Most people start businesses with a clear idea of what they’re going to do. That wasn’t the case with me. I started mine because I knew I needed a change, I was tired of the same routine, and I felt it was time to do my own thing. I wasn’t entirely sure what I should do, or even what I wanted to do, but I had faith that whatever I did was going to be right.
I spent nearly 10 years working for the same company, and I was bored. A job that started out as a lot of fun, working with a great team of people, just wasn’t the same. The work had become stagnant. People were moving on. I wasn’t being challenged or learning anything new. And as the company’s corporate owners started having more involvement, it became clear they didn’t actually value me or how much I did there.
It had gotten to the point where I dreaded going in every day. And when I had left my previous job, I made myself a promise to never allow myself to feel that way again. I already knew I had stayed longer than I should have, but the idea of leaving was a bit terrifying. Having worked full-time since I was 16, I could always rely on the stability and security of employment. But other jobs at my level in my industry at that time just weren’t appealing. My gut told me it was time to go out on my own and let my work stand for itself, rather than letting others get all the credit for it.
Although I’m incredibly logical and analytical by nature, and can overthink just about anything, I don’t ever question my instincts. When I get that strong gut feeling nagging at me to do something, I do it. Even if it doesn’t make sense at the time, I know the reason will eventually reveal itself. It’s for that reason I also don’t believe in planning the future. This surprises a lot of people, because they assume I have a list of concrete goals, or a clear outline of my next steps. But that’s just not the way I work. I haven’t gotten to where I am today by forcing an idea of what I think I should do, but rather by being open to the opportunities that present themselves along the way.
I may not have had a specific plan, but in the 2.5 years since I officially started working as Aardvark Girl, I’ve done so many different things, many of which I probably would’ve missed had I been too focused on one particular path. I was a project manager for the Presidential Debate. I got more involved in live events. I traveled around the world and produced a documentary. I rediscovered what I love about production by working with different people. I manage a studio for voice actors, where I also teach business workshops. I help individuals and business owners (from all over the world, thanks to technology) with organization, bookkeeping, figuring out how to get out of their own ruts, and so much more. And I have some pretty exciting new projects in the works, too.
Now when people ask me what I do, it’s not always a simple answer. I don’t have one job title. Instead, I’ve created my own niche, working with creatives in whatever capacity is needed to help them do what they love to do. It’s not clear-cut, and that’s what I love about it. Every day is different, and the only limitations are the ones I make for myself. And now I only work with people whose values align with mine, and those who respect and value what I have to offer. My belief in myself has paid off, and starting my business was definitely the right move. Now the only thing I question is why I didn’t do it sooner.
So if you’re feeling stuck in a situation in your life, please know that you have what it takes to make a change. It might be scary, and it might take a lot of work, but you owe it to yourself to live the life you want. Listen to your gut and take a chance on yourself. You deserve it.