Community//

Look Before You Leap… And Don’t Let It Slow You Down

This was one of the biggest leaps of my life. I gave up so much security and safety and I took the plunge... the outcome was not what I expected!

Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash
Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

My foray into the career world started pretty well really… Sure, I went through the usual traumas associated with it. Putting in resume’s, going for interviews, getting rejected. The usual “fun and games”.

I even got one or two jobs.. the first lasted a month (thank goodness, because I would have fallen asleep if I’d stayed much longer) and the second one didn’t pay me on time, so I left it behind.

Then I landed it… The position of positions… One I thought I never really had a shot at… A job in a government department. 

Granted, I started as a temporary only, but it was a foot in the door.  The department I was employed by was not the greatest. I worked in a cesspool of data entry clerks, and I can tell you, the cattiness was rife. It really was horrible.

It was a MASSIVE step in the right direction though.  I stayed for a couple of years, and then managed to land an even better job… the only female in 30 guys.   SO… MUCH… BETTER!

I could have stayed right there for the next 40 years if I wanted, because shortly after I started there, I was made a permanent employee. So that basically meant, that I’d have to do something really funky to get fired, and as long as I did the minimum requirement each day, I was good.

I can even recall my supervisor telling me more than once, “There’s no prizes for heroes here, so just do the minimum and we all win”. 

So, I stayed in this job for a few years. Basically as long as I showed up on regular basis, and did the minimum, I was good. I’d get paid every two weeks, and being a permanent government position, it made me one of the safest employees there was. 

Then all of a sudden my world changed. My father suddenly passed away at 54, and amongst all the pain and sadness, a realisation hit me like a bolt of lightning.  I wanted more.  I didn’t want to be stuck in a dead end job (even though it was safe, it would still go nowhere) for the rest of my life. 

But who in their right mind would give up a secure, permanent job in a government department? Who in their right mind would risk losing something that would see them through for the rest of their lives? Who in their right mind would give up all that safety and certainty.  Ha Ha.

THIS GIRL!

My husband at the time felt the same way, and so we actually purchased a business together. It was a commercial cleaning franchise (YUCK!) and in the beginning it was really hard going. 

See, we didn’t give up our security to start with.  We kept our day jobs as well as doing the business. 

The franchise we bought came with it’s own security features. We’d bought into a deal that guaranteed us a minimum of $2000 a month income for 24 months. But that still wasn’t enough for us to feel we could leave our day jobs.

So the adventure began. We’d be up at 1am to do the cleaning contracts. We’d arrive back home at around 6:30am, shower, eat, and then head off to our day jobs until around 5pm. Then it would be home, eat, and sleep.  This was our life 5 out of 7 days a week. We still had the cleaning contracts on the weekends, but at least the load was a little lighter.

Whilst all this was going on, I skipped a few days in my day job to build the business.  I’d go from place to place, looking for cleaning contracts.  Due to my hard work, I managed to build the business quickly from the guaranteed $2000 a month, to $8000 a month. This meant I could then take the leap of faith and quit my nice secure government position.  So I did!

Trouble was to come though. Cleaning men’s urinals at 2am in the morning didn’t really thrill me.  Cleaning beer sticky bar floors that your shoes stuck to when you walked on them was really unpleasant, and as much as I begged my husband to let me just build the business and hire cleaners, he wouldn’t have it.

And then the ultimate happened. The marriage ended.  It had been coming for a long time, and finally the straw broke.  I did my best to ensure a smooth transition, but my husband had other ideas. The day I announced it was over, I didn’t really realise how true those words were.

My husband left that day, with the only form of transport I had.  He left me holding the keys to all the contracts I’d sold, and left me alone at 24, with no car, and cleaning contracts in the middle of a major city, in the middle of the night. 

There was no way I could get to the contracts, it just wasn’t safe. Not to mention the workload was just way too much for one person. I had a couple of friends come and help me for a night or two, however, my husband also cleaned out the bank account, so there was no money to pay them.

48 hours later, there was a knock at the door.  It was the head franchisor and he’d come to collect.  The terms and conditions of the franchise were clear. If you could not maintain your contracts for a 48 hour period, you lost them… even the ones you’d secured yourself.

So, in the space of 48 hours I’d lost EVERYTHING.  No money, no business, no secure government job. In fact, I had absolutely nothing left… nowhere to go…  nowehere to turn… Now what?!!?!?!

See, even though this particular leap didn’t work out as I planned, the fact is, it taught me many things.  It taught me that I could do it.  It taught me that everything happens for us. It taught me that no matter what, you can always find the way. 

I went back to corporate for a short while (private of course) but the bug was now planted firmly inside me. The next time I took the leap, only a few months later, was 100 times easier.

Now, I’ve been in business for myself for over 21 years and have created, built and sold 10 successful businesses.  I’ve never looked back, and do not regret one moment of that leap, or any of the leaps since. 

So, if you are in the position where you want to LEAP, and you are holding back because you are scared or frightened, don’t be.

My advice to you is.  Do your research, put some things in place, take MASSIVE ACTION and JUMP!  No matter what, things will always work out and even if they don’t turn out the first time, you’ll show yourself just how resourceful and resilient you can be. 

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