For the past year, I have been struggling to truly step into the role of educator in the creative industry because I don’t feel like I fit the mold. To be completely honest, I have felt like an imposter. But instead of running for the hills, my sweet mastermind group has been encouraging me to lean into my voice and unique story. And after my experience at Creative at Heart, I am finally ready to get real with you about my motivating factor here: It is not money.
Before I tell you more of the story, I want you to understand something.
I absolutely believe that if you are going to run a business, you should be intentional to run it well. And that includes profit. There is nothing wrong with making money through the gifts you have been given. I wholeheartedly believe that you should care about profitability in your business.
But I also believe there is nothing wrong with running a business that earns you a good-hearted and hard-earned average salary. Even one that is less than 6 figures.
Our industry LOVES to idolize the 6 figure status.
Again, there is NOTHING wrong with making 6 figures in your creative business. If you hit 6 figures, girl, I am going to pop the bubbly, toss confetti in the air, and celebrate with you!
But if you don’t it doesn’t make you any less than as a business owner. If you don’t have aspirations to build a mecca empire that doesn’t mean you aren’t valid as an entrepreneur.
If you are thrilled to serve your people well while earning an average salary, you are just as successful as someone who is “killing it” with their 6 or multi-6 figure businesses.
Success doesn’t come in a one size fits all mold. Success is determined by YOU.
And that is what I have had to learn this past year.
I have had to learn that standing confidently in my version of success matters if I am going to continue to be in this space.
I have had conversations behind closed doors with other women who are afraid to raise their hands and say, “I’m not here to be the next entrepreneur boss lady celebrity. I’m just here to live out my creative passion.”
We feel like imposters because we’re afraid that our voices aren’t relevant if we don’t make 6 figures, have 40,000 Instagram followers, or aren’t in the inner circle of big industry names.
Friend, I think it is high time we end the comparison game for good and boldly celebrate our real stories.
I’ll be the first to start.
I’m not here to make a million dollars.
I’m not here to build a Megan Martin empire.
I’m here for a purpose far beyond money.
I’m here to encourage, connect, uplift, and help creative women and mompreneurs do business well. I’m here to be a shoulder to cry on when seasons get tough, the gal you call for wine when you need to vent, and the friend who will cheer you on as you see your next win come to life.
I do that through sharing real and actionable advice (and yes I make money along the way), but I don’t do it because I want to make 6 figures in my next launch or be Insta famous.
I do it because it fires me up. I do it because this is what I am called to do.
And I am extremely grateful for the circumstances that I can continue to do it in.
Here’s the truth about my motivating factor: I don’t have to work.
From the early days of our engagement, Jeremy was open about supporting my vision to be a stay-at-home mom. We both grew up in that kind of environment and wanted to create the same experience for our kids.
He wasn’t open to it because he was making the big bucks. Oh no. That was FAR from the truth. He was working as a mortgage underwriter when we first got married. He made enough money to provide for us, but we weren’t livin’ large. We lived in an 800 square foot one bedroom condo the first year we got married. And almost every single piece of furniture was a hand me down from our families.
In that time our financial plan of becoming a one-income family was kick started when I stopped working. You can read why I stopped here.
He had big dreams of starting a portfolio of residential rental properties and worked so hard to save that first year so we could buy our first home. A $76,000 dump that we literally tore apart and put back together with our own hands.
It was around that time that I started my first business. It wasn’t because we needed more money. We were nowhere near wealthy, but we were happy and preparing to start trying for a baby.
And it was in those days that I found a big thrill in the world of building a business and learning how to grow it. I became fascinated with branding, marketing, strategy, and nerdy things like analytics. I studied and experimented out of curiosity. And I started connecting with other creatives around me who have become some of my dearest friends. It was like a whole new world opened up to me and I loved every bit and person in it.
Since I stepped into this adventure, I got pregnant and had our first baby, we leveraged the equity in our first home to buy our second and within 6 months, Jeremy quit his salary job and went on to become a commercial real estate broker. We quickly turned our second home into another rental property to help with cash flow and we began renting ourselves in a little 2 bedroom house closer to his new job.
His first year he made less than a dollar per hour. Working full time. I’m not joking.
We took out an equity line on our first home and with my little business growing, we were able to get through that season together.
We had no idea what year two would bring in his career, but by industry standards, we expected him to make somewhere around $30,000.
But God provided in bigger ways than we could have imagined. In his second year, Jeremy brought home over three times what we expected, which helped us pay off the debt we incurred from the year before. I watched in awe as he continued to manage our finances and leverage our dollars for two more years until we would be able to buy the house we are in now.
He continues to learn and grow in his business and provide for us Martin girls. I am so proud of him and grateful for how he takes care of us.
Even in the days of less than a dollar per hour, he never once told me I needed to go make more money. He never once pressured me to work full time in my business, because he values our family life more. He shows me every single day what matters most. And he continues to encourage me to do what I love.
For me, it has never been about the money.
My motivating factor is in this community.
If you follow Lara Casey, you might have heard her ask the question, “Where do you want to be when you are 80 years old?”
When I am 80, I want to sit around the dinner table with my husband, our kids, our grandchildren, and good friends. I envision sharing stories of our younger days of running a business and what I enjoyed most.
I can tell you now that I won’t be telling tales of how much money any given project helped me earn or how I spent it. And I certainly won’t be sharing about how many Instagram followers I could gather round my feed. No.
I’m going to share the stories of the women I got to meet and the dreams I got to see come to a reality in their lives. I’m going to share about the people who impacted me and moved me to change. I’m going to share about the things I learned and the places I went. I’m going to tell of the days that Jeremy faithfully worked to provide for our family and made his dreams happen in the craziest of ways.
I’m motivated in business to connect with you. To serve you. And to do life and biz and wifehood and mamahood next to you.
I spent the last year feeling like an imposter because I was trying to fit the mold of someone else’s motivating factor. Their motivating factor isn’t bad, but it wasn’t good for me. Once I allowed myself to step into confidence on what my unique motivating factor is, I was able to freely pursue what fires me up on my own terms.
Imposter Syndrome is really just driven by comparison. And comparison is driven by the fear of being different.
I’m not gonna be ashamed of how I’m different. I hope you will join me!
Photography by Sarahdipity Photos