I work a lot right now.
Most days I start around 11 am and work ‘til 8 or 9pm when my husband gets home from the lab. A little less on Fridays. But also usually at least a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday.
Easily 50 hours/week for the moment.
But last year I also travelled for more than 9 weeks.
To Portland for a retreat, to Rome and the Amalfi coast with my whole family, home to Canada for a family wedding, to Bermuda to visit my husband’s family, to Thailand for a 3-week belated honeymoon and back to Canada to spend Christmas with our families.
Not to mention the long weekends exploring France: Nice, Cannes, the Dordogne valley, Biarritz…
Because I no longer have to hoard vacation time and ask my boss if I can take time off.
Because I’ve created the flexibility to work from anywhere, if need be.
Because my business fills up our travel fund!
Why being unemployed was the best thing that could have happened to me
The opportunity to spend a few years exploring Europe was a big reason my husband took the job in Bordeaux, France and we moved ourselves, a couple suitcases and our 2 cats from Toronto, Canada two and half years ago.
I've always wanted to live in France so when I left behind a good 9-5 working in communications at one of Canada’s largest universities to follow my husband here, I was thrilled — even though I didn't really know what I was going to *do* here.
After about 5 months I was still unemployed and struggling to find my place.
I couldn't find ANY jobs I even wanted to apply for.
I'd been told these were important “career-building” years. I was supposed to be climbing the ladder. Moving into management. Not spending my late 20s and early 30s waitress-ing or being a tour guide.
I didn't want to put my life on hold while we lived here. I didn't want to take any old job. I wanted to contribute. (To our bank account, yes, but also to the WORLD.)
I felt stuck. Lost. Disappointed with myself.
The thought of running my own business had never crossed my mind. Business owners had buildings, employees, shops and MBAs.
I had a undergrad in meteorology (yes, I used to forecast the weather) and a masters in journalism.
I didn't know anyone who owned an online business — in fact, I didn't even realize our world existed.
Until one day, in the many hours I spent online “looking for a job,” I happened upon Marie Forleo.
The entire world of solopreneurs and people running online business doing things they cared about (without employees or much overhead!) blew my mind.
Suddenly I realized THAT was the kind of success I wanted.
My new definition of success
The freedom to do what I love most. To challenge myself every single day and to control what I spend my time creating.
The ability to get paid for it.
The flexibility to travel whenever we wanted. (Including wherever my husband’s career takes us next — without having to start over again!)
And someday, when we are ready to start to family, the ability to tailor my business to make time for our kids.
My definition of success changed in an instant when I discovered the world of online entrepreneurship and in May it’ll be two years since I officially opened the doors here at jackiejohnstone.com.
Success is very much a work-in-progress (and always will be!)
I’m not going to tell you it’s been all sunshine and roses.
I’m working more than I ever did in corporate.
But now that my business is more established, I’m working on scaling back my crazy work weeks.
I don’t make 6-figures.
But I am now earning more each month than I did in my last job.
I've invested A LOT in business training and coaching and spent most of my free time learning about business for the last 2 years.
But I've started to make time for NON-business-related reading and hobbies recently. (I read my first non-business book in AGES on our honeymoon in Thailand, I recently took my first salsa lesson and I’m knitting a scarf!)
I know adding a baby into the mix someday is going to mean a lot of change, and planning, and readjusting.
But here’s what I've realized: my success is a work-in-progress, both in it’s definition and it’s creation.
And yours can be too.
We don’t have to wait to “be successful.”
We are successful now.
We don’t have to subscribe to someone else’s idea of success.
We can define what success looks like for us.
But we also don’t have to be happy with every single facet of our business or life: we can keep striving for more — and still be successful.
Success is a work-in-progress.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.
I’m so glad we live in a world where the internet allows people like us to create something uniquely ours and gives us the freedom to choose — and create — our own success.
I’m so glad I couldn't find a job.
I’d love to hear from you
What’s your definition of success? Has it changed since you started your business? Is it a work-in-progress for you?
I’d love to hear about the big things — and the little things! — that keep you going on this entrepreneurial path.
PS: This is just the beginning of this amazing Biz That Loves You Back Blog Tour! Some of my favourite entrepreneurs are sharing how they run businesses that love them back over the next 29 days. You can sign up for a weekly digest — and check out the full calendar on Racheal’s site.