We live in a new age of entrepreneurship.
Many in the millennial generation are a little wild, diverse, and we think out-side of the box because we are living in a materialist culture that has tried to define us on its terms, not ours.
After college, I went into the business world because that's where the money was and I had student loans to pay. Yet while I was doing the "corporate commute," I quickly realized I was spending the precious minutes of my life on people and a job that wasn't the right fit for me. Please don't misunderstand. I valued my insurance and business training. I have a high level of education, and I place great value on learning. I even taught at a business college! Still, I had let the culture define my path. Perhaps you came to that same conclusion or you're still there, shuffling papers. You may be finding paying off student loan debt and growing families is suffocating. Add inflation and quickly shifting job markets to that, and you know you have to chart a different course for your family. And that's why you have great business ideas you're ready to pursue or you've already jumped in and started a business.
Yet owning a business is not always the "promised land," especially as a woman. It can be filled with unique challenges, but it does offer important features such as autonomy and personal control that women like us require. As female business owners, we carry a double burden, often times as caregiver and business owner. Correlating the human needs of children and aging parents along with serving clients or customers can be an enormous strain. Actually, that is an understatement!
As female business owners, we carry a double burden, often times as caregiver AND business owner.
First, a disclaimer: Minimalism is not the only solution to that power-packed problem. I'm only proposing that minimalism, as a concept and overall theme, can bring waves of clarity and focus to many already over-burdened female entrepreneurs, like me and like you.
Minimalism leads to household, financial, and business solutions.
How could that be possible, you ask?
In giving 550+ bags away to charity, I had to literally clear a path in my home to be able to breathe. I'm not exaggerating on either point. I counted each bag and each moment that I could breathe without anxiety. If all of those extremely useful items were still swirling in my universe, I could not walk safely into my home nor could I serve my family or my clients well. All those useful, yet smothering items had to leave my house before I could see the following two revelations.
1) All that "stuff" was blocking who I really was. I was too connected to the random knickknacks, memory items, notebooks, and useful recycled furniture to see that those items did not define me anymore. I feared criticism from family and kept everything out of fear of lack. I could not find my own sense of style or my belief about the world. Those two important concepts were buried under the shoes (and weed-eater!) blocking my backdoor. Once all that mess was gone, I could walk into my home safely. I could find my purse and create income to put money in it. I could craft my home and my life and my business according to my standards. With minimalism, I could truly own myself.
2) After that revelation, I was able to define who I am meant to serve. Now you may rightly ask, what does that have to do with running a business? I think you already believe this, but all business is about solving problems and serving others. When I knew who I was at my core, and I had set up my home to serve my family, I had the clarity I needed to see who in this wide-world was the ideal client I was meant to serve. Family first, though! Otherwise, I knew that I would end up resenting the very people I loved, both my clients and my family.
In order to serve family and clients from an authentic space, I had to make a place for myself. Never underestimate the need for sacred space in your life. As a business owner, you juggle production, sales, technology, and perhaps even employees. As a female business owner, we work differently. Our souls come out in everything we touch. Home and business must work together for us to be whole!
So where should you start implementing minimalism in your home and business?
Action Step 1: Identify one area in your home and one area in your business that frustrates you daily. It could be the entryway to the kitchen in your home that is always a whirlwind disaster, like mine was. Or maybe it's those business receipts that breed like rabbits? Maybe your inbox has a 40K+ tsunami of emails? Just take a moment to breathe and think through what is frustrating about that "target" area.
Action Step 2: Schedule time and be relentless (insert maybe even offensive) about guarding your sacred space to address your area of top frustration. Don't even answer the door! I did this just yesterday. The UPS man can leave me a note, but when I am committed to conquering a task, I will not allow minor interruptions to derail me. Turn off your phone. Intensely focus on writing out what truly must to happen to improve your target area. Chances are, with a quiet, honest moment and cup of tea, you already know what needs to change. Now, make it happen!
Action Step 3: This is the hardest one that I had to do. I knew that I needed to admit that I needed help. As a strong woman, I did the first two steps, and I would make a little progress, but it was painfully slow. Super sloth-kind-of-slow! I came to the end of myself and begged God for a way out of useful boxes of junk and $47,000 in student loan debt. I needed help. I sought my own financial coach to be the support I needed to make changes in my home and finances. It was such a relief to finally have a real, live person that I could be fully honest with about where I was and where I wanted to go. Once, I had support, I was able to move exponentially faster. Today the junk and student loan debt are completely gone.
How fast? I hear it in your voice. I want to be very clear, that it's wasn't a 2 minute fix to a problem that took years, really a lifetime, to create. Yet, it was fast. The student loans were paid first, and then the mortgage, too. A couple years ago, I was able to add two more real estate properties in a short 3 months when I wasn't cleaning all the time. My husband and I were finally able to be in unity over our finances. It did not happen overnight, but it was short compared to the several years I spent crying in my basement surrounded my boxes.
Is entrepreneurship a life of ease and chocolate?
If anyone tries to sell you that, you have my loving permission to *gently* slap them. Is owning a business worth the work and love and heart that you pour into it? Yes! Does minimalism help you focus on your true destiny when you cut out all the clutter that is holding you back? Absolutely yes!!
So, release the past and cut the clutter in both your home and your business. Create that sacred space to breathe and gain clarity, and ask for the help that you need. Your destiny is here, in your family and your world, desperately waiting for you!