This is my brand new interview series with inspiring and heart-centered women who lives their dream life all around the world and quit their 9-5 and live life on their own terms. We want to tell you that it is possible for you also if you just get clear on your goal, set a date and start taking action everyday one your goal. First up is Karen Strunks. Read what she has to say about how her journey has been and where she is today.
Tell me first a little bit about your business and what you do?
I’m a writer, speaker and coach. I help female entrepreneurs go full out in creating the life and business they truly want. No compromise. From making the break from the 9-5 to becoming their own boss, or building upon an existing business, I help these daring women break through their fears and get into massive action so they can create the life they vision for themselves, exactly on their terms. It’s really possible. I’m there to help.
What is your big “why” for doing this?
I want more people to experience the freedom that comes with designing a life that’s aligned with who they truly are. I want people to stop swapping their lives whilst they build up the dreams and goals of their employers. I want people to break FREE from society’s rules about what life and work should look like. Ultimately it’s all about FREEDOM; freedom to be yourself and freedom to do whatever they hell you like with your life and do the work you were born to do. It drives me mad to see people struggling to fit into a box that was never meant to be in the first place (that used to be me). It makes me so sad to hear people say how sick they feel on Sunday as Monday morning approaches (that used to be me). I get frustrated when I see people building a business following all the ‘rules’ and yet they lose track of THEMSELVES and their WHY. I want to show people that there IS another way.
How did you feel when you had a regularly 9-5 job?
For 90% of the time I felt trapped. Stifled. Thinking that there must be MORE to life than this! But I didn’t know what. I wondered what was wrong with me; isn’t this just what we are all supposed to do? Leave school, get a job, get a house, etc? Why couldn’t I just be happy with my lot? I felt like a square peg in a round hole. I didn’t fit in but I wasn’t sure what I was meant to do about it. I wondered if there were other people like me; who were meant for more and who DIDN’T have to be part of the rat race. Even back then, the prevailing word that went around my mind as I stared out of the office window was, FREEDOM. I wanted so desperately to make a break for freedom but I didn’t know how.
What was the tipping point for taking the leap and quit your job?
I ended up getting depressed. Really depressed. I had months and months off work due to depression. I probably lost a couple of years of my life to depression. The type where I couldn’t get out of bed. The type where I wondered if it would be easier not to be here. This went on and on. Sometimes I felt a bit better momentarily but it didn’t last. I desperately wanted to leave my job but again, I was stuck. How? What would I do next? How would I pay my bills? Then one morning, I call it the day that changed my life, I woke up and I just couldn’t take feeling that way any more. They say there’s a point where you get so low the only way was up. It was a horrible, emotional morning and I got angry but anger was better than depression! I got angry with everything and everyone and the whole world. I would NOT take this anymore. I didn’t care what would happen next but the fear of swapping another day of my life to do a job that sucked the soul out of me was greater than the fear of leaving that job. I went straight into the office, saw the manager and left there and then. I’d been in that job for 10 years. And so began my life of freedom; I went travelling, I moved house and after a couple of part time, temporary jobs, I became my own boss. That was 9 years ago and I’ve never looked back.
How does a working day look like for you now?
I get up around 7am and the first thing I do is listen to something positive to start my day. I really believe in the power of positivity and as such I don’t watch the news (I haven’t for nearly 3 years), and I make sure I don’t have any negative people in my life. I won’t tolerate it. So! It’s a positive start to the day and I’ll usually have an idea for a blog post, so I’ll grab my laptop and get that written and out to the world first thing.
I spend around 25 hours a week on my business and work Mon-Thurs. Up until September last year I was working 80-100 hours weeks until I decided that the business I actually wanted didn’t look like that so I changed it. I do most of my work in the morning and I finish around 1pm ish, though I don’t have an official ‘clock off’ time. My work is quite flexible, and have appointments for coaching calls. Typically the rest of the work that I do would be creating content (written/videos/audio), marketing myself, planning what I’m going to do next, making offers, and keeping in touch with people online.
After doing crazy hours in my business for so many years, it’s amazing to know that I have the business of my dreams. I only work with my perfect clients. I don’t do anything that I don’t want to. It feels natural, flowing and totally me.
Where do you find your inspiration to create and sell your stuff?
Usually ideas just pop into my head. Where do these ideas come from? Mainly from things that I’ve been through myself and that I can help other people with now. I remember what I needed and then I pass the solution to the problem on via coaching or online courses. I’m a great believe in acting on inspiration so when I have that bright idea, I go for it. I don’t stick it in my diary to do in a month’s time when the inspiration and the idea is faded. I go for it, there and then. When I get excited about something I don’t want to hold back! So anything that I create and sell is truly something I passionate about and I know that I can help people with as I’ve been through it myself.
Where do you see yourself in 2 years from now?
I’ll still be following my dreams, goals and passions and creating my life on my terms with freedom at the forefront. As long as I can create a business by being myself I’ll be happy and I’ll be impacting and helping even more people around the world.
Why do you think so many women out there want to start their own business?
With the age of the internet there is so much inspiration out there now! Women are watching what other women are doing and they know that they have something they can offer the world through their skills, talents and passions. There are examples of women asserting their right to do whatever they like in their businesses and it’s so incredible to see the knock-on effect of this all over the world!
Whats your best advice for someone who is brand new to their business?
Be 100% yourself in everything that you do. Don’t fill your business full of things you think you should be doing. Don’t feel you have to fit into any mold or adhere to all the business rules. Experiment. Do what you want. Follow your instincts and act on inspiration. Start charging for your services from day one. Don’t fill your business with things you don’t like; people, activities, services etc. And have fun. Make sure you create a business that you get excited about every day!
What’s the most important thing to take care of?
YOU! You are number 1 in your business, and of course life!
How can women come to you for help starting their dreamlife and business?
Check me out on karenstrunks.com, say ‘hi’ on twitter, @karenstrunks, or facebook, or come and join my community of daring entrepreneurs and grab a free copy of my Amazon book; 8 Secrets To Playing It Big In Business & Life.
Thank you so much Karen for your great advice on how women can empower themselves and just go out there and live their dream life.