Why I’m glad I couldn’t find a job in France (Biz Love Blog Tour)

Top Nav


Why I’m so glad I couldn’t find a job in France (Biz Love Blog Tour)

I'm a proud participant in Rachael Cook's Biz Love Blog Tour! I found Rachael (aka The Yogipreneur) very early in my online business-building journey and I've admired her ever since. Her commitment to building a business that fits *her* life (and not the other way around!) was inspiring and I love her practical, down-to-earth, heart-centered style.

I was thrilled when she asked me to contribute to the Biz That Loves You Back Blog Tour with 29 other amazing entrepreneurs. Yesterday Racheal kicked off the Blog Tour talking about How Extreme Self-Care Helped Her to Double Her Business and tomorrow Kathy Stowell of Bliss Beyond Naptime will be sharing her wisdom.

But today I’m sharing how I redefined — and created! — my own version of success after months of unemployment so you can do the same. 

Why I’m so glad I couldn’t find a job in France (Biz Love Blog Tour)

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!

Biz Love Blog Tour - Jackie Johnstone

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.

Pin It
Opt In Image

>> In this free training you'll learn:

  • The number one mistake people make when it comes to their social media content
  • How to generate a month’s worth of content in a few short hours(using the same system I use AND teach my private clients)
  • What works (& what doesn’t) on Facebook and Twitter (with TONS of real examples)
  • How to automate this piece of your social media presence so it works hard getting you noticed while you’re busy doing other stuff

, , ,

26 Responses to Why I’m so glad I couldn’t find a job in France (Biz Love Blog Tour)

  1. Racheal Cook April 2, 2015 at 13:46 #

    Loved this post Jackie! My hubby and I lived in Brazil for a just six months before we got married and had kids – I think everyone should live in a new country and explore the world at some point in their life! What I love is that even though you’re working a lot now, you’re making time for new experiences and hobbies. So important! Thanks for being a part of the Biz that Loves You Back Blog Tour!

    • Jackie Johnstone April 2, 2015 at 14:10 #

      Thank you Racheal! It really is a mind-expanding experience to live abroad, we don’t realize what we take for granted at home AND it’s definitely a recipe for lots of those outside-the-comfort-zone moments that make us who we are :) Thanks so much for having me on the Biz that Loves You Back Blog Tour!

  2. Becky April 2, 2015 at 15:03 #

    Love this, “my success is a work-in-progress, both in it’s definition and it’s creation”. I know you mentioned you work hard but your outlook and attitude make it all sound fabulous!

    • Jackie Johnstone April 2, 2015 at 15:25 #

      Aw, thanks Becky! Scaling back on my work week is coming, but it’s all part of this crazy business journey and we can’t wait for “perfect” to call ourselves successful, can we? Because it just doesn’t exist!

  3. Beth April 2, 2015 at 15:15 #

    My version of success is doing something I love while having time for my kids. My youngest is in preschool so we spend our afternoons together. This week I taught him how to ride a bike! That’s success.

    • Jackie Johnstone April 2, 2015 at 15:26 #

      Ooh Beth I LOVE this! That absolutely is success. And such a big motivator for doing what we do, eh?

  4. Marina Darlow April 2, 2015 at 15:46 #

    Jackie, your post resonated with me.

    It’s awesome to read about your success, about the freedom and the flexibility, about the joy your business gives. It’s inspiring.
    And the bit about not (yet?) living the 4-hour-week lifestyle is *truly liberating.* It’s rare to see an online entrepreneur openly say “I work a lot, and I’m not making six figures, but I feel wildly successful”. It’s even rarer when this rings true, the way it does in your post.

    Thank you for that. Did I mention, liberating?

    As for me, success is definitely a work-in-progress. Success is when people love my writing (a big one – I was shying away from writing for… forever). When I see my clients succeed, and hear them say I have a part in it.
    Most of all, success is about overcoming. Getting out of the comfort zone, overcoming fears and resistances, doing that one new and terrifying thing, and saying to myself “turns out I CAN! Who would have thunk?”

    Thank you for that post again. Loved it.

    • Jackie Johnstone April 2, 2015 at 15:57 #

      Thank you so much, Marina! That was totally the purpose of this post — success comes in many packages and honestly, I’m a little a tired of the “I make 6 figures while I sleep and travel and never work” rhetoric myself. I’m all for systems, working smart and generating passive income but there is A LOT of work that goes into it all and I really believe we should share the real journey — not just the sparkly outcome.

      I LOVE your definition of success. That feeling of doing something we didn’t think we could really is the best, isn’t it? Thank you so much for sharing :)

  5. farideh April 2, 2015 at 16:30 #

    I always love your writing – you really let people in on your business and what it looks like.

    I had no idea you’d never thought of starting a business before. You’re such a natural and so systematic – it makes complete sense that this is where the journey would take you.

    Business is an evolution!! SO TRUE! I think I thought when I took that first leap it would be the only big leap I’d need to take – I realize that every few months I am taking a leap of faith on a product, new service, raising prices and all that jazz.

    And it’s all an act of love.

    Can’t wait to see where the next two years take you.

    • Marina Darlow April 2, 2015 at 17:05 #

      Farideh, I can so relate to the feeling of the big leap every time you do something new. The first email campaign, the first video series, the first reach-out to a big fish. They all require strong faith-leaping muscles.
      So true.

    • Jackie Johnstone April 2, 2015 at 18:32 #

      Thank you for those lovely words, Farideh! I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason (even if we can’t see yet what that is) and it’s clear that my path led me here, to successfully running my own online business. And being unemployed was all part of that :)

      And YES to leaps, always leaping. Always evolving. But that’s the best part!

      So glad to be on this journey with you :)

  6. Jess April 2, 2015 at 16:37 #

    All the feels after reading this.

    I love your 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 and the ability to get paid for it.”

    That + being SO MUCH happier than I was in corporate world. That’s success. :)

    • Jackie Johnstone April 2, 2015 at 18:33 #

      Aw, thanks Jess! Totally hear you on the happier — *this* is what we were meant to do! *high five*

  7. Kimber April 2, 2015 at 16:54 #

    great post. I love your writing style it seems so heart felt. Thank you for sharing your story. Success is definitely different from person to person.

    • Jackie Johnstone April 2, 2015 at 18:34 #

      Thank you, Kimber! This one definitely came straight from the heart :)

  8. Janet April 2, 2015 at 18:13 #

    I can TOTALLY relate – when I left my corporate job, I was a little lost but took a leap and decided to do something I loved – art, web design and helping people! Now that I can do that anywhere (home, France, etc.), take time for my family and other things I love – I’ve never been more happy AND all of that to me is success! :) Thanks for sharing Jackie, I never would have guessed. As Farideh said, you’re such a natural!

  9. Rena April 2, 2015 at 18:39 #

    As a former corporate, I relate all to well to your story, Jackie. Success to me means being brave enough to listen to my heart and do the things that make me happy every day. Owning my business helps me with that. It’s requires being brave, but the rewards and the potential is endless.

    • Jackie Johnstone April 3, 2015 at 17:27 #

      Ooh Rena, gives me chills just reading your definition of success! Love that.

  10. Amanda Jessop April 2, 2015 at 21:43 #

    Great article. I was in the same boat with working in corporate America in sales for 7 years and HATED it. I used to think success was making tons of money and working a million hours a week, when finally my health declined so much that I realized it wasn’t worth it any more. Fitness has always been my passion, and even though im not making the money yet that I was in corporate America.. my quality of life is so much better.. and that’s worth it.

    • Jackie Johnstone April 3, 2015 at 17:29 #

      Yay, Amanda! We sometimes need our circumstances to force us to open our eyes (like your health, or my move) but I really do believe everything happens for a reason and we end up exactly where we are supposed to be. So glad you are enjoying life more!

  11. Sarah April 7, 2015 at 22:31 #

    Hey Jackie! Thanks for the encouraging post! I’ve been following your FB advice and find it really helpful, and loved the 4 Pillars of Social Media master class you did for Racheal’s CBD alum. Just wanted to say hi and thanks. Just learned here you’re from Toronto- I live in Toronto!
    Bye for now~

  12. Natasha April 9, 2015 at 11:22 #

    Oh, I love your article, Jackie! I agree that there is way too much pressure for our success to look a certain way. AND often times we are the ones putting that pressure on ourselves. I find that hard work is a necessary part of the equation. Especially in the beginning stage of building a business. But when we work hard on our terms and design success that’s meaningful to us, the journey becomes the reward in and of itself.

  13. Alison April 9, 2015 at 16:11 #

    The online business world can be tricky to see from a corporate viewpoint. Kudos to you for giving it a go and finding your version of success!

  14. Hannelene May 4, 2015 at 03:56 #

    Jackie, thanks so much for writing this!

    I am starting in business because I follow my husband’s career around the world, and got tired of people saying “oh, you could get a great spouse-job as so-and-so’s admin” when I had my own successful career for years. We move every three years, and finding a job, trying to make it work, and then doing it all again can be just exhausting.


  1. How to Get to First Base with the Business of Your Dreams | Bliss Beyond Naptime - April 3, 2015

    […] the tres chic social media pro Jackie Johnstone shared her very enviable set up of  living and loving  her biz in France, and tomorrow the […]

Leave a Reply