Building Boundaries in Life and Business
Two years ago, when I left the corporate world for good, I had a vision.
My vision included that I would be able drop-off and pick-up my kids from school every day, be highly involved in their lives, I’d be able to take care of myself (working out, eating well, living life)… all while surpassing the six-figure salary that I was earning from corporate at the time.
Since I’m a big believer in the impossible, I never felt my goals were too lofty. I’ve always believed in myself and my capabilities. Anything I put my mind to is possible…. despite the laughs and jokes from the people around me.
After all, I had been successful in the past and I knew I could do it again… and even better than before.
What I did not consider is that freelancing and owning/running a business full time are very different.
When I had freelanced in the past, I would take a project and get them done. Similar to corporate, only just have to find your own projects.
However, as a business owner, there was much more to manage including the fact that clients didn’t just show up. I didn’t quit my corporate job one day and have clients my doorstep, the next.
In fact, when I tried to start my job while still working corporate (which many successful entrepreneurs say you should do…) I ended facing a series of HR issues. And it’s wasn’t fun!
The flexibility and freedom might come right away since no one is telling you when you have to sit down at your desk, but it comes at a cost, that maybe you aren’t ready for.
Taking the Big E-Plunge
Quitting your job and starting your business is scary. I know, because I quit mine cold turkey two years ago and promised myself, I’d never go back.
One day, I went from a standard deposit in my checking account each week, to the next… not knowing when, where, or how much I was going to have.
I had one full year of income saved up to support my family but there were many unexpected twists and turns during the startup phase. I didn’t know, what I didn’t know, and I had no idea what I was actually going to need.
I watched, month after month my savings deplete, while desperately trying anything and everything to get my business to work.
I became a hermit… if I wasn’t parenting, then I was working. My social life went out the window.
I even stopped working out and eating healthy, because my business came first. I was desperate to succeed, and I used every waking hour I could, to push my business.
Because I became so wrapped up in what I was trying to create… I even struggled to take care of my kids. I was so stressed all the time… I wasn’t the mom I wanted to be.
I regretted leaving left the corporate world.
This was a terrible feeling.
My idea to create this business was crazy, selfish, and basically ruined any stability I had.
And my guilt for messing with my family, and my money… was beyond out of control.
Something had to change.
Re-Building My Base
One day, I found an article on Entrepreneur, and it totally changed my mindset.
I went from a feeling of, having to be everything to everybody (including my clients), to re-evaluating my time and worth.
Based on the principal of the article, I made the decision that my time would be valued at $1,000/hour.
What did this mean?
Anything I valued at less than that, had to be rearranged or moved.
I create new boundaries for myself and my business.
This included my working hours (because when you work for yourself, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of taking client calls or answering emails at all hours of the day).
It also included determining new minimums for projects; I moved out of the “desperate for work, I’ll take anything” mode into really assessing what projects are the best fit at the best rates.
No more shame. No more guilt.
I became my new #1.
Ready to Get Out of Scarcity and Desperation?
It’s not easy moving from a mindset of scarcity and desperation… because generally, when you are there, you see no other options.
But, there are always options. You always have a choice, especially in the way you view your life.
It just takes one small step to start, and then another, and another.
Once you begin to make space, space will rapidly expand.
Here’s an example:
I had a client that I was struggling with for multiple reasons.
Because of time zone difference, and schedules, they were only available for meetings at 7:30 pm… prime time for snuggling and getting ready for bed in my house.
I didn’t love the work. The project changed from one expectation to another. I was trying to make it work because I thought I needed the money.
The contact was not an ideal retainer. When I negotiated it, I was very much in desperation mode and took what I could get.
^ So, as you can see this project was just dragging me down.
Despite not having a backup plan or new client. I decided this one had to go. It did not fit into the “my time is worth $1,000” mindset I was developing.
Guess what happened?
Almost immediately upon termination of the client, three new clients popped up on my radar within a week. They have been a joy and pleasure to work with and had triple the retainer size.
I’m not backing down now!
The purpose of this story isn’t to brag or boost my success.
The purpose of the story is to share the obstacles we put upon ourselves and how we can make a conscious decision to lift them.
It’s a far too common story; seeing female entrepreneurs working themselves to the grindstone and not respecting themselves.
Or, giving up and going back to their corporate jobs.
The entrepreneur hustle isn’t why you got into this game. Remembering your core values and vision for starting your business will keep you grounded.
While there are the naysayers that say business is a hustle; it only is if you make it. And, if that’s the choice you make, you will just end up in overwhelm and exhaustion.
Take a step back, take a deep breath, and focus on what really matters.
You are worth it.
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