Today, women (and men too) are more interested than ever in their health. They want to experience more joy and love. They want to know how to make more money and to feel abundant. And, they want to serve their family and community with passion and purpose while making a profit. While millions of both men and women are searching for more of these experiences, still many more have a desire to start and run their own small business, so that they can have financial freedom, get out of debt, send a kid to college, feel healthy, and achieve life-long dreams to create their product or to provide a service.
Are you seeking work or are you looking for a start-up business opportunity that aligns your passionate purpose with profit? Do you want to start a corporation to pass on to your children? Or, do you want to simply have a lifestyle business that allows you to be with your family, travel and do it all on your own terms?
Well, I’ve never heard any better wisdom than the following:
“There’s the thing you do for a living — and then there’s the thing you were born to do. If your dream is to make them one in the same, you’ve come to the right place. (Patti Smith, Oprah Magazine, November 2010)
In 2017 when I read this most powerful remark I’d already been running my business for 25 years, but I literally could not have described my life any better for myself and I realized for the first time that I’d created a lifestyle business long before it was vogue. And, it is that very quest that women seek to embark that drove me to share more about how I started my business, but more importantly how I’ve been able to keep in going all of these years.
In 1993 after experiencing a slip and fall accident that took me out of the work place as I’d known it working as a nurse in both traditional settings and home care, and after an initial recovery it became self-evident that the pain (in my neck and literally my ass) that I was enduring was not going to relent. In fact, it would take six years to finally stop. So, as I accepted that pain was going to be a part of my every waking moment I decided it would be a good time to make some changes in my then nursing career.
I’m not exactly certain what I was thinking when jumped off the proverbial cliff, and decided to approach my massage therapist and friend to rent an office from her where she was treating me for my pain, but the next thing I knew I had an office, put office stuff in the office and then started the long journey to discover everything I could about starting and running a small business of which I hadn’t a clue. I had nothing better to do with my time as I could hardly walk across the room without crying out, so why not do something that would take my mind off of my pain. My type “A” personality wouldn’t allow me to just lay around so it seemed like a possible option.
As I was a Registered Nurse and B.S.N, I naturally started a healthcare marketing company. Coincidentally the month that I had fallen in December, 1992 I had met a woman who had an interesting printed product that she sold to doctor’s offices around the country that helped educate women about their pregnancy. She had been looking for someone to help her with sales, marketing, promotions and more. I hadn’t a clue what these concepts were, but I told her I had developed a knack for educating and promoting others. After some discussions we agreed to work with one another and I signed my first of many contracts. Over the span of eight years that followed she taught me a great deal about running a business and we ultimately took her materials to a whole new level.
And so I began my journey to marry my passion with my purpose. Unbeknownst to me years after I embarked on my journey though I found that was actually on my own path that I would later call my version of “El Camino de Santiago” that would have many twists and turns, go uphill and down, be full of a pandora’s box full of possibilities, and other experiences that would turn out to be truly harrowing.
Essentially, as Paulo Choelo put it, “when you are on your right path, the universe conspires to help you (or something like that).” For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the story of El Camino de Santiago, let me digress…
I started, as I wrote earlier, a healthcare marketing company. Now let me tell you that in truth I had no idea what I was doing when I started my company and became a tenant with an office lease. I was a nurse for gosh sake. What did I know about running a small business, never mind the fact that I was experiencing intractable pain. Well, as they say, “what you don’t know may hurt you.” On retrospect it was a good thing I didn’t know the stats related to starting a small business, particularly for women, or I might have thrown in the towel in early.
By then I’d been practicing as an OB/GYN (obstetrics/gynecological) nurse since 1984. I migrated to home care in 1991 and then stumbled into marketing at my first home care company who hired me to split my time doing presentations in doctor offices and doing home care for high risk pregnant women.
In a word, I simply “loved” my new found passion. I’d had passion and intuition and felt that I was on purpose with my nursing career, but marketing really tapped my other talents for making connections, winning others over, strategic thinking, and in verbal communications. I would learn much later that my number one strength was being a connector using Strength Finders 2.0 assessment.
So while I was trying to recover my physical well-being trying everything under the sun, I found myself running a business and if that wasn’t enough I ran for President of a small medical organization that I with the help of my team grew into a large body.
One thing led to another and I found myself leading the group which then inspired me to start a female women’s business group which came to be known as Women in Small Biz. After about five years of running both groups I chose to turn my attention to Women in Small Biz and began hosting larger scale meetings, conferences and ultimately a summit.
After eight long years of dedication to both the product that I was selling and to the woman I represented that I had hoped to continue working with the time came for us to go our separate ways. It wasn’t easy, but we severed our ties and life moved on.
So why do I share my story? Well, because its just one way that one woman came to have a career, then a business to marry passion with purpose. Now let me just say that although I’ve continued to evolve to a own and operate my business that has become a small boutique marketing, promotion and publishing agency, it hasn’t always been easy and I’ve had to pivot and evolve along the way.