I had a dream…. and then I woke up. I dreamt of a life of freedom, with no boss and no restrictions, with a flexible schedule and midday lunch dates or trips to the beach. I gobbled up inspirational quotes, boss babe mantras, female solopreneur guru podcasts, and motivational wall hangings like they were gold. I got invited to MLM enrollment meetings and finally felt like I found a group of friends. I sold essential oils and organizing containers and protein shakes and created pipelines and prospect lists and home party events until I was exhausted and only surviving on my “life saving adaptogenic tea blend.” I annoyed friends and family, like the little kid selling overpriced wrapping paper for a school trip with a loud jangling bell outside the grocery store or the the teenager going to door to door selling expensive candy bars to afford summer camp. Over and over, there were complaints and returns and rejections. So I stopped selling and my new friends suddenly disappeared.
There was no way I was going to quit my daydream so I begrudgingly took a trip to the local Health & Human Services office where I was given free health insurance and a magical card with $175 worth of Whole Foods groceries I could spend every month! As my savings dwindled, I found solace in those government stipends. The “you’re crushing it babe” DMs from other female entrepreneurs also kept me going.
Determined to live the laptop lifestyle, I dove into a world of pretty Pinterest pictures and fluffy email newsletters and influential webinars to sustain my dreamy pink bubble. I posted on Instagram every single day for a year by creating my own pretty pink quotes on my expert topics of fear and abundance and freedom. I went to expensive events just to get the perfect shot in front of a balloon banner or flower wall at the step and repeat. I read book after pink book telling me how brave I was to quit my job and live my dream. I joined Facebook groups for #soulpreneurs, #bossladies, #fempreneurs, and #girlbosses. I filled my home with overpriced rose gold accessories so I could film YouTube videos and shout my buzzwords from the proverbial pink rooftops. I spent $15,000 on life coaches to teach me more mantras and more freedom lifestyle techniques and more affirmations and more ways to live that #laptoplife. I attended conferences with more selfie stations and more donut bars and more champagne toasts in trendy shoes and flowy dresses, all so my audience could know-like-trust me enough to hire me so I could continue to fund that Barbie Dreamhouse. Using a peppy on-camera voice, spouting jargon like “empowered” and “life hacks” and “uplevel” and “success secrets,” I was like totally building my empire!
I felt like Jane Goodall examining chimpanzee culture- studying boss babe behavior and ingraining myself in their tribes to learn more. The only problem was money. The funds were sure to start coming in, right? Surely they would since I wasn’t selling other brands or buying fake friends (except that time I bought Instagram followers for social proof). You know, I was building my personal brand- and that’s all that matters! Didn’t you know I’m a unique snowflake with so many natural gifts and talents to share with the world? Didn’t you see me in my fancy dresses at your events, popping into your Instagram feed with glossy portraits of my life? Didn’t you hear me on your fave female founder podcast talking about all my amazing programs? Without a rich husband supporting my dreams (like many of my counterparts), the struggle was real.
Two years and only $76,000 gross revenue later… I woke up. Just like “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in They Live, the second I opened my eyes to the reality of what was going on, my dream got really dark, really fast. The bubble burst and all I could see were scammers, schemers, and snake oil sales. It smelled like rotting piles of shit- not like roses and rosé. I looked at the Lexus SUV parked outside; the one I bought to impress my paid sponsors (I mean friends) and realized the Kool Aid had lost its flavor. I looked at my shelves of perfectly curated inspo signs, pink hardcover books, and photos of those dreamy events and slowly started tallying up the bills from the mall as $227 in my bank account stared bleakly back at me.
And then I took a look at my resume. And my degree. And remembered my past life of consulting for Fortune 500 companies before I voluntarily became a single Stepford Wife. Before I lost my mind and forgot who I was. So I packed up all those memories, archived all those posts, unfollowed all those life coaches, accepted my final food stamps payment, closed the doors to my home organization and "clutter coaching" business, and created an Organizational Development Consulting service for people like me- without all the froth, fakery, and sugar-coated nonsense.
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