Over the weekend I went to a Game Plan event where you get very real with yourself about why you are where you are. And instead of hiding under a mask of perfectionism – deceiving both yourself and others – you relate to others and give others the gift of freedom that comes with being honest and sharing your story.
Knowing that my love for myself is ultimately what that matters… as long as I love myself wholeheartedly, no one else’s opinion can hurt me… I have decided to share why I started a business 4 years ago as an independent virtual franchisee for vegan Wholefoods, and why I’m still here more confident and happy than ever.
My kids are my fuel for doing this business. If it wasn’t important for me to give them a present, stay-at-home, connected mum, I would have returned to my job as a Creative Project Manager after maternity leave ended. Because of this opportunity I can keep them out of daycare, and homeschool them on our farm in a tiny country town… visiting the beach and museums. And with the extra income we can renovate our dream home as well as look after our wellbeing and health.
And although my husband has a successful Earthmoving business and is an amazing hardworking provider for our family, life nowadays really requires two incomes, especially for 3 kids who eat all day. If it weren’t for this extra business opportunity, then we would be somewhat financially depleted and potentially living in a half-renovated house for a long time – which we know takes a huge toll on our physical health, on relationships, our state of mind, and emotional well-being.
Before I came across my new business, 4 years ago, I had just quit my job after maternity leave ended. I was in love with my baby but also uncertain, afraid, and so terrified that my husband’s job at the time might not last and we’d have no income for our high mortgage. Due to our strong work ethic we had already withdrawn socially, trying not to use our keycard, and now as an anxious stay at home mum I was also trying not depend too heavily on others for emotional support. But worst of all was that we had a dream, to have a River Cottage lifestyle, but we had no idea how to make it a reality. Because I hadn’t returned to work we didn’t have any extra money set aside and couldn’t go to the bank.
So the time came when we sold our house, my husband quit his job, and we travelled and found our dream River Cottage property, but we fell short with the finances and had to borrow money from our parents. If it weren’t for them helping us with the extra cash we needed, we’d have had to rent long term with my husband going straight back to working long hours in a job with a bully boss.
The few years that we owed my parents money were immensely stressful for me and really added an element of guilt to us enjoying our new home and business. When my parents decided to divorce I learned just how straining it had been for them to trust in my husband and I being able to repay them before “they died” as they put it – as generous and loving as they’d been, I vowed over and over that we would never ask our parents for a financial boost again. But to keep on dreaming and renovating our property… well we’d need another stream of income.
I thought, if I could create just $18,000 a year then we could be our OWN financial backup and we could keep on renovating, all whilst giving my kids a freaking amazing education on our property … and having our newest baby never EVER needing to set foot inside a preschool. And we could go to the bank for home finance and even put money away for superannuation – not to mention taking the very occasional holiday, free of guilt!
So far I am loving how supportive my family is for me to be taking action towards our own financial security. I’m excited for an extra $1,000 – $1,500 a month because we will have more money at the end of the month than we’ve expended in repayments and living expenses.
Something valuable I’ve learned along the way is that I would have been more successful in my first few years as a business owner if I had protected my franchise as tenaciously and courageously as I had protected my own children and husband. If I had protected the time I worked, and l protected myself from distractions and shiny-object-syndrome!
And if I had allowed myself to be vulnerable but keep moving forward, instead of hiding under a mask of perfection, then I would have set a really good example to my kids. And that’s why I’m still here. Because during a homeschooling lesson my son and I decided that if there’s a pot of gold at the top of a ladder, then you don’t start climbing only to stop half way up the ladder just because you see another ladder… and another ladder, and another ladder, that look from a distance to be easier to climb. Once you pick your ladder, you keep on climbing so you can collect your reward.
If this story feels somewhat relatable to you and you would like to chat about your similar predicament with me… your dreams, where you want to be, where you are now, and come up with a plan for the gap… I’d love to chat. You can reach me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting with me on Instagram (Jo Becker Author) or Facebook (Jo Becker).