I’m not coming back
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was me, bravely taking the leap into entrepreneurship and following my dreams.
But in reality, these were the words that echoed from my darkest nightmare.
You see, up to this point I had been working in finance for over 6 years and, although I’ve always had ambitions of running a business of my own, I was happy with my life.
That was, until…
One grey morning, I was chatting to a colleague about the prior night’s football results whilst getting ready to start the working day.
Little did I know that this would also be the start of a whole new chapter in my life.
For as the clock struck 9, I received a sudden emergency call from my own body telling me to get out – NOW.
My stomach had turned, almost as quickly as I did towards the nearest exit.
The next hour felt like an eternity as I made increasing trips to and from the restroom.
Each time I returned to my desk, I was greeted with puzzled gazes from my work colleagues, however, before I could even explain myself – my stomach would drag me back into the darkness again.
For the next few weeks I would try to return to work on multiple occasions, but failing to do so each and every time.
Months of uncertainty would pass by as my GP, specialist and even good ol’ Google would fail to answer what was wrong with me.
Physically, I started putting on a lot of weight and my mental health started to diminish quickly.
With the growing pains, anxiety and paranoia, I had no other choice but to resign – reluctantly.
I walked out of that office for what would be the last time, without any idea of where my life was headed.
Suddenly, my income had gone from pretty good – to sweet fuck’all.
To then add insult to injury, I then realised that my new-found health benefits didn’t cover the amount of my loan payments.
Loans which I’d taken out back when I was fit, healthy and making a good living for myself.
Reality had struck.
I needed to start making money – and fast!
What am I going to do?
So, I went straight to the drawing board.
How can I make money from home?
I Googled that for a while. Weighed up my options.
Binary trading? Too risky.
Become a YouTube influencer? I look like shit.
Selling feet pictures? I’m not that desperate, yet.
How about building websites..?
*Insert a thoughtful pause*
I dug a bit deeper and that’s where I started to learn about WordPress, User Interface & User Experience (UI/UX).
I first practised by building my own website, which looked a lot different than the one you see today!
Finding my first client
If I told you that I didn’t even try to land my first client… would you believe me?
Well, that’s what happened. Honest.
I was scrolling through Facebook one day, feeling sorry myself, and I stumbled upon an ad from someone that I used to know back at school.
“Huh, it’s Daniel.”
Apparently he’d just graduated from university as a qualified nutritionist – something that immediately caught my attention, given my health problems.
Now, I never really spoke to Daniel at school – even though we were in the same class for two years.
Yes, I really was that shy.
That aside, it was the entrepreneur in me that made me click on his ad.
And let’s just say that I found a lot of room for improvement with his website.
Since I had nothing else to do at the time, and I knew how hard it was to make money and grow a business, I jotted down all of the things that Daniel could improve on his site.
I probably spent another hour debating with myself whether to send him the or not.
Finally, I just thought “fuck it” and clicked ‘Send’.
I wasn’t expecting anything in return, other than maybe just a “Thank you”. Honestly, I was just feeling so down about myself at this point that I just wanted to instil joy in others.
That being said though, Daniel had replied within seconds – thanking me over and over for my suggestions.
It turns out that Daniel hates anything to do with technology and couldn’t bear spending another second building his site.
Within the hour, we’d arranged to meet up that week and discuss building a whole new site for him from scratch.
It was as simple as that.
I would like to tell you that this is where I gained some momentum, starting putting systems into place and growing my brand, but I’d be lying if I did.
Instead, I continued to struggle with my mental health and failed to capitalise on acquiring my first client.
Although I continued to work with Daniel on various other projects, I was never in a position where I could guarantee bread on the table.
I started to get desperate and, like many new entrepreneurs, started taking on clients that were clearly not a good fit for me.
Caught in a cycle of charging less, ignoring red flags and putting up with shitty behaviour; it was inevitable that I would end up burning myself out.
And in the process of it all, I often lost more money than I made.
This pattern continued for quite sometime before my health inevitably hit an all-time low, both physically and mentally.
Some dark days were fast approaching.
Taking a risk
With no positive end in sight as far as my health goes, I decided to take things into my hands.
That’s when I made a big decision, on a drunken night out, to purchase cannabis online.
I did so with the best intentions of it hopefully calming my mind and, as a result, my stomach.
For me, it was either I do that or… end it all.
Unfortunately though, where I’m from, cannabis is highly-illegal.
I knew that, of course.
My postal order was intercepted, my house was raided and my life had hit rock-bottom.
After spending the day locked up in a cell, it was made abundantly clear to me that I would be looking at a minimum of two years in prison.
Honestly, I didn’t really care. It was a sentence that concerned my parents much more than it did me.
Besides, I hear the prison has great food!
Awaiting my sentence
I’m in court, suited and booted for the first time since my last day at work, stood behind a cold, glass wall of despair.
All I could do was stand there and watch my advocate fight for my freedom.
Once all was said and done, the judges would leave the courtroom to come to a collective decision.
During this time, I must have gone through a dozen different potential outcomes in my head.
All of which included my mum crying hysterically.
Admittedly, it was only then that the reality of the situation really kicked in.
That thought was cut short though by the door of destiny which had finally opened.
I can’t really recall much of what was said after that point, but I know that it didn’t include the two-year prison sentence that I’d been anticipating for the past few months.
“We hereby sentence you to 180 hours of community service.”
I nodded, gratefully, before being guided out of the court by an officer who seemed equally as pleased as I was.
This was it.
My second chance.
Question is… would I take it?
A few months later and I’ve been assigned a place of work.
It was a local charity shop that employs the less-fortunate to refurbish, build and sell second-hand furniture.
These staff members would often be suffering from deep, social issues such as severe anxiety, depression, autism, down syndrome and more.
It turns out that Sarah, the chairman, had asked for me specifically – which kinda made me feel like Adam Sandler (or Burt Reynolds) in The Longest Yard.
Sarah was a positive soul who clearly loved the organisation that she was running, but she wasn’t one to beat around the bush…
“We’ve got a big problem.”
The reality was that the charity was haemorrhaging money each week and if things didn’t turn around soon – it would be forced to close in just a few months.
And that’s why she asked for me.
Essentially, I was her last throw of the dice.
Completely forgetting the fact that I was there as a result of a court order, I was genuinely excited to get to work.
The marketing campaign
After first getting to know all of the staff and understanding how everything worked, I started reviewing the shop’s online presence.
Despite having a decent following of over 1,000 local residents, they’d only posted a handful of times during the year.
An easy enough fix.
From that point I started posting 5, 6, 7, maybe even a dozen times a day.
Mostly just images of new and refurbished products that had made it to the shop floor.
That actually worked really well – up to a point.
The problem was, the shop was still losing money.
Despite making more money than ever, the shop was still losing money like you wouldn’t believe.
I felt awful.
Despite Sarah’s best efforts, can this place really afford to employ these people?
Where would they go if this place were to close down for good?
I knew the answer… They’d become recluses, completely cut off from society.
I couldn’t let that happen.
I won’t let that happen.
Searching for an answer
Amidst the worsening financial situation, Sarah had given me the freedom to dig deep into the shop’s finances in order to find a solution.
I left no stone unturned, desperately trying to find a way that the organisation to cut its costs – without having to let anyone go.
It was a tough ask, which would take its toll on my already-poor physical health, but after a solid week or two…
I found it.
A solution so simple, yet so satisfying to find.
Incredibly, it turns out that the entirety of the staff was being paid for their lunch hours.
So for every hour that the staff left to grab a coffee, go for a walk or do whatever, they were being paid to do so.
Smiling to myself, I couldn’t believe it.
I spoke with Sarah who, although was very reluctant at first, agreed that it was in the best interest of everyone to reduce that (lunch) hour from their respective wages.
To our surprise, the staff were completely on board.
They understood that it was far better for everyone to lose an hour’s pay than for one or two staff members to lose everything.
I was taken aback by their understanding of the situation and willingness to put others before themselves.
Luckily for them, their compassion was rewarded…
As for the next week and months thereafter, the charity began to make a positive return, thus assuring everyone’s job security for the foreseeable future.
The charity was saved.
And my time was up.
Despite generously being offered a full-time role at the shop by Sarah, I decided to focus my energy towards taking my own business to the next level.
Where I am today
So there it is.
From Fund Administrator to A-Z Marketer – and convict in between – I have acquired a number of skills that have moulded my business in a way that I never imagined it would.
I’ve used this newfound understanding to help others who like me, are looking to take their businesses to the next level.
That’s why I have chosen to work with inspired entrepreneurs and bloggers who want to identify, find & acquire their ideal clients.
So whatever the product or service that you’re selling, I am confident that I can help you to build a sustainable business for yourself.
If you’re interested in working with me, then feel free to drop me a message here anytime.