Before I had my son, I would often spend 12 to 14 hours a day at my computer working on my business or completing work for a client. After my son was born, I had to become more efficient in managing my time and I cut those hours down a bit. And then I started to get tonsillitis every time he got cough or cold. My productivity obviously took a hit whenever that happened and I didn’t enjoy being on antibiotics all of the time.
So, earlier this month, I made a tough choice to prioritize my health over making more money. I decided (with much trepidation) to get a tonsillectomy. Apparently, a tonsillectomy for a kid isn’t that big of a deal. But for adults, it requires weeks and weeks of recovery time and it can be a much riskier procedure. Still, I knew that I needed to take care of myself so that I wouldn’t be sick all of the time – to benefit both my family (my poor husband had to take care of my son alone every time I got sick) and my clients (who were nice enough to give me deadline extensions when I had to take a day off here and there). This meant that my revenue would take a hit in March. But I know that it was the right thing to do.
It has now been 14 days since I had the operation and I am so glad that I never have to go through that ordeal ever again! What I am even happier about is how supportive my clients were through the entire process. It makes me feel very fortunate to work with great people and I am thankful for the decisions I have made over the years to prioritize clients who I enjoy working alongside and who treat me with respect.
The lesson that I have taken away from this experience is that entrepreneurs and small business owners should never ignore health issues in favour of finishing one last client project, or making even more sales for their business. I urge you to consider what is most important in life. Over the long term, you are doing your friends, loved ones and your customers a favour by taking care of yourself. The money will always be there. But you need to maintain your health and well being in order to be the best entrepreneur that you can be.
Second Harvest "Turkey Run" at the Toronto Scotiabank Marathon
I’ve been told that one of the secrets to successful networking is to show that you are vulnerable. If you don’t let people know that you need their help and ask for it, you’ll never get anywhere. I recently made the brave decision to become a freelancer. So, I’ve spent the past few weeks contacting people that I’ve previously worked with to find out how I can help them with their business and/or find out if they know anyone else who I might want to speak with? My goal is to talk to anyone who will listen and who might want to give me some advice.
So far, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have offered to help by either sitting down to talk over coffee or by introducing me to someone else who might be a great contact. People truly do want to help you if you give them the chance. As a result, I have met some very interesting and inspiring people and I feel extremely grateful to all of them.
I used to shy away from networking because I was afraid of making a fool of myself but now my mantra is “always be networking”. What do you have to lose? You just never know who you might meet and everyone has a great story to tell. You might even make some new friends along the way. I figure, if I can dress up in a turkey costume and run 5K in front of thousands of people, I can definitely call someone up and ask them to go for coffee and chat. This week, I am staying open to all possibilities!
Me (Andrea Wahbe) at the finish line of my first triathlon
After gathering up the courage to leave a job that was definitely not for me, I have decided that it’s time to take a chance and go out on my own for a while. The reason for this leap of faith is that I have recently been on countless job interviews and have yet to find a role that I feel is the right next step in my career. So, I figure that taking on a few short-term contracts is the way to go. I’m hoping that I will have the chance to be exposed to new roles that I would never have had a chance to try out as a full-time employee. Luckily, I live in the fabulous city of Toronto – where new start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures are popping up all over the place. I’ve decided to document the challenges that I am facing as a budding entrepreneur who is trying to start my own freelancing business.
To get my first gig, I have reached out to a lot of people who I have worked with in the past. I figure that people who know what it’s like to work with me and the quality of work that I put out is the best place to start. From there, I’m hoping that I will be able to get new clients as I will have built up my experience.
I have been experimenting with a number of social media tools like Twitter and LinkedIn and have discovered a lot of new companies and other entrepreneurs in the Toronto area through these platforms. I also recently attended a “SproutUp” event in Toronto to hear from other entrepreneurs and get some inspiration about what works in regards to promoting yourself and staying true to what you have to offer to the world. If you haven’t heard of Sprouter.com, definitely check them out. They have “SproutUps” every month in Toronto and have an online social media platform to connect with other budding entrepreneurs. The energy in the room at the “SproutUp” was infectious and I really feel that Toronto is just ripe for growth in the start-up arena. It’s a very exciting time to be living here!
This week, I’m also teaching myself how to use WordPress. Hello world! I’m also interested in learning more about the tools that work with Twitter and how I can track my tweets and followers more efficiently. I feel like a new University graduate again and am trying to get my first break! It sounds funny but I feel more alive in my career now than I ever did in previous jobs in the past. I would equate this feeling to training for my first ever triathlon. I know that it’s going to be a long road ahead but if I stick to my plan and persevere, I can reach the finish line!
Stay tuned for my next blog post. I’ll let you know how some of my exploratory meetings with former colleagues go.