My Deep Dark Wrangle

Words by Mariesa Lauder

 

About three months ago, I stood at a fork in the road of my life journey, perhaps the most significant yet.

For I had been at this exact fork sixteen years ago. A different lifetime. Back then, I was pre-children, in my early thirties and five years of business under my belt. I had done well on the business side but was overwhelmed and drowning with staff issues and being a ‘boss’. I decided to sell up and walk away. While this gave me immense short term relief, some cash for a house deposit and an overseas trip, deep down there was still a yearning, maybe even regret.

As I reflect on this first paragraph, I feel a great sense of peace that I made the right decision the first time visiting this fork. My husband and I bought a home in a location that has been perfect for our family and lifestyle. We enjoyed an overseas trip and started our family. I was able to choose to work from home, have the privilege of being with my children and enjoyed a parent liaison volunteer role at their school in the early years.

As my children grew more independent, the yearning to return to business intensified.

I spent over a year preparing myself as I had a good idea second time round what I was heading into. I got a job at Just Cuts to see if hairdressing was where I wanted to return. This was met with raised eyebrows from my industry peers. As Gary Vee would say (check him out on YouTube), I shut out their noise and judgement, as I knew it was what I needed to do at that time and I learnt heaps from the experience.

I read and studied books such as:

I entered a program called Destination Entrepreneur run by an excellent company G2 Innovation and started a Mastermind with trusted people I admire.

Another piece of my life puzzle that is significant to my business journey is being an adoptee. Becoming a parent stirred stuff up for me as I believe happens for many in my position. I searched for and found my birth mother and through this journey found business and entrepreneurship are deep in my blood. Being able to talk with and learn from family members gave me validation, confidence and some more knowledge.

As much groundwork was done as possible, I was ready to go back in. I started looking for local opportunities, low and behold my original business, Jomara Hair Studio, was on the market. Having had its life cycle of success and now owners with their own families. I deeply felt I had been given a second chance to build on what I had done well first time round and rectify what I had not done well. For this chance, I am still extremely grateful, but I nearly blew it.

It only took two years to be back struggling to be ‘the boss’ again. I was overcome with thoughts that obviously it just wasn’t for me, and I’m not cut out for it. I struggled on for a bit, the reality magnified by my first lease option. The fork this time was do I give up my lease and find a little studio just for me, walk away again or do I sign that lease option and commit to another three years. This deep dark wrangle continued inside for about two months, my decision changing daily if not hourly sometimes.

Being stubbornly independent, I knew I was desperate when I turned to my husband for his advice. What he said I could not ignore, “I will support whichever way you go, but I know you, and I know you will regret it if you do not continue.” I knew in my core he was right. But shit, I knew I had to change some things, didn’t know what though just that things couldn’t continue as they were.

Enter the E-Myth Revisited.

 

Talk about the right book at the right time! Every small business owner should read it! A dear friend posted that she was rereading this book as she always got so much out of it.

As I have the utmost respect for this lady, I decided to check it out having no idea it would unlock so much for me. Thank you, Kirsten. This book is the perfect description of where I was going wrong and what I needed to do to fix it. I finally had the right question to ask myself too. Did I want to be a business owner or be a hairdresser/technician?

The signature is on the dotted line; I am committed for another three years. The staff person I could not afford to keep has been let go. As I have taken my head out of the sand and faced all the hard stuff I had been avoiding, empowerment and clarity have been my reward and self-belief is at an all-time high.

I am grateful to my husband, Matt, for his selfless honesty. He was witness to my wrangle, and I was not fun to be around, yet he chose to back me through it. I am also grateful to the ladies in my SBS who supported me and wrangled with me when I needed it. The last three years feel like they have been a business apprenticeship for me. I feel fully qualified for the next chapter and am ready to soar.

I would love to hear other business owner’s stories and connect with anyone who reads this. Reach out.

I will leave you with my significant lessons of each of those three years.

Year 1 Be smart, not impressive
Year 2 Be brave and allow failure
Year 3 Face and do the hard stuff
Year 4 😁 Soar like an eagle

xoxo

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