It started with a financial mishap. There’s no shame in it. It’s business. It’s life.
As the steady income earner for the last 22 years of marriage, I have kept the regular bills paid. My husband did the entrepreneurial thing. If you’ve ever experienced it, it’s a rocky boat that rides high on the good surf but crashes hard on the treacherous waves.
We always used the good times to fund our kids’ educations, travel, investments, new cars, new furniture, or home improvements. Not once have we borrowed money (outside the businesses and mortgages) for things like cars, credit cards, education, or anything else. Every month I have religiously paid every bill down to zero because that’s what Dave Ramsey preached.
In 2014, we were expecting a windfall from a business deal that had initiated 10 years prior. A large payment was due to us, a life-changing payment. But a selfish group of people squandered away what was due to us with their poor business decisions, filed bankruptcy, and we ended up in a nasty legal storm.
THE WAVES CAME CRASHING DOWN ON US, AND IT HURT
On top of that, we were already experiencing lower income, as my husband was between ventures, and we owned a couple of rental properties that were not making us anything yet. Every property went vacant for 2 months, repairs were needed, income was lower. It was a perfect storm of harrowing proportions.
Fortunately I had taken on more work the year before when a top executive left the actuarial firm. The housing market was starting to pick up again, so we sold a property….then another. We felt like we were drowning, and that little life ring was all we were holding onto.
With all the stress, I started searching for a way to feel in control again. I enrolled in an online school with Kimra Luna, called Be True Brand You (BTBY), to learn how to market the technology courses that were in my head. Teaching others how to do things on the computer has always been enjoyable for me, and after answering thousands of questions over the years for free, I needed a way to make money doing it, and I needed to know how to market those skills.
At work I was always the one that would take extra time to teach new analysts the insight that I had on the accounts I managed. That extra investment would eventually save me time down the road as they got a better understanding on the front end. I audited those reports with a math teacher’s precision and made sure everything I changed was communicated back to them. It paid off.
I kept thinking back to Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog, about setting goals and freeing up time to work on what you should be working on to maximize effect. His step-by-step logical approach made so much sense to me. I managed to delegate things that an actuarial consultant with over 20 years of experience should not be doing. It not only lessened my workload, I convinced my boss to pay me more money for the projects I kept, as they required more experience and insight than the others.
A MAJOR SHIFT OCCURRED
I was all in for creating these courses, but it was not easy. The stress of my actuarial career mixed with 3 teenage girls in the house who needed me, and the pressures of taking care of my mother all piled on top of me. I started losing my hair, as it would come out in chunks, and I gained a good bit of weight. In spite of the challenges, over the next several months, I poured myself into opening the school in time for summer, getting back up on that surfboard every time I fell off. I was not going to put this off any longer.
THEN THE BIG WAVE CAME. IT WAS TIME TO RIDE IT.
It took a few tries to get up, and with the water hitting me in the face (my mother broke her leg), I managed to get on the board. Things were going smoothly, the shore was approaching quickly. I wobbled nearly falling off right when I needed to hang on (my brother-in-law died suddenly). I had to let go at that point and believe that if this was the right thing for my life that I had to have faith in it. So I let go of the result and rode into shore with confidence and laughter….and my resignation letter in tow.
Sally Hendrick is the founder of Social Media Traffic School, an online education center to learn how to set up your business for success for social media marketing. Strategy, technology and analytics mixed with storytelling and a go-getter attitude are the basis of her consulting business. Join her free social media club called the 50 Shades of Orange Club on Facebook.