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Starting a new business during a global pandemic – courage, passion and self-belief is all you need.

A story of clutter, the calm (and courage) after the storm, and great coaches! by Amanda Wheal. So, this is me! It’s a strange thing when you get a calling, despite all logic or sensibility you just have to follow it. So I found myself retiring after 34 years of a very successful teaching career […]

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A story of clutter, the calm (and courage) after the storm, and great coaches! by Amanda Wheal.

So, this is me!

It’s a strange thing when you get a calling, despite all logic or sensibility you just have to follow it. So I found myself retiring after 34 years of a very successful teaching career to start my business as a wedding celebrant for which I had recently trained. At the time I was called brave, inspirational and various other majestic terms but to me it just seemed the obvious choice. They say fortune favours the brave but little did I know what lay ahead and how it changed me forever, and for the better.

I started out feeling I could conquer the world, I chose to specialise in weddings, they were on then off, then on again, but that didn’t bother me, nothing could quell my motivation or enthusiasm. After a few tough years mentally and emotionally my brain was so on fire with ideas I feared I might burn down the house.  I went from not being able to sleep from anxiety about teaching “those” certain students, to not being able to sleep with excitement of each new day. It’s at this moment I know when you might understandably want to reach for a bucket due to my unabridged and cringe worthy enthusiasm

Well of course chaos ensued in this transformation, FOMO went off the scale, I spent hours signing up to every free download on anything business, I printed them and never had time to read them. My learning curve was so steep I thought I might influence the gravitational pull of the earth at one point, and my new printer was not amused. My dining room/office clutter was immense, paper everywhere, doing a “live” meant carefully hiding all the mess to look like I was a model of perfection. I had to post consistently on social media, I had to show up, be visible, sort out my website, sort out my social media, learn to insta, Facebook, increase my followers, be me, be an expert, be authentic, sell but not every day, sort out my SEO, have a funnel, a lead magnet, passive income????!!!!! Trust me “rabbit in the headlights” doesn’t even come close.

It had seemed such a great idea, my self talk had been “of course retire, you were born to be a celebrant…sure you will be financially poorer but healthier and happier right? What price would you put on your mental health and wellbeing? You can be your own boss, take control”

Having taught Psychology for many years all I could think of was Brady’s executive monkeys, sadly I could relate!!!  This wasn’t particularly helpful! At this point I took a giant step back and hit the pause button. Here are some of the lessons I learned from my experience and with the help of some incredible free support, advice, and inspiration from wedding business coaches on Facebook notably Kelly Mortimer from The Wedding Industry “Next Level” and Lucy Bennett “The Wild Hearted Entrepreneur”- I couldn’t have got this far without them!

  • Positive self-reflection and self-talk are essential, several times I didn’t fail I just learnt how to do things better. On this incredible journey I had to realise I couldn’t stop at every location, I needed to be selective and prioritise; there was no room for FOMO in my life. I needed to plan my time, structure my days, take days off, and make my bed every morning, quick wins and achievement count!!!
  • Running around like a 5 year old was fine but not sustainable for a woman in her 50s. This woman in her 50s is wise, a bit battered by life but brave and very self-aware. I learnt that sometimes she needs to appreciate herself a bit more, and look after herself a bit more too.
  • I discovered so much about myself and the only way to explain it to friends was to say I had become an “ageing hippy”, a few years earlier I would have made fun of the person I was now. Shocking isn’t it?? But sometimes life surprises you. I discovered meditation, tapping, thought about manifesting, positive affirmations and even tried quinoa, and to my surprise I liked them all, even the quinoa!!!
  • Social media can be a wonderful thing. I would advise you to join groups who offer free 3 or 5 day challenges, you learn and grow so much. The challenges are frightening and take you way out of your comfort zone, but it’s the only way to grow and develop. The groups are supportive and you can network, make new friends and this leads to great opportunities. These groups give you the practical help and emotional support to grow and learn in a safe nurturing space, and it feels so good to be a part of these communities. 
  • Be aware that your old friends will give you blank looks when you start talking about your new adventures, it can be like you are speaking a language they don’t understand. But it’s ok, they always have your back and should always remain one of your key priorities, diamonds never lose their value.

I am still learning and my future as a small business is uncertain, but you know what…that’s ok. I haven’t been this happy and felt so alive in years, and I know I still have a long way to go, but Amanda’s beautiful ceremonies is still here when you need an amazing wedding ceremony!  If you asked me if I would do it all again my response without hesitation would be “Hell yeah…bring it on!”

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