Hi people and sorry for the looooooong gap in postings.  I have been snowed under with work, still am in fact and while that is a good thing and something that I’m not about to start whinging about it does make it tricky to fit in my passion for blogging. I’ve just been too tired after a hard day in the office/ laboratoire gardener.

Anyway, enough of that and onwards and upwards to the end of the year and in the spirit of year endings I thought I’d reflect back on this, my craziest of business years. Laugh, cry, enjoy or cringe,  it is what it is and I’m proud to be a part of it xxx

Amanda Realize Beauty-6

 Well, well, well.  As I sit here in my Blue Mountains home, looking out of the window at the line filled with washing, the grassless lawn ‘mowed’ by our 11 Guinea Pigs and various items of fun paraphernalia left by my two (quickly growing-up) daughters I am reminded of how lucky I am.

This year has been a roller coaster ride of emotion – a journey so terrifying that even getting off seemed like too much to handle at times  and for that I’m grateful.   It was the year when my business and it’s owner – me  shook off the shackles and emotional hang-ups of adolescence and grew up.  I know,  and I’m nearly 40 right?  Right.   Being a nearly 40-year-old mother, wife, eldest daughter and sensible shit-together type of friend slapped me right across the face this year and said ‘hey you, this isn’t working and you know what?  YOU are the problem’  and I was.  Ouch.

In a nutshell the consulting business, Realize Beauty that I’d set up late 2007 had reached a make-or-break turning point this year.  I had just come off the back of an even crazier 2011 where sales were through the roof, the team was growing and the Realize Beauty train looked like it could take over the world when I realised (there’s that word) that I actually wasn’t driving it.  Bugger.  I am no ‘business expert’ but growing up in a family full of business owners had rubbed off on me and I could sense that things weren’t right long before I hit that brick wall – and a brick wall it was.  It wasn’t that we were doing anything wrong in 2011 or early 2012, in fact we were doing really well and were in the thick of a whole lot of learning, experimenting, goal kicking and direction setting.  It was just that I, the owner and party host hadn’t got a clue how to make it comfortably flow and that was more than just bothering me, it was killing me.

Financially by January it was clear to me that things had to change as while there was a lot coming in there was also a lot going out and my inability to find the steering wheel to ‘drive’ this beauty train was meaning that the two were falling out of balance in all the wrong ways.  That paired with a couple of other business opportunities that were (at the time happily) distracting me started to take effect and before long I was staring down the barrel of self-destruction.  Ouch again.

It might all sound a bit cryptic and lacking in detail but in a nutshell we had grown too big, too fast and I was out of my depth. Not in terms of work as the actual ‘doing’ of the jobs was never a problem it was the ‘how to turn this into a business’ part that I was sucking at and that did hurt because career wise I’ve always thought of myself as a leader, a director, a ‘natural’ even and my reality was at odds with all that.

I stopped knowing who I was in about March/ April and that was scary.

I’m telling you all of this because nothing really happened to me.  Nothing that unusual anyway and on the surface it just carried on as businesses tend to do once a niche in the market paired with a dash of ‘can do’ ability is married together.  However,  in reality EVERYTHING happened to me including that point where you mind goes black, your words don’t come out, you can’t remember how to do anything and you are in danger of loosing not only your money but your sanity.  Some people call that ‘hitting the wall’  or a breakdown.  I call it ‘the time’ and my time had come.

So, from April until October I made a million little changes to my business and my life including getting some assistance in managing my shattered overworked mind from Mind Mastery.  I knew that I had a lot of work to do (more on myself than the business at that point) but had no idea of what to expect as up until this point I had always been a ‘just dust yourself off and carry on running’ kind of girl – a philosophy that I began to realise (that word again) was part of my problem.

I had been living life as a race, focused on the end – the perfect finish line when the endorphins would flood my brain, the crowed would clap  and we would all celebrate together in a sort of politically correct (and physically appropriate) happiness orgasm.   I had the mindset that every new hurdle/ problem/ challenge was another hill to conquer and that eventually that golden gate marked with ‘success’ would shine out of the darkness lit by flashing neon arrows, stars and balloons.  Realising (again) that life didn’t work like that hit me hard.

It sounds silly really but I was so caught up in searching for perfection and a finish line that I had actually over-shot it.  During the process of my ‘life check’ I’d moved my office and laboratory from the city and back home – massive thanks to my husband the delightful Mr Bling who actually built me a lady shed which helped immensely – and had re-organised everything so that my work could fit in around my other priorities (my family) rather than them having to run around for me.  Making my work ‘work’ for me became my core focus, that and delving into my mind to finally work out and understand who ‘me’ was, is and continues to become.

I realised (last one) that my business had exceeded all of my current expectations in late August and that rather than struggle I was actually doing rather well, was producing bigger and better work than ever and (most importantly) was doing it all at home, around my family commitments.  I’m not going to pretend to you that I am now living a picture perfect cashed-up, everything is sorted life as that isn’t true but things had improved dramatically and I finally had space to enjoy my creation,  celebrate my successes and work on fixing any mistakes that crop up.

2012 has been the craziest year of my life and at times I’ve had conversations with myself that go a little like this:

ME  “What are you doing again?  Who are you?  Why can’t you get your s**t together girl”

me  “I don’t know, I’m just tired.  Leave me alone, I can’t do this any more”

ME “But you HAVE to, I am SOOOO Angry with you right now. I don’t even like you any more. It’s a wonder that anyone does’

me “but I can’t be that bad, I have some good friends, my customers like me and my kids are OK”

ME “Yes but you Never manage to stick to your own timetable, you Always overpromise and then feel like you are under delivering, you can’t stick to your own rules and systems’

me “yes but I’m creative, kind and thoughtful. I’ve produced so much good work this year and everyone has their limits.  I always try to make amends when things go wrong and I am trying to stick to the plans that I know are good for me and the business.  Just cut us some slack.

ME ‘You will NEVER make it’

me:  “I already have”

and so on.

2013 is just around the corner and I know that life as a small business owner is going to remain challenging both emotionally, physically and intellectually but now that I know what I want, need and am capable of I can safely say that there will be no stopping me and the Realize Beauty love train because I have finally learned what it means not only to direct the train from the comfort of your back office but to actually drive it.

Enjoy the holidays and the articles which will start flowing again now that I’m about up to date with my consulting work.

Take care