This is part of The Recession is Bullhonkey series, where I share stories of those who have gotten hired and/or started their own businesses (or sometimes both!) since 2008. This is former client & upcoming CreativeLive interviewee Molly Quigley’s story of how she became the Online Dating Cheerleader – and why she hasn’t quit her “day job”.
I don’t know when I stumbled across Michelle Ward’s information or website. I do know that, too often, I would sit in Starbucks about to head to my job with one of her newsletters freshly delivered to my inbox, knowing that baby Jesus just shed a tear for me, as he watched me gather up the muster to head into work one more day.
You see, I was terrified to spend what little I had in savings to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was in my late forties, and the amount of self-talk I did every day went something like this. ‘My job is good. I work with nice people. Why can’t I just be happy?’ or ‘So-and-so seems happy. They don’t job change. Yea, I have to stop looking to change jobs to be happy.’ or ‘I need to have staying power.’
You can only self-talk for so long. When your mind gets tired of it, I think it tells your body to act up to get your attention. Who knows. I was in good shape, and suddenly, I had tremendous hip pain (that sent me to the Emergency Room), got pneumonia that hospitalized me (after never even having a chest cold a day in my life), hemorrhoids that would not go away, so you can see where this is going. Even after all this was happening, it took my acupuncturist to make me see that it was my work making me sick. He said, “You have to find a different career.”
It’s great when someone points this out to you. You just say to yourself, ‘Okay. I’ll do something else.’ Not really. Panic set in. But what do I do next? I had been in retail since I was 16. 16! That was 32 years ago. ‘Someone tell me what I can do where I make the same amount, please,’ is pretty much all I thought.
This is when my mother comes into the picture. She’s of German descent. You know the people who have staying power and don’t complain, that’s her. She’s also pretty change-averse and not much of a risk-taker. I don’t even talk to her about things like this. But one day, I opened up, and she told me my idea to hire Michelle was not only something good to do, but something I had to do.
I made my deposit in November, and I don’t mind telling you, it took 2 beers drunk rather quickly, to make me hit the button and say “I’m in.” We started working together in February. One of the very first exercises we did was to think of ideas that could generate income. Writing online dating profiles was something I had been doing for others for awhile. I was an English major in college, write every single day in my journal (no kidding) and met two husbands through online dating. Michelle encouraged me to let this idea expand. I told her I had wanted to teach a class at Leisure Learning about how to write profiles and to teach others about the sites.
With her prodding, I sat down and wrote the class out in a 4 hour sitting. I did not get up once. I sat down, lit a candle, had my water glass full, then I stopped, looked at the time and knew, with absolute certainty, this was my gig. I wanted more of this. This being in the moment with something that energized me and made me feel excitement again. When I meditated over what I was supposed to do, I held one mantra in my head – ‘help me to help others.’ I loved retail for the aspects of serving others, and this was something where I could use my writing talents and still help people. Plus, I had had mad success with online dating.
I started my company, put one blurb on my Facebook personal page (did not have a website yet or even a business FB page), and clients came. I knew I needed a really nice website, since this was going to be one of my only expenses and the way people found me. I had already invested so much in the coaching, and I still had fear of investing more in myself, that I decided to have an estate sale and raise the money. In 2 days, I made over $3,000.00 and had enough for the website, a nice business card design and for a few other business expenses. Doing it this way made me feel great and helped me see that not assuming debt in a new venture can be done.
My classes started at Leisure Learning a couple of weeks ago. I had good attendance, 20% of the class has already hired me to do their profiles, but more importantly, I loved doing it. I thrived showing people how to use the tool of online dating to their advantage. It’s not enough to post a picture and a half-way decent blurb about yourself. When I compare the act of resume writing to this venture, and show people that we care more about ourselves when we pitch ourselves for work, then for love, it makes the work to do it seem rather necessary.
I make more now an hour than I ever thought possible. I still have a part-time job working as an interior designer’s assistant (something I love almost as much as writing), and I encourage others to keep a job while starting something new. This way, I’m not always obsessing over my stuff, hyper-focused on the revenue stream, and everything that comes in is a major win. I also am new to this industry, and unsure about when the busy times and not-so-busy times fit in a calendar year. If I always have something else coming in, it makes the worry-time much less, believe me.
If you think you don’t have the money to start something new, maybe you need to think outside the box. Have a sale, or sell stuff on eBay, hell, I would have sold my car and bought something less to start my business. I was that committed. I’m happy and healthy and I love my jobs. My kids get to see me chasing something original and putting forth effort every day into something I am building all by myself. This is a powerful lesson.
Molly Ann Quigley is founder of Online Dating Cheerleader, a writing & coaching service dedicated to helping online daters write authentic profiles that reveal more about themselves than the standard schlock. Through constant research, she teaches classes on how to use dating sites to your advantage and helps people understand the science behind the sites’ algorithms. Every day that she does this is like eating cupcakes barefoot while drinking mint flavored tea with a chevron striped straw. Email her for a 20 minute free consultation and let the dating & cheering commence!
Wanna hear more from Molly? Then tune in to my CreativeLive class at the 3pm Pacific hour on 9/12, where I’ll be interviewing her about how owning our truths can lead to our Dream Careers!