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This Multi Seven Figure Business Owner is closing down her business and taking a permanent sabbatical

There is so much expectation on business owners and founders to build their businesses a certain way. I’ll bet you know what I’m talking about - the set of criteria the internet tells you to check off in order to achieve success. This topic is really important to me, and today’s episode was inspired by a multi seven figure business owner who is winding back and taking a permanent sabbatical.

Vanessa Lau is an online business owner who achieved one hundred thousand YouTube subscribers and a six figure business within a year. She was ticking all the boxes and from the outside, it looked like she had everything - the greatest speaking engagements, digital products and huge success on social media.

However, Vanessa found herself on a hamster wheel that she knew would never get off. Although she had achieved so many goals, she found herself losing her life and mental wellbeing. So recently, Vanessa announced she was retiring her signature program to step back and reassess her life.

I love the courage and vulnerability that Vanessa showed in admitting her truth, and it provokes the questions that we as business owners should be asking ourselves too.

Am I enjoying the work I do? Have I structured my business with as much ease and simplicity as possible? Am I squeezing time with my loved ones around the limited time left over from my business?

If you’re regularly overworking and finding that your business is constantly causing you anxiety, then I encourage you to ask yourself these questions and get really honest. Reflect on what you can do to stay in alignment with your life goals while cutting out the noise of external pressures.

You are the expert on you, and I encourage you to get really clear on what you are looking to achieve. I hope this episode challenges you to stay on course and build a life and business you truly love.

Topics We Covered:

[00:00:00] There's so much expectation and pressure on founders and business owners to build their business a certain way. You know what I'm talking about here. It's the set of criteria that the internet tells you you need to check off in order to achieve what is deemed a successful business. I've been talking about this for a long time, both here on the podcast and also on my social platforms, the flaw in talking about achieving benchmark financial targets, instead of building a business that aligns to you and your personal goals.

This conversation was inspired by the recent announcement from Vanessa Lau, who is a multi 7 figure business owner, that she is winding everything back and she's taking a permanent sabbatical. There is so much that we can learn from Vanessa's experience, and I wanted to unpack that in today's conversation. So if you've been struggling to build a business that you love, but also fits the bill of what is perceived as a successful business, then I know you're going to love this conversation. Are you ready? Let's go.

Hello boss and welcome back to the Run Your Business Like A Boss podcast. Okay. This is such a huge topic for me. 

I [00:02:00] really believe so much in what we're going to cover today because first of all, sustainability is not a buzzword, nor is it a drill. If you're a founder or a business owner and you are struggling to navigate the push and pull of what the internet is telling you you should be doing in your business versus what feels right for you or what you are looking to achieve personally, then that is a really hard place to be. When you follow all the advice without considering how that works for your unique business and your lifestyle, you can find yourself quickly in a position where you are doing things that you don't love doing, delivering offers that you don't love delivering, a completely overwhelming business model that just feels so out of alignment and to what Vanessa shares in her statement, fitting her life in around her business rather than vice versa. So that's why I wanted to have today's conversation, to share Vanessa's experience and also to help you to figure out what we can learn from this and what that means for you and your business. So Vanessa Lau, if you haven't heard of her, is an online business owner, and she came onto the scene about a year or so before I did, and I remember when I was just getting started, the traction she was getting. I think she achieved a hundred thousand subscribers on YouTube within a year. 6 figure business within a year. She was ticking all the boxes and from the outside it looked like she had all the things. But that obviously over time took a toll on her and as a result, she's made the decision, a courageous decision I might add to step back, reassess how she's running her business, what she's doing and figuring out what this next chapter and her business looks like with all the lessons that she's learned along the way. But before we get in, I [00:04:00] encourage you if this conversation speaks to you, if you feel like this is a topic you need to dig deeper into, head down into the show notes and grab the link, which will take you directly to Vanessa's statement.

I think that there's a lot in the statement that we're not gonna talk about today that may speak to you personally, so definitely go to her website and check that out. So, as I said, Vanessa Lau appeared to have it all. She appeared to be achieving all the incredible things that the internet tells us is important, getting the greatest speaking engagements, having scalable products, digital products, having, all the kudos and success online and social media, et cetera, et cetera, and I think it's for this reason that it's sent shockwaves through the online business community when she made the statement that she was going to put it all down and reassess what's actually important to her and in her email as well as link in bio, the statement says that she sold her $160K Porsche and swapped that for a Jeep Wrangler and stepped down all of those important speaking engagements, including things that she'd had on her vision board for some time. She was retiring her signature program and scaling back her 7 figure business by reducing her team from 9 to 1.

So there was a lot of unwinding that she has been doing, and I dare say that it took her a considerable amount of thinking time to get to this point of making the decision to do that and then also obviously announcing it so honestly and courageously to the world. Her message was heartfelt at the very, very least, and it was so interesting to get a little bit of a behind the scenes view on how she was losing herself to her business.

And in her words, she describes this as losing her life and mental wellbeing and that she was building a bigger and bigger hamster wheel that she knew would never end. And that's such an important point because we are always as ambitious [00:06:00] and high achieving individuals, which is typically what business owners are, we're always striving for that next big goal, that next big achievement that we're going to have in our business.

And this is what Vanessa describes as the thing that actually ends up taking her so off course. She goes on to say that at this point in her life, she realised that she had gotten further away from why she started her business in the first place, and that she wanted to take a step back to explore what it would look like to simplify, take a break, and spend time with her loved ones, et cetera. And that is such an important point, is that if we are reflecting on our business and really asking ourselves the question, is this business in alignment to where we actually want our business to be, why we started our business in the first place and supports our life goals, whether that is that you are a parent and that you get to be available for your family, whether it is that you want to be able to have freedom to be able to travel the world, or whether that is that you want to be able to have flexibility to engage in various different projects or just have time for yourself.

If your business is not supporting and serving that, then that is something for you to question further. And the truth is it's so easy to build more and more and the internet reinforces this message over and over again by saying, reach a six figure business in X amount of time, or reach a seven figure business in X amount of time. And regardless of what revenue your business is generating, it's gotta be more than just that.

It's gotta be that you are doing work that you love, serving people that you enjoy servicing , being able to enjoy your life. If you are chained to your desk working 60, 70 hour weeks, and then you don't have the benefits of running your own business, AKA freedom, [00:08:00] flexibility, the ability to choose who you are working with, the ability to be able to dip out and take a break, the ability to be able to spend time with the people who you love, then what is the point of all of this? You could be working for someone else with a lot less stress.

So if Vanessa's story speaks to you and you're thinking maybe I can take something away from Vanessa's journey, then I encourage you to take a moment and, well probably a little bit more than a moment, take some time and reflect on your own business. Here's a few questions for you to think on. 1, do you enjoy the work that you do and the clients that you serve? 2, have you structured your business with as much ease and simplicity as possible? Business isn't always going to be easy, and it's not always going to be rainbows and lollipops. There are going to be times where things are busy and there's going to be times where you need to invest more in your business than you do elsewhere.

But if your business is always taking up your time, if you are regularly overworking, and if you find that your business is so complicated that it’s constantly causing you overwhelm and anxiety, then that is something to lean into and reflect on. And the third point that I'm gonna draw on from Vanessa's statement, are you squeezing time with your loved ones around the limited time left over from your business?

I'll take a stab in the dark that you did start your business with the goal of being able to have a level of freedom and flexibility that you couldn't have for working for someone else. So if you are finding that you have less time than you did when you were working PAYG, then that is something for you to consider.

For me, this is something I have to constantly come back to. I am always putting my business decisions through the governance of how does this [00:10:00] fit with my life goals? Does this serve our family overall? Is this something that I actually wanna do, or I'm feeling the pressure externally to deliver on this new goal? It's a constant work in progress to stay in alignment with building a business that I actually love, whilst cutting out the noise of the external pressures and expectations from others in my industry or what I'm reading online. It's something that I constantly have to come back to deciding whether or not this next step to take in my business is in alignment with my life goals, as well as getting curious around where this decision is coming from.

Is it coming from me or is it coming from the external pressures or expectations from others in my industry, from the internet in general, or perhaps maybe from a place of my own ego and over-ambition. Having ease and simplicity has been something that I appreciate so much about my business, but that has meant that I'm constantly figuring out what do I say no to and what do I say yes to, and being really intentional around what it is that I am bringing into my business. Success and money is not a bad thing. In fact, money is what allows you to be able to have freedom, of course. So we can all take away something from Vanessa's experience. She's brave, she's fierce, and she's made some really tough decisions. I'm so grateful for her to sharing her story out to the world, and I hope that she enjoys her well-deserved break. My message to you, Boss, is to constantly be deeply thinking about what you are bringing into your business, and be careful not to follow the advice of the internet blindly. As I always say, you are the expert of your [00:12:00] life and you are the expert of your business.

Get really clear on what it is that you are looking to achieve, and that's what's going to keep you on course. Thank you so much for listening to today's conversation. I look forward to chatting with you next week.

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About your host, Kristy

Hi, I'm Kristy, thank you for tuning in to the Run Your Business Like a Boss Podcast. My purpose for the podcast is to help Business Owner’s in the growth stage of business (messy middle) have a sustainable business, they love.


I’m an online business coach, based in Brisbane, Australia. I provide 1:1 business coaching, to Service Based Online Business Owner's and a group coaching program commencing in 2022. I believe whole heartedly that having a Business Coach is what gives you the competitive edge. As your coach I support you to overcome challenges quickly, uncover blindspots and make business decisions with confidence and clarity. All of which keeps you moving forward and maintaining momentum. 

As your Business Coach, my role is to help you organise and formulate your ideas, turn them into a goal and then into an actionable plan! All while meeting you where you're at and providing you relevant tools and support along the way.


Thank you for tuning in to the Run Your Business Like A Boss podcast!

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