There are many areas of my life where I feel blessed. Lucky. Privilaged. Whatever word one wants to use to express extreme good fortune. Of course, the most important things are that I have a loving and supportive family and that I married a loving and supportive husband, which has lead to two healthy and beautiful children. Then you add things like I married a brilliant guy who loves making money and so uses his brilliance for such things. I would love him the same either way, but it is a very nice side benefit that I don’t need to worry about finances. This doesn’t always stop me from doing so, as I DID grow up in the Midwest, but rationally speaking, I don’t really need to. AND I get to live a really comfortable and privileged life. There are also other things, like, a spiritual fortune where I feel I’ve been lead down a path that was not likely for my upbringing, so I feel even more grateful to have encountered it. And then there is right now. Right now I am typing this very blog post on gratitude from my resort room in Belize.
About 10 months ago I was in a workshop entitled, Your Best Year Yet. It was all about looking forward and creating goals for the coming year. It was a mix of some spiritual woo-woo stuff about putting stuff out to the universe and some Stephen F. Covey stuff about making goals and checking in on them regularly. I’m all about making goals, although much less about checking in on them regularly and I love the idea of putting stuff out to the universe and just having it come to me. Yes, I am ultimately very lazy and I do recognize this about myself. Around this time I knew I wanted to start working in 2010, well, I wanted to start earning money in 2010 (a mother always argues that she is always working and this is true). But I really did not know what direction to go. This was a big reason I was so drawn to doing the workshop. From the exercise, I ended up with a list of 10 goals. This seemed like a lot to me, but then maybe this is because I am lazy. These 10 goals were written with purple marker on sparkly paper – all to make it fun and light and not burdensome, like, now I have to go out and work really hard on all of these goals. That was definitely not the point of articulating my aspirations. Anyway, one of the goals was to make $100,000 doing something that I love. I know – it’s a little vague. We could get into all kinds of psychological reasons why it was because the instructions were actually to be very specific, but somehow, I ended up with a few vague ones on my list. I started the new year with gusto, networking and talking about going back into consumer research. But everyone I spoke with said doing this part time was going to be difficult. OK, yes, I put down that I wanted to earn $100,000 in a year doing something that I love – part time. The ratio of work to money seems a bit disproportionate, but the point was to write anything down that I wanted. There was nothing about reason. After some time, it seemed obvious to me that finding a part time job through normal networking and job-finding channels was going to be challenging. And then I had a little tiny inkling of an idea.
I have two friends who I had thought before that it would be nice to work with them because we have complementary professional skills. None of us were working and I didn’t really know if either of them wanted to, but I put it out there. During a run with one of them I asked if she had any interest in working, maybe together, and maybe with another friend of mine. She was. Then I called my other friend and told her I had an ‘interesting idea’ and that we should meet for coffee. She was intrigued enough to show. I suggested to them that we had complementary skills and would they be interested in starting a conversation about working together. The answer was yes and we started meeting weekly for coffee. Lots of ideas came and went and our bond began to grow. Finally, we agreed to launch a “Marketing Boutique”, a name we thought was original for the few minutes before we went online to find that other people were using the term. It took us a good while to land on our name – ThreeDefined – but every meeting solidified the notion that we were going to make a great team. A couple of us were worried, as you might imagine, about finding clients, but our 3rd partner kept assuring us that they would come. Me, with my MBA was prepared to do all the work to ensure that happened. She just suggested, as she always does, to “just put it out there” and “see what happens.” So we did.
Much to our surprise, clients just started coming. Of course, our first couple clients were people we were close with. Then we got referrals from them and we’ve been busy for a ~ 6 months now without having to make much effort to find them. And then we got this client. A friend and business partner of my husband’s is buying a resort in Belize. He hired ThreeDefined to do the re-branding work so we had to fly down here and get the experience for ourselves so that we can market it properly. Seriously. We really did need to do this to do our jobs effectively. And as I’ve been walking through the waves on the sandy beach, or looking out to the horizon over the vast ocean of blue, I can’t help but notice that I’m earning money carrying out one of my life passions – travel. It would take a small miracle to hit $100,000 by the end of the year, but I have to admit, this really fits the bill. Today we kept looking at each other, as we experienced the snorkeling trip on offer at the resort, and we just kept saying, “ok, seriously?” I think it’s ok to be in disbelief of one’s good fortune. But at some point, I had to give up my disbelief and as I sit here, typing to the rhythm of the sea, I feel intense gratitude that the universe really does seem to be listening. And delivering.