My Difficult Choice Part 1

 

A year and a half ago, I was living in sunny Southern California in a spacious condo by the beach.

 I was driving into my office a few times a week to check in on projects, managing my business remotely, while taking lots of trips and enjoying a very comfortable lifestyle.

 

 I was 24, with a successful business that didn't require a ton of my time and attention and had NO IDEA what I wanted to do next.

My husband and I had always had this DREAM of moving to NYC, but it didn't really make much sense. I mean our business was based out of Southern California and we didn't really know anyone out there or have any real reason to move besides we just thought it would be such an INCREDIBLE place to live and experience.

 

On our 1 year wedding anniversary we had a big talk. We realized how FAST a year had gone by and how easy it would be to just live our lives day by day without ever accomplishing the BIG THINGS that we wanted to accomplish. So we went online, found an apartment in NYC and submitted an application.

Within a few months, we were flying across the country to sign our lease and start our new life in NEW YORK CITY!!

 

Now to this day, most people still think I'm crazy - leaving my business across the country and just starting a new life on a whim. But I'm a big believer that when you become an entrepreneur you should:

 

Think about the vision for your life and BUILD YOUR BUSINESS AROUND IT.

 

Not the other way around.

 

Decide who you want to be, how you want to live and build everything else around that. So I traded in my cush beachfront condo for a 700 sq/ft apartment in the middle of the craziest, loudest, most chaotic city in the world and you may be wondering WAS IT WORTH IT?

 

Besides marrying my husband, it was HANDS DOWN THE BEST DECISION THAT I HAVE EVER MADE IN MY LIFE.

 

You see I'm a big believer that we are all products of our environments and I wanted to be surrounded by the most creative and ambitious people in the world. By making the decision to throw myself outside of my comfort zone I experienced the most transformational growth in just 1 short year.

 

It was hard and scary and extremely overwhelming but within 1 year I started 2 successful businesses, was featured in a book, had my business and my apartment featured in a magazine, had my products featured on television shows like ABC's Good Morning America and I met the most incredible and inspiring new group of friends.

 

 

You may be wondering why I am telling you all this. I want you to start thinking about:

Where are you headed?

Who do you want to become?

What do you want to accomplish?

I'd love to have you share by commenting in the section below.

The truth is you don't get big results without massive change.

 

You need massive change in your life, in your habits and in your mindset.

I know that sounds more than a bit overwhelming but I have a PLAN for you.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post...

 

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  1. Tina says:

    That’s awesome you took that leap! This post comes at a perfect time, I’m sitting down this weekend to make concrete goals for myself (both business and personal), and I think it’s time to DREAM BIG! Can’t wait to read the rest:)

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      How exciting Tina! I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.x

      Reply to this Comment
  2. Kosia says:

    Melanie you must have read my mind with this post, cos all weekend i have been thinking about “am i in the right place, right job, what sacrifices am I making now that will help me with my impending business.

    So what do i want, I want to own a successful custom made home decor line, be successful enough to be able to help a charitable organisation i plan on setting up back in Africa, be comfortable and flexible enough to travel the world at least 4 times a year to get insipirational ideas for my products and not have to be always sitting in some cubicle calculating my PTO hours and if i have enough to travel :) )

    - I definately want to meet a nice guy and start a family cos i love kids immensely and when i do have those cutie lil schnokooms i dont want anyone taking care of them in some day care but to have the flexiblity to be working from home and taking care of them at least for the first 5 yrs before they start school etc etc etc. Yes we are in a new year and I need a massive change. I want to quit my job so bad but then that small lil voice is saying – how are you going to pay your rent – how are you going break your apartment lease and pay all that early termination fee etc etc what about your credit card bills etc etc.

    For the diverse target market that i am aiming for my business a great place like NYC or London (where am from) will be excellent than to be in Atlanta where i am now. IN london i will not even pay rent cos my family apartment is currently empty.

    I know i need to make some choices – get that lil fear of uncertainty out of me and its blogs and sites like yours that kinda gives me that push and that hope.

    I definately have to strategize (and quick) of quitting this current job. I get here at 8am and dont leave until 6pm due to workload and the pay is not even that great.

    I have to put me first – cos seems like currently i am putting the company first making sure i please everybody else and in getting all projects done on time. its been 7 yrs since i came out of B-school although half of my friends still do a 9-5, honestly i dont to anymore. I want to have my own job and working from home and networking with all my potential clients alll over the world. I hate monday mornings. :) – I guess i may not be the only one.

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  3. Sarah Baynes Sarna says:

    great post

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Thanks Sarah.x

      Reply to this Comment
  4. Vicky Lyashenko says:

    Wow! I am so proud and so happy for you!!! You go girl! Just like the other commenters, hubby and I are in the same position!!! We feel like we live each day by day with nothing really to show for it, except out beautiful children!! Your blog posts are so encouraging! I’m so happy for your success in NYC! I’m sure you have met Jenny Komeda by now? If yes, I’m so jealous!!! Wishing you much more success in 2012!!! Blessings to you and your hubby! Keep the posts coming! <3

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Thanks Vicky. Yes, I have met Jenny at a few events here in the city. I’m so glad you are enjoying the posts. Stay tuned for part 2!Blessings to you and your hubby as well.xx

      Reply to this Comment
  5. Ellie Cashman says:

    I totally agree – life begins when you exit your comfort zone. You are your own best compass, so know yourself well and your path will be clear. Five years ago I left NYC :( to follow my husband to the Netherlands (he’s Dutch) and it has been the most challenging and rewarding experience, forcing me to dig deep and identify who I am and what I want more clearly than ever. This year I’m setting a non-negotiable goal for myself to establish myself as a surface pattern designer with an international client list, lots of travel, tons of passion and creativity in what I do, freedom … Yes, it’s the life I will build my business around – love that quote!! Thanks for sharing your inspiration and experience!

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      How inspiring Ellie! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing.xx

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  6. maryann says:

    amazing and inspiring! thanks for sharing your experience with us!

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Glad to have you Maryann!x

      Reply to this Comment
  7. Andrea says:

    I’m somewhat in this phase too. Several years ago I went through a divorce after being married for 16 years. After that experience I decided to finally finish my degree and I’m in that process now. I’m majoring in art history and I love art, design and decorating and hope to incorporate all of these things into an art and design boutique. Some days I find it incredibly hard to focus on just one aspect of starting my dream business. I have really learned alot from your training courses and am trying everyday to do a little more to get organized and put my dreams in motion. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and talent.
    Ande

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Hi Andrea! Good for you. I’m so glad that you are enjoying the courses. We will get you there together.xx

      Reply to this Comment
  8. Tiffanie Beecham says:

    Thank you for this blog post! i’m stuck in a few different areas where I know I need to change! Confidence, confidence, confidence!!!!

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Wonderful! Stay tuned.xx

      Reply to this Comment
  9. Michele Johnston says:

    Well, who better to follow advice from than someone who has ‘been there, done that’. I have been sitting in my comfort zone for too long..time to summon up the courage and take the steps I have been avoiding for too long-one of them being tackling my blog. Thanks for the enCOURAGing words! I also look forward to reading part 2.

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Thanks Michele! I look forward to helping you achieve the same freedom and success for yourself.xx

      Reply to this Comment
  10. Christine says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, and congrats to you and your continued success! I have definitely been pushing myself out of my comfort zone this year b/c I know I have to in order for me to reach my goals. It was also a great reminder to make sure I am building my business around my life, and not my life around my business.

    Reply to this Comment
  11. emmakisstina says:

    I did the same thing! I wasn’t happy with my life in the States (sunny Florida) so I packed my bags and moved to Stockholm, Sweden (didn’t know anyone, just a handful of family members). The best decision of my life. I went from having no friends to having lots of great relationships, as well as finding my soulmate Johan. I have even been able to start my own business, my dream job (freelance illustrating)! All of this wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t moved. Now if only it could take off, I would be over the moon with happiness.

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      How inspiring Emma! Good for you!xx

      Reply to this Comment
  12. Shaunna Payne Gold says:

    I’m launching a new business for graduate students. I’m sick of seeing students struggle, taking way too long to graduate or never graduating at all. I’m not quite ready to leave my “day job” but I am ready to propel forward!

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Good for you Shaunna! I look forward to helping you on your path!xx

      Reply to this Comment
  13. Vanessa@Luxuria says:

    I can so relate Melanie. Twelve years ago Hubs and I gave up fab corporate salaries, a fabulous house and flat in Kensingon, London, left all our family and friends, and followed our dream of living in Spain. We spent 2 years on the island of Mallorca and then we moved to the mainland. Altho’ we are returning to the UK this year, what this experience has taught me about myself, my fears, business, what I’m really capable of etc etc is phenomenal, and I don’t doubt Hubs and I will do it again when we get itchy feet again ;-)
    It has had some really difficult times, but it’s these times that teach us the greatest lessons ;-)

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Wow Vanessa! What an amazing journey! Thanks so much for sharing.xx

      Reply to this Comment
  14. Glenna says:

    I love this! The main reason I love this blog, is because you do not need to be an entrepreneur to apply a lot of what you teach to your life! It is so fantastic and incredible that you teach women how to take control, whether or not you own a business or maybe you just need some “oomph” to get you motivated to do what you want to do. For instance, my passion is Forensic Psychology, yes I also have a dream of owning my own business, but my dreams also include working for the FBI (crazy I know) but with all you teach, you really inspire women to take a step out of their comfort zone and chase down their dreams, no matter what they are. Great Job!!

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Thanks Glenna! I love Forensic Pysch. I took a course on it in college. Dream big girlfriend!x

      Reply to this Comment
  15. Anya says:

    I love your story and have really been enjoying your blog posts! My favorite sentence here is, “Decide who you want to be, how you want to live and build everything else around that. ” I read various books in the past that in a way suggest the same. I have been making changes in my life and trying to build and become who I want to be. It is not always easy but so rewarding and self fulfilling. Congrats on living the life you love! Looking forward to future posts.

    -anya

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Thanks Anya! So great to have you here.xx

      Reply to this Comment
  16. Roufie says:

    Inspiring post. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply to this Comment
  17. Lindsay{LCVintage} says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m on my own path to get my business to a full time venture. Posts like these remind me that I’m on the right path.

    Reply to this Comment
  18. Sandra says:

    I absolutely agree with you and your comment that you have to make massive change to get big results. You have shared a very inspiring story.

    Reply to this Comment
  19. Melissa says:

    Thank you for this. I needed to hear this. I’m actually in a similar situation and I am relieved I’m not alone. You’ve been quite an inspiration to me as of late, even though I haven’t been able to interact as much on the site, but again, thank you wholeheartedly for being there and helping me and tons of other women through our daily processes.

    I have been in Myrtle Beach for a few years now, and the market for my photography had been slow….because my style isn’t embraced here as well as other, more populated areas. I’d visited Wilmington, North Carolina, and I’d love it. It’s perfect for me to set up my business and start over. So I just went with it, and now I’m moving there in less than three weeks, into a fabulous condo, and I can’t wait!

    So again Melanie, thank you for being so personal with us and I will definitely be watching your blog and looking for my inspiration.

    -Melissa

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Melissa that is wonderful news! I am so excited for you and this new chapter of your life. Please keep me posted and thank you for your continuous support.xx

      Reply to this Comment
  20. Emina says:

    Amazing Melanie! I am in the process of thinking big as well and in the plans to moving to a different area so that I can be more inspired. To see you do all these things in just a 1 year is truly amazing. I have to agree with you in the statement that you should build the business around your wants and desires and not the other way around. And I am not giving up until I do that myself. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Reply to this Comment
  21. Nessy says:

    this is inspiring, I love reading your articles…

    Reply to this Comment
  22. Nessy says:

    this is so inspiring, I love reading your posts.

    Reply to this Comment
  23. [...] If you missed it, you can read PART 1 HERE. [...]

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  24. Julie-Ann says:

    Hi Melanie! Wow you have achieved so much, congratulations!!

    I used to put things off all the time, and just didnt make any progress.

    I decided a couple of years ago that I was just going to do what I wanted immediately!

    So I started my online business, got engaged, got married, went to vegas for a month for my honeymoon, got pregnant, had a baby, and have grown my business every month, I predict I will do $800k + this year, and I have just booked a 6 week holiday in US and 1 month in Ireland.

    Just like you say, I got really clear on what I wanted, and just took massive action and change, and I have enjoyed every minute of this crazy journey and I am excited at where it will take me!!

    Julie-Ann

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Julie-Ann that is AMAZING! Good for you! What is your business?

      xxMelanie

      Reply to this Comment
  25. Meshack says:

    Inspired

    Reply to this Comment
  26. Alison Yule says:

    My partner and I made the decision to move this time last year, found our new home in May and moved in in August. We’ve been here 6 months, now, and are working our socks off the get our business up and running.

    We’ve not got much money at the moment, but are very, very happy, and so glad we made that decision a year ago!

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      That is so wonderful to hear! Thanks for sharing Alison.x

      Reply to this Comment
  27. Theo Ullman says:

    This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!

    Reply to this Comment
  28. Wint Harris says:

    I made that big move back 1994, when I married the light of my life. I moved from Wichita, Kansas. Population of around 500,000 to Elkhart, Kansas. Population of around 2,000.

    Big change. For the past 33 years I have run a very successful petroleum lease brokerage business. I built it into a very large business because of the move. I had 13 people working for me in the field and 5 people working in the office.

    My education is in design/fine arts. I have a degree from the University of Kansas. When I graduated in 1980 I was getting married to my first wife and needed to make a living. I got started in the lease business, learned it well and became a broker in just several years. Very successful, but I traveled all the time, which didn’t help my marriage. I divorced in 1986 and continued to run my business and deal with visitation of my son.

    I remarried in 1995 and moved to Elkhart, Kansas which really helped my business. Around 2001, I started having health problems which killed my brokerage business. All of the drugs they had me on made it very difficult to stay focused on the brokerage business. So I have reduced my staff down to me, my wife Marla, and daughter. We still do some lease work, but nothing like it was when I was healthy.

    I had always wanted to explore my art background and have been trying to work the art business to a success. In school my main concentration was on art glass blowing, sculpture, woodworking and pottery. Through my lease business, I have been able to build a large studio, where I blow glass and work my other forms of art production. My wife works in pottery and crochet.

    We also have built a fairly large farming operation, which my son with Marla runs and I help out where needed. We grow wheat, corn and milo. It is a successful farm and my son is a very good farmer.

    About a year ago, I started studying the internet marketing and have been struggling with that, which brings me to you. I am wanting to become successful in the internet marketing to sell our art work. Through my Pinterest board, you can see some of my glass work, some of my woodworking (tobacco pipes) and some of the pottery and crochet work. We have started an ETSY.com store and are working on building that up. I also have a Facebook page called Harris Gallery and Wint Harris. I have about 1100 people I visit with regularly. I seem to be growing on Pinterest, I just do not know quite how to make that into a paying business.

    If you have any ideas, comments or suggestions on how to make Pinterest work in the selling art work area, I would love to visit with you more and often. I have really enjoyed and benefited from your posts, videos and blogs.

    That’s my story up to date. Thank you for your help.

    Reply to this Comment
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