To be perfectly honest, my path in 2019 was a rocky one.
At the beginning of the year, I was feeling a bit lost in my business and unsure of where to take it next. Although I’ve been an entrepreneur for four years now (seriously, how is that even possible?), I found myself wanting to throw in the towel. In the evenings, I would surf LinkedIn searching for corporate job opportunities. Yikes! A cold chill ran down my spine just thinking about that dark time.
Let me be clear. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working a corporate job. I just know it isn’t for me anymore. I’ve been on my own for far too long now and I’m pretty sure that I’m completely ruined for working for anyone else ever again. 😂 I have pretty strong opinions on how things should be done. I also love having the freedom to run my business in alignment with my personal values and in a way that will best meet my clients’ needs.
Even though my business has been growing steadily year over year, running a business can be hard. Really hard. I knew I needed a change, but deciding to take the business that you’ve grown in a whole new direction? Well, that’s downright terrifying!
An Evolving Business
The evolution of my business actually started in June of 2018 when I hired my amazing Business Strategist, Nevica Vazquez, to help me figure out why I was feeling so stuck. Together, we worked out a beautiful strategy to pivot my focus and go in a bit of a different, more niched down direction.
All was well and good. Until I was too paralyzed with fear to do anything with our plan!
After attending an event in January 2019 in San Diego with some incredible women killing it in their businesses – and THE Amy Porterfield – I was feeling inspired. But I still didn’t take action until a pivotal conversation with my good friend Brit Dorman of Marketing Personalities. She helped me see that a scarcity mindset and fear were holding me back – and that I had the power in that moment to choose otherwise. After our conversation, I finally started taking action. Just one day later, in mid-March, I announced that I was officially transitioned, pivoted, evolved – whatever you want to call it – into my new business direction focusing on leadership development for female founders!
For those of you who may not know, my business started as an HR consulting firm called SproutHR. I still work with clients on the HR aspects of their businesses, but the main focus of my business now is on serving women who are running businesses and leading teams. If you want to hear more about my journey, I’ve shared it on some recent podcast episodes, which you can find here!
From there, things took off like crazy.
It’s amazing what being in the flow feels like in business. When you’re excited by what you’re working on, there’s less procrastination and resistance, and more inspired action and ease.
Building a New Brand
I decided to create a personal brand under the SproutHR brand for my leadership work, which meant I needed some help. I worked with the talented Chelsea Magruder of Magruder Photo + Design on my new branding (which I adore!), hired my close friend and incredible photographer, Katy Sergent of Katy Sergent Photography, to help me bring my new brand to life with some gorgeous new photos, and then brought my sweet friend and online business manager, Allison Lancaster of Online Business Solutions by Allison R. Lancaster, onboard to support me with all the exciting things to come (she also designed this beautiful site you’re visiting right now!).
Out of all the things I’ve achieved over the past year, however, my proudest accomplishment was publishing my first book, Transform Your Stories. Living inside the dream I’ve had to write a book (since I was five years old!) was quite simply breathtaking. It was an experience I didn’t know I needed and it changed me in so many incredible ways.
I’m beyond grateful for the unwavering support, wisdom and mentorship of my book coach and editor, Jodi Brandon of Jodi Brandon Editorial. She and I got to chat about my book writing journey on her podcast Write.Publish.Market. recently and I got to share some different details about the experience on The Otherwise Intelligent Woman Podcast, hosted by my friend, Kattie Thorndyke. I’m also thankful for my creative, read-your-mind, amazingly talented book designer, Jessica Freeman of Jess Creatives for helping design the inside of the book – and nailing that gorgeous cover design in under 24 hours!
Oh yeah, I also ran my first in-person workshop in June and was honored as one of The Rising Tide Society and Honeybook’s 20 On the Rise recipients in the Coaches and Consultants category for 2019. Seriously, a LOT happened this year!
After reading all of that, it might seem like everything went smoothly after committing to this shift in my business. But I assure you, it did not.
A Pivotal Moment in 2019
In early July, my father-in-law, Harley, passed away unexpectedly following a very brief illness and threw mine and my husband’s worlds into a tailspin. All of these lovely, wonderful, exciting things I was working on came to a screeching halt as we tended to our family and our needs. There was a lot of traveling back and forth between our home in Tennessee and his parents’ home in Virginia. There were really long days, late nights, and all the emotions that come along with a sudden loss and visiting friends and family.
I wanted to quit everything.
I loved Harley like a dad. In fact, I was closer to him than my own biological dad. He would always greet us in the driveway when we came to visit, showering me with the first hug and a peck on the cheek, along with his standard sweet and raspy greeting, “Hi sweetheart! How was the trip?”
When we lost Harley, I just wanted to quit. Nothing felt important or meaningful. I felt like I was running a race at top speed and then ran straight off the side of a cliff. I was free falling, reeling from this sudden and unexpected loss. It didn’t feel fair. I was angry and broken-hearted. How could anything ever be the same again? And now, as I write these words, the emotions come rushing back in waves and tears are trickling down my cheeks.
Following Harley’s passing, a couple of other things happened that compounded the feeling of being smothered and suffocated, that left me gasping for breath and wishing I could put the breaks on life. The details of these incidents aren’t as important as the lessons learned. Life happens. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. But if the things we’re working on are truly worth pursuing, we must be flexible, adaptable, and willing to persevere.
When Harley passed, I was in the midst of finishing my book edits, getting ready to launch my new brand, and had just hired someone to help me with building my new website. Timelines were thrown off wildly and my rollout plan for everything was destroyed. However, it was all worth doing – not quitting. So I worked with my team of experts to adjust timelines and plans. Rather than a gradual rollout, everything came to a head in mid-September, when I decided to simply roll out all the changes together in one fell swoop. Yep, I launched my new brand, new website, and my book all within the span of just a few days. It was wild and thrilling and overwhelming and emotionally exhausting (especially on the heels of a very difficult summer) – but it was worth it. What I was putting out into the world would change lives. And I knew Harley would want me to push on and do the work I was meant to do on this earth while I’m here. And you know what? It made me stronger.
Most things in life and business aren’t as easy as they seem when all you see on social media is the glamorous highlight reel. I try not to let that be the experience you have when you come into my world. I try to share the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly cry moments. Because I want to show that we are all…
Humans Running Businesses
As humans running businesses, we will face a lot of less than ideal situations. Yet we have to find a way to carry on despite those obstacles. Yes, there’s flexibility in owning a business and the opportunity to take time off to be with your family in difficult times, which I’m eternally grateful for. But you can’t simply quit. Besides, I worked way too hard for all this!
Soon after losing Harley, I decided to invest in my mental wellbeing by seeking out a local therapist and scheduling weekly sessions with him. This has been hands down the best investment I’ve made in myself this year – and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. Entrepreneurship is 95% a mind and heart game – and 5% execution. If you’re not taking care of the whole entrepreneur, things can go sideways pretty quickly.
One of my goals for 2019 (and beyond) was to share even more openly and be even more vulnerable than I ever have before. I never want anyone to think this is a stroll down easy street, or without challenges, or that everything is seemingly perfect in my world. It’s real and it’s raw and it’s messy – but it’s also beautiful and full of life and magical. It’s two sides of the same coin and I want to share both sides with you.
Looking Toward the Future
As for 2020, well let’s just say I’m excited for what’s ahead in the new year! I’m excited to be working on some fun events to continue promoting my book (stay tuned for more details soon!). I’m also thrilled to be designing on my first online course with the wise and talented Emily Walker of Modern Leaders Collective by my side. And I have a BIG dream of hosting a multi-day women’s leadership retreat later this year! If you’re interested in being in the loop on any of these upcoming events or services, be the first to know by joining my list.
I’m sure 2020 will be filled with its own challenges and unexpected turns, but I also know that it will be filled with exciting moments, more noteworthy accomplishments, lots of love, and always a sprinkling of magic!