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10 Years of Entrepreneurship

Blog by Erin Ferguson | April 28th, 2019


Today marks 10 years…10 years since I was called into my TELUS office and packaged.  I never saw it coming. Nothing like that had ever happened to me
before.  And although I wasn’t “fired” it sure felt like I was - it was a huge bow to my self-esteem.  The next few months were a blur, trying to figure out what the heck to do with my life.  The Real Estate industry was always simmering as a “what if” in the back of my mind. I signed up years before but was too afraid to take the plunge because of the financial uncertainty that running your own business entails…So that was the next step…embrace the unknown. Dabbling in the mortgage broker side to get my feet wet and really get an understanding of that component before diving into the end game of a Realtor.  There were a few people I still remember asking me “why would you do that job, there are so many Realtors already, don’t you think it’s kind of risky?”  It totally was risky, because guess what: By year 5, out of 100 people who took the Real Estate course, there is something like only 5 out of 100 are still standing. So yes, it is a bit crazy, but without taking some balanced risks along the way, you can miss out on much of life’s adventure.  I have always been able to understand balanced risk and reward, even as a kid.  Heck, I ran for student president after freshly moving to Regina in Grade 8 when my parents separated, not knowing anyone in the new environment. I didn’t win, but the fact that I picked myself up enough to try was a teachable moment. So in light of the adventures from the last decade, I thought I would share ten relevant lessons / observations that life has handed up along the way ….

1.    Sometimes the best things that could happen seem like the worst things at the time.   Losing my job at TELUS was awful, it took a lot of soul searching to overcome that challenge and to really figure out what I wanted to do.  As my dad says in the moment as it happens “you can’t tell good luck from bad”.   I am now so thankful for getting packaged as I would have never taken the plunge into my career if it wasn't for that...So what seemed like bad luck was infact good luck. In relating this to my current business, I have also learned that it’s ok to not mesh with everyclient that comes my way.  It took years to be confident and my own value system. If it isn’t the right fit, that is totally ok. Not everyone can be your client.
2.    Don’t doubt yourself and your capabilities.  I am much more at home with myself now versus to a decade ago.  I have learned that being true to yourself comes with a whole new take on life.  I will never “not care” what people think, but I care a whole lot less than I did ten years ago. Baby steps.  I love people who are relatable. It’s been especially enjoyable to make new friends who cherish and support everyone’s individuality. Diversity in your squad is strength.
3.    Nothing great ever comes from waiting for someone to help you succeed. For the longest time I doubted myself and my capabilities. I sometimes still struggle with that, but I also have to remember that it’s OK to feel like crap about where you are in your career once in a while. That’s normal, just take the minute to go down the rabbit hole and then let that feeling go. Your life is your journey – a process, not a destination.
4.    Anxiety is a real thing. Learn to recognize that approaching burn out before it happens.  At the end of 2015 I nearly had a nervous breakdown due to
overworking and stress.  I had worked head down for 6 years straight, climbing uphill and trying to balance life, work and “everything”.  I worked when people said jump, took very few days off. Yes, it launched a very fulfilling career but it came with sacrifices. My ability to handle situations that normally wouldn’t be stressful became unbearable. I couldn’t wear constraining clothing (socks, runners, bra anything tight really) because my nervous system and adrenals were so overtaxed I would feel like my skin was crawling.  No paycheck is worth that feeling EVER.  In 2016 I took a step back to reflect and reassess what type of clients I wanted and what was really important. I made time for myself, which had never been a priority prior to that.  I now know that people will respect your time. Respect yourself enough to take time off when needed and recognize “I am not a robot”.

5.    When you see someone who is successful and get quietly jealous of them (hey, we all do it), remember that more than likely they were in your situation at some point and managed to overcome adversity in order to reach their success.  Because we now live in a world of social media and instant fame where
everyone posts things that seem magical, know that it’s rarely the case when you scratch below the surface glitter.  Every person who has become successful in your eyes or arrived at some point has gone through the mill. The frustrations are part of living real. You only learn life’s perspective through experience and how to manage it all, one step at a time.
6.    Writing a pros and cons list is always a great idea. It allows you to see things on paper which you may not understand if you didn’t write them down.  What works for somebody else may not always work for you, so don’t try to copy other techniques. Just do your own thing and be your own person and the universe will unfold as it should and reward you for that.
7.    Take time to enjoy the view and see how far you’ve come. If I could stand back ten years and have someone tell me that I would be in the place I am now, I really don’t know if I could be convinced.  Baby steps lead to big advances, butindividually they seem like insignificant progress until you get to where you’re going and look back at the long and winding road to this milestone. 
8.    You are never entitled to someone’s business.  Work with a clear focus andthe payoff is that people will respect you and your business enough to want to work with you.
9.    If people aren’t in your corner to support you, you really should reassess the relationship.  Time is precious. We never have enough time in the days/weeks/months to fit everyone in.  So don’t waste those precious minutes on people who don’t value you or who you are.
10.  Be brave enough to stand up for what you believe.  Be a cheerleader and support your fellow business owners and friends, generously refer people you think do a great job.  Calgary is a great city because of the community element to it.  It is getting harder to find those qualities, especially in the social media frenzy that proxy’s as community these days.  Be thoughtful, kind and pay it forward.  Just remember….The best people in life are free and don’t come with strings or an iPhone attached.
Life is a process, not a thing. You only get one ticket to ride; use it to the full value of the fare.  So always do what you love and makes you happy.  The rest just falls into place.