Cat LeBlanc - What Are You Willing To Sacrifice To Start Your Business

You might have thought that was a strange question.

Perhaps you understand what I’m talking about through personal experience.

It’s a topic I rarely see discussed…

…but I like to tell it how it is.

You can’t start a business, or any major project in your life:

Without creating space for it.

And creating space means sacrificing or giving something up.

Almost every person I know that started their business has made sacrifices in order to build and grow their businesses.

It tends to be a key characteristic
 of successful entrepreneurs.

So what would you be willing to sacrifice to start your business?

Let me tell you what I gave up:

Here’s just one of the things I gave up to be where at I’m in my business today

A fabulous new car

I did my driving license in my thirties (long story).

Once I had that license in my hand I went straight out and bought myself a brand new Suzuki Swift.

It was all I wanted at the time.

Here I am pleased as punch on the pick up day.

Cat and Swift

Yes, I am actually hugging the car!

It was a sad sad moment when I sold my Suzuki Swift to move from Germany to Australia.

I didn’t have a vehicle here at first but when we moved to the country I needed one to do pretty much anything.

Woo hoo.

Cue excited Internet research to find my new baby.

I had the idea I would get myself a fairly new awesome 4 wheel drive soft top funmobile! aka a Jeep Wrangler.

A yellow one.

yellow jeep

I couldn’t wait.

I posted on Facebook about the rollicking adventures I was planning in my new ‘funmobile’.

Then reality kicked in.

If I spent the money I had on the car…

…I had no back up funds to support myself while building the business.

So here’s what happened instead:

Pic of Cat LeBlanc's car

My new ‘funmobile’

A 1995 Rav4.

I said I would ONLY drive it if the green stripe was removed.

That was over 2 years ago now.

Green stripe is still firmly in place.

Even though it’s nearly 20 years old, the windscreen wipers only have the settings ‘very fast, loud and smudgy’ and ‘very very fast, loud and smudgy’, it actually goes okay.

You can do amazing handbrake turns in it.

It’s been christened The Safari Kart.

It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice right now but when it was decision time it did.

It was hard to go from new car smell to dealing with a 20 year old car and the hassle that comes with that.

Many people give up much more for their dreams

I gave up something fun and yes, there were a lot of little things I gave up too – like meals out and a big one for me – expensive hair conditioner.

I had a few months of really BAD hair.

But so many people give up much more than I did.

If building a business was really easy and involved no sacrifice at all everyone would do it.

If you do things right, the sacrifices you make are a temporary inconvenience before a whole new phase of amazing in your life.

What it looks like on the other side

Now I am able to buy new clothes, have meals out more or less when I want and I just booked a trip to see my parents in England this week.

While I haven’t hit the income levels I have had before yet, I know I will soon.

All that doing what I love, genuinely helping people achieve their dreams, working as I like, in my home in the jungle.

Being in control of my own destiny means the sky really is the limit in terms of earning potential.

It makes the shit box car and bad hair days seem like a triviality.

So what will you give up to start your business?

Maybe you won’t have to tighten your belt financially, maybe for you it will be more about managing your time.

Either way it won’t happen without some major adjustments in your life.

Let’s hear from you

What did you give up to start your business?

Are you planning to make some sacrifices so you can invest in a better life?

Let me know in the comments below


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  1. […] Read Cat LeBlanc’s business story here […]

  2. Anne on June 5, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Oh, Cat I hear you about giving up the Suzuki Swift – I had one also and it’s been my favourite car ever! I sold it because I wanted a towing caravan and needed a bigger car. I still miss it.

    When I started my business a friend had me put my expenditure in 3 columns – basics, you can’t live without, the nice to haves and luxuries. The nice to have and luxuries had to go but I couldn’t quite bring myself to stop my expensive hair cuts, instead I stretched out when I went to 9 week visits. I stopped the hair colour, going out or if I did go out it was to cheaper places, I didn’t buy any new clothes for probably 2 years and my lovely Liz Earle facial wash!

    It was all worth it though.

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks for commenting Anne! I even thought about getting a new Swift but it’s not practical where I live. It’s interesting that the personal care things are the hardest to give up. Seems like us women really like our products and haircuts!

  3. Alicia on June 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Great article Cat! For me I had to give up security and certainty, which was a big one for me since they’re things that I really value. But on the other hand, I also know that I’m happiest when I am taking calculated risks and being adventurous, so overall it was definitely a win.

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks for commenting Alicia. I’m glad to hear it was a win overall despite giving up some things that you really value. Calculated risks are the best, I think. It makes you feel alive!

  4. Maria on June 4, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I don’t open my wallet without thinking ‘do I really need this?’ anymore, and my winter wardrobe is the same as it was 5 years ago but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
    BTW, minus the green stripe, your safari cart was my fun mobile in Kiribati – best car on the atoll by far!
    It’s all relative isn’t it?

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 4, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Ha ha ha! Maria, you are awesome! I am actually really liking the safari cart now. Often we drive that instead of my boyfriends much fancier vehicle. Even though I hate winding the windows up and down manually and not being about to reach the passenger side while driving, clock doesn’t work – I have no idea if I am driving to fast through school zones because I can’t check the time without looking at my phone – lights don’t work on the heating controls so at night I just have to guess. Still though because of the short wheel base (info from bf) it is really fun to drive. I may just keep it!

      Cat :-)

      • Maria on June 4, 2014 at 11:57 am

        Hear hear! That safari cart rocks – and NEVER considering upgrading to the newer versions – that model ROCKS – the newer models are sissy versions! the fun we had in that safari cart honing up and down a coral atoll rivals any roller coaster I’ve ever been on! #reallyoldrav4srock!

  5. Nicki on June 4, 2014 at 10:44 am

    The list of things I’ve given up is massive. Most notably being able to save for a deposit for a house, so we’re stuck in the rental loop but also little things like I have given up regular hair salon trips, it’s been about 9 months since I’ve had my hair cut, and at least 2 years since I had a colour. Wouldn’t change it though, I am a far happier person than I was before.

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 4, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Thanks for sharing Nicki. The house deposit really is massive. I found personally giving things up like hair salon trips (for me the products) were actually the hardest. Because it kind of nags you every day. House deposit is huge though, I’m not sure if I could have done that.

      Go you though for really following your dreams. Here’s to a massive pay off later down the line!

      Cat x

  6. Cassie on June 4, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I would say my biggest sacrifice are the fixed working hours. I do like the fact that I am working from home and have the option of flexible hours. However flexible hours also means working late at night (or whenever the kids are asleep), weekends, public holidays and sick days. I know that this is just a small price to pay for the freedom I get with my own biz and the love I have for what I can do to help others.

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

      I hear you sister! I often get up late, go for coffee in the afternoon, well tea in my case, and then work until bed time. At first I wasn’t sure if it was serving me but then I realised actually I like to be outside out and about in the daylight hours so working in the evening works better for me. However I don’t have kids so that changes things a bit!

      Thanks for commenting Cassie!

      Cat x

  7. Sally on June 4, 2014 at 12:15 am

    My biggest sacrifices were around lifestyle. I gave up the security and community of a corporate job. On the upside, I gained time with my daughter and the freedom of making my own decisions.

    By the way, I didn’t know you were from England. Me too! My parents live in Brockenhurst and I’m now in California.

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 4, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Interesting, my family are near Brighton! Glad to hear that you now have more time with your daughter. That’s beautiful.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Cat x

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