Why I Decided To Work For Myself –
And Kept Going!
I have been working for myself for the better part of 23 years, since my eldest son was about 6 months old, he’s now 23. What makes me (mostly) happy running my own business includes: getting to play to my strengths and use my mad skills and talent to make a difference to others in the exact way I want to (this has taken a lot of time, but I feel like I am mostly there which is great). I love building relationships and connecting with people, so being in business means that’s a huge part of my week. I am a creative beast, so it makes me super happy that I can put aside time when I’m feeling in the zone to create things that will make my clients even happier, and my business easier to run. And I guess there’s that bit about working in my pj’s if I feel like it too! But it wasn’t always like that.
Where It All Started
When I first started as a contractor in learning and development projects, delivering workshops on demand, and as an instructional designer for RTO’s in 2000, I was suffering from post natal depression. Going back to work was a critical part of recovery and feeling like my old self again. At the time it was more about surviving and feeling human rather than trying to feel happy, which felt like a step too far.
Transitions And Evolution
As my kids grew older and I wanted more from my life and for them, what I did for my business changed too. When you have kids all playing sport, in different places, sometimes at the same time, you have to be available. I found that the full time nature of the projects I was working on was just too much combined with raising three giant humans and the pressures of solo parenting teens.
So I left corporate contracting and the lucrative and fast paced nature of those projects, and took to my bed. I really didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing, or what I really wanted to do, so I rested up, took care of the boys, and didn’t really do much else for a few months at the end of 2014.
I was going through a pretty awful time with my eldest son, and had a relationship break up and lost quite a chunk of money, and was still coping with divorce. I’m sure some readers will totally understand that the process of solo parenting and dealing with a not helpful ex-partner, and kids’ emotional and practical needs is super tough, and doesn’t just stop after the divorce is final. That felt like the start.
Enter Digital Marketing
Although I was missing the training room and felt like I was even grieving for it, I decided I’d focus on copywriting and running my own gig from home. I wasn’t much up to peopling at the time, but it didn’t take long for the rampant extrovert in me to demand more contact, energy and inspiration from others! I have been so fortunate that I found the right communities really early on, I can’t recommend that enough. Find your tribe of other business folk and stick to them. Connection over competition has always been important to me, and boy did I need it as I started this new adventure.
Fast Forward to 2022
Early in 2022 after extended lock downs in Melbourne and the results of all of that (‘nuff said), I was diagnosed with ADHD and a whole new phase began, of self-discovery and learning, of self-advocacy and better boundaries. And boy what an amazing 12 months it’s been. I can truly say this has been life changing and life saving for me. Having the ability to focus and find clarity about what I am truly gifted to do for others, who I want to support and inspire, and how to do that brings me back to my opening paragraph. I’m here to live my potential, to use what I have been gifted, even if that’s an ADHD trait like a hyper intuition about what others need, or knowing the exact thing they want to say to their ideal client.
Being in business for myself makes me so happy. Creativity, inspiration, connection, relationships, variety are all so important to me, and I can achieve my vision and live my values as a result. I encourage women to find the right support if they are thinking of starting out. And if you’re having that entrepreneurial wobble moment of ‘should I just go back and get a real job?’ as we all do, remembering what you love about your business is a great place to decide your next steps.
So, what do YOU love about being in business for yourself?
About The Author
Jenny De Lacy is the founder of Talking Digital, a content marketing consulting and training business based in Melbourne. She specialises in bringing the unique and memorable to her clients’ online content, through their websites, social media, video marketing and more.
Growing up the youngest of five means she honed her communication skills early, quickly learning how to read a room, help others understand one another and bring people together. She turned these skills and a love of learning, into a 30 year corporate career in training and presenting, working for some of the biggest organisations in Australia.
Jenny is an expert in strategic communications, focusing her skills on content marketing, consulting, education and speaking. She helps business founders, leaders, and their teams grow powerful personal brands to show up as the unique and memorable business they want to be.
Rejecting the random and often generic acts of content marketing she sees online. Jenny works closely with her clients to create custom content plans and provides the know-how to implement them, or supports clients with content creation for website, social media, video marketing and more.
A solo mum to three teenage boys, she can be found at co-working spaces and cafes avoiding taxi driving gigs and crimes against personal hygiene.
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