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Surviving Menopause While Launching Your Dream Business

The not-so-secret diary of a perimenopausal woman

6 November 2023

autumn leaves on a tree in the sun

The sun has come out after the stormy weather of late and I'm sitting here reflecting on the fact that I'm now most definitely running a business! My business. My very own business. For the first time. Me, a woman in midlife, in the middle of menopause!

Making the transition from employed to self-employed

Two years ago I would never have imagined stepping out of 'the comfort zone' of paid employment. I felt safe knowing that I would get a monthly pay check, a pension, sick pay and other benefits. I wasn't happy though and hadn't been for quite a while. The work I was doing didn't feel right - I felt it strongly in my gut. I had moved too far away from my values.

person upside down in a ball pit

At the same time the perimenopause was turning my world upside down. It snuck up on me and knocked me sideways. I didn’t know which way was up for a while and my confidence fell off a cliff. I found it hard to cope. The anxiety, sleepless nights, brain fog, night sweats and memory loss to name but a few had me metaphorically curled up in a ball in the corner of the room not knowing which way to turn.

Debilitating yet strangely empowering. It forced me to rethink what I find fulfilling. What really gets me out of bed in the morning. It also made me realise that working 9-5 with an 80 minute commute each way was not how I wanted to spend my time. I wanted flexibility in where I work, how and work and when I work. I wanted to get up slowly to make up for the lack of sleep, do some yoga and meditation to help ease the anxiety and then choose my work base for the, kitchen, office, beach or café?

Diving in at the deep end

I quit the 9-5. Scary yet thrilling all at the same time. It's been 17 months since I opened the virtual doors of Kirsten Trussell Coaching and Consultancy. I had a plan of sorts. Some coaching and some consultancy. How hard could it be?

Quite hard as it turns out. You have to be able to do absolutely everything! Marketing, finance, sales, delivery, business development, product development, networking and all things tech. I have highs and lows every day, every week and every month! I know there are ups and downs for anyone starting a new business. It's the nature of the game. If you want an easy life you get a job.

Celebrating the highs

There is so much to do. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Someone very wise told me to celebrate every achievement so that's what I do. Every time me I get a new client I ring a 'virtual' bell. I jump up and down and tell anyone who's around me at the time - normally my cats! But it's not just about clients. Each time I complete something new I record it. Otherwise you focus on the things that are hard and that you haven't done. A couple of months ago I wrote it all down in my journal. It made me smile.

Pen on journal

Learning new stuff when you can't remember anything for more than two minutes!

My middle aged and perimenopausal brain is being pushed to its maximum learning capacity. Thankfully I've finally realised that I learn by watching and doing. Listening and reading for any length of time are not my strong points. Never have been, but it's even worse now that my dropping hormone levels mean my concentration is shot to pieces.

First test of my abilities. I created my own that was really hard. It's not perfect but it's pretty impressive even if I say so myself. I nearly threw my laptop out of the window in the process but I stuck at it. Took lots of breaks, watched loads of You Tube videos and experimented. Every time I come back to it I've forgotten how to do something, but a quick search in the help menu and a step by step guide and I'm there.

As for social media marketing! Well. I've pretty much decided to stick with LinkedIn. One platform is enough for any woman. I've watched webinars, read the hints and tips and follow people who are good at it. I know what you're meant to do but I kind of just do my own thing, in my own way and my own voice!

Networking and meeting new people when your confidence is at an all time low.

Networking. An introvert's nightmare. Or that's what I used to believe.

I've always been an introvert. I was described as shy as a child and my family thought it was strange when I took myself away during family gatherings to 'be by myself' for a while. They thought I was rude. I didn't understand why I did it, but knew that I needed to.

Blurred image of people networking

I now understand that I'm not shy. I like people - a lot. It's just that it takes a lot of energy for me to socialise, to engage, to converse and to network. By the end I'm exhausted with nothing left to give. I still struggle with meeting new people, especially now when my confidence can disappear without a moment's notice or the anxiety kicks in.

That's why I now have my networking 101. Check out the attendee list in advance. Pick two or three people I want to get to know. Introduce myself on LinkedIn, making that first meeting in person so much easier. I know, it's basic. But if you're an introvert you'll understand. Oh, and I'll need to clear my diary for a couple of hours afterwards to recharge my batteries

The importance of being me!

And that's what I want to share with you today. No matter what's going on for me and menopause. My authenticity, openess and honesty is paying off. I'm building trust which is really important in any relationship, and for me, that's what business is built on. I want to do business with people who mirror my values, who value relationships and who care about and invest in the people around them.

If this resonates, I'd love to hear from you.

Enjoyed reading this?

If you'd like to read more of 'the not-so-secret diary of a menopausal woman', check out the rest of my posts here. Sign up and you'll receive each post direct to your inbox when they're published. I'd love to hear what you think and find out about your experiences, so please feel free to leave me a comment.



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