People see my life and they see a millionaire, an entrepreneur, an author and the owner of the world’s largest closet. They see the material things I’ve obtained and the wealth I’ve accumulated, but what they don’t see is the backstory and my struggle to get to where I am today.
You see, I wasn’t always a millionaire. I grew up a sickly child on a farm in Nebraska with humble beginnings. My first jobs were farm work and ranch work including milking and tending to the cows. A strong work ethic was embedded in me very early on. While other kids were riding their bikes and dressing their barbies, I had responsibilities. I was also a very sickly child, a diagnosis of rheumatic fever left me with a heart murmur and days that I just didn’t feel my best. I learned to work when sick and when I just didn’t want to. I took this value of commitment and dedication with me as I entered adulthood. It was the routine and expectation of hard work as a child that laid the foundation for the entrepreneur I am today.
At age 25 I fell in love, married, and before I knew it the marriage had dissolved and I was a single mother with two children. I was literally starting over with next to nothing, sleeping on the floor in a one room apartment until I was able to build myself back up.
Through hard work, faith, and determination, I built a chain of fitness studios. The change didn’t happen overnight. There was even a period where my children and I slept in the back of the health club to cut down living expenses and keep the health club open. Over the years I began investing, making good financial choices, sacrificing and working hard. By 38 I was a self-made millionaire, but building an empire while raising two children alone was not easy — it was the mountain of struggles I went through that finally got me to that place of financial peace.
Generally thinking, women start to put their dreams on hold to nurture the dreams and aspirations of their children. I learned that when I followed MY dreams I could provide much more easily for my children and in turn help them to follow their dreams as they got older. As mothers we unconsciously pour everything we have into our children, often leaving nothing for ourselves. If we remember to nurture ourselves and what drives us, I found that it not only results in the realization of our own dreams, but ultimately our children do benefit.
Now is the time. According to Elegant Entrepreneur, A Female Founder’s Guide to Starting & Growing Your Own Company by Danielle Tate, The 2012 U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Small Business Owners for women was full of fantastic news for aspiring female founders. The survey showed that there are more women-owned businesses than ever before, 9.9 million women-owned businesses, to be exact. That is a 28% increase from the 2007 census. Take advantage of the upswing and the support that is out there for women owned business.
As you set out on the road to success, keep in mind the following tips:
Ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone. Support is crucial to every empire. Know your strengths and find others whose strengths are your weaknesses. Together you are bound to be successful.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
Have a task list, then decide what is most important and focus on only that priority until it is done. You will feel less overwhelmed if you focus on one thing at a time as opposed to several things at once.
Have a Routine
This doesn’t just include a routine to manage your responsibilities but also a routine to manage your personal needs. A proper diet and exercise are crucial as you start to build you business. If you take care of your body you will have more energy to get done everything you need to get done.
Don’t see obstacles, focus on the goal
What you focus on expands, so focus on your goals not the challenges. There will always be challenges but focusing on the goal will make the solutions come easier.
Being a single parent is not an excuse to put your dreams on hold. Parents often feel guilt associated with chasing their dreams and advancing their career. Don’t. It is possible to be a very present parent and still do the things that make YOU happy. Finding the balance is often a difficult adjustment period, but once you find that groove, there is nothing better.