Resiliency - This word comes into my mind quite a bit. re· sil· ien· cy (noun: resiliency)
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness,
an ability to recover from or adjust easily to adversity or change
It's the second definition that resonates with me. Why? Well, I suppose you could say it's due to being knocked down more often than I'd like to admit but having the ability to bounce back from it. It's not luck. I know that much. As cheesy as it may sound, during the earlier phase of my career, I would always specify that if you "initialized" my name, the 'P' in my name stood for 'Perseverance' and the 'R' was for 'Resiliency.' I honestly believe the ingrained thought deep down in my psyche tells me when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
This mindset was very much on display two weeks ago, just as it was in July 2017, March 2020 (COVID!), January 2021, and then again in April of 2021. These were all the times when I had unexpectedly lost my job. Each time stung. Each time hurt my soul - these weren't "filler jobs" for me. They were phases of my career I cared deeply for, and I had growth aspirations for each role. But I wasn't destined for these roles. Life would have another plan. I just didn't know it then.
Stress is hard. Stress is really hard. How you handle the pressure is even harder, as some don't know how to cope, push forward, or reach out for help. I am incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful husband who has supported me since I was an impressionable 15-year-old. He's been my biggest champion and has never allowed me to bury myself in my feelings or wallow in self-pity. He's consistently cheered me on and always been supportive of whatever career path I chose, even after periods of the unknown when I had to stop and think, "Am I on the right path?" - He's been there and always will be. But I haven't relied on him entirely as I've always been a strong-minded, spirited woman who has always strived to do my very best, be my very best, and above all, believe in myself. I realize, however, that I'm fortunate to have this support system. Some aren't as fortunate.
After each loss of employment came the usual stages of grief:
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance
I suppose you could say I went through the first two, always skipped the third, stayed in the fourth for a hot second, then acceptance, usually throughout a couple of days. Maybe three. It always happened so quickly, perhaps due to my OCD or general compulsion to drive hard at all times. I don't know how to be any other way.
My "therapy" has always been inward-facing, and I always felt it was up to ME to ensure a new path forward. I always went to my outlet, which is to write about it, or more so, my feelings about it. Writing has always been cathartic for me.
My resiliency kicked in for each layoff, and I always went right to update my resume, update LinkedIn, and start my plan of attack for applying for new opportunities. I always knew time was not to waste, but each time I went right back to my typical flow of looking for roles within my skill set and in the industries to which I was accustomed. Until two weeks ago.
After the fateful call from two weeks ago, my first reaction, other than the typical sadness and feeling of "What did I do?" I immediately told my husband, who was cooking breakfast within earshot of my call, "I'm tired of this; I want to go into business for myself." I didn't think anything of it at first, but a certain special someone put an idea into my head that I couldn't stop thinking about. This idea came from the incomparable Lindsay Helm (of Empower Employ), and her advice was, in a nutshell, to open an LLC and start contracting out my skills to executives and entrepreneurs that needed support. My kiddos had Jiu Jitsu that evening, and I watched them from the stands. I couldn't stop thinking about this idea.
Was it possible? Could I even do this if I wanted to? How would I do this? Where would I start?
After returning home from class, I went to my computer for knowledge. All the knowledge I could find. I needed/wanted to know everything I could, as quickly as possible, on how to start a business. I couldn't do anything drastic to the detriment of the family, so I needed to know what was involved. I stayed up way too late that night, and when I did manage to get to bed, I slept on it. The very next day, August 11th, to be exact, I started the process. And I haven't looked back.
What would be my business idea? What would I provide to others? Would my skills be in demand enough to sustain as my primary source of income? These were all things that I had to plan for, and I did.
Some are still in process, but here's what I did.
I chose my company's name: April Eldridge Consulting, LLC.
I filed my LLC with the state. I then filed for my EIN with the IRS.
I drafted my business plan, operational goals, and mission/values statements.
I had an outstanding lawyer help me to review my standard business agreement. (Thank YOU! You know who you are.)
I created a consultancy account with an all-in-one business management software that will help me with agreements, proposals, invoicing, taxes, and payments. Thank you, HoneyBook! Now, I'm 100% in Wix & PipelinePro! You learn along the way!
I created my service offerings and decided how to price them accordingly.
I built my site, designed it, and then published it. Again, thank you, Squarespace for, making this process easy and fun!) Again, now 100% in HubSpot, including this very site you're on, all in HubSpot.
I opened a company LinkedIn page, April Eldridge Consulting.
I then announced my intention to the world by launching the site, posting about it on LinkedIn, and spreading the news across social media.
It's official. I'm in business for myself, but for others, just as I wanted. I live to serve, but now it's on my terms. I'm scared and anxious but overwhelmingly excited all at the same time. I know I can do this, but I can't do it alone. I'll rely on my network to help support my endeavors by, honestly, just spreading the word. That's it. I'm 100% hoping my business gets to a sustainable position through organic, word-of-mouth networking. And I'm on my way!
I had my very first client sign with me last week! It still doesn't feel real, but I'm undoubtedly grateful and humbled to have this opportunity. Thank you, Emily Bissen (Blue Heron Business Partners ), for having faith in me to go on this adventure together! I won't let you down.
To those who aren't sure what life will bring them or what's next - it's 100% completely OK not to know this. And it's OK not to have all the answers. I still don't. But you owe it to yourself to try at all costs. Even when you don't think it's possible. You'll never know if you don't try.
Resiliency -- this is MY bounce-back story. And I'm here for it, all the way!
Please think of me if you or someone you know is looking for fractional COO/COS services, general business management, and/or operations management support. I'm offering free consultations to all new clients. More information can be found on my site, www.aprileldridge.com, and my business overview deck (COMING SOON).