Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lydia Lee, Founder of Screw The Cubicle, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm the Work Reinvention Coach & Solopreneur Strategist at Screw The Cubicle! Since 2013, I've helped hundreds of professionals to transition out of their golden corporate handcuffs to build a meaningful business designed from their "sweet spot" of strengths, values, and personality. I’ve worked with Wall Street investment bankers, lawyers, nurses, teachers, writers, and many service-based professionals to help them reinvent their work without throwing away their experience or setting their resumes on fire.
Tell us about yourself
Screw The Cubicle started as a blog in 2012 to document my own journey (and identity crisis!), taking the leap from employee to entrepreneurship when I built my first business in the education industry. I hadn't anticipated it to be a business until a few readers inquired about working with me to support them in their career transitions.
When I started working with corporate escapees, I realized the journey is about more than just escaping a bad job. People shouldn’t sacrifice their lives for work, but they still need work in their lives. The right work.
For me, the ‘right work’ has been supporting others in building businesses that are aligned with their values by creating meaningful work from their unique "Genius Zones." Working with everyone from teachers to bankers, I discovered I had a knack for ‘Skills Spotting’ and a gift for helping people reinvent their work in a more meaningful direction - this really gives my work a more heart-centred approach towards making money while making meaning too!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The ability to intentionally design my business to fit the lifestyle I want. After suffering a health scare and burnout from my business in 2015 (during my highest revenue year), I realized that I wasn't creating the business that I truly wanted. I was building a bigger business every year, but it was growing for the sake of growing. I discovered I love being a solopreneur that has a tiny but mighty business. I was a minimalist in my personal life and needed to apply those principles to the way I did business too. I'm really proud of the way I stuck to that truth without needing to compare myself to other businesses and focused on designing a business that gave me more time, flexibility, and the lifestyle freedom I desired.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The temptation to follow what "growth" may mean to the masses instead of what intuitively works for you. There's so much noise out there to do more, launch more things, and constantly grow your revenue and audience. But what if we defined what's truly "enough" for the life we want to have individually? How do we then make more conscious choices about what to say "yes" or "no" to?
Listening to our own definition of success and re-creating more meaningful goals and metrics isn't easy when we're bombarded with the "bigger is better" messaging out there, but it's important to do it to ensure we're actually building a business we want to keep for years to come.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Take the time to "know thyself." The biggest gift to give yourself before plunging into launching or growing a business is a necessary pause to evaluate your strengths, your ideal way of working, and the experience you want your business to give back to you. You don't need to do ALL the things to be successful in business, but doing the RIGHT things that align with your values and approach to how you want to make a living will give you a business that's right for you.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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