Growing my Business through Peaks and Valleys

It’s been several weeks {okay, over a month…}, but today I’m writing to you from a mountain.

Okay, I’m not literally sitting on top of a mountain with my computer plugging away on this blog post. It’s more like a “Cloud 9” kind of mountain. I’m in a good place. A great place, actually.

My business is finally rocking and rolling down here in Houston. I’ve actually had to turn a few opportunities down. This solopreneur is even considering hiring someone part time!

How did I get here?!

Climbing this mountain took a while. Longer than I was expecting actually, and with a lot more setbacks. After months of transition and not feeling so great, I thought I was ready to go after some new business. The problem is I went about it all wrong. I was going after what I needed {cash money} instead of what I wanted {partnerships with companies that excite me}.

I knew I was making desperate choices instead of smart ones. Our move drained our savings more than either my husband or I had anticipated. The cost of living adjustment was also out of line with our Google research before the move. Add some blown out tires, a broken water heater, and a dead refrigerator to the list {have I mentioned those baby doctor bills?} and we found ourselves in a valley.

The pressure – whether real or imagined – was on me to guide our family out of the valley and begin climbing our mini-financial mountain of debt.

We already use coupons, don’t eat out and follow a pretty scaled back budget. So if I didn’t grow my business, and soon, I might as well set up camp down here in the valley and get comfortable. I could easily take my kids out of preschool and save a ton of cash. It’s our {like most working families} second largest monthly expense after our mortgage. Surely I could manage my current workload during naps and after hours like a lot of other work-from-home mamas do. It was an option.

The other option was to increase our income. My income. I had always intended to grow my business once we got settled, but for some reason {ahem, morning sickness} it just hadn’t been a priority until it became a necessity.

Since I work at my computer all day, I started online. I joined several freelancer websites, built out my digital marketer profiles online, and I found projects quite quickly. The problem was that, for me, the work was both temporary and uninspiring. And frankly, I wasn’t going to be paid what I was worth since many of these jobs could have just as easily been outsourced overseas.

I have no doubt that eventually I could have climbed a mountain like this, but it would have been the equivalent of circling the mountain at a very low incline. Around and around I would have gone slowly accumulating height along the way, but I would have been exhausted. No, I know the quickest route from point A to point B is a straight line.

It was time to reevaluate my approach to how exactly I planned to grow my business.

I took to cold calling on local companies. After a lot of research online of companies that I would want to collaborate with, I picked my favorites and approached them with how I could improve their online presence. I actually got a handful of responses this way and even a face to face meeting. Unfortunately, budget became an issue and the longterm potential for us to partner together seemed unlikely.

I felt stuck as I looked up at this mountain I so badly wanted to climb.

grow my business

Do I start walking around the base of the mountain? People have made much worse sacrifices to help support their families than working for less than they’re worth.

Do I acquiesce to a life in the valley? Pulling my kids out of school would take a huge line item off of our expenses every month.

I seriously considered it, but ultimately I knew that this mountain mama and her adventurous kiddos probably wouldn’t be happy down there for long.

And so I decided I was going to lean on the small but mighty network I had developed since moving to Houston.

I told my new mom friends bluntly what I was capable of and that I was looking to grow my business. I actively solicited referrals at my monthly FemCity events. Within just two weeks I had 6 prospects, and three of those turned into clients.

It’s been a a few weeks and I’m still adjusting to the air up here out of the valley. It’s been a whirlwind of success, and I’m excited that my door keeps getting knocks!

The truth is, we always have choices. But when you’re down in a valley looking up at that mountain it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m proud to be in a position where I’ve been strategically climbing towards that peak and am now blessed with different routes for how to get there.

My current view tells me this mountain range is quite long with many peaks to climb and a vast valley down below. As a business owner, I will always be growing my business through peaks and valleys. I will constantly be faced with new opportunities and new challenges, and some of those will be unavoidable.

I think it’s important during our highs and our lows to remember that it’s only temporary, something I wish I had told myself earlier when camped out in the valley.

For my business and my family, it seems the hike has just begun.

3 Replies to “Growing my Business through Peaks and Valleys”

  1. This is great, Lauren! Thanks for sharing, I’m forwarding to another mom business owner friend of mine as we were just having this type of conversation yesterday. 🙂

  2. Great post,
    I especially love the specifics on the actions you took and your motivation to move forward. You’ve illustrated one of the overlooked ways for business moms to get what they want: Ask.

    I’m gun-shy of joining an all-female networking group because I’m a pretty offbeat mom, but at the end of the day, nothing ventured really does equal nothing gained. Thanks for raising my interest once again in finding a local fem-focused networking group for some good old fashioned person-to-person marketing.

    All the best,
    -T. A.

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