Many women start their entrepreneurial journey because the corporate world doesn’t allow them the flexibility to care for their loved ones the way they want to.
I left my job as VP Marketing a Toronto hotel company in the spring of 1998. Actually I was sad to leave because it had been my dream corporate job. Leaving felt a bit like I was throwing in the towel, that I “couldn’t hack” what was expected of me: put in the hours, travel, be available whenever the owners were in town, be at their beck and call…
Deep down I knew it was for the best; I had a one-year old daughter and I wanted more control over my professional and personal schedule.
For the first year of my entrepreneurial career, we stayed in Toronto and I did contract work (an early adopter of the “gig economy!”); my husband Heinz continued in his position as Executive Chef at a hotel downtown. But soon I also wanted out of a city that was becoming too busy, too scary.
A year later, in May 1999, we sold our townhouse, packed up and moved four hours East, to the little town of Alexandria, Ontario. At first I was so relieved we made the move! Just the week before there had been a shooting just a few blocks from our home. The city just wasn’t where I wanted to raise our precious baby.
In the process I had convinced my husband Heinz to quit his job. He was fortunate to get a contract from his former employer that would provide us a steady enough income while we got our little consulting practice off the ground (the idea being I would consult on hospitality sales and marketing projects, while he would do food & beverage consulting work).
I remember spending that entire summer of 1999 scared that we had made a huge mistake! I was at home, with a baby, and no work was coming in for ME. How could we afford that? Surely I would “fall behind” professionally and everyone would forget about me in Toronto… Plus I felt guilty that I wasn’t enjoying my time with my toddler more than I was.
How could I be such a selfish mom and think of work while I could be with my darling girl? Why was I so angry that my husband could go off every other week, back to the city, and be a professional consultant?
I was torn, between love and business.