Ooh, this is cool. I had almost no money in the bank, but I bought one of her classes. A few weeks later, I received an email from her because she was looking for a new VA and someone on her team had seen my name in the class and had heard good things about me. Once I cemented those few clients, business began to rise up again.
Once the business end of things were on spec, I started focusing more on myself. It was like one day I woke up and someone had whispered in my ear that adversity was inevitable. That I was more than enough. That I was a terrific mother. And that some joker’s 10 year run at my self esteem had absolutely no effect on my worth as a human being.
I had ballooned out to almost 200 lbs. For those that don’t know, I’m all of 5’2″ so that was an extra huge number on my frame. I was getting re-acquainted with friends I had in high school. I started listening to music again, and doing my hair and makeup for absolutely no reason other than it pleased me. I took courses in Reiki. I learned about essential oils. I got a gym membership for god’s sake.
Now, here we are in 2016. Not only am I NOT 200 lbs anymore, but my body is pretty smokin hot for someone in her 40’s. Not only do I go to the gym, but I also do judo and jiu-jitsu too .. sometimes even boxing. Okay, sometimes, my BFF has to shake her head at my lady bun and lazy girl boots, but for the most part, I give a shit about how I look because it changes the way I feel. My son, and this one worried me because of the effects divorce and his dad, is freaking amazing. He’s like a god damned supernova in my sky. And business .. well, business is better than ever. I help run a million dollar company, I pitch in for one of the most respected voices in the internet marketing space, and my little baby of a business has blossomed into something I would have never imagined it could be.