How Meg created the life she wants and a business with a social impact
Aktualisiert: 8. Jan. 2021
Meg is a very special friend. She has had many different roles in my life in the past 9 years: from direct manager to mentor, neighbour and friend. She's always been someone I'd look up to and ask for advice. So naturally, I want to share her story and show that it is possible to design a life that fits your expectations while also building a business with a social impact.
Sandra: Can you please describe what kind of job you are doing?
Meg: I like to joke that I’m the Marie Kondo of Sustainability… I work with clients 1:1 to help them implement small, but impactful changes towards being more sustainable in their day-to-day lives. Oftentimes, the idea of sustainability or zero waste can be incredibly intimidating and overwhelming. Sometimes, you don’t have the time or mental capacity to do the research yourself, or you just need an extra push to help you get there. That’s where I come in.
I empower others to be more sustainable, simply by making it easier to do so. I do all the research and leg-work, so my clients don’t have to. The 1:1 consultation ensures I understand their challenges and lifestyle so that the action plan they receive is tailored to their needs and wants. They can then take it from there.
I believe having a more sustainable lifestyle should be as easy and painless as possible so that more people can participate. It’s not about doing sustainability perfectly; every little action has impact... but rather, it is about finding out what works for you, mastering those new habits, and then leveling up from there.
S.: What did you do before and how did you get the idea to change?
M.: I actually spent the last 15+ years in advertising and technology innovation agencies, working for industries that invest millions of dollars to influence people to buy something new or adapt their behaviors to consume a new service or product. And now, I am trying to take the knowledge I gained about the influence of the consumer, and harness that power for good. However, I didn’t quit my job with a plan to start my own business and focus on sustainability -- my journey wasn’t linear, by any means!
I’ve always worked crazy hours, but with two small daughters at home, I realized, if I was going to work so much, I at least wanted my kids (and me, if I’m honest) to be proud of what I was doing, so I quit my job to do something with social impact, and to find a working culture that offered better balance. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it took a lot of internal work to get to that stage, but working with my coach helped me to prioritize and focus; giving me the courage to stand up for myself, and leave a job that wasn’t serving me, or my family.
Finding a job that offered flexibility to work my job around my family, and not the other way around, was important to me... but incredibly hard to find... so I decided to take a leap of faith, and started my own business based on creating social impact around a topic I’m personally passionate about: sustainability. It started out as a ‘why not?’ conversation over coffee, and then before I knew it I had enrolled myself in the Future Females Business School accelerator program, registered my business, and built a website.
S.: What are the things that helped you make your decision? How did you organize this huge change overall but also the financial aspect of it?
M.: Well, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my husband and family, that’s for sure! My happiness, health, and well-being was always the focus; they didn’t freak me out about the money part (they left that bit up to me ;))...and because the decision to ‘jump’ took a bit of time, I was able to start setting money aside -- giving myself a bit of a cushion.
I was reluctant to get a coach at first, but working with somebody neutral allowed me to be completely honest without hurting anyone’s feelings or having to be cautious about what I was saying/feeling. And because I was taking a structured approach, I could assure myself that I had covered all the bases and really explored the topic; that I wasn’t making a rash decision that would jeopardize my family. I really took the time necessary to make sure I understood exactly what my goal was, before taking such a huge step.
I only did coaching for a few months, and then after that, I was active in a local group for working moms. It is a great support network, with focussed goal-setting and an accountability partner, and it is something that I still find very valuable. Like having a coach, surrounding yourself with a strong network that allows you to be honest about your struggles, and understands what you are going through, is invaluable. Also, writing down your goals, making them tangible, and then checking back periodically helps you to measure your progress.
S.: Some would say that this is a very courageous decision when being a mum of two children. What would you answer to that?
M.: First of all, I hate that watching out for your own health and well-being, and putting things into motion so you can actually spend time with the small humans you created instead of working 60 hour weeks is considered “courageous” -- it should have never gotten to that stage in the first place, and should be the default!
Unfortunately, I know a lot of other moms who are still struggling with the same thing, which is both frustrating and heartbreaking. The only thing I can say is that I haven’t looked back once or regretted my decision since handing in my notice, although I was terrified at the time… and while starting my own business is probably the scariest thing I have done in a long while, the fact that I am able to work my job around my family’s needs, and not vice-a-versa, is so important. I am happier, and it’s had a run-on effect on my entire family.
S.: Are you happy with your decision?
M.: Hands down, yes! I have never regretted the decision to put myself and my family first, and leave a job that wasn’t serving me. As for starting my own business, I do occasionally wonder what I have gotten myself into, as it’s a lot of work, but I am still happy with my decision overall.
S.: What would you recommend to somebody who wants to change something in his/her career but is afraid of the consequences?
M.: For me, it was reframing the whole idea of consequences a bit… focusing more on what I would regret later having NOT taken a chance, versus focusing on the potential list of negative things that might happen; things that could go wrong. If my business fails, (which I hope is not the case), I still don’t think I would regret it… because I invested in myself. I took a chance on ME, and have learned a lot in the process. So, I’d encourage anyone considering a big change to weigh potential consequences against potential regret, and see which one they’d rather avoid. You can always get another job, but you might not always have the opportunity to do something completely different.
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