“What if I can’t make it?”
“What if my clients leave me?
“What if I can’t plant roots in Billings, Montana like I did in Youngstown, Ohio?”
I said to myself in a stressed, worried voice in my thoughts.
“You’ll be fine” that voice whispered back in a soothing, calm tone.
It was March 2019. My bags were packed and I was on my way to a new adventure. I was moving across the country. I could feel every emotion I ever thought imaginable…excitement, fear, sometimes at separate times and other times at exactly the same moment
Everything in my life was about to change. EVERYTHING!
Just to share a little back story, I grew up in Canfield, Ohio, a small suburb of Youngstown. It was an ‘everyone knew everyone’ kind of town. I lived there my entire life and the boys attended all of the same schools I did, k-12 to Youngstown State University! It was the kind of town where you worked hard, loyalty, respect, and family were important.
I built my business on those values and made it my job to know as many people as I could in town. Not just a name, but to really know them. Their story, their family, their goals. The weird thing was, we all did that. Youngstown is tough to describe unless you lived there. It’s a little rough around the edges but there’s nowhere else I would have wanted to grow up.
Now I’m heading west!
I had more questions than answers but was more than ready to start this next chapter in my life. I reached out to connect with others that I thought were like-minded women. I wanted to align myself with them because I recognized the value of having that girl boss tribe surrounding you. I thrived on it!
I reached out to the local business growth and development corporation offering to provide free workshops and volunteer in any capacity possible.
I did all of the things that I had worked for me before. Get involve. Get to know people. Help others. This was how I was going to start to plant roots in a new town.
Things aren’t always that pretty
I did all the things that I was supposed to do, or thought I was supposed to do, and got nowhere. Even the local growth and development corporation, which was the closest business to an incubator in town, never followed through and didn’t respond.
What was I doing wrong? I was frustrated and trying to stay positive. I missed everything I knew from before. Nothing was the same anymore. The pace was different in comparison to the east coast, viewpoints and lifestyles were completely different from everything I knew. How can I grow my business and get rooted if the door keeps getting slammed in my face??
Maybe I should just get a 9-5 job again. Ugh!
I had to get quiet to see
I know that sounds silly but it makes sense. I had to be still, step away from the emotions, distance myself from everything I knew, and treat myself like a client. What would I say to me? Trust me, I’m terrible at taking my own advice! I don’t think I’m alone on that either.
It hit me! I was going about it all wrong. I couldn’t do what I had always done because things were different here. Not better. Not worse. Just different. I didn’t have to plant roots here the way I did in Ohio. I just had to keep being true to myself and stay in my lane.
Billings, Montana is a lot like Canfield, Ohio in the sense that there is a strong sense of community. Community being, that they don’t openly accept outsiders. I heard that from several locals who would lean towards me and whisper it as if it was a secret, but based on the number of people who shared that “secret” with me, I’m not sure how much of a secret it really is.
Canfield is similar in the sense that we didn’t like people moving into our community. The difference was that this time I was on the outside of that. When I understood it, I had a new understanding of where they were coming from.
I still had to grow my business but how?
- Stop thinking that what worked before would work now. It doesn’t always happen that way. I had to think differently because now I was on the outside. I had to earn that trust and build those friendships and I did so, without my business in mind.
- I started to build my tribe cautiously. I got burnt when I first moved here and to be fair, I’m sure I was equally at fault. I made some quick and bad decisions thinking I could jump right in and I did…but it was a bad jump.
- I focused on continuing to build my business online. I mean…this is what I do! I don’t need to be rooted in one place when my clients, friends, and followers are all over the place. They are the ones who have always stood by my side, cheered me on during tough times, and became my marketing army. Why was I abandoning them? This is when I needed them!
- Be authentic to who I am. I was comparing myself and allowing comments to influence my thoughts. I had to tune it out and do what I knew how to do.
Guess what happened?
You probably can guess! Things started to come back together for me. Lucky for me, I’m a quick learner. *insert sarcasm* To be honest, it took me longer than it should have. But at least it finally hit me.
Being an entrepreneur is not always easy. We launch a business and fall down as we try to figure it all out. We start to grow and then get a little comfortable, but if we are doing the right things, we will hit that phase of uncomfortableness again. Don’t worry and don’t get too comfortable. If you know that you were meant to do what you are doing, and you feel it deep down inside, then I have no doubts you will figure it out. You may stumble, get frustrated, cry, scream, yell, throw something (no, don’t throw anything), but if you keep pushing through you will find that balance again. Just in time for it to be shaken up one more time.