Even at a young age, I knew that one day I would have my own business. I thought of many ideas about the type of business I would have: A bakery. A theme park. A hotel.
As I grew, my dream never faltered. I played “Rollercoaster Tycoon” as a child. I partially managed a hotel at the age of 16. I took business management and marketing courses in college. Business was always an interest of mine. My college courses always came easy… except Accounting (because, you know, math).
You Have to Start Somewhere…
After my college graduation, I admit that I lost sight of my dream for awhile. Being thrown into the world as a 20 year-old was an even bigger challenge than what I anticipated. As it always is, right? I found my first job working at a small financial services firm doing mostly administrative, managerial, and marketing work.
I enjoyed the work, but I quickly learned that working for someone else sucked.
I barely made enough to pay rent, put food on my TV tray, and put gas in my beat up Grand Prix.
I also had no health insurance, no paid time off, and no summer vacation.
I went to college for this?
For five years I struggled with trying to find a job that I liked and that paid worth a damn.
Then, one week before my 25th birthday, I caught my first break.
The Breaking Point
After three applications and about five interviews, I was finally offered a job at Pearson in Boston.
And, good news, they were going to pay me more than $30,000 a year, AND provide me with real benefits!
By that point, I was so broke and so deep in debt that I needed to find a second job just to make ends meet and attempt to get ahead.
I decided to take my language background and newfound editorial skills to the Internet.
I started doing “freelance” editorial work, mostly proofreading, writing, and copy editing for a few small clients. Then, after 6 months of persistency, my client base and work load grew exponentially.
That’s when it finally hit me: I could really do something with this…
In January 2011, J. H. Language Solutions was born.
Passionate and Persistent, or Just Plain Crazy?
I worked at Pearson full time and ran J. H. Language Solutions on the side for 7 years. Commuting to Boston every day required a 60-minute ride on the MBTA’s Commuter Rail—ONE way. (For my non-Bostonian readers, the MBTA is Boston’s SUPER awesome public transportation system.)
My family (of course) and my friends thought I was crazy.
You should find a job closer to home. Yeah… That worked out REAL well for me.
Why don’t you just drive to the city? Oh, you think $500 per month for parking is a GOOD idea? Also, are you not aware of the extreme traffic problem the Mass Pike has?
I don’t know how you do it every day… Well, I could suck it up and deal with it, and be thankful that I finally have a good job, or I could NOT eat…
Everyone else made it a bigger deal than I did. No, commuting wasn’t always pleasant, but I would simply use that time to my advantage. I would use the 2 to 2.5 hours of commuting time each day to run my business, which for me was sufficient.
Riding the train was WAY more productive than sitting in traffic…
After I would finally get home in the evenings, I would continue to work until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.
Then, I was back up at 4:00 am the next day to do it all again.
And you know what? I LOVED it.
I loved both of my jobs. I was deliriously happy to have finally found something that I loved doing.
Again, people thought I was crazy. They told me I worked too much. They told me to take a vacation. They told me to take a break.
For me, it just wasn’t that easy, and I had a different plan. I was thinking years into the future. I was working this much so that hopefully some day I wouldn’t have to.
Well, that day finally came.
Then, It All Changed…
In May 2017, everything changed. Two loved ones in my family—my father and my significant other—both became ill and were hospitalized two weeks apart from each another. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and my significant other was diagnosed with an incredibly painful case of Diverticulitis.
At the same time, Pearson was laying people off left and right. So, dealing with my increased workload due to our dwindling staff, worrying about losing my job, trying to keep up with my growing business, AND dealing with my father and the other man in my life, I admit that I was really struggling. I was starting to burn out, and I was becoming horribly depressed.
It was through all of this that I realized that life was too short.
A week later, the alarm went off one Monday morning. I shut my alarm off, dragged myself out of bed, rubbed my weary eyes, and thought, I don’t want to do this anymore.
The first thing I did when I walked into my boss’s office later that morning was hand her my resignment letter.
That was it.
The life I had lived for 7 years changed in a matter of minutes.
Yup. I was scared—shitless, actually.
I was afraid of not being able to pay my bills, provide myself with health care, put food on the table or keep my house…
Like so many entrepreneurs, I was afraid of failure.
Sometimes we need to take risks in life in order to get where we want to go.
So far, I haven’t looked back.
New Business, New Life
Although I have only been running my business full time for less than a year, I am absolutely thrilled to have met many new clients; learned about their businesses, goals, and industries; and to have earned the opportunities to make a difference in their businesses and their lives every day.
Oh, and I can still afford to eat.
Dreams Really Can Come True—As Long As You Are Willing
I’m writing this blog not to boast, to act proud, or to just talk about myself, but rather to show you that no matter what your goals or your dreams are, or how much people think you are crazy (or whether you yourself think you’re crazy…), dreams really CAN come true—as long as you are willing to work for them.
Sometimes it’s necessary to make sacrifices, compromises, and nearly kill ourselves to get them. But most of all, it’s important to remain open minded. Be ready, as opportunities to reach your dreams can be untimely, and can sometimes arise in random and strange circumstances.
I am living proof that it is possible to live your dreams, no matter how impossible it may seem.
And if I can do it, you can, too.