At the beginning of September, I celebrated 6 years of being in business. At the end of September, I celebrated my 34th tour around the sun.
Not too long after that, I immersed myself so deeply in my work that I started compromising most of my core values.
My number one core value is Freedom; for the last several months I worked 60+ hour weeks and only started taking weekends off again at the beginning of November. My number two core value is Family; by working so hard and so much, I neglected the people I love the most. My number three core value is Fun; let me tell you, I was having none of it. I have 5 other core values… but when the first three have been completely compromised, it’s pretty indicative of a major problem.
I ran into my business coach at the hair salon the other day. She asked where I’d been.
(Personal & Professional Development is another core value. Yup, compromised that one, too.)
I admitted I’d been in hiding. My business was burning me out and I was ashamed to have let it happened. She helped me see the lessons in my experiences over the past few months, and that’s what I want to share with you today.
1) Doing it solely for the money just isn’t worth it.
Not for me, anyway.
Intellectually, I’ve always know that.
But I somehow managed to forget it along the way.
My business has “seasons,” one of which has a high point – both in revenue and volume of work – in September each year.
So even though there was plenty of $$$ and work coming in, it damn near killed me trying to keep up. I dropped balls and even lost clients over it.
Compromising my core values wasn’t worth it.
2) You can’t do it alone.
Again, this is something that, intellectually, I’ve known all along.
But – spoiler alert! – I’m also a control freak.
I used to view this as a strength, but I’ve since realised it’s one of my biggest weaknesses.
I can’t run this business by myself and stay true to myself and my values.
And seeing how I don’t want to quit running my business (despite it nearly killing me), it was time to call in some reinforcements.
I’d already brought in the first of my two new team members earlier in the summer. We’d actually been working together for over a year with a mutual client, and we collaborate so well that we started looking for more ways to work together.
It became pretty clear to the both of us – since we’re both strategists at heart – that we needed to bring on an implementer. Someone who could support us in the execution of the brilliant strategies we co-create for our clients.
We finally found that person and brought her on board in early October.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t soon enough to save some of those relationships with my clients.
The real lesson here is don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. My stubbornness and control-freak nature didn’t do anybody any favours.
3) I realised my appreciation for project-based work.
Prior to opening my business, I’d worked for 2 different banks, a temp agency, and seasonally at a tax preparation firm. I worked for both of those banks for around 5 years each, but the longest I held any single position was just shy of 2 years in either place.
Security and stability are important to me – hence my longevity at the banks – but so are the freedom and creativity that come with spending a focused amount of time on a specific project, whether that’s 3 months of tax season, developing a new product or service, or managing a marketing campaign.
This year, I’ve done a lot launches, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. There are few things more satisfying than celebrating a successful campaign with a client.
Project-based work also allows me to check off those top 3 core values: it gives me the freedom to travel and set my own hours, it means I can spend more time with my family, and it’s fun for me.
My intention in sharing this with you is that you don’t have to go through any of it to quite the degree that I did. Hopefully there’s something in here that helps you out. <3