Tales of a recovering burnout-a-holic…
Twenty years ago I was fresh out of college and ready to ski. I loaded my Chevy Caprice Classic in Seattle and drove over Snoqualmie Pass to live the dream in Jackson Hole. Once landlocked in the Tetons, I realized that my career path as a degree holding Oceanographer was likely going to have to change. I also realized that a traditional career was not at all what I wanted.
It was 1998 and the “Dot Com” train was going full steam. Realizing that you can do web work from anywhere, I jumped aboard. One of my four Jackson jobs was at a fledgling web agency. They’d hand me a fresh pressed website and I’d click through to find bugs. I’d also flex my HTML and FTP skills, courtesy of a forward-thinking Oceanography professor that oversaw my senior project.
Therein, among the other learn-as-we-goers, I became a web developer.
Jackson Hole is cold. By April as I dusted yet ANOTHER 8 inches of fresh Teton powder off my now totaled but still driveable (...long story), Chevy, I was dreaming of warmer days, and more specifically, windsurfing.
Hood River living is easy. Two hours after I rolled into the town of Hood River, Oregon in the scenic Columbia River Gorge I had a job and a place to live. My new boss was windsurfing pioneer and Windance Sailboards founder, Brian Carlstrom. Brian was catching on to the new fad called “ecommerce” and was the first windsurf shop to sell online. I, the now "seasoned" web guru (with all 3 months of experience) was handed the keys to the site.
You really can do this web stuff from anywhere!
Slanging sailboards online lead to a desk job with a local web design and development agency.
We serviced big fun brands like, Nike, Camelbak, Smith, Xerox, Doc Martens, and Swiss Army.
I moved from HTML monkey to project manager and honed skills in rapid development, Gantt charts, budgets, client management and straight up gitterdone’ing.
Along with the hard work, came a dream. I envisioned a day when I could do things my way. Break out of the 9-5 daily grind and get back to a little bit of the flexible ski bum lifestyle. I wanted to build a biz from the ground up. I found a person with the same dream, along with a project contract for Yosemite National Parks, and together, we set off on our own.
Owning an agency was a dream come true.
We built websites large and small on our proprietary CMS that allowed very customized sites to happen in eye-blink time frames and on extremely reasonable budgets.
As a lean and mean shop, we all wore many hats and often became so entwined in our clients’ businesses that we ended up consulting on not just how their site should be structured, but how they could better run their businesses.
A WELL-DESIGNED WEBSITE IS EASY IF YOUR BUSINESS IS WELL RUN, SO WE WERE JUST REVERSE ENGINEERING. DEFACTO BIZ CONSULTANTS, AT YOUR SERVICE.
At some point in your client-based business, your dream job gets a little less dreamy. You realize that you are not your own boss, but rather you have as many bosses as you have clients.
Then, in my case, you have a kid, and your brain explodes a little.
So what’s next?
While I found client work extremely fulfilling, it was time to ride a new wave, and for a new business to be born, with fewer bosses.
In 2009 we launched an ecommerce site to use as a test bed for marketing ideas and functionality to sell our clients. What we didn’t know was that it would take on a life of it’s own and steal our attention away from client work, and earn our appeal as we could truly be the boss of it.
We bootstrapped our ecom BIZ from $0 to $7 million in 5 years, with no outside funding. Of that, I’m very proud.
It was a wild ride that required selling the web agency, and becoming experts in credit card processing, PPC, email marketing, customer service appeasements, warehouse fulfillment operations, and designer jewelry. (It also stole us from our families every Black Friday and Cyber Monday and required pulling the occasional all-nighter, but I’ll fill you in on that over beers sometime.)
When you fall out of love with Plan B…
In 2014 my husband and I welcomed our second child into the world and I again experienced a moment of reckoning. It was time to take a break from the breakneck pace and shark infested waters of ecommerce and enjoy motherhood. In 2015 we found a new owner for the ecommerce business which marked the 2nd business sold in my entrepreneurial career, and the beginning of some rare months off.
With time off and my baby turning into a toddler came self-realizations, antsiness and readiness to flex my business muscles again. I found myself back at work, this time as Good Path Consulting.
For a few years I took contract work here and there. But there was no common theme. I also took a lot of time off. I did a lot of reading, researching, and thinking.
Seeking a more defined approach I started to dig deep. What’s my true purpose in Good Path Consulting?
Let’s be real.
After enduring and overcoming burnout twice, I felt a little resistant to launching into my 3rd business.
What if I get too many clients and get overwhelmed again?
What if my kids, now older, need me in new and more challenging ways?
What about summer break, when they are out of school? How do I work then?
But I ALSO couldn’t help but keep asking,
What if this time, it’s different, and I DON’T BURN OUT?
What if I stay one step ahead of that trap, and ride a new wave, vibrating on a new level, burnout-free?
I’ve always believed that if there’s a will, there’s a way.
Serving people and helping them grow their business is extremely fulfilling to me.
I’ve spent the last 3 years pondering how best to do that.
I’ve studied personal development, neuroscience, the latest and greatest in marketing, sales and tech.
I’ve compiled it with where I’ve been and where I want to go, and rolled it under the heading of Good Path Consulting.
I’m ready to share what’s really gotten me through burnouts, to reach big goals and to achieve big things in both my work and personal life.
Each of my previous burnouts tested me because I could not apply a better strategy or tactic to rise to the next level. I couldn’t simply work harder to get past the obstacle.
What each scenario required of me was a change in the way I looked at it in order to move through it.
After I had my first kid I had to realize that running two businesses was no longer feasible and that the best thing would be to sell the first.
That was a conscious decision to let go. At first it looked and felt like failure. That I couldn’t keep the status quo, but instead had to sell something that I once found great joy in.
Once I shifted the way I saw it and grew confidence that the 2nd business could be everything I needed it to be, I moved away from it with joy, and reach a new level of business that I never thought possible with business #2.
THE SECRET SAUCE
It’s all in your mind. Does that mean you don’t have to show up and do the work? No. But it does mean that if you show up with a negative mindset and limiting beliefs, you’ll see less success. BUT if you show up knowing that anything is possible and trusting that it can happen, you get to tap into the next level.
OUR THOUGHTS CREATE OUR REALITY
It’s no longer debatable that our thoughts create our reality. It is proven with science. PET scans lit up on a screen show how our brains react to positive and negative thoughts.
Our brains are our most powerful allies and most dangerous foes.
To be successful in business (and sports and parenting, etc, etc) YOU MUST master your mind and make it your ally.
I seek out clients who stretch and teach me; who are big thinkers and bold action takers. I want to work with people who are ready for real change and to see their biggest success yet. Those who are ready to show up and do the work it takes to complete the projects and reach the (big) goals.
LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK
These days when I'm pursuing life outside of entrepreneurship, you can find me on a boat, riding bikes, skiing, running, windsurfing (wait, is this still a thing?), and being the Chief Mom Officer in the family.
I live for learning new things, and seeking the natural "flow" of any situation. The pile of books on my nightstand is tall. I take great inspiration from the natural beauty of my surroundings and people of my community. Each summer I carve out time to spend in the islands of Washington State and Canada. This is my happy place.
I strive to live my best life. I believe we all can live our best lives. I take none of this for granted and am infinitely grateful for a fun and beautiful place to live and raise my family and career that I love that connects me to amazing people.
There has never been a better time to be alive.
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To your infinite success,