How do you walk away from a business you just started?
Guest post by Katherine Hansen, founder of Modababy
How do you walk away from a business you just started? That is the question I'm trying to answer to myself. We spend our whole lives looking for those "right" things: the right house, the right car, the right spouse, the right job, the right business idea.
But how do you know, rather, when its not right?
There are signs.
For me, it was feeling like my excitement about my business only went so far. When it came to taking on new challenges,instead of digging in, I felt disinterested. When it was time to order more inventory, I was filled with dread. It lead to anxiety, and a sort of pressure that would be pleasing to most but to me it felt like I was being dragged to a party that I didn't want to go to.
But I still went to that party - not ready to throw in the towel just yet. I placed another order of 500 units with my manufacturer, and like a child on a roller coaster filled with a stomach churning nervousness that they hope will give way to joy, I white-knuckled my way through financing and shoring up the details, and hoped that when those units arrived that the excitement for my precious business would have returned.
At the same time, I was feeling that by saying "yes" to ModaBaby day after day, I was also saying "no" to the more true and essential passions of mine that I wanted to explore. As I discovered during a mini-crisis one evening after a long conversation with my husband, ModaBaby exists on one of the "outer rings" of my personal self, whereas the elements that I later identified as my true calling exist at my core. The feeling of wanting to live from my core, and not only at my "outer rings" like I felt I was, was painfully gnawing at me.
I woke up the next day feeling relieved - even if I couldn't live more fully from my core right now, just identifying where it all stood gave me great clairvoyance as to what to do next.
I revolved to let myself marinate on this new self-realized information, and to pay attention to when the next moments of opportunities would come to say "yes" to my core self, or as I would later identify them to be, my Original Spirit.
Those opportunities came sooner than I had expected. Soon after that night of soul-searching, I was offered an invitation to be interviewed on the Extraordinary Moms Podcast, an experience which again renewed my revolve to be a speaker and an advocate for those whose stories often go unheard.
A date was announced for a Zumba instructor training which happened to coincide with a Rob Bell speaking event (my spiritual guru), both in Charlotte. I took this as an omen I couldn't ignore. I said "yes" to both things, leaving the weekend feeling like I was one step closer to living from my core.
I felt like I had been thrown the proverbial keys to the car, with Spirit saying: You can take this further. Here - go for it.
Take it form here.
The more I paid attention to my choices and my thoughts surrounding both my passions and my business, the easier it came to identify my motivations and intentions. I created ModaBaby and the GripStart Leggings™ because I had a good idea, a solid design concept, and I wanted to be in business for myself.
I also noticed that the only time when I was excited or felt like I could commit to the business long-term was when large orders were coming in. And even that feeling began to fade over time.
My motivations for ModaBaby, I later realized, were not grounded in the right soil for the business to thrive. My motivations and intentions for my passion-work, on the other hand, are rooted in a soil that is true to my calling. I've come to identify these things as being an advocate for a self-actualized, more present life through teaching Zumba (a dance fitness class where I facilitate self-healing thought joy), writing, and speaking. I do these things because they are who I am. They are who I always was. They do not need to be filtered through the lens or the platform of a company or a product or athletic achievement - they exist in the world in their own unique ways because I exist in the world in my own unique way.
In the meantime, I've chosen to keep the doors open for ModaBaby. The day will come when it is time for me to end its run - but in the meantime, we still have some work to do and products to sell.
I have woken up to these things now. I have realized that it is my purpose in this world to live out my joys - and by living out my joys, I am making a difference in this world. It is my hope that I inspire others to wake up their own lives, to remember their own Original Spirit, say "yes" to their passions, and in doing so, we will make this world a better place for all of us.
The world doesn't need people to ask what the world needs.
The worlds needs people to wake up to what they need.
The world needs people to wake up to their own passions, and be truly alive to the work that their joy will accomplish.
That is how we change the world.
So, if you are reading this and are thinking of starting your own business, or perhaps you've been at it for a few years now and are wondering, what the heck is the point?, or maybe you're simply trying to break up the monotony that your business or work life has on you to make room for your passions, then I hope that this speaks to you in a new way.
You are not alone. You're not the first one to think this way, and you certainly won't be the last. As Cheryl Strayed once said, "Don't let an old idea you used to have about yourself hold you back from living your full potential."
To help you plot your way forward, I've compiled the below questions to assist you in exploring and clarifying your thoughts and intentions when it comes to your work or your business.
Clear out some quiet space for yourself and give them a shot - don't be afraid to see where they take you.
And remember: Failure is a crucial stepping stone to success. Every time you fail, you are one step closer to success.
1. Pay attention to your emotions surrounding your work or your business - how does it/they make you feel?
2. Identify your intentions with your company. What is it that you are trying to accomplish? What is the best possible outcome for your business? Do you believe that achieving "it" will make your quality of life better or worse?
3. Where on your "personal rings" does your business lie? Think of this like the rings of concentric circles you find when you cut a tree in half. Does it belong on an outer ring, or does it dwell in your core?
3. Do you have space in your life currently to say "yes" to your joys and passions - if that is not your business?
4. In what ways has your business revealed new things about you or new purpose within you?
5. What opportunities has your business afforded you? How can you leverage that into your new passions or project?
6. How has your business taken you somewhere new? How has it expanded both your professional and social circles from which you can draw from?
7. What new knowledge and technical skills have you required as the result of your business?
8, How can you leverage the above four points to not only work in your advantage on your next endeavor, but also help others along as well?
Since the writing of this post, Katherine Hanson has continued to live from her "core", accepting opportunities as both a writer and a speaker, and has developed a dedicated following of her own unique method of Zumba (which she calls Zumba + Soul) to facilitate self healing through joy.
She uses the platforms created by her passions to advocate for child abuse prevention and recovery as an ambassador for the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, and to inspire others to seek a more fulfilled, present life.
Earlier this year Katherine and her husband took a big leap of faith; they sold their home on Folly Beach and have been living on the road, traveling throughout the Western states with their four year-old son Reese, ever since. In doing so she has taken a brief leave of absence from her company ModaBaby, with plans to resume later this year.
Follow Katherine and her family's travels on Instagram at @KatherineHanson_ as they search for a new place to call home.