Never Say Never!Jun 15, 2020
I was working in PR in Birmingham, England. I loved my job and even though I say it myself, I was also pretty good at it as well. I had the skills, industry insights, heaps of practical experience, and a Rolodex chockful of valuable contacts.
I was career-focused and just wanted to climb the success ladder because I believed success would make me rich, which meant I could buy anything I wanted.
At the time we were struggling to make ends meet. My husband was working part-time, studying for a Ph.D., and we had two kids to take care of.
We needed my income, yet I was torn between working and being the ideal mom, every child wants. I felt guilty because I always allowed my work to take priority.
However, when the economy tanked, I was downsized. That meant I lost my job. I was devasted and so embarrassed I couldn’t tell anyone about my situation for fear of how they would judge me. I hit a wall and thought that having a three-month long pity party was a better idea.
I literally cut myself off from all my friends, and to some extent my family as well.
I eventually pulled myself out of my funk and went in search of my next job. Finding something was tough because I was competing against other people with similar skills and work experience.
I eventually found a position at a PR agency. This position lasted exactly 12 months.
Then guess what happened? Because I was the last in, that meant I was the first out when the agency had financial problems.
This time I bounced back into action a little quicker and found another position in a private hospital. This one lasted about 18 months before I was laid off once again.
This time I laughed at my situation and realized that the Universe had another plan for me.
So, I decided It was time for me to go out on my own so I could be the “Master of my Destiny rather than a Victim of my Circumstance.”
It’s me, myself and I and now I’m the only person who can lay me off.
But now there was another problem. What was my company going to do?
What I had learned from my previous work experiences, was that I was far too vanilla. This meant It was hard to tell me apart from all the other PR professionals in the workforce. There was nothing to set me apart.
I had a false belief that being a generalist would make me more marketable and open up more opportunities than if I became a specialist.
Since the generalist role hadn’t worked for me, I decided to go the specialist route instead.
Going through my various skills, abilities and work experience, I decided my company would specialize in tradeshow training, so I could train, coach, and help others succeed — something that really gets my juices flowing and gives me a whole lot of satisfaction.
I’d attended far too many tradeshows where exhibitors had no idea what they were doing and how to interact with attendees. I was on a mission to help them differentiate themselves and be more successful.
It became a game of trial and error to find clients and then know what to charge for my services.
My initial thought was to keep prices low to attract clients. However, much to my chagrin, I found that if you look cheap in the training and coaching industry, people think that “you can’t be much good.”
When I asked my speaking and training colleagues what to charge, they turned the question around and asked me what I thought my time was worth.
I had no idea.
I was scared to charge too much. I started to feel like an imposter. Here I was touting myself as an expert, and truth be told, I’d never done this kind of work before.
All my competitors had worked in the exhibiting industry for many years and knew all the ins and outs. They knew what to do and what not to do. Since I didn’t, I was on a mission to learn everything I could.
Early in my business, I found my tribe at the National Speakers Association. These were professional speakers who made big bucks speaking and training. I was in raptures at what they did on stage. How they could enchant an audience with their words. I wanted to be like them.
However, despite the money many of them were making, there was something I noticed that disturbed me.
Most of the people I admired were completely out of balance. They were road warriors spending over 200 days traveling and speaking and making a ton of money. But their family life stunk. Many of them were divorced and lonely, but rich. Making money was like an addiction, but they lacked having a stable and happy family life.
I certainly didn’t want that for myself. I wanted my cake and eat it too! I wanted to travel, be rich, famous, and have a balanced family life, enjoying my husband and two kids.
I got two out of the four wishes. I was able to travel around the world speaking, training, and coaching, and I enjoyed a relatively balanced family life, thanks only in part for a super supportive spouse.
Due to my husband’s work, we moved continents a few times as well as around the U.S.
It wasn’t until we landed up in Lake Placid, NY, population 2,800 year-round that my life changed.
By the way, Lake Placid smaller than the suburb in London where I grew up. I tell you this because I vowed “never” to live in a small town, let alone, a village.
I’ve learned never to say the word “never.” Why, because you never know what and how circumstances can change your life to where you find yourself doing things you vowed you never would.
Living up in the Adirondack Mountains, two-plus hours away from an international airport, I had to change my whole perspective of how I did business. A 3-hour speaking, or training gig would take me 1–2 days with travel especially if the engagement was on the west coast.
I became the road warrior that I really didn’t want to be.
Then once 9–11 struck, life really changed. The allure to travel waned. Plus, the tradeshow industry almost came to a halt, which meant my training wasn’t needed, at least in the short-term.
I found working remotely from my home office far more satisfying and acceptable. Packing and unpacking a suitcase, traveling hours by car to the closest airport, canceled and delayed flights, and all the other travel hassles were growing old.
I was ready to change my business model, especially because I lost my passion for the work I was doing.
It made the most sense for me to develop and offer clients online presentations and coach over the phone. The more I did this the more I enjoyed it.
I was able to get rich in my niche from the comfort of my own home office. I’ve developed a proven system to help professionals especially non-fiction get the recognition and income they deserve.