Career: Three Women Who Followed Their Hearts Instead of a Paycheck
Here are the stories of three female entrepreneurs who chose not to follow a paycheck but to follow their hearts. I hope that you find their stories inspirational and motivational enough to do whatever it is that you’ve been wanting to do!
"Before I approached my creative career more purposefully, I worked many different jobs. My husband and I lived in Austin, TX and my last job there was at a hotel. I thought it would be a simple “come and go” job situation, but it turned out there was a lack of good management and employees could show up as they pleased which usually meant they were late and their fellow employees had to cover for them. Not long after I realized this was my situation, I started to become miserable. I turned into someone my husband and I didn’t recognize. I needed out. I have always enjoyed working and providing for myself, but now that I’m married it means even more to me and I want to bring in what I can. But after my last job, I knew I’d have to approach work in a completely different way.I had opened my own business in March 2016 and quickly gave up because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Now, I’m happy to say I am about to be open for business once again. It has taken almost two years, patience, and a lot of time and effort but I am finally at a point in my creative entrepreneurial career where I feel as if I am contributing in the way I want to be. After my 4th job in 2015, I realized the only common denominator in all of that was me. Working for someone else was no longer an option. I couldn't take the time off I wanted, I couldn't work during the day when I felt most productive. As a business owner, you have the opportunity and the freedom to work and play at your leisure. Not every day is easy and it’s not always fun, but it is far more worth it to pursue something you are 100% dedicated to.
Mine Space Over Coffee is a passion project linked to my business, which focuses on educating, empowering, and encouraging others to live intentionally. I also write for two companies and have started a voice-acting career through Upwork and other outlets. It will never feel like the right time to pursue what you want.
Whether it’s time, money, or general life circumstances, it will always feel like the wrong time to begin.But I will say, starting is the hardest part of doing. Once you put yourself out there, or buy your domain name, or file your DBA it makes what you want seem more real, more attainable. And I am here living proof that it is attainable and you can have it if you truly want it. It is not always easy and there are rarely any legitimate get rich quick schemes, but if you contribute to your goals each and every day you will eventually be where you want to be and it will feel so good.
Link to podcast on iTunes: www.mine-space.org/itunes
"Prior to going full-time with my digital marketing business, Your First Shop, I was working as a technical product manager for a software company in Chicago. I'd been working in the software industry for nearly a decade, and even though I was "good" at my job, I was not feeling as passionate about the work as I once had. At that time, I had been working with my sister on a bakery we opened together, and I had been doing some digital marketing freelance work and blogging on the side, as well. The realization that I needed to make a change came when I was writing my mid-year review in 2017 ... I just could not say in good faith that I was giving it my "all" as a technical product manager anymore, and I knew most of my mental energy was going towards my digital marketing business. This was a huge red flag to me that it was time to make a change.
Around the time of my review my husband and I had talked about me leaving to freelance full-time, but it never felt like something that could truly be possible. I knew I needed more clients and knew I needed to put some processes and technology in place for my freelance business in order for it to be truly successful. I spent a lot of time putting together a budget and some modest goals for 2017 in terms of how much money I'd need to be bringing in to make this work for our family, then just dove in. I sent personal emails to friends and family letting them know what I was doing, and asked for referrals if they knew anyone who could use my services. I joined the local chamber of commerce. I spruced up my website, signed up for a legit email marketing platform and social media automation software, and spent almost a month just hustling my heart out and getting everything in place. I felt extremely nervous the day I handed in my 2 weeks’ notice, but I was also excited because I knew I could make this thing work.
My #1 piece of advice would be to test your idea and make sure it can actually be profitable. Do more than just a survey on Facebook or shopping it around to close friends and family -- you actually need to prove that someone will give you money for your idea/thing/skill/product. This was a big hurdle for me, because I knew there were plenty of digital marketing consultants out there so of course there was a market for it, but I needed to get a couple clients myself to prove that I could do it, before I dove in. Second -- I would say that for the first year or so, follow the 80/20 rule ... 80% of your time will be spent on sales & marketing, and 20% on everything else. Even if you are awesome at what you do, or you have the best product out there and are getting good feedback from a seed group of early supporters, if you're going to make your business profitable you need more customers/clients."
Instagram - @yourfirstshopco
Facebook - facebook.com/yourfirstshopco
Twitter - @yourfirstshopco
Website - www.yourfirstshop.co
"I’m Becky. I have a graphic design degree but at heart I’m a preschool teacher. I do what I do for love but It’s hard to live with a heart divided; bills need to be paid and a girl needs shoes.
When I was younger I used to hang out with a friend who’s a photographer. One day when we visited a small preschool and I landed my first real job. I started working at the preschool as a Teaching Assistant while I began college. I fell head over heels with my little munchkins. I needed the money because college wasn’t free but ended up I loving it so much it hardly felt like working.
I graduated from college but kept working at the preschool because that’s what I liked. So I decided to start developing teaching materials, it wasn’t easy but as luck would have it I started working part time with a publishing company. I loved that as well, it had a bit of everything but it wasn’t teaching and it wasn’t really designing either.
After 10 years, I met my husband, we got married and moved to another city so I had to quit my jobs. Saying good bye to my munchkins, my friends at school and at the publishing company was very hard, but the heart wants what the heart wants.
A few years later, now a housewife and a new mom who was raising her daughter bilingually, I struggled to figure out what to do with my time. I was used to having my own money, my independence and talking to other human beings. I missed teaching and I needed a creative outlet.
There’s a moment in every new mom’s life where she would like to talk about something else besides diapers and baby milestones. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and taking care of my family but there’s a part that should be just for me.
I started looking for jobs online, even a teaching position at the language center closest to my house, but nothing felt right. One day in 2015 my cousin who’s a teacher and a blogger contacted me and asked me if I wanted to join her team of teachers, designers and developers. They were working on a project developing a language teaching app for kids.
So far it had everything I wanted Teaching, designing, languages, and it was from home. The “down side” was that since it was a startup, the pay was minimal. This startup was founded by a young man who worked really hard (and still does) to make sure the project kept moving forward and everyone got paid on time. He contacted me and offered me a position as a virtual assistant / social media manager and if I could do it part time. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity of having my cake and eating it, too!
So far the virtual assistant part was dropped (yay!) and I manage social media and write blogs for Learn Safari along with my cousin Keli, who developed the entire content for English Safari, Spanish Safari and Reading Safari. Now with three mobile apps under our belts, I do something I love from home and on my own time. I get to spend my days talking and listening to other moms raising their little ones to be bilingual.
I will not tell you how much I get paid, but thankfully my husband supports my dreams and our expenses. I get to do something I love, and I get to spend time with my kids and they play an important part in developing a project I believe in. I’m sure that the money part will improve as the company grows, but meanwhile I get to enjoy the ride without regrets.
You can check out our apps and how involved our kids are in the developing of the project in our posts."
Thank you Melanie, Megan and Rebecca! I really enjoyed listening to your stories and they were very inspiring! Be sure to check out their work! Drop a line, tell me about a dream that you have! What would you do if money and time weren’t a factor?