Updated: Apr 20, 2021
Click here for an audio recording of this blog post: https://soundcloud.com/user-381880794/forereach-consulting-presents-from-employee-to-entrepreneur-6-months-later
I am writing this post on a wrap-around deck on the 18th floor of a co-working space in Vancouver with a view of the snow-capped mountains and cherry blossom-lined streets. I’m having an existential moment, so it seems like the perfect time to write a follow-up to my first blog post, “From Employee to Entrepreneur – My Leap to ForeReach Consulting”. It boggles my mind that it’s been 6 months since I wrote that post shortly after launching my consulting business.
Since then, I’ve written a total of 14 blog posts and worked with over 20 clients, including students, lawyers, law schools and law firms. I’ve delivered 18 virtual workshops to hundreds of law students and accumulated 6657 connections on LinkedIn. Being in business for myself continues to be a perpetual learning experience, but it’s also the most personally fulfilling work I’ve done in my career.
Here are three of the most important things I’ve learned over the past 6 months:
1) Money is over-rated
I had to start with this one because it’s been the most shocking realization for me. It’s also what was holding me back. Don’t get me wrong – like most people, I still sometimes lay awake at night worrying about money for vacations, retirement and kids’ post-secondary education. But I was surprised to realize that it’s never been about financial security - it’s been about ego. I never thought I was the kind of person to attach my self-worth to a 6-figure income. But, every once in awhile, I have caught myself missing that defining characteristic, and not because my standard of living has declined. Money used to be the only real objective measure of whether I was successful in my career. I’ve since realized that the metrics have totally changed now that I’m in business for myself. It’s so much more meaningful to see a cheque made out to “ForeReach Consulting” than to see my name on a pay stub. Knowing that I built something entirely on my own and seeing it grow has been more valuable to me than any salary.
2) I know way more than I thought I did
Most people who become consultants do so because they feel that they have acquired a certain amount of knowledge that people would be willing to pay for. When I started out, I was confident that I had acquired a diverse set of experiences that would make me marketable in the legal industry. But in the early days there was a little voice in the back of my head saying, “do you actually know what you’re doing?” Although the business side was all new to me, I eventually realized when I was working with clients that I knew way more than I thought I did. Counselling, coaching and teaching felt so natural to me in the moment that I didn’t even have to think about it. With every client I worked with, that little voice of doubt got quieter and quieter. I think when people are immersed in their careers for over 20 years they don’t fully appreciate how much they’ve learned and how much guidance they have to share with others.
3) People really care
When I announced that I was starting a consulting business, I expected that most people in my network would be supportive. I under-estimated how much my people would be invested in what I was doing. I think some thought I was crazy to turn down job opportunities to start up a consulting business in a pandemic. But as time went on, it became clear to me that most people were excited for me and wanted to help me succeed. From writing 5-star Google reviews to referring clients my way to sharing my blog posts, I have been so humbled by how people have contributed to moving my business forward. It does add a bit of pressure when you have a cheering squad behind you, but it has meant so much to me to know that people are in my corner. This experience has made me realize just how important it is to build a network of genuine relationships over time - not just for business purposes, but also for emotional support.
If you told me a year ago that I would be writing a blog post about my consulting business in a co-working space overlooking Vancouver, I would have said that you were seriously deluded. But here I am. As a result, I can’t help but wonder where ForeReach Consulting will be a year from now. I have my 2022 business projections, but personally I am so excited to see where this adventure takes me. Stay tuned!