In 2009, my second marriage ended, and my familiar lifestyle was replaced with uncertainty, fear and loneliness. I was faced with the reality of being a single mum once again.
I had to financially rebuild my life, financially, emotionally and physically. The task was not only challenging but daunting to the extreme that it would keep me up most nights in deep dark thought. On top of my own personal demons I was battling with, I also had two little girls to consider and take care of.
During this time, my dad was withering away with Motor Neurone Disease, and this just added more pain to my wound. My mother was consumed caring for him, and I was her emotional support.
Eventually, my dad passed away. Weeks following the funeral I was distracted with moving house and settling into a new normal and a journey into the unknown. It was scary and overwhelming at times.
I've always been one to tackle challenges and face them head on once the dust settles, so I did a check-up from the neck-up to get clear about my future and identify my strengths and limitations with all honesty.
I'm passionate about small business and I wanted to get back into owning my own hair salon again. Having my own salon was going to give me the flexibility to work around the kids and build the business at my own pace. I just had to find a shop front that was attached to a dwelling to have the kids close to me as I worked the days and hours around them.
As I began the search for the right shop front in the right location, my stepping stone was cutting hair from home. I transformed a workshop in the backyard of my property into a tiny little salon and named it Saks Salons. I had an 'A' Board made with my logo on it and every morning I would put it out on the footpath so customers found my place with ease and this would also get the attention of passerby's. I had my logo embroidered on my shirt and made sure this was always visible. I am proud to showcase my logo consistently.
Although I didn't know anybody in the new neighbourhood, I had a strategy that would change that. Advertising the old-fashioned way was something I knew how to do. I wrote a letter introducing myself, offering half price haircuts for first time visits. I would walk the surrounding streets where I lived and distributed these folded letters into letterboxes. It worked! My phone began to ring and within two years I had one hundred and sixty loyal clients visiting me on a regular basis.
I love small business, and being in business for myself gives me the ability to work around my children and the freedom to create my own lifestyle.
A long story short, the opportunity to move to a shop front did present itself after two years of working from home and took the chance to transform an empty shop into a little salon. The bonus was the dwelling at the back which meant I could work my days and hours without having to look for babysitters. I did another letter drop to the surrounding area of my humble new salon and I was warmly welcomed into the area. I never looked back.
The wheels were in motion. There were many tears, long and tough days as I multi-tasked my way through cutting hair, business management, parenting, housekeeping and sometimes a little self care.
Although I made bad business decisions throughout my career whether it be trusting the wrong people or not calculating my risks very well, I now know this was very necessary in teaching me resilience, to trust my inner knowing and to just dust myself off and try again. For me the key is to be clear with my destination, know my strengths and limitations and plan the journey knowing all too well that flexibility and adaptability is key for business success. Sometimes we need to make damage control decisions and sometimes we just need to pull the pin. I have learned to balance my emotions and logic well when making decisions about business and situations I cannot control.
I believe that great achievements are born either from inspiration or desperation. For me, the decision to re-build my life was out of desperation. Sometimes the plan we have for a happy ever after doesn't always last a lifetime. The magic carpet I was gliding on had been abruptly pulled out from under my feet. I was not in a good place but one thing I knew for sure was that only I could get me out of there.
I made a commitment to myself that no matter how rocky the road ahead, how exhausting it may be, I was going to get myself to better health, financial independence and loving life once again.
Sometimes it felt like groundhog day, and I was taking one step forward and two steps back, but I would quickly bring myself to focus on the present and appreciate that growing a business takes time, nurture and patience all the while multi-tasking responsibilities in our everyday lives.
Consistency is the key. Having a routine and the ability to balance business, parenting and housekeeping is essential.
I continue on this beautiful journey of mine in hope that I may inspire the hopeless and encourage the troubled to never give up on their dreams because no matter what challenges we face or burdens shackled around our ankles, there is always a way out because there was a way in to begin with. Believe.