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PDX workshop (186)

I‘m a regular follower of your blog and whilst I love the amaze-balls photography and reading about real couples kick-ass big days, what I love most is the Green Room, or more specifically the attitude you have to your business, brand and beliefs. Because of that (and I don’t normally do this I swear!) I’m writing to you to ask for some words of wisdom.

I’m at the very beginning of setting up an online business as a virtual assistant/PA but I’m starting to crumble under the weight of everyone else’s opinions already which in turn is making me feel like I should just quit. 

I’m 29 and to date (deep breath) I’ve had 23 jobs… I’ve never been happy in anything I’ve done. I initially started out training to be a primary school teacher and did that for a year after realising it wasn’t for me and since then I’ve been lost. I floated into social work, vets, travel agents, office support, housing associations, youth workers, ambulance 999 call handler – you name it I’ve probably done it. I’m currently working as an office manager at a software company and honestly want to cry most days. My colleagues are lovely and the managers are OK –  I have definitely had worse – but I’m so unfulfilled and I hate to admit it but I feel like a bit of a failure.

Setting up on my own is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I know I have the fire in my belly that will spur me on. Ultimately I want freedom and I do believe I can have that by working for myself. True to form I’ve been through a lot of business ideas up to this point! Everything from running a pancake van to starting a theatre company for kids, but this idea of being a virtual PA is the first I’ve had where the passion to get it going hasn’t gone away quickly. 

My main issue is getting past the negative and ‘helpful’ comments from my friends and family that are actually really sarcastic and really hurtful. Everyone keeps saying that this idea is “just another one of my phases” and “it will pass” or they roll their eyes when I start to talk about my business ideas. My mother even said I have a “self-destruct button”. It makes me feel rotten rotten rotten, drains my self-confidence and makes me feel like maybe I actually don’t have what it takes to get the customers and make this work. I know that my mum is not saying it to be mean or nasty, but in this particular area of my life I really feel like my loved ones don’t understand me at all.

I’m finding it really hard to ignore what they are saying and draw positives from it to give me the strength to continue.  My two sisters (both younger than me) went down the very traditional path of school-university-qualified in something-successful careers-married-children. I am none of those things. I feel like such a failure. 

I’d be eternally grateful for any advice or help you could give me to assist in giving me my focus back! I understand you’re a busy lady, thanks a million squillions and I’ll understand if you can’t reply…

PDX workshop (155)

My heart literally ached when reading your email. I want to reach through my computer screen and give you the biggest hug ever. I’m sorry you feel so low and that your family and friends are being so rubbishly unsupportive right now.

Firstly – and this is the most important thing – you are not a failure. I know this is true because you actually want to make your life better – you just haven’t got there yet. A failure wouldn’t care. They’d be happy doing any old job, or claiming benefits, or not working at all… that isn’t you. Far from it.

My biggest piece of advice to you would be this, and it might be hard to hear, but you have to ignore them. You have to let their snarky words go. Sure, they may be saying these awful things because they think they have your best interests at heart, or to them it’s just a big joke, but they aren’t the ones living your life – you are. You need to take control, with or without their support. Having them believe in you would obviously be preferable, but just because they don’t right now, doesn’t mean success is not in store for you.

Any epic journey that’s worth travelling is going to be difficult. It will be convoluted, winding and there will be a million different directions you could go. This is not the Yellow Brick Road, my friend, and it doesn’t lead directly to the Emerald City. If getting your own business off the ground was easy, everyone would be doing it. Life is never that straight forward.

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Do you think the most successful business people ‘made it’ on their first try? Do you think Richard Branson’s first business idea was the one that made him the multi-zillionaire that he is today? Hell no! Remember Virgin Cola, V-Shop, Virgin Brides or Virgin Cosmetics? He’s had so many businesses under the Virgin banner and while some of them – Virgin Airlines, Virgin Media & Virgin Experiences for example – have been massively successful, there is a huge long list of ventures that never really got off the ground.

Everything you have done up to this point has been valuable in some way and I bet you’ve learnt at least one useful skill from every job. Everything you’ve experienced has helped to mould you into the person you’ve become – and will become in future. Maybe you weren’t meant to run a pancake van, but without going through that process, you probably wouldn’t be where you are now: passionate and driven to make this new idea work. Maybe you wont be a virtual assistant forever, but maybe you will, and how will you know without trying?

By the way, I have two younger sisters too. We all went to University – one of them to do Higher Maths and the other, Theology… I did Film Studies. They both graduated with First Class Honours (both of them at the top of their class!) while I just scraped a 2:1. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others, but it’s true what they say, comparison is the thief of joy. I could have wallowed in the fact that I didn’t feel as clever as my younger siblings or I could have used the skills I gained by doing a course that was 100% coursework essays to become a writer…

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I know this is a totally different and quite trivial comparison, but I’ve been trying to get into drinking green juice for breakfast every morning (I’ve managed two weeks so far!) But every day since I started Gareth has been like “Oh look at you, trying to be healthy, it won’t last, it’s just a fad… blah blah blah…” Now I know he’s just saying it as a joke and at first I was really frustrated that he wouldn’t believe that I really wanted to do this but, weirdly, it has spurred me on to prove him damn wrong! I actually wonder if I would have managed two whole weeks without his little jibes. If you can, let your family’s comments do the same for you. Go out and prove them wrong!

Finally, if you feel comfortable doing so, why don’t you sit down with your mother and tell her how you feel? Or write her a letter if that’s too awkward? Tell her gently what you told me. I’m sure she, and the rest of your family, do only want what’s best for you. I know they don’t want to hurt you and all they really want is to see you happy. Sometimes people just don’t realise how hurtful their little ‘jokes’ can be.

I hope this is in some way helpful and you have the BIGGEST GOOD LUCK wishes from me. Now go out and virtual assist up a damn storm!

Suppliers

37 comments

  1. To the writer of this email – like Kat my heart just ached reading this. I too am an eclectic kind of person with many passions. I found being in an office and the drudgery of doing one thing all the time really difficult, and just a year out of university I quit my job to go full time on my blog. This wasn’t a financially motivated or ambitious decision, I NEEDED to do something with my life that was going to allow me the freedom and the space to create a life for myself that I love.

    I just lost my father and he was the most interesting man I knew – every year he seemed to have a different hobby or “phase” that he was completely into, he built up the most magnificent skillset over his too-short lifetime because he didn’t believe in wasting a moment of his (direct quote) “wild and precious life”.

    Life is what you make of it – I run a wedding blog now, and I plan to continue doing so, but the freedom it gives me is wonderful. I spend half my day on my blog and the other half training to be a singer, something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the courage until I lost my father and saw how quickly it can all be over.

    So please, from my heart to yours, don’t let other people’s limitations ruin your enthusiasm and your passion. Follow your instincts, even if they take you in a million different directions until you settle into something that’s right (or you have a pickn’mix life like I do) and trust that it will ALWAYS work out somehow.

    I believe that life is a playground. Feed your soul, don’t waste your days rotting away in a job you hate, a relationship that sucks – don’t dream about trying something only to put it off because you don’t feel “good enough” and don’t let the neuroses and lack of faith from others stop you from throwing yourself wholeheartedly into living for YOU.

    <3

  2. Please don’t feel like a failure, whoever you are I hope you read this blog post! I’m lucky my parents are rather supportive about my blog and even super supportive about the fact I mostly review and give free advice on using modern cloth nappies. My in-laws however… not so much. They don’t seem to understand that I am not just sitting at my computer playing games and reading Facebook for the hell of it. No I’m writing blog posts that I’m being paid to do, I’m trying to keep my audience engaged with helpful and enjoyable content and I’m trying to run my social media as well. Yes I enjoy it but why would I want to do a job that I hate?

    Ignore them, if you want to be a virtual PA then go and shine brightly and prove them all wrong! 🙂

  3. Lel Hurst

    This is such a brilliant post. I think we all have people in our lives who are well meaning but are risk averse, and dont want to see people they care for taking risks they wouldn’t necessarily take themselves. Be brave, follow your heart and your dreams x

  4. Also just wanted to weigh in and say if this is what your gut is telling you is the right next move then you have to go for it! Whether in the end it works out or not, you owe it to yourself to try.

    Also on the subject of your unsupportive family, my heart also aches for you. It does bare remembering that this is their problem, not yours, and maybe for some of them it is only that they are worried and want you to be happy, but perhaps are expressing it in quite unhelpful negative ways. For those people for whom happiness/success means a steady ‘normal’ job, it can be quite difficult for them to get their head around their nearest and dearest not wanting to do this. (Coming from someone who gets constant disbelief that I actually manage to make a living without having a ‘proper job’)

  5. Great article.

    I still get irritated when my friends and family don’t even bother to “like” a project iv completed or product iv launched with my business that I am unbelievably proud of when i post it online… let alone even bothering to mention it when we meet up – yet I post a picture of my dog and the world goes crazy.

    nowt so queer as folk.

  6. I am the queen of jobs. I’ve been a chambermaid, barmaid, shop assistant, worked at British Gas, at a Teacher Recruitment Agency, been a Teaching Assistant, a Support Worker, a promotional girl, an admin assistant, an Actress, a Workshop Leader.. I studied Law and Psychology.. dropped out.. studied Drama.. then Musical Theatre.. I was constantly thinking of things I wanted to do.. starting a Theatre Company.. a vintage clothes shop.. you name it.. I was going to do it. I felt like a lot of my friends were thinking ‘Oh.. it’s just another idea’… what’s Emma doing this time!?!? And it wasn’t just with jobs.. it was any plans.. moving house.. losing weight.. if I mentioned something I wanted to do and then maybe changed my mind or didn’t do it I could feel the slight judgement..

    When the photography came along I remember being sat with my Parents saying that I really think this time I could make this work.. I just knew. I felt determined.. but instead of talking about it I just got on with it. And it did work.. actually it worked better than I could have ever imagined.. and now I’ve just learnt that it doesn’t matter one little bit whether we stick to some things, drop out of other things.. because it just means you haven’t found what you are truly meant to do.. but then when you do find it.. you will be so, so, so, so grateful that you didn’t settle and you did keep moving on..

  7. RachyLou

    I want to hug this person too!! Every single interesting person I know has had a multitude of jobs- it’s something to be proud of because I can guarantee you will have learnt more about life in your 29 years than any person who has been bored at a 9-5 for their whole working life.
    There is too much emphasis nowadays on having it all figured out by the time you’re 30; you’re not a failure if it takes longer, or even if you never do! It’s the journey not the destination, remember. I wish you all the luck! X

  8. This post really struck a chord with me. In fact, I could have written it myself. My business might not be exactly the same but I have had a very similar journey. I have been working since I was 13 and had numerous jobs including Babysitter, Shop Assistant, Chambermaid, Waitress, PA, Receptionist, Auditor, Telephonist, vintage shop owner and even an Assistant to a Consultant Psychotherapist. I have two degrees from very good universities, my undergrad is Anthropology and Communications and my Masters is in Anthropology, Environment and Development. I am a trained Anthropologist and I specialise in international development in Southeast Asia.
    I have had so many business ideas along the way, so many ambitions, so many jobs I would like to do. And often I feel like a failure for reaching 30 and still I haven’t ‘accomplished’ anything significant. But the one thing I finally feel REALLY passionate about is Blogging. It’s been 3 years and I’m still loving it and know that is the direction I want my career to go in.
    Some relatives and friends think I have wasted my degrees and some think I’ve wasted my twenties. But I have a feeling I needed to go on that journey to reach where I am now.
    It’s really hard to follow an alternative path, especially when you are freelancing and don’t have a guaranteed income. But I think an element of stubbornness and self-belief is necessary to keep trying. I am determined to try and make a living from my passion and I just have to hope that one day my loved ones might support me with it.

  9. What great advice Kat! Hey I am a 45yr old biz owner and I have worked all types of sales jobs and have made big bucks doing it! But I wasn’t happy luckily I met a friend my admin assist that wanted to own her own business and the two of us collaberated at work starting 3 businesses until finally she got laid off and 6 momths later I quit to start our 3rd business a funky wedding chapel in Seattle. We have struggled, fought, cried and
    screamed at eachother thru the years but we made a pact to stick with it and our chapel is finally starting to be quite a success. Her and I are very different type of people – I have been married for over 20+ years and she is 14 yrs younger and single. We are not the norm by any means! If having your own business is what you desire go find people that are like minded to encourage you, support is so nessasary to help stomp out self doubt which is the worst enemy! There are plenty of us supportive women biz owners out there that will help motivate you! Now go start your business!

  10. Catherine

    As parents all we want is for our kids to be happy healthy and successful. I’m sure it’s hard for a parent to see their child unsure of their path.
    The problem is many of us don’t know what we want to do straight away and need to try lots of things before we find our niche.
    What you must do now is prove that you have found something that you truelly want to do. To put your heart and soul into. Your success and ambition will soon speak for itself.
    Kat your advice is fantastic and really helpful. I love your green room posts xxx

  11. Lynette

    Speaking as a pragmatic American mother with children the age of the subject of this post, perhaps she might turn to a really good job coach who could help her with a skills strength inventory but I am also concerned about her comment about crying every day and wonder if she also wouldn’t benefit from a depression screening.

  12. Kat is right, you have to try and ignore these comments… you said yourself you have the fire in your belly to make this work, so concentrate on that. Use the negativity from others to spur you on and prove them wrong damn it!!
    My own business as a florist is, at 4 years, the longest I have ever stayed in a job, and I was floating around until my late 20’s before I figured out what I wanted to do! I was lucky to have a supportive family, but I still had, and still have people that want to see me fail so they can say ‘I told you so’ but I don’t care anymore! If I had to close my business tomorrow I know I have given it my absolute all over the last 4 years and have loved every bloody minute.
    Good luck with your new business xx

  13. To the writer of this email – The problem I feel is…. when we are growing up, school teaches us that we all progress every year to the next class, following the same road. We naturally compare ourselves to the people around us, but this doesn’t prepare us for real life. Everyone will take different paths and one is no better than the other. When you do something it must feel the right time to do it for yourself and not because everyone else is doing it.

    Most entrepreneurs have 10 relatively “unsuccessful” business before they hit their first really “successful” business. I use inverted commas because success should only be measured by the goals that you have set and should not be predetermined by others.

    I run a photography business. Do I feel like a photographer? No. I have never really felt like anything. I am interested in many things but people like to pigeon whole you. I really struggled with being labelled. I went trough many jobs even though I had a product design degree. But do you know what, I don’t regret any of those jobs. Each one has given me different skills to run a successful business by myself! My mum asked me a few months ago. “Alex, if some asks what you do for work what should I tell them?” I laughed. I said “if you want to impress them tell them, say I am a director of a company or you can tell them I’m a photographer, I. Don’t. Care.” It took me a while to get to the point where I don’t care what other people think about what I do. As long as you are a great person they will always care about you regardless of what you do. Once you start doing your new work they will get used to it after a while. If you change again what does it matter? If you run your own business you have many job roles and are a bit of everything, so be prepared to do that. Some people start their own business to do more of what they like but don’t realise they have to do a lot of other things they are not so keen on to make it work.

    Reach out for help, like you have done here. I can’t emphasis this enough. Asking for help especially with areas you are not so good at is a sign of strength and not weakness. I get a friend to check all my copy as it’s not a strong point for me. It will not always workout but don’t let this deter you. I did a branding project with a friend that didn’t go as I thought it would even though we are really good friends. Did it put me off working with friends? No, it just made me learn that some friends are good for being friends and having a drink with and some friends you can work with.

    I reached out to Kat when I first started. My work at the time wasn’t that good and I didn’t know what I was about (was on a journey). She could of ignored me but she helped me. She promoted a competition I did which led me to a couple I photographed who have become two of my closest friends. I didn’t get there same experience from other bloggers. Some didn’t even get back to my emails but now chase me to have my work on their site. What I learnt is that some people really care about what they do and how it affects others.

    I started my own business because I wanted to feel something. Free, challenged, happy, inspired…. just feel something.

    Start something that feels right for you. Others will support you. If they don’t just find ones that do!

    Good luck.

  14. Post author

    Alex thanks for this comment. Wow what a journey you’ve had already and I gotta say, I’m quite honoured to have been just a small little part of it 😀

  15. I write this comment as someone who, when sat in front of the careers officer at school, heard myself saying what I thought she wanted to hear rather than coming up with anything I really wanted to. I think, in part, that was because I hadn’t got a clue what I wanted to do and so opted for a course at college which would guarantee me work at the end of it.

    I never really knew what I wanted to do. I fell into PR by chance having been made redundant from another job and have now been ‘doing’ it for nearly twenty years now and absolutely love it.

    Like Kat said, you have to try a lot of things on until something fits and you might not even realise you’re there until you turn around in ten years time, as a successful Virtual PA commenting on a blog post like this one.

    I too brought a lot of experience from each and every job I had before this one. I stand up and talk to people about PR and one of the first things I say is that I never ‘trained’ to be in this role, life brought me here.

    Keep going! Have faith in yourself. I’m looking forward to Kat following up this post with a Green Room interview with the next big Virtual PA!

    x

  16. To the writer of this email – if we listened to anyone in this nanny state we would never even get out of bed! Every job you have had brings you experience of what you do and don’t like doing, and a tool kit which will be essential in working for yourself and also the determination to succeed.

    There is nothing like the buzz you get when someone actually pays you for your services to keep you going!

    Do this for you! It’s not your family or friends that will be running this business unless of course you get so busy you need their paid help! At which point they will be jumping through hoops.

    My husband at first saw my business as a little hobby, but after 5 years now sees it as an established business with credibility. It has been my hard work that has put it there, so be prepared to stoke that fire in your belly with lots of hard work.

    Good luck and do it xxx

  17. People are funny little creatures! Anytime people see you attempting something that they forsee as crazy or a whim they are first in line to tell you you are crazy and shake their head in your direction…BUT THEN, when you become successful (weightloss, great job that you are FINALLY happy and love, travelling, etc.) people will say “wow! I admire you for taking that chance! I always wanted to do that!” Etc. I think you can talk to any successful entrepreneur and probably not even extremely successful entrepreneur and they will have all felt the exact same way! Get around like minded people! People that fuel that fire and urge you to keep going with the darkness of others surrounds you. I have found with my photography and clothing business that it was extremely important for me to consult with other photographers and local shop owners to see how they made it through rough patches and where they get their joy from. Like the writer of the email, I had been through a plethora of “jobs” and now I love what I do and am extremely happy…and I am pretty sure that THIS is life. Not many people jump into the unknown willing to make themselves happy and usually just settle for “it pays the bills.” Good luck, and I wish I could watch the progress!!

    ~Teri~

  18. I know exactly how you feel as I feel the same. My mum always “encourages” me to go for the safe option and I know it’s because she’s only got my best intentions at heart but sometimes I worry about the what ifs…

    I’ve also done a ridiculous amount of jobs and have landed in a job that, although I enjoy it at the moment, isn’t filling me with joy.

    I went to a job interview on Thursday and she asked me where I want to be in 5 years and I gave the stock answer that I knew she was expecting. The answer I always give when the truth is… I don’t know.

    I just watched that video and thought it was fabulous but there was no way I could answer the question. If money were no object what would I do? I don’t know. Why don’t I have a passion for anything? Is there something wrong with me? These are completely different questions for another day though and I apologise for going off on a tangent there. The point of this post wasn’t really to give advice or anything but just to say I know how you feel and you’re definitely not alone.

    xxx

  19. I really feel for you because it is so hard and scary starting out on your own even when you do have the full support of our friends and family so it must be terrifying to do it when you feel like you are all alone.

    I echo many of the previous comments and drawing from my own experience (I have also had numerous jobs – never really feeling like I was particularly good at anything or like a had a “calling”) the only advice I can offer is only listen to your true self, do what you feel is right inside and by doing tht you will be doing what is right for you in that moment – if it works out long term great if not I bet you will have a better idea of what you want to do next.

    I also think your family may not realise the way their comments are making you feel? I know sometimes my mum has seemed to say negative things but its really only because she has been worried about the larger effect the decision might have on me and my well being “will I be able to cope financially, how will the pressure of your own business effect relationships, your metal health etc etc” so maybe it’s your families way of voicing their concerns?

    I really hope you read all these comments and go follow your dreams, once your nearest and dearest realise that is the path you have chosen and how happy (albeit totally frazzled and freaked out at times) it had made you I’m sure they will become far more supportive. And if not Kat please feel free to share my email address as I will happily lend a supportive ear to any fellow start up who needs it.

  20. Jenniferjuicy

    Hi Kat
    Just wanted to say dude youre not alone in this and never will be!
    You will get there! I have every faith and beleif in you

    xxxx

  21. jenniferlucy

    Hi Kat

    Just wanted to say I believe in you dude and have every faith you will get there!
    Sorround yourself with positivity Go Go Go!

  22. Well answered Kat!

    There is another aspect of this that I would be really interested in hearing your response to though – I have found that one of the hardest things about getting started is having people around you who are supportive in theory, but not in actions. I know that doesn’t make much sense – it’s not that the people around you don’t believe in you or encourage you, its just that they don’t actively do things to help your endeavours. It seems to me like when you are starting out, whether it be at blogging, your own business, whatever, it really is the people you know that make the difference, because word of mouth is the only way you’ll get people to notice you. And when you don’t have any people in your life who blog, or would buy the things you sell in your online store, or recommend your design skill to others, it makes it REALLY hard to get started! It can also be kind of isolating, as you don’t have a community of “your people” who have been there, done that, and are willing to extend a hand, particularly in situations that can be mutually beneficial.

    So I’d love to hear your advice on this! I know that if you don’t have these connections and support you need to reach out and establish them, but it can be so hard just knowing where to start!

  23. vicky

    To the writer of this email, I toatally get how you feel. I make things, lots of things, I craft I paint I sew, and I have a small blog where I like to show them off. My little dream is not a big one all I would like is to have a little shop on say etsy or folksy and to think that maybe someone might like my stuff enough to buy say, a brooch or a magnet. I am constantly being told by people, especially my mom, that I don’t have time for such things or people won’t pay for that, or i’m too old, but I carry on anyway. Why? because it makes me happy.

    When I come home from a long crappy day at my crappy job it makes me happy to see that someone has ‘liked’ something I made. So carry on, give them the proverbial two fingers, and like Kat says prove them wrong.

    Big hugs Xxx

  24. Natalie

    This blog post and all the comments has been utterly inspiring! I’ve been working as a receptionist since finishing uni with a degree in jewellery design. I felt I had to get a job immeadiately to pay the rent etc. But what I really want to do is start my own jewellery business. I just haven’t had the courage to go for it even though I have the full support from friends and family. I am my own worst enemy and constantly find faults in each attempt at creating something, or come up against hurdles along the way. It is blogs like this that keep my hunger to achieve my dreams alive and hopefully one do I will just do it!

    Good luck to the writer of this email x

  25. Post author

    Hey Rachel @ skullandcrosstales – You need to get out of your comfort zone, put yourself out there and go and meet people! Go to networking events and parties or organise your own with a few people you chat to on twitter. Thats EXACTLY what I did when I started out. you have to meet people in real life! You might not necessarily become instant blogging BFFS with them all but you have to try!

    I wrote this post on networking recently, hopefully it might help http://www.rocknrollbride.com/2013/04/networking-like-a-pro/

    And shameless pimp alert – you should totally come to the blogcademy! Not only can we teach you all about blogging, but you’ll get to meet 29 other bloggers and who know where those connections might lead! We also have a forum where you can connect with everyone who’s ever been to a workshop. its pretty damn awesome

  26. Thank you to everyone who has posted here, many of you are very well known in the industry and it is so great to know that many of us got to where we are in very similar circumstances.

    I run a business, my first business, which I have had to come to terms, in the last few weeks, is probably on it’s last legs. This is entirely my fault, I had a baby, dropped the ball with the networking and marketing and have well and truly been left behind by others, who quite rightly took up the slack and have flown with it. I can’t say I haven’t been a little bitter and disappointed when my efforts to revive things haven’t gone as planned but I have now accepted things, learnt from it and am moving on. I have a new venture in the pipeline, working with a partner and I cannot express how positive and exited I am feeling about it. I can take forward so so much from my current business, what i’ve done well, what has been an abysmal failure, where to invest, where to market and what to avoid and it’s working, we have already had a great deal of interest from clients and backing from industry professionals despite as yet, no website, no branding etc etc! Just ideas, passion, drive and past experience to build on.
    I’m not a failure, I can say that to myself and mean it despite what anyone else might think or say. x

  27. Virtual PA

    Hi Everyone,

    I am the original e-mailer to Kat and I just wanted to say a HUGE Heartfelt Thank you to you all for taking the time to reply. Your advice is invaluable and its so nice to know i’m not alone in these feelings or a “freak” for being the way that I am with all of the millions of jobs ive had!
    Whilst i’ve taken on board all the lovely comments I just wanted to say to Sara, Alex, Teri and Rachel@skull+crosstales all of your posts resonated with me and inspired me beyond belief! Thank you for giving me the much needed kick up the ass and nurturing words.
    Its hard to get through the crippling self-doubt brought on by other peoples fear and negativity sometimes and its always something ive struggled with, I need to have more conviction and believe in my self worth and stop looking for validation from other people (I do that A LOT!) and live my life for me.
    Its easy to say… not so easy to do!

    Beacuse of your constructive advice I (and Kats invaluable contribution!) I have decided to start my own blog on the journey of setting up my business in the aim of reaching out to like-minded people and supporting each other. That suggestion really struck a cord with me and makes so much sense! Surround yourself with a mini-like-minded group and grow and learn from them whilst maybe offering something in return.
    I plan to work on getting that set up this weekend so if any of you want to follow let me know and i’l see if Kats ok with me posting a link on this comments wall 🙂

    Thank you again from the bottom of my singing heart!
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  28. Nu Bride

    I think I’m going to start calling you GI Jane Kat. Another honest and powerful post that evidently soooo many people can relate to. 🙂 xxx
    To Virtual PA – all the best with your blogging endeavours. When I’m stuck in a rut of self doubt I try to live by this quote “Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come true” T Lawrence
    Much love
    X

  29. To thewriter of the email

    I think this is an incredibly common situation, more so than you’d think. In this country we’re programmed to follow the same paths in life. Choose a career in your teens, get an education to give you an opportunity to get a job in your chosen career, climb the ladder of promotion and one day you might make director and retire on a decent pension. GREAT! Unfortunately it’s rarely that simple and some for some of us, being forced to choose careers so early is just not the right way to go.

    The problem is we’re expected to be risk adverse. Our parents, especially, tend to not like us taking risks. But I believe to be happy in life we need to take risks. Take risks that if they come off, will make us happier because there’s nothing worse than getting into your 40s or 50s and being stuck in a job or situation you hate.

    When I started my photography business after nearly 10 years in my “chosen career” many were sceptical, my family and wife included. Fortunately sceptics is as far as the comments went, everyone saw it as a bit of a fad that would go away. So I quietly just got on with it, determined to prove everyone wrong.

    And slowly but surely I am proving everyone wrong. My wife was first, being a graphic designer she knew just how hard it would be to break into the world of photography but pretty quickly she was convinced that I had what it takes. Then my mum got on board and massively supportive. She’s constantly asking when I’m blogging next! The rest of the family are still sceptical, I think my dad think I’m mad to want to give up my current career. But I can understand that, he’s a very risk adverse person and will probably never understand why I’d want to do this.

    I’m certainly not there with the business yet. I still have a lot of work to do, it takes time and is constantly evolving. But I’m determined to make it happen as my future happiness is too important to me.

    My advice, as many have said including Kat, ignore them. Use their comments to drive you on to prove them wrong.

    Having said that, finding supportive people is really important too and the internet actually makes that fairly easy. See if you can network with people who have done similar, find online forums, hit twitter. The people are probably out there and willing to help.

    If you’re determined and willing to work hard, and I mean REALLY hard, you will succeed. And you’ll be happier for it.

    Good luck.

    Matt

  30. I’m so, so glad I stumbled over this post tonight because I’m feeling exactly like the author of the letter you received. I’ve been travel blogging for 2 years and (having recently returned to England after 3 years of travelling) I’m now living back at my parent’s house.

    I’ve gone back to the job I had before travelling, where I work in advertising, but my real passion is marketing, social media and writing. I have a degree in marketing and, as I’ve always wanted to work for myself instead of someone else, I’ve recently build myself a new website for my social media services and have been working 11/12 days (7.5 at my job, 5 or more in the evenings after work)to try and get my first client, network with people and generally get the show on the road!

    My dad is super supportive – he knows how tired I am working every minute I can get my hands on, he’s enthusiastic when I tell him things about my blog or my new online venture.

    However, my mum is just not supportive at all. This evening she said “I’m sick of hearing about your business”. She doesn’t understand what I do, and therefore has no interest in it.

    This is very painful to hear and it’s very difficult to feel like I can actually make this work as much as I want it when even my mum doesn’t think I’m good enough. She doesn’t understand that I’d want to run an online business so that I can work from anywhere. She thinks business = office = desk. That’s not the case anymore.

    Reading this has helped so much that other people have experienced the same thing and your advice is definitely helpful (although I’m not really the type of person to do something to prove someone wrong, I am going to try)

    Thank you

    B
    x

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