Let me be honest with you. My business is working. I spend my days, for the most part, doing work I love. I set my own schedule. I work from home or a cafe. I spent 3 months in California last year and another 5 weeks this year in the pursuit of love. I never set an alarm. Rush hour commutes are a thing of the past.
And all of that's possible because I have an online business. And it's amazing and incredible and I'm unbelievably grateful for all of it. Financially it's getting easier and better month on month too. Money flows more easily and I don't spend my time in "how-the-****-am-I-going-to-pay-the-rent?" mode. I even get to socialise occasionally now too and do nice things for myself - like the last minute massage I booked last week because my muscles were so sore from kickboxing.
And honestly I'm personally very proud of what I've achieved in under 4 years, because I really did start out with no clue. I spent the best part of a year just exploring life. I wasn't even trying to run a business. And then when I got started, it was from nothing.
I built up a coaching business with no formal qualification and zero experience. I built an online community having never even read a blog before quitting my job. I've learned about marketing and selling and websites and everything in between. Perhaps most importantly, I've learned not to let my own fear and doubt get the better of me.
I seriously love my life right now. Nothing could make me go back to the life I had before.
BUT, let me also be honest and tell you what getting here cost me. Because it has cost me. And I have sacrificed.
I gave up and said no to almost every social occasion my friends invited me to.
I didn't have the time. I definitely didn't have the money. And believe me, it's exhausting telling people over and over again, "no, I'm sorry, I can't." You just have to hope they understand and that the good ones will still be there when you come out the other side.
I sacrificed my pride and independence on many occasion.
Some friends and people insisted on seeing me. And when they did, they insisted on paying too. A little lunch here, a coffee there. And in some instances, so much more.
My friends are one in a million and I'm so grateful for all the support they've given me along the way. But accepting their support wasn't easy. I'm used to being able to pay my own way. I felt like a failure, often, as they whipped out their wallets and told me "no, I insist."
Still, this was a good lesson in learning how to receive.
I sacrificed my health.
I'm much, much better now at taking care of myself at the same time as taking care of my business. In fact, it's a priority. But there has been so much stress. Lots of tears. Extreme anxiety. Panic attacks at times. Periods of mild depression.
I've been a stubborn bitch the last several years building my business. I made a decision that I'd never go back to employment, no matter what. And I haven't. And I'm glad. But that decision perhaps caused me to struggle in ways I didn't need to.
My hair is greying, my skin's changed. Of course, that could just be age. But I think the stress of the last few years has also played a part.
It doesn't sound much, when I write it out like this. It doesn't sound very difficult at all. In fact, it sounds a bit like I'm a spoiled brat who's had it easy.
In many ways I have. In many ways I've been very, very lucky.
But what I want to tell you today is that this journey isn't an easy one. At least, it hasn't been for me. If it were simple and easy and took no time at all, everyone would be out there doing it.
But they're not.
Because there's a cost. And there are sacrifices to be made. And sometimes those sacrifices have to be made over extended periods of time.
And by the way, I don't really consider a few years an extended period of time. Ten years, maybe. But 3, 4 years? No, that's just what it takes.
I don't want to discourage you. Not at all. I, more than anyone, know that you can do this. But don't be under the illusion that you can do this and keep your life exactly the same as it was before.
Don't think you won't have to sacrifice.
The question you need to ask yourself is, am I willing and do I believe it's worth it?
I was willing. And I sure as hell believe it's worth it.
I feel how much it's worth it every day when I wake up without an alarm, early and full of energy.
I feel how much it's worth it every day when I sit down to write to you.
I feel how much it's worth it every time I get a message or some feedback or a testimonial letting me know how much of an impact I've had in a person's life.
I feel how much it's worth it every time I sit in a cafe with my laptop getting on with my work.
I felt how much it was worth for those months in California when I got to explore a relationship with a man on the other side of the world all thanks to having an online business.
I feel how much it's worth it all day every day in everything I do.
But I sacrificed to get here. And the chances are you'll have to sacrifice too. No one's going to show up and hand you a pay check. No one's going to show up and give you a vacation. You're going to have to take it all on. And it's a lot.
But if you're in it for the long haul and prepared for the journey, one thing I can guarantee you is that I'll always have your back.
Love and courage,