“It’s not what I imagined. I’m just not making any money.”
These are the words I heard recently when I caught up for a coffee with a former colleague who had just started up his own marketing consulting business.
Unfortunately, this story is all too common.
As a successful digital marketer within a big corporate, earlier this year he found his whole world suddenly come crashing down when he was made redundant.
As a credit to him, rather than letting it get him down too much, he saw this new situation as an opportunity to do something he’d been wanting to do for years – to start his own business. He was well respected in his field, had developed a lot of good contacts throughout his career, and he felt he was ready for this.
Very quickly he had a business name registered, a logo designed, website created, business cards printed, and he was on his way.
Then reality started to set in.
He soon discovered how overcrowded the marketplace for digital marketing consultants can be, particularly for new businesses trying to establish themselves.
There was no doubt that he could create some incredible campaigns, but so could others – and cheaper too.
It wasn’t long before he found himself in a price war, which we all know at the end of the day is a war that nobody ever wins.
The bottom line was that he had a mortgage and a family to feed, and this just didn’t seem sustainable.
He didn’t want to jump back into a corporate marketing role either, as he didn’t see any of the available positions as sustainable either.
Basically, he was feeling pretty down about things.
That’s when I shared my experience.
So much of what he shared with me on that day, I could relate to.
A few years back, I was made redundant from a corporate marketing role, and at the time most certainly felt like my entire world had come crushing down, and I too had a family to support.
However, unlike my esteemed colleague, I stepped away from the marketing space altogether. I took on a new career in a completely different field. Not only did this teach me a whole range of new skills, what was more important was that it cleared my mind of all the clutter and stress I’d experienced in the few years prior.
In this new career, I was able to develop a flexible work approach, which lead to a fantastic work life balance.
It was at that time that I discovered how much I’d missed indulging in my long-time passions of marketing and communications. So, in a head space clearer and more focused than I’d ever been, I dived in and created the Optune business.
As I further shared my experience with him, I started to see his eyes light up and question how am I managing this financially?
Well… What he didn’t realise (and what many of you may not either) is that I’m still working in this other job. Optune is simply a part time/ side hustle for me.
I don’t make a lot of money out of it, but I love what I’m doing.
Sure, I’d love for it to make me rich. Who knows? Maybe one day it will.
But, for now I’m putting food on the table for my family, I’m relishing in the variety of it all, and I’m much happier for it.
My advice to him was to not always buy in to all these so called ‘successful entrepreneurs’ who say you need to commit 100% or nothing. Sometimes we need to take a different approach in order to achieve what we individually consider success.
I wasn’t suggesting that the way I had done things was necessarily right for him, but I’d like to think that sharing all of this gave him a little bit of food for thought.
Later that week…
A few days later, I received an email from him. He thanked me for the catch up and the discussion we’d had. He then told me that I’d inspired him so much that he’d submitted his application to work in the same ‘day job’ that I was in.
He said he wasn’t giving up on running his own business. He was just putting it on hold until the time was right.
He also admitted that by making this one change, he already felt quite a weight lift off his shoulders.
It felt great receiving this email, and I really hope things work out for him.