Some people are super happy in corporate America. And some of us (like me) always thought there was something more. Today I’m interviewing Susan Nelson, who, like so many of us, thought about doing her own thing for a long time and is now bridging that gap between full-time career and her own business, leaving the 9 to 5 behind.
When she finally took the plunge to open up her own business (I’ll let you read on to find out what that is) she had to overcome her fears (just like anyone!) in order to be able to say:
The life of an entrepreneur isn’t an easy one, but I wouldn’t change a thing. That stirring that began years ago has led me to where I am today with a growing business and a life that I love.
Read on to hear what she says about the Imposter syndrome, managing her full-time career with her new business, and how she conquers her fears.
I’ve always been independent, really. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I’m an only child. Perhaps I’m just wired that way.
My parents worked at the same job for many years. I just assumed that’s what I would do. Owning a business wasn’t something anyone in our family did.
So, I went to college and upon graduation found myself in a normal 9-5 job. I was getting a steady paycheck, but I wasn’t happy. There was something stirring inside me. Something that yearned for more. More freedom. More money. More ownership.
When my oldest son was born, I returned to the corporate world, but this time, that stirring was becoming more of a loud rumble. I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more.
Eventually, I left the corporate world and joined a direct sales company. I was a high performer earning trips and bonuses and a company car. I was happier than I had been in the corporate world, but the stirring remained.
A contentious divorce sent me back to the working-for-someone-else grind. When the dust had settled and I relocated 1200 miles from where I had spent my entire life, the stirring became so disruptive that I knew it was time to act.
I started to do freelance Human Resources Consulting and loved setting my own schedule and learning new things. It was certainly better than working for someone else, but I was still trading hours for dollars. (Not an effective business model as we are only given so many hours in a day).
It was time to start my own business.
I opened a small company, with my then boyfriend. We manufactured wood mini-albums and decorative elements for the scrapbooking and altered art industry. After a few years and not so much success, we closed the doors.
I dreamed of a successful online business which would give me freedom. Freedom of time. Freedom of money and freedom of creativity. I continued to dream and work the HR business, but over time, I became resentful of the business’ demands on my time.
I just wasn’t sure what to do about it.
I had always been an organization nut. Even in college, I had color coded file folders when I planned my wedding. My spices have always been in alphabetical order. Friends came to me when they wanted to organize a closet or room.
I loved it. I thrived on order. After a marathon reorganizing spree in my home office, my husband joked that I should be a professional organizer.
Wait? What? I laughed it off, but the universe kept sending me signs. One sign was an advertisement for a professional organizer certification course. On a whim, I signed up for the course. As I went through it, the nudging continued.
I live in a rural area, so unless I wanted to drive hours to a client’s home, I couldn’t perform in-person organizing services, but I could offer my services online.
That was it!
Years of wanting to be an entrepreneur and my long-time passion for organization came together in a perfect storm. Susan J Nelson Professional Organization was born!
Now I offer individual virtual coaching, group coaching and a membership program which takes women through their entire home (and many aspects of their life) organizing one cupboard at a time. I have plans to offer courses, as well.
I also share tons of solutions and resources via my blog and videos. The goal is to help overwhelmed women get and take control of their homes and lives in a simple, effective way.
As time goes on, I’m letting go of my HR clients one by one and spending more of my time in my passion – my own business.
I’m finally realizing the MORE that I had dreamed of. I have more time to do what is important to me. More money to live life as I desire. More ownership and creativity to share my passion with the world.
Were you scared starting your new business?
Heck yes! Even though I felt that I was on the right path, taking the leap of faith was terrifying! What if I failed? What if I succeeded?
What tools do you use to combat doubts or fears?
I’ve been doing tons of mindset work including meditations, prayer and journaling and working hard to combat Imposter Syndrome and comparing myself to others.
How did you know for sure that this was the path you were supposed to follow?
Things just started to line up seemingly effortlessly. I knew that combining my passions with my stirrings was the right way to go.
How do you listen in to your inner wisdom?
That’s a tough one as sometimes the inner demons start to talk louder than the wisdom, but I try to be still and not validate my fears. I will continue to do mindset work so that I can better “hear” and listen to my inner wisdom.
How do you manage the duties of home and another career with starting a new business?
Fortunately, for me my business is organization and homemaking so each day as I maintain my own home, I’m honing my skills and finding more to share with my audience. Some days, though, life happens and even the organizer has a messy home. I just get back on the wagon and keep plugging away.
I dedicate 3 hours each morning to running my business before I tackle client work and other home and life obligations.
Where do you go for support and business advice?
I am in a business membership program that has tons of resources and a very responsive coach. I also participate in several Facebook groups for entrepreneurial women which helps tons when I need support.
What has most surprised you about being in business for yourself?
How expensive it can be to purchase all of the tools that I needed to set my business and courses up right the first time.
What keeps you going through the dark times?
My husband is my biggest supporter. He believes in me and feels that I am on the right path. He reminds me not to give up and that I am living my dreams. Dreams to not come true overnight. I just have to stay the course.
Susan Nelson is a professional home, closet and life organizer. She helps overwhelmed women get and take control of their homes and lives one cupboard at a time. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens. Her spices are still in alphabetical order, but for the first time in years, so is her life.