I was tempted to rush past this, to not sit and acknowledge it, because the truth is, sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s much to celebrate. But I need to pause and say “Happy Birthday” to my business today.
What you now know as Guidepost has had many forms and a few names over the years, but those details aren’t as important as how my business has supported me (and thus, my family).
I’ve always been told “you’re a leader, there’s something special about you, you’re meant for something” — and I never knew what any of that meant. I didn’t recognize it in myself. I certainly never in a million years thought I’d be a “business owner” or “CEO.” Those were titles with so much weight, titles that only wealthy white men who walked around in suits deserved to claim.
See, my background and upbringing were mostly artistic and creative, but when I got my first corporate job in the “real world,” it was in a financial institution. The contrast was stark.
I’m grateful for the experience to have learned how to navigate that world, to have cultivated a set of skills and structures that would prove invaluable to my leadership capacity today. And I’m also grateful for the intense knowing that increased with every passing year — the one that said, “Not this, brave girl. Not this.”
Sometime around 2011 I decided to take my first stab at creating a side hustle. I went on Vistaprint and made pens and business cards. It felt so good, I knew I was onto something. But I had zero clients and was too afraid to take the leap and really put myself out into the world. I let my fear convince me that I had been wrong and stupid to try.
A few years later, the buzz of discontentment grew too loud to ignore and I spontaneously met with a friend, told him my idea, built a website, and put a freelancer resume online (all while still employed). It was a shot in the dark with no clear outcome BUT —
What WAS clear were my intentions. I had gotten crystal clear down to my cells that the answer was “NOT this,” and that instead, something better was waiting, and I was ok with whatever happened, even if it meant falling flat on my face.
But I didn’t.
My first client, who is still with me today, saw my spontaneously posted freelancer resume (something I never thought I’d do, and I still don’t know where the idea came from) and called me for an interview. A few weeks later, I was handing in my resignation from my deeply unfulfilling corporate job.
That single client replaced my corporate income.
I didn’t have to struggle — but I was prepared to, if it meant living life on my terms.
Waking up each day when I wanted to and doing the kind of work that I wanted to be doing, remotely, from my home, all while being appreciated and treated well, let alone compensated?! felt wild. I’ll never forget the feeling of taking that first check to the bank. I cried happy tears so many times during that first year (and I acknowledge with deep gratitude that the story of first year entrepreneurship does not always sound like that).
I was able to move into my first condo, support a parent through health issues, and have the flexibility to care for my loved ones AND myself without compromising or sacrificing a thing.
I’ve served many clients in different ways over these 7 years, and it’s a blessing and a privilege to do so. I hope to continue serving in and beyond my community for as long as there’s a need and a desire for my services.
Guidepost is still in the midst of an evolution — in a chrysalis, let’s say — because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience and from watching those who inspire me, it’s that reinvention is the lifeblood of any business. As humans we’re not meant to stay the same, nor are our businesses.
I’m still chipping away at what I’ve built in order to uncover the same kind of clarity that I felt in 2014-2015. I’m getting closer with each passing day. I am again hearing the whispers of “Not this, brave girl, not this.”
And so I serve, reflect, pause, and wait. I learn, I feel, and I witness.
Right now this transitory lull feels anything but celebratory. The growing pains and the heaviness of change feel eerily similar to what I felt towards the end of my corporate career. It’s clear that I’m outgrowing this container and birthing a new one. So maybe being on the brink of newness IS the celebration.
I never thought I’d be looking back on 7 years of supporting myself as an entrepreneur. I just didn’t. I took it day by day.
My birthday wish for my business this year is to once again be ok with the day by day. In 2019, only 4 years into my entrepreneurship journey, I became a mother and wife. The responsibility changed me and I became a hyper-vigilant super-planner. This, of course, bled into my business – and then the pandemic hit.
Now that we’re all rebounding and emerging from our forced global downshift, the assignment for so many (myself included) is to shed the conditioning that says we have to know all the answers and solve for x to figure out our endgame. No, we don’t. I don’t have to have the vision for the next 7 years. I just have to hold the vision for today. Even if that means the vision is completely different tomorrow.