Abagail here. Around this time a year ago we were fussing over client deadlines, dreaming of finally taking a break in December. Instead, this November we are sitting poolside in California waiting for our turn to speak at BLINK conference.
What once felt like a pipe dream has since turned into reality.
See this whole thing didn’t just happen by accident. We didn’t just snap our fingers and turn our client-based business into online courses. We didn’t just hope we’d speak in front of creative entrepreneurs from all over the world. We didn’t just wish we could travel for business. We put intentional steps in place to make our wishy-washy dreams into real life.
I’d love to sit back and tell you it was a breeze. It wasn’t.
I’d love to tell you that if you work hard enough anything can happen. Close, but not quite.
You think Oprah just woke up one day and said, “I am going to impact people from all over the world and people are going to wish they were me?!” No.
She did the work. And Emylee and I aren’t afraid to do the same.
You may have heard the phrase:
“Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours to avoid working 40 hours a week.” - Lori Greiner
As a small business owner and entrepreneur I definitely resonated with the message. Some people just don’t understand why I work so hard when I could be back in my cube, being a pixel monkey and making a decent living.
Why did I give it all up to do this? Why do I deviate from that predictable 9-5 schedule? For some of you, unfortunately no matter how hard I try to explain, you will never get it. But for some of you this will speak to you, either because you already are living an entrepreneurial lifestyle, or this is what your heart yearns to do.
But before I dig into why I left a steady job to run Think Creative Collective , I had to do a little investigative research. I found where the original photo came from, and was pleasantly pleased to find an interview from the cast of Shark Tank back in 2012. Sure its an old article, but this Shark Tank Q & A still rings true and is extremely entertaining!
1. This is the LIFE I have Always Wanted
When I was a kid my mom stayed home and shuttled us to school and every sports practice we could dream up. I don’t have kids at this point, but I so value all the moments I got to share with my mom as a direct result of her being around more.
Who says you can’t be a business woman who happens to just work from home?
2. Freedom to be Myself
I have always tried to fit in, maybe a little more than I probably should have. I tried to dress a certain way, listen to the right kind of music, date the right kind of guys. At some point I stopped trying to be everyone else and I started to be myself. I married a man who could care less about sports, but ironically designs sports stadiums for the fan experience. I rock red lipstick and colorful tennis shoes. I sing in the shower. I dance in my pajamas. And care way too much about people!
3. Create my Own Schedule
Let’s face it, no two days are the same! So why force yourself to be a certain way when you aren’t? Sure I have a system that helps me stay on track (Hello, Trelloforbusiness.com), but I can’t always predict when I will be creative and produce my best work. By owning our own business we have the freedom to be flexible. And we have the systems in place so things don’t fall apart in the meantime.
4. Work How I Want to Work
I can get a little messy. Like a lot a bit messy. At a typical job I had to force myself to work within the confines of my cubicle or my floating desk. But that space was tiny and I was often in an environment where I was surrounded by few creative people. I love to sketch out an idea, take a million photos, and go a little crazy the midst of a brainstorm. At home I have the freedom to spread out…. Or have it as tidy and quiet as I want, besides the occasional Beagle howl.
5. More Effort, More Payoff
Working harder never used to give me a bigger payoff. Sure I would get a pat on the back from my boss and props from coworkers, but it wasn’t worth anything other than good karma. Now, the harder we work, the more payoff we get back. What you put out there really comes full circle! We have so enjoyed the opportunity to do so many cool things since starting our own company, like:
- Speaking at the Savvy Experience and BLINK Conference
- Getting outside our Kansas City box and growing an audience from 189 different countries
- Teaching hundreds upon hundreds of students inside the Strategy Academy, and
- Collaborating with some freaking amazing people!
6. Meet Amazing People
The amazing people thing is really more than I could have ever imagined. Sure, we used to go to networking events and meet a couple people we found interesting. We now have the opportunity to chat and make new connections with people EVERY DAMN DAY. And they all do so many incredible and fun things like:
- Own a French macaroon food truck
- Run cosmetic companies
- Photograph brides from around the world
- Skateboard painting
- Jewelry making
- Custom pattern design
- Etsy Extraordinaires
- co-Friendly Fashion
And that really is just to name a few
7. Make WORLD WIDE Connections
The AMAZING people extend far beyond just a 20 mile radius from my house. We have had the opportunity to chat with people all over the world. Last week we spoke with another entrepreneur specializing in sales page copy out of Canada. And Germany was just a Skype call away when we did a consultation with a very talented lady who happens to be fluent in 4 languages and has resided in 5 countries. I mean really, this doesn’t just happen!
8. I would be Bored Otherwise
I was recently chatting with my husband and he asked me why I didn’t just take a little pay cut and not work my bum off all the time. Guttural reaction, I blurted out, “Because I would be bored!” My husband laughed and shook his head. He knew I was right!
9. Obsessed is an Understatement
Sometimes I wish I could put it all away at night, flip a switch and not think about our business. But really, I am ok with this being my obsession. We get to light a fire in people. We get to watch their untapped potential turn into a business that thrives. We get to make people happy. This isn’t just a business to me. It is a relationship with real people. It is a connection that is closer than I ever had the opportunity to create in my former “real-job” lifestyle.
10. So I Want to Change the World
I think every Entrepreneur is a little manic! And generally they all want to change the world in one way or another. So it really isn’t shocking that we too want to change the world. If we can help a business thrive because they have a passion to succeed rather than a pocketbook full of marketing dollars then it is game on. People still have to make an investment. Yet they spend a fraction of what they would at any advertising agency. We get the opportunity to touch people and see real changes being made in creative businesses everyday.
11. My Life is My Business
Everyone is always trying to strike a balance, but if your life is your business and vise versa, why does it matter so much? As life throws you curve balls you can adjust. Sometimes that means late nights working to have long weekends off. We have found that Work/Life Balance is Crap!
12. I do What I Love
It may be cliché, but if you do what you love then you won’t work a day in your life. We LOVE working with people to create a business that they love that also fits into the lifestyle they want. Life is too closely tied to business to be dismissed as a different part of it. To know what changes you need to make in your business you have to know how you want to live. Right now our business is full throttle, but we are in control and can slow down whenever we need to and as life demands.
13. Cheerleaders from Heaven
I avoid getting too much into the personal side of things, but I think it is important that you know this: I don’t just do business because it is something I want, but because of my cheering section. I have a fine crew right here at home, but I also know I have a rather loud counterpart up in heaven. My grandmother was a huge part of my life and continues to be, despite her passing. She was a gifted artist with a mind for business in a time where it was extremely uncommon for women to work. She serves as a constant inspiration and will continue to guide and inspire my work and life. She was a special lady with a heart of gold who always told it exactly how it was, even if no one wanted to hear it!
What pushes you to do more, try harder and be better everyday? Why do you want to trade in your 9-5 for the entrepreneurial lifestyle