If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives...

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Last week was a bit mental;  take trying to run a home based business in the middle of planning a house move, and throw in a six year old on half term holiday, a lively toddler rehearsing her starring role for the ‘terrible two’s’, a long  train journey back from London, two nights with five children in the Lake District, one of them spent carving pumpkins and pinning the smile on the skeleton and a weekend with good people in Northumberland spent surprising one of our bestest friends for his 40th birthday.

It’s been crazy busy, to say the least.  But it’s been a flippin ace kind of crazy, you know?  My feet have barely touched the floor, but I love that flying by the seat of your pants feeling every once in a while, I find it exhilarating, if not slightly exhausting!  And anyway, I’m very practiced at dealing with the whole feeling like a half baked zombie thing these days :)

It might not sound like I’ve had a lot of time to do much thinking this week, but it’s during these crazy busy periods that all the best ideas seem to come to me – when my back’s really up against the wall, and I have to think on my feet.  I always feel my most creative during these times and I’m better at making decisions – good, sharp, sensible business kind of decisions.  So in between the whirlwind that has been the past seven days, I’ve been stealing moments to  think, write notes and plan the future for my family, and for Love My Dress.

As I watched my two lovely girls playing this week, I considered just how much my life has changed over the past three years.  I would never, ever in a whole month of Sunday servings have imagined that those first, tentative steps into the world of social media and blogging back in November 2009, would have led three years later to the situation I’m in now.  For the first time in all of the past three years of adventure and madness and certainly, for the very first time in my life, it feels like I’ve made it, like, properly made it.  I’m my own boss, and I love my job. Love My Dress has brought me freedom – I’m no longer shackled down with debt, I’m living through an exciting adventure of personal growth and discovery.  I can eat my breakfast at lunchtime whilst still in my PJs if I choose :)  I’ve made and continue to make amazing new friends. I’ve won my first proper award, I’ve filled a life long dream and wrote a book!

And best of all, in just two weeks time, my little family and I will be collecting the keys to our new home in the place we love most – the place we thought we’d end up retiring too, but have decided the hell to it, we just can’t wait any longer.

None of this could have happened without Love My Dress and it’s amazing community of readers and supporters.  And Love My Dress wouldn’t have been here at all if it hadn’t have been for taking some big leaps in the old faith department and a whole lot of self belief.  Taking risks and believing in yourself are two aspects of success I believe so strongly, that I’m dedicating a whole blog post to them this afternoon.

I was chatting with someone this weekend and telling them about my experiences of Love My Dress and establishing my own business – the frustration and sacrifices I’ve experienced along the way, and the joy I now feel seeing Love My Dress inspire so many readers.  I recognised the situation my conversation partner was in – a job he didn’t enjoy, a creative outlet in his spare time that brought him immense amounts of joy – a dream to make that creative outlet his living.  He explained that the only thing preventing him from pursuing his dream was concern of others that he’d be making the wrong decision.  Before I was even aware, the words ‘JUST DO IT!’ came bursting out my mouth.

It’s funny, but looking back, it feels like this was always meant to be – that Love My Dress was waiting for me all my life, to find it and make it something real.  I was always 100% sure I was doing the right thing. And thank goodness I was – choosing to follow my dream and gut instinct has led me to literally turn my life around.   I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and sheesh, I’ve blogged about the tougher elements of going self employed on many occasions, but when it came to Love My Dress, I have always felt driven.  But I *could* have taken another decision. I *might* have listened to the voices of doubt, confusion and well meaning concern (think very carefully about turning your back on a well paid secure job, Annabel!’ and ‘what’s a blogger??’).  And what might have become then? I’d have probably still been stuck in the same job, still unhappy, my life far less enriched because of it.

But, thankfully, I made the decision to listen to my inner voice and follow my heart.  I have never looked back. Not once. Not even when I’ve been tired and stressed beyond belief with a work load that has forced me to stay up all night working with no sleep at all, or when I’ve missed out on family things because I’ve had to knuckle down and work. Certain things in life are worth making big sacrifices over.

I guess the point of this post is to share some of what I have learned over the past three years in a way I mean for it to encourage and inspire you.  This month, I celebrate my blog’s 3rd birthday and I’m feeling so proud, not just of what I’ve achieved in the past three years but for the wider team of brilliant writers and contributors that Love My Dress now represents – most of whom are self employed woman who have also followed their dreams.

I really honestly believe that we are makers of our own destiny – that if we want something hard enough and are willing to work hard for it, then we will be rewarded;

* Ignore anyone and everyone who makes you feel you’re aiming too high. You can never aim too high

* Be brave, jump into the unknown and take an adventure!

* Surround yourself with positive people who love and care for you and get what you’re all about

* Just do it! If you want something so much, make it happen – research, network, connect, position yourself amongst people who will help you achieve your dreams – just don’t sit around thinking about it – amazing opportunities do happen to normal people like you and me, don’t let them pass you by!

* Most importantly of all, never stop believing in you. You are capable of much more than you might have ever believed

Thanks for letting me ad-lib about the good stuff :)  I’d love to hear back from some of my readers – be you business or ‘want to be’ business owners, or readers dreaming about something big. I’d love to hear if you have  learned any lessons in business, or life, that you’d like to share with readers who want to turn their lives around by doing something completely different.

Before I go, I wanted to share this with you (it’s OK, I have special permission).  This is my little girl Eska who turns 7 later this month.   Apologies for any camera wobbles – I was trying so hard not to giggle through filming this!  When Eska grows up, she wants to act and dance and sing and be a writer like her Mummy.  I tell her as often as I can, that she can be anything she wants to be in life, but that she must work hard to make it happen…

Annabel

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29 thoughts on My ‘Being Self Employed’ Journal #9 ~ Trusting Yourself & Making Things Happen!

  1. Annabel, you have just made my day! Due to a stinking cold (possibly not helped by paintball at the weekend…) I’m off from my volunteering post today and missing it sorely. To be greeted with such a positive and encouraging post and a video of your talented daughter just lifted my spirits. Thank-you for letting us all know that dreams can be made to come true. :)

  2. Ah, Annabel, what am I to do?!! This is the second time I’ve stopped by your blog recently and ended up in tears,- I rarely find time to stop and read blogs, so that is quite a record! I may have to make it a rule to never read yours out in public in the future!
    I am currently in the position you were about 3 years ago, having given up a very well paying job in order to set up my own business, but I’m so glad I made some time today to stop and read – or at least I will be when I can mop up the tears and stop crying that is!
    I’m a qualified nurse, and spent the last 7 years running a large specialist care centre, managing 80+ staff and everything that goes with it, but 2 years ago I also set up my own wedding photography business too, because I’ve always loved photography, I love being with people, and wedding photography brings both of those loves together. The added importance of the day and the need to be the best for my couples also (should I admit this or not?), also fulfils my love of drama and working under pressure, because after all these years I’ve realised that about myself, I like living dangerously! There, I’ve said it -although none of my family or friends would actually be shocked I suppose, as I may have given the game away a time or two – caving and potholing, rock climbing and abseiling back down, climbing Snowdon in blizzards, driving a bus and full size TIR lorry and a tank to raise money for charity, and going off to nurse in a Cambodian Refugee camp when the Thai/Cambodia border was still a war zone and shells were landing far to close for comfort may just have given the game away!
    Anyway, I digress, because finally, 6 months ago crunch time came, and I left the ‘safety’ of a very well paid full time job to see what I could do with my own business, and today I was having one of those ‘OMG what on earth have I done?’ moments.
    So reading your blog, although it made me cry (can you hear the indignation in my voice??!!) also reminded me of why I am doing this, because, like you with Love my Dress, I also feel driven to do this in so many ways that it’s crazy, but I also absolutely love it with a passion, and when I see the reactions of my couples and their families when they see my photos for the first time I know I’m doing the thing I need to do.
    So thank you so much for the reminder to hold my head up high, believe in myself, keep on putting the effort in and getting out there, and to keep on going for it because dreams can happen :)

  3. This is one of my favourite posts from LMD (and I read it every day!). You are an inspiration to all and always a highlight of my day. Congratulations Annabel- you deserve everything you mention above and so much more x

  4. Awww, Sarah, this is such a lovely reply – I love comments like this! Clearly, you made absolutely the right choice and I’m so pleaesd for you. There are many ‘hair raising’ moments that come with being self employed, but I think you learn to work with them, and you learn to trust your gut instinct more and more as you work through them. It really is the best thing I ever did and whilst it can be scary and of course exhausting at times, it’s so incredibly rewarding, I just love it and really want to encourage anyone on the bring of something big, or setting up in business themselves, to have faith!
    Thank you so much for your lovely words, I’m off to have a gander around your website ;)
    Lots and lots of love,
    Annabel xXx

  5. You are so right annabel, we should always listen to our gut and heart they truly do know best! On the odd occasion I have ignored them and listened to those around me instead I find I end up regretting those decisions and I have vowed to be stronger and believe in my own ability a little more. It’s also so uplifting to hear that amazingly you are in such a great position after only 3 years in business and give hope to all us new small business owners that one day (soon hopefully) we might be able to live a little more comfortably again! Thanks annabel you have brightened my day and encouraged me to stomp on much more determined.

  6. I’m currently on the last few months of maternity and feeling anxious at the thought of returning. I’m dreading it in fact. I’ve only just dipped my toes into the blogging world. My blog was simply a little creative outlet for me to keep my ‘non-mummy’ side of the brain active during the 8 months off and it has turned out to be so much more. I’m just getting started and I’ve met some incredible people already and realised some important things about myself.
    I’m just about to make some changes to the blog that will enable me to keep it going when I return to work. Tonight your post has given me the little kick up the backside to tick those last few to-do’s off the list.
    X

  7. “Tonight your post has given me the little kick up the backside to tick those last few to-do’s off the list.”
    Well I’m jolly well pleased about that.
    Something about this blogging lark that’s rather addictive and really very lovely, aint there? :)
    Thanks so much Samantha, lots of love and luck developing your blog.
    xXx

  8. “we should always listen to our gut and heart they truly do know best!”
    I truly believe it Joe – I really do – and this principle guides me in all the business decisions I make.
    I’m so pleased my post helped to brighten your day :)

  9. Oh, my!
    I love the video :)
    She ROCKS.
    I’m suffering that vertigo feeling of getting ready to quit the day job to run the photography business but I’m just too chicken.
    I play the ‘just one more booking’ game but it turns into just two more. And then three.
    I’m peering over the edge wondering if I can safely make it down without by safety blanket…

  10. Lovely post. So inspiring! It’s amazing hearing someone talk about how passionate they are about their ‘job’. You’ve done remarkably well for yourself. Well done! :)

  11. Thank you for the inspiration, so encouraging to hear right now and sound advice I will follow.
    Your daughter is so cute! As a Mum with older kids in the process of leaving the nest and exploring the world I feel you are absolutely right to encourage music, dance and creativity. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this has benefited my family in terms of confidence, learning and finding out what they want from life, plus – all important – the fun and happiness it brings.
    I’ve been in business about the same length of time as you and my most important lessons learned (the hard way) are to schedule proper rest time to balance the hard work and definitely to listen to the inspiring advice shared in this post :)

  12. Thank you Maureen. It’s true, I love my job very, very much and have to pinch myself this is all happening at times, then I remember how very hard I’ve worked and how much self belief I have had and I think more people need to know about that winning combo to give them the courage and strength to follow their own dreams.
    xXx

  13. A lovely heat felt piece!!!
    Working and juggling motherhood is never easy! I also think working from home is a challenge in itself too.
    Well Done Annabel …. X x x

  14. A lovely heat felt piece!!!
    Working and juggling motherhood is never easy! I also think working from home is a challenge in itself too.
    Well Done Annabel …. X x x

  15. Good to hear, I’m still getting there myself after getting very run down so it’s become a priority for me. On the plus side rest means I’ve had more time for good stuff such as reading your lovely inspiring post. Love your positivity and belief – I’m sure this has helped with your well deserved and inspiring success x

  16. I finally get round to commenting on this!
    I am so happy for you, Annabel, that so many good things happen for you right now. When I started writing for Love My Dress, I was amazed by the great sense of community between your readers and the writers. I think you can really tell with Love My Dress that you are genuinely excited about all the posts and that what you write comes from your heart. I think that’s the key to your success. xx

  17. Thank you for another great inspiring post! I took the leap from a full time job into working for myself two years ago, and have also set up another business in the last few months. It’s posts like this, written from people that have gone through similar situations, that really keep me inspired to keep going onwards and upwards!

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