After seven years in college, I landed a solid management role. The only problem was I was miserable. At my job, I’d tried to make a difference, spoke out in meetings, and wondered why everyone was so politically correct. After trying to comply with what success was supposed to look like, I felt lost and confused. Then, one day I woke up and realized I’d be happier doing just about anything but going to work in an 8-to-5 corporate role. I shocked company leaders by resigning before the job could even take a foothold on my resume. They asked me to stay. I honestly couldn’t figure out why they still wanted me. Had they not seen how unhappy I was? By age twenty-four, I’d already learned I could never be the daily grind type. Why? Because:
- I couldn’t wait to change strategy when it wasn’t working.
- I couldn’t wait until things got worse before making them better.
- I could not stand there being a part of a mission I couldn’t align with (which, at the time, was the hospital industry’s goal to get more heads in beds and figure out how to get it paid for).
Fortunately, I met a coach who told me that what seemed to light me up is giving instruction, not following them. “There’s no other choice: You have to find a way to be your own boss,” the coach said. This realization (at such a young age) left me stunned. “What do you want to do?” asked the coach.“I don’t have a clue, but I know my non-negotiables are:
- Create wealth
- Have my newborn son with me at work (aka work from home)
- Build an organization
Since this conversation took place before either of us knew what the internet was, I figured being a multi-level marketer was my only option, and I did NOT work my ass off in school to be limited to that option. The coach said, “No, you can do whatever you want from home.” She was the expert, so I became passionate about finding something to do that provided an opportunity to earn, call the shots, and do something I love. I loved the ideas of 1) selling to businesses & 2) property management. Although I had no idea what I was doing, I told anyone who would listen that I was looking for a project in those areas. A colleague responded with a question: “Can you help provide property management-related services to the military?”
When I started this company over two decades ago, I had no idea it would be “a company” beyond the first project or two. I had no way of knowing whether it would put food on the table for more than a few months, much less put my children through college, spin-off four separate companies, and provide for retirement. That first project wore on, and I learned a lot in a brief period. The first year, I hired my mother, then my husband. I gave birth to twins the same year. Soon, we had six employees in my living room and three kids in high chairs in the kitchen. I’ve been told that not everyone can (nor should they try to) be a leader or start a business. True, not everyone is a leader. But almost anyone can either start a business or band together with others to start a business or a project.
That’s why so much of my first book is about building a team. Very few entrepreneurs know how to (nor commit the time to) do everything in a business. Just make sure someone on the team has the know-how to do forecasting and money management, and while someone else is passionate about the customer experience, and someone else knows how to market and sell, while someone (like you) has the resilience, strength, and ability to the leader. It doesn’t have to be a business-to-business, multi-million dollar operation to support a family.
- Do you often have practical ideas that would solve big problems?
- Do you get easily frustrated when your boss doesn’t change what needs to be changed?
- Can you bring out the best in others and have the end goal of seeing them grow as a person?
- Are you a competitive team player and love to overcome challenges?
- Do you have a “mind over matter” perspective?
- Do you prefer to design your life down to the detail?
- Are you seeking financial freedom?
If you answered ‘yes’ to these, and you’d love to get paid to create a world with fewer problems and more workability, maybe it’s time for you to jump into the unknown.