This photo makes me smile. It was taken the summer of my first year in business, which was the beginning of a life full of twists and turns I never could have predicted - or even imagined in my wildest dreams.
I was only 23 years old in that picture. That sweet baby is turning 18 this year. She was just five months old when I quit my job to start my first business...
I was married at the time, and we had four children between us. My son was 5 years old, and my stepdaughters were 5 and 8 years old.
I was the only one working, supporting a family of six. On minimum wage at that, lol. Yes, it was nuts. Still, walking away from that regular paycheck, small as it was, with a large family to feed, might have been even more nuts. But I wanted more out of life for my family, and it was going to take extreme measures to make it happen.
So I quit my job, cold turkey, and dove straight into a business - with no savings, no credit, no assets, and no income. And no real education or experience. That makes me laugh and shudder all at the same time now. I was young and naive.
I said "What's the worst that can happen?!" and the only answer I could come up with was... "Get another job." Which fortunately, I never had to do.
Being young and naive does have it's perks. As does being totally broke with zero assets. You have nothing to lose, and you don't know enough to fear the worst.
Pair that with the fact that I wanted it so damn bad... and you have an amazing success story as the result. One that even amazes me.
I had this beautiful vision of a large home, actually big enough for the six of us, with a big back yard where the kids would laugh and play. I had daydreams of a happy family, my husband and I working alongside each other in harmony, with plenty of food to eat and a lot less stress - and lots of smiles and fun times as we enjoyed the ideal life together as a family.
That's what I wanted. And I was willing to give up everything to have it. Including my job, all of my furniture, the dishes, my clothes and shoes, the kids' toys - all of it.
Which brought a whopping $600 at the local auction house.
It's a sobering moment to realize that's what you're worth.
It took every bit of that to move and get in a position to start the business. My husband and I both had no-compete agreements against us that forced us to move at least two counties away to start the business. And so we did, to an old home on the outskirts of the city that had a shop-like shed beside it. And that's where it all started.
That was February 1997.
We started with nothing, worked our asses off, and did six figures our first full year in business - moving into a commercial building with a 5,000 square foot showroom, multiple offices and a warehouse. I started a second business that first full year, and then partnered in a third. I was on a serious mission, lol.
February has been an interesting month for me...
Looking back over my adult life, February seems to be the month for major turning points. In February 1994, just months before I got married, I was a passenger in a near fatal car accident and suffered a massive head trauma.
I was paralyzed, had regressive memory loss, deaf, terribly scarred, and suffered so much brain damage that I was told I would never work again - and that I'd be lucky to ever live an active life at all, even.
I had a miraculous recovery. And I mean miraculous.
While I have some nerve damage, am still partially deaf, and have memory issues - it's nothing anyone else even notices. That horrific accident turned my whole life around. I met and married my husband within the same year, had two beautiful stepdaughters, my daughter was born, and I became a successful business owner.
It was February 1996 that I found out I was expecting my daughter, which would be my last child, as it's also the year I discovered I was in the early stages of cancer.
In February 1997, when Annie was just five months old, I left my job to start the business. Three short years later, February 2000 marks the beginning of the end of my marriage. I'm still not sure why. Maybe going from "below poverty level" to "six figure business" didn't suit him. Maybe he just didn't love me. Who knows.
February 2000 was also the first time I witnessed my son have a seizure. That year I went through a heartbreaking unexpected divorce, my son became incredibly sick, and everything fell apart. By February 2001 I had to make a complete lifestyle change and start home schooling, which is when I left the stress of the city and moved to a remote cabin on the lake with my two children.
This is when I switched to a virtual home office, working exclusively from home while taking care of my children, and started switching my business model from service/affiliate... to an all affiliate-based model.
Fast forward to February 2005, this was the month my ex husband decided to disappear and devastate my daughter. We're still working through that one.
In February 2007 I bought my first home. Never having lived anywhere more than two years in my entire life, I finally "settled down". I had taken care of my grandmother during her last two years, and when she passed I bought a house on the street where she grew up.
In February 2013 I had unexpected surgery with an even more unexpected extended recovery time of close to six months. Ack! Another horrific experience that was ultimately a positive turning point in my life...
So here we are again. Happy February. lol.
As I look back over all my February's, the years of my life, it's amazing what it took to get me where I am today. I didn't get my beautiful dream of the big family and the perfect life, and I'm okay with that. I love this life even better!
My two children are raised, they turned out absolutely beautiful and totally perfect, and I am happier than I have ever been. Life is GOOD.
I have the lifestyle of my dreams, with all the freedom and flexibility I could ever want, friends all over the world, and I get to travel anytime I please.
Oh - and I LOVE my work.
I'll be sharing some great insights with you this month over the history of my 17 years in business. If you have a specific topic or question you'd love to see covered, let me know!
For now, I would just like to say... thank you for reading ClickNewz. Thank you for being a part of my life and work. So many of you were there for me during some of the crazy/fun/scary transitions in my life along the way, which is really cool.
Life is meant to be celebrated. Not just the wonderful moments, but even the crazy ones - without which, we wouldn't be who we are today. I'm grateful for the accident that totally changed my life. I'm grateful for everything I may not have understood or appreciated at the time, for how it lead me where I am today.
I wouldn't wish some of the horrible experiences I've been through on anyone. But I do wish for everyone to experience success and personal fulfillment.
That's my mission this year. To help as many people see RESULTS as possible...