When I turned 40, as part of my Festival of Mel celebrations, I decided I wanted to do something a bit out of the ordinary with my four best girlfriends. Something that would be exciting and thrilling, without the inherent danger of say, jumping out of a plane (after all, we had 13 small children between us!) We ended up going ziplining in the Otway State Forest- it was great fun if you ever get the chance to do it, and we came away feeling happy and exhilarated. Later that week, once I had recovered from all my festivities, I was thinking to myself that it would be great if there was a website that sold gift vouchers for experiences for women, as this would be a fantastic 40th birthday present. When I started looking online, it seemed that a lot of the websites selling experiences were geared towards men e.g. hot laps in a V8 (I know this might be some women’s idea of a good time, but it ain’t mine). However, anything targeted towards women tended to be along the lines of spa treatments and massages (now I love a good massage as much as the next person, but it hardly gets the heart pumping- unless of course it’s by Ryan Gosling).
With that, an inkling of an idea began to form- maybe I could start a business that sold gift vouchers to women for experiences rather than products- things like cooking classes, dance lessons, jewellery making, and swimming with dolphins (I still think it’s a good idea by the way, feel free to steal it if you want to!) I talked to my best friend about it, and we both agreed it was a fabulous idea, bound to be super successful, make us a motza of money, and would eventually be bought out by a large corporation so that we could spend our twilight years travelling the world together in style (did I mention that I’m a glass half full type of gal?) So we decided to go into business together, and diligently started our planning. We chose a name (Your Time Off), registered it, got a logo designed, did a business plan, researched potential suppliers, started getting a website built, and……..
Nothing, we really didn’t do anything. The above took us two years to come up with. Yes, for two whole years we would meet once a week, catch up with each others news, complain about our children, complain about our husbands, laugh about life in general, have a cup of tea, have some lunch, oh, and maybe spend an hour or two on the computer (while easily getting sidetracked by Between Two Ferns– you can thank me later if you’ve never watched it before!) So what happened? We both thought it was a great idea, but neither of us had any motivation to do any work on it outside of the few hours we caught up once a week- basically we didn’t have any passion for our business. What we did enjoy was spending regular time together, and having the excuse of our start up business meant we made consistent time for each other in our busy lives. Now you would think that two girls who met whilst studying psychology, would have realised sooner that running an online gift voucher business would not be their strong suit, but no, we kept going as neither of us was willing to disappoint the other by pulling out.
It was only earlier this year, when a friend convinced me to attend the Big Hearted Business (un)Conference and I heard Danielle LaPorte speak, that I started to question what I was doing. I really started listening to my inner desires, and pushed my fears aside and enrolled in a life coaching course that deeply resonated with me. I knew that helping women like me live their best life on the other side of forty was where my true passion lay. I finally felt I could let Your Time Off go without feeling like a failure. My friendship is still rock solid (and lets face it, it may not have stayed that way if we went into business together). Not surprisingly, I have achieved more in the last few months, than I did in the last two years, because I believe so much in myself and what I want to achieve. I built this website myself, I have rediscovered my long lost love of writing, I have embraced social media, and I am loving my life coaching course. I can’t wait until I start taking clients on next year, and I’m already thinking ahead about publishing e-books and running retreats in the future. Yes, I am thinking big, because I am believing in myself and what I have to offer the world. I may have gotten here via the long route, but I wouldn’t trade those days with my best friend for anything either- they helped get me to exactly where I am supposed to be.