How to start a freedom-fuelled business: 1. Identifying your skills, and deciding what kind of business to start.
Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself. | George Bernard
I was 27 when I read this simple quote, and it transformed everything for me. It was the trigger for my entrepreneurial escapades. And the beginning of learning to create my life, on my terms, with big dreams.
Let’s rewind a few years, first.
At 23 I stumbled out of my Psychology degree, knowing for sure that I don’t want to be a psychologist anymore, and fell into working in artist management for international music festivals. Which is just a fancy word for welcoming DJ’s and musicians to the festival, making sure they knew what was up, and getting them back stage an hour before their set, which was sometimes a near-impossible feat, if they’d already indulged in a few to many chemical cocktails.
At 25 I was based out of a small apartment in Barcelona, traveling all over Europe to work for festivals throughout the year. By then, I was becoming disillusioned with the festival scene. It had been so much fun, and I met so many amazing people, but after two years, I was starting to burn out. My best friend Tomoe and I were walking from La Rambla to Barrio Gotico, the Gothic Quarter in the old city of Barcelona, where we lived, when I voiced my dream to her. “I wish I could just create my own job.”
At 26 things started to change. I moved to London, to figure out what it was that I wanted to do with my one wild and precious life. I knew that as much as I loved music, travel and festivals, the lifestyle wasn’t sustainable for me. I got a job as an even coordinator for a dance company in Shoreditch, moved into the cutest apartment in Hackney, and started soul-searching. I can still see that bright bedroom, overlooking Lidl, where so much evolved for me. It was here that I mastered manifesting, used journaling to gain clarity, and started to understand the relationship between my inner world and my physical life experience. I already had a strong spiritual connection, that I had nurtured over the past 3 years, but my challenge was that my inner world and outer world felt so separate.
At that time, I was still under the illusion that to be spiritual, graceful, kind, free compassionate and enlightened; I also had to be poor, unambitious, tethered to social constructs, and allowing others to do and say what they wanted, without boundaries. I had been going with the flow for so long, and it had worked so well for me, that stopping and creating a direction for myself felt impossible, overwhelming and scary. I had completely lost the ability to take directive action. I didn’t even know how to begin.
This was the start of a whole new life education for me.
The year that I turned 27, I went to India to ask myself all the important questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I want? How do I uncover my true passion? And travelled alone for 4 months. I did Vipassana, a silent meditation course in Kerala, played in the waves and danced at the parties in Goa, prayed in an Ashram in Rishikesh, smoked weed with ex-military Israeli’s in the Himalayan mountains and threw myself into the epic journey of finding myself.
Until I read that quote: Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.
Amongst other books including Ask and It Is Given, I delved deeply into The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose, which helped me chisel down some basic ideals toward the life that I wanted to create.
I returned to London, and spent the summer working at more festivals and eco-fashion events followed by the International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
By this time I knew that working for myself was the only solution. For me to have the creative freedom, the lifestyle, and the positive impact on the world that I wanted, I had to approach the world with a business that was entirely mine, with my own unique perspective and way of doing life. And I realised that I had to create these opportunities for myself. I had to literally, create the life that I wanted.
But what business should I start? What am I really good at? How can I add value to the world?
Those questions haunted me for many months. As did:
Can I do this? Am I good enough? What if I fail? How do I even start? I don’t know anything about business!
At 28 my boyfriend-at-the-time and I moved to Australia. I knew I wanted to start a business that had a positive impact, and fulfilled my constant need to be creative. I also knew that I needed new projects all the time, to stay motivated and excited about what I was doing. But I still had absolutely no idea what to do.
In hindsight, I realise that I was afraid to truly step up, unveil my truth and shine my light. I was scared. And I was hiding. And I didn’t know how to stop being scared and hiding.
I just needed to start doing something. So, based on my love for fashion, I started an eco-fashion business, and spend 4 months in India connecting with fair-trade and organic manufacturers, to create a new line. The name of that business was Etica&Ella. Within a year the whole concept failed miserably, and I lost the $30,000 that I invested into every part of it.
What I did was that I forced something into being and created something that was not in alignment with my truth. Even though fashion was and is something I really love, it is not my true gift to the world. I think I secretly knew it then. But I had stop start somewhere. It was an expensive lesson in what I needed to learn, and what I need not to do.
At 29 I got a job as a business manager, working for an expert marketing author and speaker. I manifested that job with the intention to do work that would help me create the business that I knew I wanted. In truth, it taught me very little about marketing, but it did teach me the ins and outs of managing a business. And it also gave me the excess free time, to start a blog. (I also left my-then-boyfriend and moved into a studio apartment in Paddington, Sydney all by myself. It was epic and I loved it.)
Blogging came easily. For years my friends, who would receive monthly group emails updates from me, sent from every corner of the world, encouraged me to write. But for a long time I was stubbornly against getting too involved online. I was afraid it would suck me up and stop me from living life ‘in the real world’. Eventually, I also recognised that the digital world is the most magical, incredible way to communicate your message to the world, without censorship. Not only could I communicate, but I could build ‘real world’ relationships with ‘real people’. A whole new door opened up for me.
Honestly, looking back, the first 6 months of writing were mostly rubbish. I was searching and experimenting with my authentic voice, with my message with what and how I could say things. I was inspired and influenced by writers I adored and kept changing styles until I finally fell into my groove. As I observed the topics I most enjoyed writing about, I noticed that my deepest interest and passions related back to my years studying Psychology. All I wrote and thought about was positive psychology, human behaviour, the way our thoughts create our worlds and how we can become more self-aware and lead happier, kinder, more peaceful lives.
The questions: But what business should I start? What am I really good at? How can I add value to the world? Started to have an answer.
These ones: Can I do this? Am I good enough? What if I fail? How do I even start? I don’t know anything about business! Still needed a solution.
The year that I turned 30, I took the plunge, and enrolled in a business course. This course changed everything for me, in a surprising way. It gave me the courage to do things my way. I’d love to work with you, if you’d like guidance and support creating a freedom-fuelled business, your way, too. Book a free 15 minute chat with me here.
You can access all the articles in this 8-part series, here:

  1. Identifying your skills, and deciding what kind of business to start.
  2. Understanding your great, big, guiding why. (By using your heart and intuition to make decisions.)
  3. Overcoming fear, self-sabotage, and putting yourself out there.
  4. Creating a platform, building an audience and using social media.
  5. Finding balance and boundaries, to live out your freedom-fuelled life.
  6. Changing your mindset around self-worth, value and money.
  7. Honing and defining your niche and your message.
  8. Nurturing relationships and connecting with influencers to elevate your brand.

Photography by Luke Marshall Images

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