Before we get started today with the very first in our behind the scenes series here’s a quick background on what I hope will actually be a series and why I’m adding this to our regular content.
Man, I love a good series. Mini-series’ from the 80’s, The Outlander books, and most importantly, any blog or website that has me coming back for more. I subscribe to a shit ton of “Sunday style” type lists along with “my favorite things” posts (even though I know deep down inside that the author is probably trying to sell me something). And I even attempted one myself awhile ago but…well, I’m me. And I’m not good at staying on track.
I think it’s all well and good to continue to build this voice and brand, to continue to write and create ideas and content, and to keep on working my business(es). Which has come to be primarily focused on helping single moms build a life and a business they love.
But I think everyone deserves to know the truth and to be able to check out how things work behind the scenes. Hence, this series. Will it be regular like? I hope so. But more importantly, like everything I write about on this site, it will be real. So freakin’ real you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the sofa with me.
I wanted to be able to share with you what building a business really looks like. What building a website looks like. And most importantly, what running a single mom family is all about. You’ll still get loads of regular content aimed at helping you get out of the daily grind, business building ideas and tips, along with anything else I can think of to support you in your journey. But I also want to share the real me, the real Hill family, and how we roll. Because life isn’t a Pinterest photo or Instagram story. It’s real, it’s messy, and this is the series where you get to take a behind the scenes look at how really messy we are. Less gloss, more slop.
I love when people show me who they really are, and I have been super inspired by Marie Forleo’s summer video series where she’s spending more time sharing unplugged snippets of her life along with business building videos. So big shout out to Marie and her last video about her weekend with friends at “sleepaway camp”. I laughed so hard and I loved catching a real glimpse into someone I consider a business hero.
So let’s get to it.
Volume 1. All the crazy ideas.
BUSINESS IDEAS I’VE HAD, BUSINESSES I OWN, THINGS I’VE FAILED AT, AND OTHER GOOD STUFF
That’s a pretty long and unfocused title. But it’s very me so I left it that way. I’m one of the most enthusiastic multi-passionate business babes you’re gonna meet. Sometimes that looks like a lack of focus. And sometimes it is. But fuck it. It’s my life and it’s how I roll. I get excited about a lot of things, I love talking business ideas, and I love helping people find their passion. It’s my actual passion. For real, sistah.
I used to keep all my ideas tucked up inside. Worse, I hid my businesses and blog from my “real life friends” for a long time because I was afraid they would make fun of me. Or write mean things in the comment sections. Or something really stupid. Maybe it was a confidence issue, I dunno.
Let’s be clear. I did have that one friend who made fun of me and who said “Oh, you’re starting a blog. You and everyone else” in a sarcastic voice when I said out loud what I was planning to do back in 2012. She was the first person I told. And because of that offhand comment, I kept the entire project to myself for years afterward. YEARS! I was ashamed of my own work for shit sake.
Seriously. I let one cynical friend shut me down. WTF?
So maybe it’s that one friend that kept me celebrating my successes alone and wallowing in failure the same way. Alone.
Look. I’m a bigger than life personality sometimes with tons of passions and loads of ideas. I’ve started, succeeded, and failed at lots of things. And all of it has led me to where I am right now in both my business and my life.
So, yup. I have a few things on the go that I’m crazy passionate about. But building pretty websites and building up single moms is the big one. It took awhile to get here because I like to do things the hard way. Want to see the businesses I’ve started and abandoned over the years before finding my place. Well, places. Because, you know, multi-passionate, right?.
Check them out:
- Mediation and Consulting (1999-2001): My then “business” partner and I entered into a mediation practice for divorcing parents. I lost interest when I moved a few miles down the road. And also I never really had an interest in the first place but I “needed the money”. We did very little work because we were more interested in drinking beer and talking about the practice then actually building a practice. #truestory #alsoireallylovebeer
- Private Practice Therapy (2004-2007): I accepted next to no referrals because I really wasn’t interested in doing more therapy when I was already working in social work full time…specifically child protection. Ugh.
- 24 Cottonwood Lane (2012-ongoing): Bored and really overwhelmed at the same time with two drug and alcohol addicted newborns coming into my life in a 12 month period, I launched what was initially a DIY and decorating blog to document designing a second nursery in 12 months on the world’s tightest budget. It’s still here although my focus has changed a lot over the years.
- Cottonwood Lane Designs (2015 – 2016): After quitting my child protection job in a rather dramatic fashion, I decided to take on furniture painting and interior design for real live clients. The furniture painting and flipping went really well but…I got bored quickly and was tired of living in what felt like a used furniture shop and smelling like paint.
- Etsy (2015): Overwhelmed with the amount of Christmas crafts I was making while I was pushing to make my blog into an income, I launched an Etsy shop selling hoop art and printables. Not a wild success but the prints actually did okay. I’m thinking of going back to making more prints, because that’s just fun for me!
- FASD Families (2015- ongoing): Second website for families raising children with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder). Shockingly successful and still very popular however, I stopped writing consistently within months. I last published a Halloween post. Still makes money, though, which was never my intention. Go figure. It’s getting a much needed face lift at the moment.
- Traveling Single Mom (2016– ongoing): Because I didn’t have enough to do, and because our foster care agency was pushing hard for me to adopt the boys, I launched a travel site. I figured if I have to relocate to live in Nicaragua (because that’s the only place I could afford to live if the agency stopped funding the boys needs) we might as well have a travel site. Not sure what I’m doing with that now. It’s down for maintenance. Or sale. Haven’t decided.
- Custody/Access Court Assessments (2016-ongoing): In a moment of financial and career desperation and needing an income, I applied to the Province in 2015 to become a clinician with the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. It took almost a year to get vetted and I occasionally take on a case now and then to keep my hand in the field since this is definitely not my passion.
- Teaching College (2016- ongoing): My friend called me looking for an instructor to teach the counselling skills series at the Indigenous/Aboriginal college that she basically runs. As a super shy introvert who barfs in my mouth when public speaking, I resisted this for awhile. I’m still teaching because I got over myself and absolutely love it. #cantwaituntilseptember
- Website, logos, branding designs (2017 – ongoing): Since fiddling with graphics and building websites makes me happy, I added this to my list of offerings last spring
- Online business coaching (2017 – ongoing): I decided to put my background in therapy to better use by taking on business clients in a life coaching practice. I don’t advertise and I only take 3 clients at a time. There’s a short wait list right now so I’m feeling like this has been a success.
- Domain Name Flipping (2016 – present): I’m a little obsessed with buying domain names that I think will either be great for women entrepreneurs or bloggers or will be worth something down the road. Eventually, I’m going to list domain names and websites for sale on this site. Or so I keep telling myself. I think I own like at least 40 domain names at the moment.
- Passion Based Business Something or Other Type Course (2017 – present): It started in my classroom last winter, asking the women in class about what makes them happy, what they are passionate about and are they doing what they are called to do. Still trying to figure out my life, I finally took my own course which led to launching this site and starting to build actual courses online. (Coming soon, I hope.)
- Scarlett + Co Designs (2017): Reluctantly built an online shop with a friend. Deeply regretting that already. Never, ever get swayed into doing something like this unless it’s your passion. I love design and I love furniture but I never wanted the responsibility of running an online shop full time. I should have just been the consultant/coach/website designer. Lesson learned. And it distracted me from this…
- The Single Mom Collective (2017): Here we go. THIS is my passion! All of the rest have led me to be right here.
Want to know other things that are just simmering on the burner waiting for me to try my hand at when I get a minute? Here’s the overarching list of things I’d still like to do:
- Design T-shirts, mugs, and other things for The Single Mom Collective: I’d really love a bragging T-shirt that says something like “Single mom building her Empire” Or even a simple mug with “Because Fuck You, That’s Why” for when you haven’t had your first coffee yet.
- Start a boss lady business school: Could you even freaking imagine? An all in one place for women who want to build a business from the ground up. Full of supportive people in the exact same place, learning at the same time, and connecting with one another. And, full of expert instructors of course. Meaning way more than just me. #letscollaborate
- Build and sell pre-made niche websites: Wouldn’t it be freaking amazing after reading the content here if you could just click over and have a ready made website to go? (Hence my crazy purchasing of domain names.)
- More one to one coaching: I literally only work with three people at a time because I can’t justify the amount of time personal coaching takes. Yet, it’s one of my favorite things. I love walking women from not knowing where they’re going in a hot mess of a life, to being on top of her family and business. And even, (gasp!) having a decent relationship with her child’s father. (Seriously. It can be done.)
- Building Genesis Child Themes of my own: Ugh, I want this so badly!
- Writing a “Passion Based Business” Book: Taking all my best content, including the courses I’ve put together (but still haven’t launched!) into a book. A real live book. sigh
- Writing a travel book: This would be a humorous look at our travels in the past 5 years. We have enough of the other kind. Traveling as a single parent is challenging but doable and I’d really like to share “the real” stories of our trips. Like the time I melted down on the Montparnasse Tower and cried for 3 hours straight. You know, inspirational shit like that. But with lots of pretty travel photos of things you can’t wait to see in person.
- Developing and launching my online courses: I’m like halfway through building the course I want to launch, “How to Find Your Passion”, but I keep getting distracted and wandering away.
- Developing either a membership section on this site or something similar: For women who are ready to get serious and want my coaching without the intensity of the live coaching if you know what I mean. For all the things I provide for women that I accept as coaching clients…which is still only 3, because I don’t have the time.
Why am I oversharing here and in other upcoming posts? Because I want you to know the real story, not the glossy fluffy BS snake oil that’s all over the internet right now. You know what I’m talking about….
- “How I Made $40k in 30 Days and You Can Too! (For the low, low price of $2197)
- “How to be an Instagram Superstar and Make Money in Your Sleep” (Course- $497)
- “How I Went from 0 to 150,000 Pageviews in One Month” (Buy my e-book!)
- “How I Make $5000 each month selling ____________ insert Multi-Level Marketing crap here.” (And don’t forget to sign up under me!) Or, as I like to call it. “How in the fuck did I get in this Facebook Group?”
And other bullshit type propaganda crap.
Now, I’m not saying that those things didn’t happen but I’m willing to guarantee that there’s a lot more to the story than a simple overnight success story.
There is trial and error. There is failure. There are the middle of the night panic attacks when you wonder what in the fuck you’re doing to yourself and your family. There is the not knowing what you’re doing. Why don’t people talk about that? Seriously. I would literally pay someone to be the kind of business coach that tells me all the ways they fucked up so I don’t feel so bad about my own wanderings and mistakes.
Back to the story. I love writing, I love lots of things. But I also love talking about blogging and business and it makes me way happier than actually doing the blogging. I still struggle with content. Or more accurately, how to narrow down my content since I’m so full of ideas. That’s a sign that I’m in the right place. Encouraging YOU to do what you love, helping you figure out what that is, and giving you lots of ideas and concrete ways to get there.
And if it’s more than one thing, that’s cool, too!
The point is this. Every single thing I’ve done, whether they be wildly successful or just a blip on the radar, have led me to be right here doing exactly what I love to do. They gave business and life lessons, feelings of victory when I learned a new thing, and the humility and strength to fail and rise again.
How’s that for a reality check?
Now get out there and go do you. Beautiful, messy, and perfectly perfect the way you are.