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An Entrepreneur’s Confession: No More Checkboxes

Things just got heavy. Okay, not really. But I’ve got a confession to make about my business.

Well, it’s actually not about my business as you know it. But rather the fact that it’s not my only love. You see, I’ve been moonlighting on my business for a long time.

Here it is.

I have a second business in direct sales.

Over the past few months, I’ve really struggled with how that fits into my story as an entrepreneur. The more I put myself out there, the more it’s been on my mind.

Does it hurt my credibility?

Does it make me look unfocused?

Finally, after a long drive through the rolling countryside and consultation with some amazing ladies in a mastermind group I have some clarity.

My direct sales business is what has given me the know-how and confidence to take my business online and has prepared me for everything that goes with it.

[Tweet “Confession alert. @magspatterson spills on how she’s been moonlighting.”]

The Backstory

Nearly 10 years ago, I was on maternity leave and I was quite frankly, a bit bored. After jumping off the crazy train of my big and busy job, being home with baby in a rural area left me with time on my hands that I didn’t know what to do with. I’ve always loved journaling and creating artbooks with photos, so when I found scrapbooking…I was quickly hooked.

A few years later, I was building my content and communications business and things were going great. Crafts were a creative outlet away from my computer and blissful relaxation time. A friend then introduced me to a direct sales company called Stampin’ Up whose products I loved. Hello, they all coordinate!

I literally loved the products so much I couldn’t stop myself from building it into a business.

That brought me on a six year journey to today. I’ve changed up my core business from traditional to online, my crafting has evolved from a hobby to a successful business, with me becoming a top performer in the company with customers all over Canada.

I’ve been on all-expenses paid trips to dream destinations and been recognized as the top seller in Canada more than once. (And for the record, while it may not sound like a lot, it is a lot of work to sell $92,000 of rubber stamps and other crafty supplies.)

In short, I’ve accomplished a lot in both businesses.

What I Learned from Direct Sales

While I’m hardwired with a business brain, direct sales has made me a much better person and marketing professional.

So, go ahead, bag on these “cute” home-based businesses that ladies start for some extra cash, but I will tell you this, there’s some seriously savvy women working in the industry.

Women who are making an incredible living doing something they love, which really, isn’t that something we all aspire to?

There’s a huge laundry list of things I could discuss here from learning how to grow and manage a team, to developing some crazy online skills to patience.

However, in all of this, my biggest lesson has been to find joy in the journey.(With apologies to my friend Julie who uses that as her tagline!) As someone who is super goal oriented, I’m always striving for something new, something bigger…but it’s not simply enough.

After hitting goal, after goal, after goal…I’ve finally realized that I need to simply chill out a bit and truly enjoy what I’m doing because accomplishing the actual goal is just a checkbox.

When the Goal…Is Just a Goal

Yes there’s the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes with achieving any goal. I’m not going to deny it.

But what happens when there’s no more goals to reach? When bettering your best or selling more is the difference between joy and straight up insanity? When the goal shouldn’t be bigger or better?

That’s where I am with my direct sales business. I’ve done what I set out to do, so I’m reconnecting to the joy of creating with people and helping them be crafty.

Goals shouldn’t be set so you can check off the box. It’s not enough.

That’s what’s driving me ahead in my “core” business today. Goals are set with a business purpose in mind. No big things to help me feel like I’ve “made it” or to be Internet famous.

Today’s goals are designed to help grow a business that fits into my life and lights me up.

It took six years and a whole lot of rubber stamps for me to remember that the decision to become self-employed and “be the boss” was about escaping a life of checking boxes and doing things based on someone else’s rules.

It’s about freedom to live my life, my way*. No more checkboxes.

*My life, my way may or may not include yoga pants, not leaving the house for an entire week in the winter and multiple trips throughout the year where I don’t work at all.

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