What started out as a need to express myself and find community with like-minded people who also believed strongly in equality and a good quality of life for everyone, turned into my own training ground. There I got into the habit of being humbled and frequently corrected and made aware of my own blindspots and biases.
In time it became a huge passion and an amazing and supportive community of fierce individuals and high standards. I had grown up going to church, and yet despite the rich humanitarian values repeated over and over again in the scriptures and pulpit, as I grew up I felt that those values were otherwise conspicuously absent outside of the Sunday church service. And anything resembling Christ-like care for another human being was even cause for derision at times, especially if it was in opposition to profits or ‘good business’.
And so my growing, secret community became a home for my heart, especially as I’d come out as nonbinary and needed people around me as I found my way.
Eventually word got out about what I was doing and people started asking me to give talks about gender identity (my core topic). After the first instance of being asked, I drove home in a daze. With the deep knowing that this was the next chapter of my work, and the most passionate undertaking of my life thus far, I began to be more open about my work, values, and knowledge.
It seems obvious looking back now, that this was not the final chapter in my work. Even with the best boundaries in the world, it was inevitable that transphobic trolls would turn up, or people who had a raging hard-on for debating our existence, reducing us down to a curious subject of entertainment rather than human beings. The talks and interviews I was giving began to feel like an unpleasant repetition. Patiently educating people on my pronouns and how to conduct their curiosity respectfully started to feel abrasive, like I’d rubbed my eyes a few too many times. A frown began to form every time I saw there was a new notification, concerned about what I’d be faced with, this time.
By the summer of 2021, seven years after beginning this chapter of my life, I sat with a coaching client who was lying about how much she was struggling with her child’s coming out. I felt myself falling out of love with something I’d been so passionate about for seven years. I told my coach a couple of weeks later that I’d lost my magic, my traction was dropping, and my mood was low. And as my Shaman friend likes to remind me in these moments, there must be a death to make way for the new, and I had experienced this type of ending making way for a beginning many times in my own life, and had observed it countless times in others’ lives. Yet I resisted the idea of another rebirth, I think because I was so emotionally and mentally exhausted after so much change already.
As I finally accepted help from my coach, she asked me ‘when has there been magic recently?’. Without hesitation I relayed to her the recent clients I’d had who were struggling with untreated trauma and had dreams of changing their lives around in big ways. They were, without exception, spiritually-attuned people who were wired a little bit differently. The connections I made with these clients allowed for massive growth, healing, and huge success. Months on and these clients have left jobs or homes that weren’t making them happy and have gone on to explore their purposes and even began to make money from their passions, outside of employment, and I couldn’t contain my excitement for them.
‘There it is,’ said my coach, Nancy. It was so left-field. After all the years I’d spent doing such alternative things, was I really going into helping people to start businesses?
It took a while for this concept to sink in. It’s not unusual for most of us to go through a phase of ‘who am I to do this?’. And it was no different for me. But I took a leaf out of my own book, and just as I’d encouraged others to do many times before, I made myself answer that question. I was a serial entrepreneur and had three businesses before I turned 30. Unbeknownst to me I was about to become a best-selling author of a first-of-its-kind LGBTQ+ business book. I had grown a following of over 30,000 people completely organically through humour and shared values. And I’d done it all my way, with no fuss, and utilising whatever felt right and whatever came naturally to me.
Holding my new book, co-authored by 14 LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, Thriving in Business; Strategies for the LGBTQ+ Entrepreneur
I had already helped two people in the direction of new lives and making money doing what they love; something I’d done multiple times myself. The idea that I would help people to exit toxic environments and create their own better one seemed far more compelling than trying to change a system over time, and at the expense of many. If so many more of us could leave behind the struggle of navigating and advocating for ourselves within a system that was built on bias and exploitation, and instead put our energy into our passions, gifts, and a work life that gave more than it took, why would I choose to fight over that?
Self-employment and business ownership was not as talked about at school, and it’s clear to me that school is only intended to turn children into future employable, amenable staff. But truthfully many of us never settle into work as easily as others, and it’s frequently because that system is not designed for us, and requires us to make ourselves small, orderly, and malleable in order to fit in. But if like me you can’t help but be a perpetual nuisance to any employer brave enough to give you a chance, the likelihood is that you’re meant for more.
And true to my nature, the thought of being partly responsible for a small-scale corporate walkout and helping to midwife a flurry of independent successful businesses gives me a certain kind of mischievous glee! I won’t say it’s easy, but it can be simple, and I’ll tell you now; it’s a lot better than staying in an unfulfilling job for another 20+ years.
It’s also my belief and experience that many of us are beginning to wake up and become more conscious than some of our forebears; it is no longer enough for us to work in a transactional job that does not align with our values, passions, and beliefs. And whatever work we are called to do, I believe in our right to be generously compensated and to have the opportunity to live out our deepest values and soul-aligned purpose.
I would like to end by saying a huge thank you to my intersectional community who have been a big part of my life and a home for my heart for seven years.
Of course a utopia where money is redundant, and honest trade and social support for all is a beautiful idea to many, but I don’t think we’re going to have that by tomorrow. I do think, however, that us leaving a system to crumble and learning to live outside of it as much as possible is a very real step in the right direction. It’s only a part of the story, but it’s an essential part. And so, my friends, if you have a burning desire to create a big impact, whatever you do, and to simultaneously make money and create a healthier work-life balance, I invite you on this journey with me to begin creating a new life for yourself which will, in turn, have a massive positive impact on everyone you come into contact with, too.
Together we can change the world, and that’s why I’m here to help you to do that, if you hear the call.