Career Woman

Career success in the face of adversity


What can be achieved, if we set our minds to a task? For entrepreneurs, there are many different growing pains that come with building a business – learning skills outside your comfort zone, juggling family and work and the never-ending job of marketing your business.

Yet for some entrepreneurs, the challenges go beyond the day to day hustle and bustle of business. For many, the additional hurdle of managing physical and mental conditions, adds to the juggle.

Pushing through, or even harnessing, the lessons that come with adversity can make or break a business. What is it that keeps the aspiring entrepreneur going? How do they get through the challenges that face them above and beyond the everyday challenges of building a business?

For Kayley Meloche from Maple and Honey, a digital agency, working around a degenerative back disease and single-handedly building a solid base with no small business experience has been the biggest challenge of her life. But she would not trade it for anything in the world.

Having a back condition made working for someone else hard. After all, who wants their employee to be lying down on the job? For Kayley, sometimes, that is the only way she can get the job done. Starting her own business with her husband Kyle made sense.

“I can be having the worst day ever with pain, but it still beats working for someone else. It means I can factor work around pain. If needed, I can lie down to work,” she said. “No one has to know I am not feeling the best and because I work for myself, it means I can work at times that suit me.

“As long as I get the work done.”

No one would know Kayley has a physical condition; it is not something you can see, which sometimes made it hard when she was working in a job.

“When you have an ‘invisible’ condition, it is easy for employers to write you off. When you work for yourself, there are more responsibilities but there is also that freedom of setting your own pace. I can manage my pain and still achieve great things. If I had to go back to work, I would not be able to hold down a job for long,” she said.

“Working for myself makes me happy. I get a lot of joy from helping my clients and that often mitigates the pain I feel. When you do something you love, you can do anything. It is what makes the painful days bearable.”

Despite her back condition, Kayley and Kyle have built a thriving business in under three years, starting from nothing expect the desire to run their own race.

Sometimes the challenge is transitioning from work to business. Like Laura Banks, coach, speaker, and communications consultant, who has been running her business since November 2014. It started as a side-hustle before she made the leap in November 2017 to full-time self-employment.

“The transition from side-hustle to full-time self-employment was full on. I would work three days for my corporate role and check in with clients for my growing business before and after work,” she said. “Then I would spend two days working in my own business.”

It meant that the hours were long. Some weeks she would finish her corporate employment at 6:00 pm on Wednesday night, be at the airport at 5:00ish the next morning, work with clients for four days then fly home either late Sunday night or first thing Monday morning to go straight to the office.

“As I entered full-time self-employment, I was burnt out. Summer 2017-18 I could barely function. All I could do was the bare minimum, which was the work I had to do for clients,” she said.

At the end of January, she was straight back into it. Travel for clients, running large events and adding the pressure of having to support herself – so if she wasn’t working, she wasn’t earning money.

“I struggled. I started having panic attacks, which I had never had before and I was working 60-80 hours a week,” Laura said.

Mid last year, she crashed. She was diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency. And so, began the long road to getting healthy

Laura said she learnt some valuable lessons, “You have to set boundaries (with clients and friends) and learning to listen to your body. It was difficult accepting that sometimes, I had to let people down in order to meet my body’s needs.,” she said.

For the modern entrepreneur, the drive to succeed and provide for yourself is strong. Yet, there has to be a balance otherwise, is it worth it?

We are bombarded with messages to hustle hard, where exhaustion has become some sort of trophy. The person running the business is its most important resource.

Stacey Copas, from Academy Of Resilience, is a quadriplegic. Despite these physical limitations, she has achieved great success in business and now helps others achieve.

“I focus on what I can do, work to strengths, use it to my advantage (people look at me and see straight away I must know something about resilience!), use my resilience framework published in my book “How To Be Resilient”,” she explained.

“For those aspiring for success, get a coach, know what you’re good at and focus on being the best at that, be kind to yourself, hustle/grind/working stupid hours doesn’t work, gratitude and rituals are everything.”

Can striving for perfection be considered an adversity? According to Bronwen Sciortino, a recovering perfectionist and simplicity expert, it can.

Not long ago her life was complex, heading down a one-way track – until the unimaginable happened. She got cancer. The resultant breakdown halted everything in her life – within seconds she was within her own Armageddon.

Through her recovery, she discovered many people are suffering from the little understood effects of stress and exhaustion.  She now dedicates every day to teaching people there is a very different way to live.

“I spend every day teaching people from all different walks of life that there’s a very different way to live – and it’s no more difficult than learning to ask yourself a few simple questions. I want everyone to know that challenging the status quo and stepping away from stress and exhaustion is easy and that taking control of your own life is not only achievable but can actually be loads of fun,” she said.

“Without a doubt, this journey was the hardest I have faced in my life. But I am truly grateful for everything I learned, and I can say that I now love my journey, with all its twists and turns, and the work that I do globally through this process”

About Kayley Meloche

Kayley Meloche is a digital marketing master from Maple and Honey. She previously worked in compliance for ANZ, so she knows how to take care of the details. And her diploma in beauty therapy lets her bring beauty to advertising. She lives and breathes Google Ads for her clients and enjoys staying up to date in the ever changing landscape. She passionately believes that her ability to give every client personal attention combined with her laser sharp focus is what ensures the success of the campaigns that she runs on their behalf. Kayley is a qualified Google Premier Partner. She continues to kick goals and has made millions of dollars for her clients. They’re in business to make money and she’s in business to see they get it.

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