THE BLOG
04/22/2016 09:43 am ET Updated Apr 22, 2017

Done By 1: How I Created My Own Thriving Online Business Without Working Myself to Death

Just a little over a year ago, I found myself lying in the ER, alone, making a promise to myself that I would change, that I would get my silly back, and start living my life.

I'd been working hard - pulling in 70-plus hours per week for the past several years doing what I thought I "should" do: building someone else's dream when I wanted to build my own.

I was really freaking unhappy. I honestly didn't think I could change anything.

I was just this "basic" girl from Chicago; nothing special. Someone who was often mistaken for other people - usually a "Heather".

I was the girl that assumed she had something hanging out of her nose when people smiled at her in passing on the street.

Secretly, I wanted to create something powerful, to help people find their happy place, to make people laugh until they cried, to guide and inspire people as they brought their big visions to life.

But I thought that this was my life, and that I couldn't change it.

Until I realized that I had to, and that I could.

Around my baby's 1st birthday, the long hours, the stress, the lack of sleep all caught up with me when I fainted, alone, with my baby boy. Luckily, I wasn't holding my baby at the time, and luckily, my husband walked through the door right at that moment and called an ambulance.

The next thing I knew, I was in the ER in a neck brace, with a possible concussion.

For 5 hours, I laid there motionless, thinking about all of the things I still had to do that day.

Priorities, right?

Until the nurse arrived with the diagnosis.

Exhaustion.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew I was "so tired", and worked so much, and that I'd been emotionally crushing my dreams for like, 15 years, but I didn't think it could have a physical effect on me. I thought that's just the way life was for everyone.

I was so wrong.

I promised myself that I would finally do more of what I wanted. I would take care of myself and live true to myself.

A few months later, I quit my job. I started taking care of myself again - sleeping, eating cleaner, working on my self love, meditating, working out, hiking, playing, enjoying being with my baby every day.

And I started my own business helping other women entrepreneurs create their own successful businesses without working themselves to death.

The really cool part is that it's my business, and I designed it so that it could support the lifestyle I want now. It's possible to start your own business even with little time, a little budget, and a little baby.

A lot of people are shocked to find out that I only work from just 7 or 8am to 1pm everyday. Sometimes, a little more, sometimes a little less. And I'm sure, the hours will shift when needed.

Now, I live passionately, give generously, and I create, inspire, motivate, support and THRIVE.

More importantly, I promised to share how I created my business while staying true to my needs with the world.

Because there are too many overworked, unhappy people out there who think that starting a business has to be all work and no play.

And I'd rather you know it's possible for you now, and that you don't have to wait or make excuses about lack of time or energy or money.

Start now with these tips.

Find the place where work and play intersect. And sometimes, just let yourself play.

"Work doesn't work without play." - Shonda Rhimes -

When we love our work, it's easy to want to do it all the time. There are moments when I want to work more, when I'm on a roll or on a high after a coaching call where a client had a breakthrough.

But I stop myself, because for me, I have to have space from work to play.

When I play, I come back to work more inspired, creative, supportive.

If you have work that allows you to play, too, fantastic.

But make it so that you have that space to just play.

Make It Happen:

Break out your calendar or old school planner, and block off time in it for play.

During this "me" time, do what lights you up.

It's blocked off so that you can refill your cup. Work out or go for a walk. It's for coffee dates or happy hours. It's there to take your kids to the park or to take a weekend off.

Make this your first priority.

Some people need more playtime, some people need less. Do what works for you. There's no right or wrong.

Once I got my "playtime" back, I got my sillyness back, and I feel more focused and present, and I feel more like myself everyday.

Define "Success" On Your Own Terms... Even If It Makes You Uncomfortable.

You'll see a lot of people online talking about making 5-figure months, or talking about finally quitting their day jobs, or finally going to Disney World.

That Swiss Family Robinson treehouse was pretty amazing, btw.

But let's get real: what everyone else wants, and how they define success does NOT matter to you.

What do YOU want, and WHY?
What outcome would be so fantastic that it gives you butterflies just to imagine it happening?

That is what you need to know to set the right goals. Nothing else.

Screw everyone else's "goals". Screw the "shoulds". Screw the belief that you must do what some other successful entrepreneur is doing.

Screw the guilt, fear and doubt you feel, too. You know what will fix those feelings? Ownership. Belief that it's possible, and action.

Dream big enough to be slightly uncomfortable - to have those butterflies in your stomach. That's where the good stuff is.

Make It Happen:

  • Get out your journal or some piece of paper, and answer these questions:
  • What do you want from your life?
  • WHY do you want it?
  • How will having it make you feel when your head hits the pillow at night?

Connection to your vision for your life and business is essential if you want to take the right actions... and be happy with your success when you get there.

Find The Match. Start The Fire.

It takes one match to start the fire.

You have those big dreams, those accomplishments that are so exciting, you'd vomit with exhilaration and gratitude if they came to life.

Those are the things you see during your visualization that make you so happy you cry hot tears - like a mom watching her only son's graduation from high school.

Make It Happen:

Before you get caught up in all of the things you think you SHOULD do right now, which just depletes your time and energy, take a step back.

What is the ONE GOAL and ACTION you can work on for the next 90 days that will make all of your other goals more possible?

This is how you maximize your time. Create your plan and strategy around that one goal, knowing that it will make your other wishes more possible.

Then, reverse engineer your plan to make that biggest goal happen.

What do you need to accomplish 90 days from now, 60 days from now, 30 days, 2 weeks, 1 week from now, and today?

That is what you focus your time and energy on.

Your Energy Is Your Most Important Resource.

A lot of entrepreneurs slave away, work hard, spend hours chained to their laptops and maybe start to make some money...

And then they talk about how unhappy they are... and how burned out they feel.
They wonder why they have no time for themselves.
They wonder where the hell that "freedom-based lifestyle" is, and why they don't have it yet.

Instead of focusing on spending money and making money as the only way to reach success:

Consider energy your most important resource.

Energy allows you to create, to be creative. To be inspired. To trust our instincts and make better decisions. To work on what you LOVE. To be with people you love. To focus. To dream bigger.

Think more about how you can invest your energy in things, people, and experiences that will allow you to give, grow your business, make you happy, or cultivate your relationships.

Energy is to be invested and invested wisely. Not spent. Not squandered.

Make It Happen:

Make a commitment that you will invest it into the RIGHT activities and tasks that light you up AND build your business.

  • What's essential to your business growth? What generates income for you?
  • What lights you up, and what are you good at?
  • What does your target market want and need most from you?
  • What do you need more of and less of in your life in order to perform at your best?
  • What can you give and what boundaries are needed?

That's where your energy should be invested. In what energizes you. In taking care of yourself. In taking care of your mind. In doing the things that make you feel exhilarated and will produce income.

Any other task that drains you or that you dread doing? Outsource it, or delegate it if it's essential to your business. If it's not essential, let it go completely.

Feel that weight lifting off of your shoulders?

Take Care Of Yourself.

This was one of the most important things that I designed my business around: space for myself.

I was not going to end up on the floor or in the ER ever again - not by my own doing.

Make It Happen:

Taking care of yourself is a choice.

Invest energy in yourself.

  • What do you need mentally?
  • What about emotionally?
  • What about your relationships?
  • What about your physical health?
  • What about play time?
  • What about your environment?

Design your lifestyle and your business model so that it supports both your dreams AND your personal needs.

Ask yourself what you need to feel clear, focused, inspired, creative, productive.
What do you need to do to feel good and perform better in your business?

Find Your People and Get Support.

Find your Tribe. I know, cliche. Call this group of your Power Peeps whatever you want. Your Crew. Your Business Besties. Your Biz Bros. (Is that a thing? No?)

These are people whose values closely match your own.

These are your people. People who "get you" - who want to see you succeed on your terms just as badly as they want to succeed on their terms.

Make It Happen:

Surround yourself with people who are big dreamers and action takers. These are people who see your vision, and support you on your journey.

These are people who want a full, happy, healthy life where they have freedom as well as passionate work.

Find a mentor, a coach, a guide - someone who pushes you, inspires you, and insists on your greatness. I have had three in my entrepreneurial journey alone, and I don't know where I would be without them.

Probably crying face-down on my sofa everyday. Drinking a lot of red wine in my bathtub. Working myself to death. Sitting in my old bad habits and making exactly NOTHING happen.

Move Your Butt.

I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone who's even remotely happy who sits around waiting for what they want to fall in their lap.

You saw those little prompts in each little section, right? That's because you can work on your mindset, you can find mentors, you can find your "tribe", create a strategy, dream up an amazing idea...

But none of it matters if you don't act.

Make It Happen:

Stop waiting for things to feel perfect. Don't wait for someone to save you. Don't sit with your hands in your lap, dreaming and dreaming your life away. Don't wait for the fear to go away. Don't wait for your "sign".

Just get started.
Do what matters, only what's essential, and make it happen.

Imagine where you could be in 3 months, 6 months, a year... if you started taking action now and didn't stop.

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If you want more info and tips to help you maximize your time and energy as an entrepreneur, sign up for this workbook. I personally use many of the strategies included and even recommend them to my clients - who are entrepreneurs, like you.

Sign Up Here to Get It: bit.ly/freedom-guide