At the height of my busy entrepreneurial life, I felt like I was drowning. My business was growing at a phenomenal rate, but I was working up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.
One Tuesday (yes, I remember the day) I just had enough. I had been in my office since 7am, and it was now 10pm. I had only seen the sun for a brief period when I drove to my office that morning.
After finishing a long-stressful day doing admin and sorting out staff, I still had to teach 3 hours of fitness classes afterwards, before packing up to go home. All my staff had left, and the fluorescent lights in the office were giving me a headache.
The next morning was just the cherry on top. My husband, who slept more than he worked, was standing on the balcony outside our bedroom, admiring the serene view we had of the African bush. I could see him smelling the aroma of his steaming cup of coffee in his hand, and enjoying the feeling the breeze on his skin. I was livid.
How dare he find the time to stand there, while I was working myself to the ground? Then the realization struck me. He wasn't going to give me that time, I needed to take it for myself. And so began an awesome journey of letting go.
The Turn Around
As these things happen, Tim Ferris published his book "The 4-hour Workweek" which I happened to find at the right moment. Supplied with practical tips on how to reduce my workload, I started by going to a coffee shop to work online, instead of the office.
Not only did I get left alone most of the time, but I had the constant aroma of coffee around me for hours (seriously). Within weeks, I got to finish my projects within 2 -4 hours instead of the whole day. My staff and friends (who used to pop in to say "Hi" at the office and stayed for hours) didn't know where to find me. If they needed something they had to send me an email.
The next step was to find a school for my son closer to home. This meant that I had to leave work much earlier to avoid the peak-hour traffic to get to him on time. This meant longer hours at home with my family, less time driving in traffic, and my son getting to spend more time with me. A win-win situation all-round.
Sorting out my company was a bigger task. I owned and managed 3 studios, franchised a further 4, taught at 2 of them, had 8 instructors, 2 administration assistants, a seamstress and a maid. I also had an accountant and a webhost on retainer. The operating costs were so high that all the money the business made went to the landlord, operating costs and my staff. I did parties on the weekends, and instructor training intensives. to earn the extra money so that I could pay my own salary. (Don't be fooled by a big house and a growing business). I added products, equipment, wrote books and filmed DVDs and I was all over the place. (I'm out of breath just thinking about it)
Because the business was growing so rapidly I didn't have the systems in place to ensure the staff were doing their job correctly. I needed to check everything they did and they made a lot of mistakes. Mistakes which affected my clientele and their trust in my business.
Because I don't want to write a book here, I will summarize what I did from there:
These changes have changed my life. I am no longer tied to my desk. I spend an average of 2 hours per week working in the business, and 3 hours per day working on my business. (Creating systems, passive income streams and marketing). In summer I spend my mornings at the swimming pool, relaxing in the sun, I read every evening and I spend time in meditation, with friends or seeing the world.
I am making less money, but bringing home more, and my quality of life is priceless. I spent so many years chasing the elusive lifestyle, that I couldn't see it right under my nose.
My wish is for people to be able to experience the same joy that I have, and I know that it is possible, because I did it.