A little over a year ago, I made the choice to step away from life as I knew it and begin my next adventure as a full-time business owner and entrepreneur.
Even now as I’m writing these words, I’m feeling elements of panic creep up.
Even though I can go back through each week and month of the year and see all the progress I made in both my business and myself, I have this nagging voice in my head telling me I could have done better. I could be further along I am. But that's just the shadow side of me - a part I'm choosing to acknowledge in this post because I strongly desire to be real with you. Real about my choices, my experiences, and all parts of me - the sunny and the shadowy.
The truth is, I pictured this past year going very different than the way it’s gone. I thought cash flow would be higher. I thought I would be online only (with 3 ebooks and 3 courses to show for it), and I thought I’d lose 20 pounds because I’d have all this time to work out and eat healthy and live this dream life.
But you know what I didn’t possibly anticipate?
That I would feel a deeper sense of trust and contentment with the unknown.
That I would feel more comfortable in my body than before.
That I would feel so supported by loved ones all over the world.
That I would end the year as a certified transformational business and life coach.
That Tim and I would finally leave our tiny apartment in Oakland and live in an enchanted cottage in the trees.
That I would be so sure that everything is going to be OK, even with the most uncertainty I've ever had in my life.
That I would be celebrating one year of being in business on the beach in Mexico with my love and close friends.
Inspired by Liz Dialto’s amazing year in review post, I’m going to go through each month and highlight some of the big wins, challenges, and important person moments of the year, then I'll answer some of the questions you've asked about the last year.
The Dabblist: 1 Year in Business
Note: These are some highlights and things I think you will find relevant. I’ve left some personal highlights and challenges out because, well, some things just need to be kept sacred.
- Attended the first Live Free Retreat not entirely knowing why. The day the retreat was announced, I walked into the kitchen and told Tim that I wasn’t entirely sure why but I was meant to go to this retreat and we’d have to figure out a way to pay for it - and we did. By the end of the retreat, I had re-organized our house budget, put in my 2 weeks at work, and had planned my first event, the Sisterhood Soiree.
- My last day at work was Halloween and a member of my team dressed up as The Dabblist - wearing an apron, flower crown, and holding a wooden spoon. I left quietly during the lunch party and cried in the cab home.
- The first 2 weeks of being a entrepreneur consisted of a lot of not knowing what to do with myself. I spent a lot of it in my yoga pants and staying up very late futzing with email and going on pinterest and creating (and recreating) my business plan. I now believe this is a necessary phase in the new entrepreneur’s life in order to find and create balance in her life once again.
- I signed up for a high level mastermind with a leadership coach, which was the scariest financial decision I’ve made to date. I committed to spending 9 intensive months working on my business, my body, and my life with 14 other entrepreneurs I barely knew. It was the best decision I ever made, which was my hope when I signed on the dotted line.
- Celebrated Tim’s birthday in a beautiful cabin in the woods by helping him write a strategic plan and performance reviews for his team at his job and really loving it...which made me wonder if I had made the right decision leaving corporate. Then we ate a lot of cheese and passed out on the couch in our bathrobes in front of a roaring fire.
- During a weekend wine country trip with girlfriends, I decided that I would make handmade winter gift boxes for the holiday season. I announced the sale on Black Friday (and will never ever do that again).
- I walked away from a blogging network that was promising big things (hundreds of thousands of page views, sponsorships with ethical companies, community building), but my heart knew it wasn’t the right place for me and one month later over 150 bloggers left over major legal issues. Glad I dodged that one.
- Spent the month working on content for my Natural Beauty course and the Handmade Winter Gift Box - all the while wishing I could be more present to celebrate the holiday season with my loved ones.
- Spent 3 days of making, assembling and shipping the holiday boxes with some amazingly helpful friends. It was a lot of fun, but I realized that I am a dabblist and wasn’t meant to have a shop for physical items. This was a huge realization, because I could have easily turned my business into a product-based one. But that wouldn’t have fulfilled me.
- The day after we shipped out all the boxes, I got really bad food poisoning. Tim made a bed on our bathroom floor and I passed out with a washcloth on my head, hugging the toilet base.
Photo by Rosa Delgado
- I started to feel workaholism creep in with the approaching launch of the Natural Beauty Course. I spent a week in Lake Tahoe with my parents and never left the cabin because I was glued to my computer screen.
- This was followed by contraction of hand, foot, and mouth disease which took over 2 months to fully recover from.
- Successfully hosted the first Sisterhood Soiree with Sora Surya No, and it completely sold out. It was amazing to see women come together, get vulnerable with each other, and I realized that I really enjoy working with people life as well as online.
- Ran the #createnaturalbeauty challenge, which was SO MUCH fun! I got to connect with women all over the world who were participating in the challenge (eating parsley, brushing their teeth with strawberries and slathering honey on their face) and felt the magic of The Dabblist Community coming together.
- Officially launched the Alchemy & Wonder Natural Beauty Course and 94 people signed up from all across the globe - which totally blew my mind. It was such a pleasure to see them come alive in their kitchens and take such exquisite care of themselves. I also proved to myself that I could create something from just an idea (I originally called it “Be Your Own Medicine Woman”) to creation and launch.
- The day after the launch of my course, I started working on images and content for my book, The Healing Kitchen. I now realize taking a break might not have been such a bad thing.
- Traveled to Costa Rica for a week-long retreat with 14 incredible women and tapped into deeper understanding of what it means to really be vulnerable and intimate with other human beings. I also fully realized my desire (and natural ability) to be a coach for high achieving women who are looking for greater contentment and joy in their lives.
- Was up late with jet-lag from Costa Rica and discovered a thread on a hate forum all about me and was simultaneously shocked, hurt, and excited that people I didn’t know were talking about me. (I won’t link to it here because I believe that giving the page more views just feeds the negativity and I’ve cleared any sort of attachment to it).
- Announced the launch of my ebook The Healing Kitchen and rejoiced/freaked out when over 100 people bought it.
- With shaky hands and a racing heart, I announced my coaching services and got my first client.
- Got away for a week with my love in Big Sur and slept in a human nest overlooking the ocean. Then stood by my childhood best friend’s side as she married her soul mate, wearing flower crowns I made for her and the whole wedding party. Getting away felt really really good.
- Enrolled in a high level transformational coaching certification program.
- While I was washing dishes one night, the idea for my holiday program came to me. I ran to the computer to see if the URL was taken. it wasn’t. I bought it. The rest is history.
- Tim and I decided we needed to move. We found a house in our neighborhood in Oakland, fell in love, and didn’t get it. What followed was total and utter devastation that took me a week to recover from. I felt trapped in our little apartment and had a story that the Bay Area rental market was totally against us. #dramaticmuch?
- Celebrated 3 years of marriage in wine country with my love, which consisted of a lot of sleeping and room service.
- Hosted the second Sisterhood Soiree, which felt even more amazing than the first one. We made flower petal mandalas and danced to Lady Gaga.
- Celebrated my 29th birthday in wine country, Colorado, and Vancouver for an epic week of travel. Realized travel is really important to me to make room for in my work and life schedule.
- Hosted my first webinar, all about finding more productivity and happiness through play.
Saying goodbye to our old kitchen - where The Dabblist was born.
- Did a lot of work and play for my holiday program - shooting, creating, and dreaming it into being.
- Experienced some major bouts with insecurity and self-doubt. Cash was running low and I started asking people what they thought I should be doing. Biggest mistake ever. It deviated from my north star, and my gut was screaming it was a bad idea.
- In a stroke of what I can only call magic, I find an amazing house in the town we had been dreaming of living in. I applied for it, walked into the open house, and got the house on the spot. The rest of the month consisted of packing, cleaning, and preparing to move. Then, we moved to the enchanted cottage in the woods and it took a week to recover. Moving does not get easier with age.
- Got certified as a Mastery Level Transformational Coach.
- Spent 5 days in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the final retreat of the Freedom Mastermind. Came home with turquoise, crystals, and a wide open heart
- Held the first creative day retreat at my enchanted cottage for 6 women who loved every second of playing with their hands, making beautiful products, and strengthening the bonds of sisterhood.
- Attended the second Live Free Retreat, this time known half the women in the room and feeling so proud of how far I’d come in a year. Wore my red dress and danced my face off with 70 amazing new sisters.
- Celebrated 1 year of entrepreneurship on the beach in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
I posted on my Facebook and Instagram pages a few weeks ago, asking what questions you had for me about my first year in business. Below are my answers:
What was the thing you didn’t know you didn’t know before you started?
I didn’t know that I didn’t know how hard it would be for me to ask for support. This is something I still struggle with. I often talk about how we can do anything, but we can’t do everything and that we aren't meant to go it alone. But, when I launched myself into this new life as an entrepreneur, I really had to face my beliefs that I could do it all myself. It has been a hard pattern to break, but is so crucial to the growth and sustainability of myself and my business.
I’m curious about your time management , what kind of day to day work schedule you keep and your methods for keeping it all I balance.
I talk about this in the post I wrote 6 months in to my entrepreneurship journey. Bottom line, I make sure to nourish myself all day and get my focused hustle on.
How do you stay focused?
- Self Control App for blocking out sites like facebook
- I put my phone in airplane mode
- I listen to [email protected] to get the productivity brain waves moving
- I work in 90 min increments
- I move my body
- I take time to dabble and play
What were some of the most difficult challenges of your transition?
- Operating a household budget with reduced cashflow. It was really tough at first, but I switched my mindset to feeling more empowered to make it work so I can pursue my dream, which helped a lot.
- Feeling super isolated and alone working at home all the time, especially after having worked in a really social setting at my corporate job.
- Going through bouts of fear and self-doubt
How long did it take you to be able to support yourself from your business?
I’m feeling super vulnerable talking about money, but I am totally committed to vulnerability and truth so I will answer this honestly.
I am not profitable yet. I have spent the last year covering expenses and investing more into my business than I had originally anticipated. But I’ve made it work and am looking to become cash flow positive in 2015.
What do your revenue streams look like?
Do you think you’ll ever go back to corporate America?
I know better than to say never, but I really don’t think so. Life on the other side feels so much more aligned for me and I am making it work with my family. So probably not.
Was it worth it?
Yes yes yes. I feel like such a fuller, whole person. I am the creator of my own life. I am not a victim of this world. I am in the driver’s seat. It is a feeling unlike any other and it’s worth it.
What will you do differently in year two?
Less. I will do less. I hustled my buns off in 2014, which I thought was the only way to be an entrepreneur. Now I see that doing less with greater focus and intention is in my desire for 2015. It feels so spacious and lovely just writing about it.
My husband and I are really trying to make his new business a success. What would you recommend in the beginning?
Just start. Be flexible. Take imperfect action. You can plan and strategize all you want, but just dive in and be willing to change direction and improve over time.
What would you tell someone who’s too scared to quit their day job to become a full-time entrepreneur?
Why are you scared? Let’s go there. Let’s go to the worst case scenario and realize you can survive it. If you were at risk of living on the street, you would get a part-time job, you would make the calls to close the deals, you would do what it takes to survive. You are in control of your life, and can change lanes at any time.
Also, get support. You don’t have to do this alone. People want to cheer you on.
I am cheering you on.
If you want to do this, know that you can.
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