"When I grow up I want to work for myself so that I can be with my family," my Nana claims those were the words of my seven-year-old self. Who knew I was setting an intention configured to play out 19 years down the line, a powerful one at that. I don't recall saying those words, but I do remember my mom working a lot and me being with my nana a good chunk of the time. Emphasis on working a lot, so my seven-year-old self must've been missing her momma something terrible. Aside from my elementary school entangled feelings of "I miss my mom," I am not surprised I made that statement. I come from a line of entrepreneurs who, now that I am looking back set the tone for my entrepreneurial spirit. My Nana owned a daycare for years, my mom worked a 9 to 5 but also had side hustles. She made cheesecakes and jewelry. I have distinct memories of my mom being crafty and extremely creative when I was growing up. She was amazing with her hands, and I recall being smitten over her stunning penmanship. There was this one time, it was late, she was baking cheesecakes for a customer and she let me help her place the chocolate leaves onto the top of the marble designed pastry. It was a dream for me! I was enamored my mom's ability to make things, and her happiness while doing it. My grandfather still has a successful insurance business and was the person to give me my very first job. I had to file; I hated filing. I can hear him in my ear now, saying, "if you want something you have to work for it. And you have to work hard, you have to do things right the first time. No one is going to hand you shit, sweetheart." Those words stuck; I carry them with me.
People ask me all the time how I got to where I am and how I am sustaining my place in the world of self-employment. All I can say is that I got here by setting fear aside and taking a risk. A huge risk. I will be 26 at the end of this month, it wasn't too long ago that I quit my job working in the non-profit world, to do what I love full time. I left the 8-hour work day grind two years ago. When I transitioned out it was time! I had had enough and my passion for what I enjoyed doing took over. Like my mom, I always had a side craft (or 4). I truly think that creative urge came from watching her do what she had to do while still trying to dabble in what she loved to do. I followed those footsteps never thinking that doing what I love for a living was an option. I mean, of course, it wasn't. Right? How could I make a living off of making jewelry, creating body care items and writing? How the hell would I make, what seemed to be hobbies, a sustainable brand? Courage, my friends, courage. Oh, and preparation and self-trust and
passion. Lots of passion.
"You're a low budget employee! You're not really needed here." Those were the words of a former boss. Mind you, I had just gotten a raise and promotion after trying to put in my letter of resignation. I felt swindled back into the job I wanted to leave because of fear, comfort and self-doubt. I didn't walk away until after I was "reminded" that I was disposable and unworthy. That was it for me! My first book had been published and was doing amazing; my jewelry line had taken off beautifully and I had other projects I knew I wanted to bring to life. That job was holding me back, but God stepped in and pushed me forward. I also knew I had to give myself a chance. So, I quit. On the spot. There was no room for begging me to stay again, for apologies or anything. I left, after getting a promotion a week prior, after being offered "more money," I left and never looked back.
When I tell you opportunities started pouring in left and right! I was amazed at what a change in space and energy could do for my well-being. Upon leaving my job, I was booked for my first BIG college speaking engagement. It was then that I realized I made the best choice for me and my family. Timing was perfect! My baby girl was set to start kindergarten that following week and I was going to be able to be home with her! Not commuting to DC and working around people who hated their jobs and were unfulfilled in life. I was going to be able to build my brand, write my books and live my life the way I wanted with no time constraints or worries. But what was most important for me was the opportunity to build my brand and bring my dreams to fruition, not someone else's.
I say this all to say, we are in charge of our journey, successes, and happiness. It took me five long years to muster up the courage not to work for some else. I planned for it. I saved for it. I asked questions and believed that I was able. No matter how many people were in my ear judging, deterring, doubting, etc. I chose my happiness for myself and family.
Fast forward to today, my daughter is headed to 2nd grade. My brand is flourishing, my third book is on the horizon, I am touring, creating and hosting retreats. My family sees me, my tribe is prepared for a new journey and life is happy. Bills are paid, rent is made, money is saved, and it's all from hard work and the love I have for my craft.
In the words of my Poppy, "No one is gonna hand you shit, sweetheart. If you want something you have to work for it."