Greater Than Business Podcast – Episode 005
This is episode five of the Greater Than Business podcast. Today we are going to be talking about my rock bottom moment in my business. For most people, rock bottom generally means when finances are tight and stress levels are high and all of those things kind of all line up into the perfect storm of self-doubt. They sometimes will decide that their business just isn't working for them.
If you're feeling that way really listen to this episode and let me preface this now that it does get better on the other side of whatever you are going through. Chances are if you are resonating with this podcast as far as wanting your life to be greater than your business or your family greater than your business, et cetera, you will or you will have at some point been in this situation.
I'm going to explain my story, what happened, and ultimately how I decided to overcome every obstacle. This goes back to October of 2017. I had just returned from the Entrepreneur Experience with Amy Porterfield in San Diego. I went on that trip in order to obviously do two things. One of them is to meet Amy Porterfield and attend her event and the biggest reason that I went was to meet Devin Duncan, who is a partner in Amy's business. He's a silent partner but a strategic partner.
He is Melanie Duncan's husband and he's also involved in huge businesses as basically the man behind the curtain. For me, that was my ultimate business goal was to be the woman behind the curtain that never had the spotlight, was always behind the scenes, but was doing big things. That was my business goal way back when.
I wanted to meet him, I wanted to have a conversation, I wanted to find out if his brain was as amazing as I thought it was. Spoiler, it is. Him and I had very great conversations while I was down there. I felt like I was totally fangirling and monopolizing all of his time.
I eventually apologized but it was one of those moments where he was the whole reason that I flew from Toronto to San Diego and why I wanted to attend this event. I ended up having conversations with him and I felt amazing.
After the event I actually took one extra day in San Diego and boarded myself up in my hotel room and buckled down and did serious work on my own business. Then I flew home and on the plane I was working strictly on my big vision planning for my business and I got home, my vacation was over, because I viewed that as a vacation even though I was still technically working on my own business.
I came home and I had to face the realities of diving back into client work and that is when it happened, when I hit a wall, and it was the worst period of my business and probably my life as a whole. It was not a good time.
What happened, looking back on it now nearly two years later, I was so excited to start my own business, take it to that level that I wanted to do, and eventually get to the point where I was only working on my own business and not servicing other people's businesses.
My income level was great, my client load was fantastic. My clients for the most part were amazing but the thing was vision had changed in my business and it was overwhelming. I didn't want to do what I was doing anymore in business. I didn't want to have clients. I didn't want to be working on building other people's launches and selling other people's programs and building out their systems and increasing their income.
I started becoming really, really resentful. This was all feelings that were happening internally with me. It had nothing to do with my clients. They were the exact same people that I left before I went to San Diego and they were the exact same people when I got back from San Diego. The only person that changed was me. It wasn't anything that Amy said to me, it wasn't anything that I learned at the mastermind, and it for sure was not anything that Devin said to me.
It was literally just the fact that a light bulb came on for me and I realized the trajectory of my business was heading in the wrong direction and I needed to switch it and I needed to switch it fast.
The problem was I was working in some very big businesses at the time and in order for me to step away it wasn't something that could be easily done. I came home ready to release all of my clients from their contracts and … Obviously within reason because I am very respectful. I wasn't just going to drop everything.
I wanted to kind of create an escape plan. I couldn't do that because I was integral to some of their businesses. I was running a lot of things behind the scenes. It wasn't what I wanted to do anymore. I wanted to start running my own business and I was ready to step not in front of the camera but I was ready to take ownership of my brand, create a brand, create a real business, not just me servicing other businesses.
I didn't know how to do it and I hit a wall. It was absolutely devastating because I came home on such a high and then went back into my client work and the resentment that I had for my clients when we're doing launches and hitting multiple six figures in a launch my income never increased for that.
That is why I got resentful. I was doing so much extra work for these clients and it was all within my contract, it was all within my job description but I just felt like I was doing so much more and pulling myself away from my own business and that is where the resentment started.
Then the not really wanting to work started happening. Then just the emotional struggles of being on the entrepreneurial roller coaster, not knowing how to get off. I just wanted to hit pause and figure out all of my stuff in my business, then go back and figure out all of the things in my clients' businesses, and then live in this happy little world where both could coexist.
It wasn't going to happen. I ended up getting just devastatingly sick when I got home from San Diego. I don't know what it was. I've been told that it was potentially upper limiting. I have been told that it was some sort of a mindset shift. I don't know what it was but I was so sick. I couldn't function. I just got back from vacation, I'm trying to play vacation catch up in my clients' businesses while also trying to implement all of the things I wanted to do in my own business and I basically had the most epic meltdown of my life.
It lasted for probably three weeks of where I was sick, I couldn't do anything, none of my clients understood what happened, why I was so miserable, and it was pretty much the biggest wake up moment for me in my business where I needed to say, “Okay, what are you doing with your life? What are you doing with your business? Is your business really that important that you would …”
It was almost like I was voluntarily sick for three weeks because there wasn't anything wrong with me. I definitely had a huge cold and I couldn't breathe and I had a whole bunch of other things happening but it was all because my mindset had shifted and my ability to deal with the day to day just wasn't there anymore.
I don't even know how to describe it. I'm having a hard time walking you through this sense that I was feeling at the time because I've never felt anything like that before or since. It was devastating. If you've ever been in that position please, please, please I highly recommend that you reach out to somebody and just vent. Vent everything off of your chest.
If it needs to be me, by all means, Flow@FlowAutomationInc.com. Email me. Please, please, please. I beg of you. If you're feeling as low as I felt at that moment reach out to me. I will be able to help guide you through it. I'm not a therapist. I'm barely even functioning as an adult in my business some days but I've been there and it does get better on the other side once you give yourself permission to pause, which is eventually what I had to do.
I paused. I took an additional three days off of basically soul searching. What did I want to do with my life? What did I want to do with my business? Did I want to continue my business? Did I want to continue servicing clients? Did I want to branch out on my own? Did I want to go get a job at Starbucks? Which is honestly what almost happened.
It was absolutely just crushing in that moment of time. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't find the easy way out. There was no easy way out. I couldn't find a solution to at least even make it better. I couldn't put a band aid on the solution at all.
What I ended up doing was I came up with a plan to slowly release myself of clients so that I could focus on my own business and what I wanted to build. Here I am, 18 months later give or take, and I am still releasing myself from my client work and focusing on my own business. It was a slow process but I couldn't just do it as fast as I wanted to do because my mind frame and my mindset were not ready to do it.
I gave myself the permission to take the time that I needed in order to reprioritize my business. As I said before, when I was down in San Diego that is when Flow Automation started. That is when I got all of these ideas for how I wanted to help the world run better businesses and allow them to have businesses that not run themselves but run with minimal input from the actual business owner.
I created a whole bunch of campaigns in InfusionSoft where it looked after the day to day marketing, the day to day emails. Basically I automated as much as I could of my own business and then tried to implement that in my clients' businesses so that we were all kind of removing ourselves from the equation so that I could get more time for myself so that I could build this business on the side, which has now become my main business and servicing my clients is on the side.
I made this flip and that is what truly helped me to get out of that really dark period of not knowing what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wasn't happy but I still needed to keep my income coming in.
We had just built our brand new dream house and, of course, I moved in and all I wanted to do was quit my business. Well, I still have bills to pay. I couldn't just leave. That would have been incredibly irresponsible. At the same time, I didn't care how responsible I was being or irresponsible I was going to be. I just needed to shut down everything.
I gave myself three days and those three days I came up with a plan to slowly offload my clients, to promise to never take on a new client, and to focus on my own business. I gave each of my clients one hour a day and that was all I spent on their business unless they were in a launch.
The one hour a day that I gave to my clients for each client and then as I slowly released clients then I would replace that one hour a day with my own business. In my calendar, I would have it blocked off for client number one and then I had a plan of when to release myself from client number one.
Once I was relieved of that client then I made client number one Flow Automation and I started building my own website. I started creating content. A lot of the stuff that I was doing … I was working behind the scenes on my business. As I said, building out Infusion Soft campaigns, building out back end automation, setting up call systems, setting up systems in my business and processes.
All of those things that I needed to set up so that when I stepped into my business and started promoting it more that I was going to be mentally capable of handling the rest because I was in a really stressed out scary place in October of 2017.
That's not what I … I didn't want that for anybody else. I wanted to make sure that I got all of my ducks in a row, got everything sorted so that when I did finally push myself and I felt capable of putting myself out there I already had everything built in the backend so I didn't need to worry about having that too.
Once I had this plan created then it was just a matter of executing it. The plan was very simple. Basically as I said before, just get to a point where I could release a client and then make my business a priority over top of getting a new client.
I also had to make sure that I had a big enough income runway in order to do this. I had to make sure that I had a couple months worth of bills saved up and I had to make sure that I was only joining programs and taking courses that were going to benefit my own business and not my service business anymore.
I had to make sure that everything was aligned. Once that alignment came then I was able to slowly start releasing clients. I went from having eight full-time clients to two. Two clients is incredibly manageable for me. I'm only working two hours a day is what I've allotted for these clients and then the rest of the day is me working on myself or my business.
I'm now only working from the hours of nine to three, which was my ideal time. If you haven't listened to episode three and some of episode four, I explain that my biggest boundary for my business is working nine to three while my children are at school. Six hours. That's it.
Right now I have two of those six hours devoted to client work and then other four are devoted to my own business. Then if I should choose to work beyond hours, so if we're sitting down and my husband wants to watch Netflix at night and I don't really want to watch it, I will open up my laptop by choice and I will work on my business. My business. Not a client's business. My own.
It's always funny when my husband will walk in the room and he'll see that I'm working on the computer and he'll always kind of say, “Why are you working so late?” I'll be like, “Oh, don't worry. I'm working on my own business.” Automatically, that's just like, “Oh, okay. Cool. That's fine.” If I was working on my client business he is now trained to remind me, “Boundaries. Put your computer down. Boundaries.” Just because they sent you an email doesn't mean you need to do it.
This isn't against any of my clients because they have every right to email me at any time of the day. It's all up to me to respond when I am available. My availability is from nine to three. I only respond from nine to three.
There's other times where I'll quickly shoot an email back. It's not a big issue if they've got a quick question. If it's something that requires me to open my computer and not just tackle it on my phone then that's a hard no for me now. I set those boundaries up in order to keep myself from getting to that rock bottom place again because I've been there and it's not fun.
If you are there and if you need help please, please email me, reach out, I want you get through it. This isn't a sales pitch. I don't have some magical program that I'm going to try to get you to join. This is just me talking to you as a friend, that if you need someone to speak to I've been there, I hear you, I feel you, I see you, and I'm here to help.
This isn't a typical podcast that you can expect from the Greater Than Business Podcast but this is a topic that I really needed to speak on because this is something that was … I don't think it was being talked about at the time when I was going through it. Since then a whole lot of cultural shifts have happened in the entrepreneur space and it's easier to talk about the breakdowns, the meltdowns, the burnout, the self-sabotaging. All of that stuff.
Back when I was going through it I didn't feel like it was a safe topic to talk about and that if I revealed my vulnerability, my weaknesses then clients weren't going to want to work with me anymore.
If I didn't share any of this with some of my closest friends then I don't know if my … Honestly, I was ready to just throw in the towel and completely quit my business.
If you're feeling that way please reach out. There are ways around it. If you're not happy with the business monster that may have accidentally been created there are resources and ways to get out of it. You just have to press pause, sort it out, figure it out, create a plan, execute that plan, and remember that taking 18 months to execute your plan doesn't matter. There's no shame in taking time to get things sorted out.
If you need that time, allow yourself that time. Honestly, way back if I could have just flipped a switch and had everything that I have now 18 months ago I don't know if it would have worked. I needed to give myself that space.
Would I have liked to do it just quick like a band aid? Of course but realistically this is life and you just can't make changes on a whim like that. I had to make sure that I was comfortable with the amount of time that I gave myself and I had to make sure that I knew exactly where this plan was going to take me and that it was going to get better and then I had to do a bit of a mindset shift as well in order to know like, “This is not where I'm going to be for the rest of my business life. This is not where I need to be but this is where I am now and I need to embrace it but know that I'm working towards this bigger goal of my escape plan.”
I know that having an escape plan from client work sounds a little negative but it's not meant to be a negative thing. It was just my way of wording how I wanted to leave. I didn't leave everybody. I still have two fantastically amazing clients that are super supportive.
They know my backstory, they know the burnout story, and they respect my boundaries because of that, which is the best feeling in the world when someone actually hears you and knows that I'm not just being lazy if I say I need a day.
I need a day for mental health in most cases. Sometimes I just need to say, “Okay, today is not a day where I can take on a new task. Tomorrow it's a new day but today …” If you're struggling with something I hope that you have the type of clients that understand.
Way back in October of 2017 I didn't explain it correctly to my clients that I needed time until I literally got to the point of screaming crying because I was so overwhelmed. I don't want anyone to ever get to that point. If you need time ask for it. If you need to take a sporadic vacation from client work, from your business, set it up and allow yourself permission to take that time. Create your plan of how you're going to make your business better and go for it.
That's pretty much all I have to share today. I just want you to know that if you are feeling vulnerable, if you're feeling overwhelmed, I've got you. Keep listening to the podcast because I'm going to touch on other issues related to this topic as we continue going and moving forward but I'm also going to now get into some nitty gritty business building details that will allow you to take your business to the next level without sacrificing hours of your time.
Stay tuned for the next episode. As I said, all show notes can be found at GreaterThanBusiness.com/005. I will have the show notes there and any resources will be linked there.
I'm also going to include a direct link to my email address so that you don't have to write it all out. I'm encouraging you that if you have ever felt this way in your business please … I would love to have you come on the show and talk about how you had to take a step back from your business and put your life or your family or your friends or your relationship over your business.
I want to hear from you. If you don't want to come on the show perfectly fine. That's totally acceptable. If you do just need a friend to reach out to that's been there and done that that's me and I'm here to listen.
Please head over to the show notes, shoot me an email, and let me know what's going on in your business, how I can help you, if you're feeling overwhelmed. If you once were overwhelmed and you were in the point of screaming, crying, and hyperventilating let me know. Let me know how you got through it. Let me know where you are now in your business. Let me know that it did get better for you. If you're not there yet it will get better. Shoot me an email and let's get you through this.
That's all I have for today. I hope that you enjoyed this episode. I promise the next episode is going to be way more in-depth into the business building and not so much this emotional chat session that … This literally felt like a therapy session for me.
I want you to know that there's more goodness coming and thank you for hearing me and letting me tell you the story about when I hit rock bottom. Until next week, I hope that you have a wonderful time building your business and don't forget to set those boundaries and take time for yourself.
Greater Than Business Podcast – Episode 005
For the full podcast and show notes, please go to www.GreaterThanBuisness.com/005
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