A Guest Blog from Lianne Kim
Leap of Faith in Pursuit of Balance
I’m sure you’ve heard the story before. Woman grows up, goes to university, get’s a job, gets married, has a kid, has another kid and suddenly finds that her past life no longer fits who she is.
Yep, that’s me. I raced through my youth, as so many women do, reaching all the important milestones along the way. When my partner proposed to me, he asked me what I might like to do for the next little while. At the time we were driving across Canada from Vancouver back to our hometown of Toronto to start a new life and hopefully a family. I told him that I wanted to find a nice, easy sales job, within a team of nice people, where I didn’t have to manage anyone or work nights or weekends. I didn’t want to climb the corporate ladder or be anyone’s boss. I wanted to the freedom to show up, sell stuff and go home. And that is exactly what happened.
Having my second child really changed my focus!
But after the birth of my second child in 2013, something had shifted. I had always loved to work, and I still did, but my old job, working 40-hours a week at a downtown office no longer suited our lifestyle. I longed to reduce my commute and work my own hours, so I could have more quality time for my family.
To me, the idea of leaving the house at 7:30am, then jumping back on the subway at 5:30pm to rush home so I could get the kids, feed them, and get them to bed by 7:30pm, didn’t seem like much of a life.
I returned to work anyway and after several months, I started to think about what my options were. By that time I was granted work-from-home privileges, which was a huge relief, but still didn’t tick all the boxes. I started to long for a career where I could make a difference and contribute in a more meaningful way.
I wanted to be my own boss and change lives
So I tried a few different things:
First, I dabbled with direct sales and I quickly found this path was not for me. I also tried a “side hustle” – I had a little art business but I did as a hobby, and while I really enjoyed it, I wasn’t making any money.
It was at that time that I posted in a local mom’s Facebook group asking if any other moms had their own business and wanted to get together for a glass of wine. Turns out, they did! We had a very first meet up four years ago and seven women came out in a raging Toronto snowstorm, to talk about business and family and life. It was the beginning of my new path.
I quickly discovered I was not alone in my desire to have more balance and meaning in my work.
In fact, there seem to be somewhat of a trend happening. I was meeting tons of women who were leaving their steady 9-to-5 jobs in pursuit of something that provided them with more balance, flexibility and freedom.
As more and more women were joining my community, Mamas & Co., I realized that there was hope! We moms weren’t prisoners to a life we had been dealt. No, in fact quite the opposite! We moms were superheroes! We had the ability to decide what we wanted for ourselves and our families, to chart our own course, and make our own rules.
A side benefit of starting my own “mompreneur” community was I got to curate the educational aspect and bring in speakers on the topics these women wanted to learn about. I volunteered to do a talk on sales and marketing, as this was my wheelhouse. I was surprised to see how many women struggled in this area and I was good at teaching women how to sell themselves.
Since then I have grown the Mamas & Co. community to over 300 mama entrepreneurs across Canada and beyond. I also provide business coaching and online courses to women through my own consulting firm LianneKim.com. My mission is to help women make more money and have fun doing it!
I feel so lucky that I get to do what I love every single day.
But I also feel lucky that I was bold enough to go for it. You see, a lot of women have the same choices available, but they are not always ready to make a leap of faith or their finances hold them back from quitting their jobs.
I was terrified when I moved away from having a paycheque arrive in my bank account every two weeks. Self-employment does not provide the same security. It was really scary to know that if I wanted to bring in revenue, I was 100% responsible.
The fact is, money is just one of the barriers that women face when they are trying to launch a business. But if there’s one thing I have learned over the last four years, it’s that we mamas are incredibly resourceful. If we want it badly enough, if we have a marketable skill or product that is in demand, we can make it work.
I truly hope that wherever you are at in your career, you don’t feel stuck or trapped into someone else’s model. I hope you can be bold enough to define what your dream work/life balance looks like for you and fiercely, unapologetically, go after it.