If I can build my own business as a solopreneur, then pretty much anyone with the tenacity to stick it out can do the same. Your background should not be the thing to stop you – and I’m the proof. So if you have been worrying about a lack of relevant career history, qualifications, or something similar holding you back, then I’m here to give you a perspective shift.
All you need is the willingness to learn and the will to push through.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present my evidence of this to you. Put the kettle on, get comfy, and enjoy a brief history of my spectacular fails, misadventures, and most “teachable moments”…
But first, to give you some context, I should explain how my early working life got started on the back foot.
Although officially the ‘story of me’ begins with my birth, I don’t think it really got interesting until I was sixteen. Both of my parents were abusive; my father to my mother, and both of them to me. So at sixteen, when it was legal for me to leave, I ran like hell. Life got interesting here because I jumped out into the big wide world without knowing a thing about it.
My parents certainly hadn’t prepared me to live outside of their care/control, and I had no clue what I was doing. My very first job was a part of my escape plan. I had applied for a live-in post across the country at a horse riding school. Which was smart because the job came with accomodation… but that was really all it had going for it.
The yard’s head girl was a drug-using tart who brought random men back to our shared bedroom. At sixteen, with my innocence in tact, I was horrified to say the least! I lasted two weeks before retreating to my home county and staying in a friend’s spare bedroom while I licked my wounds.
My youth was a series of crappy jobs, all accompanied with life lessons about how sucky the big wide world can be. I will spare you the details here, as it’s all in a book I wrote several years back. So, the long version can be found here on Amazon – but for the short version, stay with me!
Now for the bit that surprises most of my clients…
In my early twenties I became a lap dancer at a Spearmint Rhino in the UK. It was the clever idea of my boyfriend at the time, who later kicked himself and said he was “only joking” when he suggested it. But for whatever reason, the idea came out of his mouth and I ran with it. I did this for 3 years. And you know what? I actually believe that in a twisted way, it was really good for my career path, because it taught me a LOT of lessons!
If I had to pick one lesson, it would be the one about being a woman in a man’s world. Yes, I’m sorry ladies, but the patriarchy is STILL A THING. I also learned why I shouldn’t be too nice, honest or open with strangers, why I shouldn’t take drugs, and why nobody should ever run in those heels – serious face-plant!
Several years went by before I got my first proper “grown up” job – one to be really proud of. I got into a management position at a music venue in central London. And you know, for a while I was so happy to have a job that was okay to talk about over dinner with my boyfriend’s parents… But after a while, that shine faded too.
From all of the jobs I have tried, I now know that I can only ever be happy if I am working from my purpose. And my purpose has never been pole dancing in a sequinned thong, nor has it been wrangling drunken band members off the stage of my music venue. So in the end, solopreneurship was the best, and the ONLY way for me.
FYI, the story of how I found my purpose is in another book! Time to Rise has 29 stories from as many authors, so there is plenty to inspire you in there.
Today, I’m great at what I do – really! But that’s not because I’ve had a totally relevant background with a killer CV to be proud of. Rather, I’m good at MY THING now because I’ve taken on board all the life lessons from my crappy career. I’ve learned to listen to myself. I’ve learned to trust my own judgment over ANYBODY else’s. I’ve figured out what I’m here on the planet for. I’m tough as old boots by now! And of course, these days I definitely know what I don’t want in a working role too!
When I found my love for writing and content marketing, it was an accidental discovery. But because I was wide awake with my eyes open, I knew the right thing for me when I saw it.
I know it is so tempting to compare ourselves to others. Looking at some of those people who start a business after a great career and with financial security behind them, they seem to have it all – but don’t be fooled! How do you know they’ve got ‘what it takes’ in terms of mental toughness?
We don’t know! Success isn’t dependant on what we look like on paper. It’s about how we deal with the twists and turns of business, and indeed life itself.
Even if your career has been like the longest disaster movie ever – the trick is what you take from it. Those teachable moments, the lessons learned and the strength gleaned from it all is what you need in the business world.
Okay, confession time! It’s taken me a while to feel brave enough to share my ‘whole’ career background with people. So I didn’t share it to be shocking or to get a few more clicks on my site. I think this message is important. So I hope it helps you to see that it’s not where you came from that counts – it’s where you have the strength to steer yourself to that matters.
Now go get ’em, tiger!