It is surprising, but we often have more in common than we'd like to think. Sometimes we can suffer the same pains but in different ways. I felt very alone in my suffering for a long time, and I was reluctant to share because it meant shedding light on a painful secret. Let me start by saying, I know my story isn't the worst, nor am I the only person who has felt this way.
I started my first business in 1996. It was a side hustle that started while working as a store manager for a large retails chain. I loved my job, but that's all it really was, a job. I wanted something of my own, and I knew I was destined for more than a job. I wanted a career, but more than that, I wanted ownership.
When I started the business, my husband had just started a new job after being laid off for the first time in his life in oil & gas, it happens, and it didn't hurt that I had a side hustle. The money I used to start the business came from our house fund. It was a short-term use, November to April, because it all came back to us on taxes, but the fact that I borrowed it was never forgotten.
From Side-hustle to Main Biz
When the retail chain I worked for went belly up, my side hustle became my main job. By this time, we lived in my husband's hometown and bought the house his parents owned because his father had been taken a job in Hawaii. Even then, it wasn't a bed of roses since his mom stayed in the states with us, but I was hustling.
Mother of two boys, soccer mom, homeroom mom, little league board, swim team mom and board member, and entrepreneur. I was busy around the clock, but I made the time. Who needs sleep?!?! While the boys were in school, I was working. In the evenings, I cooked, cleaned, baked cakes and cookies, went to games, and acted as a chauffeur. It was working. After three grueling years, I had really made a name for myself. I was known to every organization in my home county and had worked in every hotel in the city of Houston and counted two of the largest and most prestigious as my regular clients.
The thing that was missing was the recognition I desperately craved, and surprisingly it was not in the community. It was at home. I had won awards and was voted the Business Woman of the Year in the fastest growing county in the United States.
I will never forget the day I received that call. We were on vacation and having a great time climbing Pikes Peak. I was taking pictures of my high school senior for his yearbook ad. By this time, he was the middle child. I hadn't had a good phone signal for days when all of a sudden it rang. That's when I got the news.
Business Woman of the Year
I was so happy to share the news, but the response was not what I had expected. My heart is pounding out of my chest as I remember this. He looked at me in disgust and asked why they would give me an award when "it's not like you own a real company. It's not even your money. It's mine." Every time I smiled or laughed for the rest of the two-week trip, he made it clear that I had nothing to laugh about because it wasn't like it mattered, and more to the point, I didn't matter.
What would you do in that situation? It's a tough question. The answer involves deteriorating self-esteem, a fear that maybe he was right, and a precarious financial situation. So I sucked it up and soldiered on, stiff upper lip and all that.
Fast Forward 10 years...
Five months after graduating from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and attending Harvard's Business Consultancy, I sold LBL Event Rentals. I have kept Southern Hospitality Coffee Co, which operates an online store, holds three trademarks and started Creating the Map: Business Consultants. I finalized my dad's estate, sold my mom's house, sold my house, and bought and renovated the house of my dreams, things that I never thought I'd accomplish.
After years of scratching and clawing to prove myself and my worth, I knew that it would never be enough. When I stopped working to prove myself and started to focus on my passion, things changed. I began to create the business and the life I wanted. The business was in the black, and I was enjoying the fruits of my labors.
Instead of being told my numbers don't make sense, I took those numbers to the bank. There is a lot more story to tell, and we will talk about that in time, but now that I have shared my pain, I want to know what you are dealing with.
What are you looking for?
It may not be as dramatic as this story, but something is holding you back. What is the thing that keeps you up at night, that doesn't sit right, or that makes your inner critic question you constantly?
This is your safe place, the place you can share, and more importantly, it's going to be the place you can find the answers you are looking for.
If you could have your Biggest Personal Challenge Solved, what would it be?
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