Why I Took A Business Sabbatical and What I Learned - christycegelski.com

Why I Took A Business Sabbatical and What I Learned

The last time I posted anything new to the blog, my husband and I were about to sell our house and buy a farm.

While things (mostly) went off without a hitch, and we moved into our new place in March, selling a house and moving is all-consuming and stressful (even when you’re excited about it), so I decided to take a month-long hiatus from my business, podcast, and social media to focus on settling into our new home.

Obligatory Farm Photo

Well, my month-long hiatus turned into a 5-month business sabbatical (<– before Brené Brown made it a thing), and I didn’t know if I wanted to come back at all.

It was a slow evolution, but I had to admit to myself that my priorities had changed. During my time away, I didn’t care about copywriting, marketing, or helping anyone sell anything.

But that’s because, behind the scenes, I was quietly doing the work of healing from childhood trauma and Complex PTSD.

The days after a particularly grueling therapy session would look like this on repeat: cry –> journal –> nap –> journal some more –> cry some more –> integrate the experience and figure out how to move forward in a healthier way while allowing myself to grieve the loss of my childhood.

Besides being exhausting, the healing process forced me to examine the motivation behind everything I was doing in my life – especially my work.

So much of it didn’t fit anymore.

I’d spent so many years chasing other people’s ideas of success — more money, a thinner body, the right house/car/clothes…

I believed that if I could conform, I’d finally feel worthy. Especially if I got validation from the outside world for having “come so far.”

But I never stopped to ask myself if I actually wanted those things or why I didn’t feel worthy in the first place.

I figured out along the way that quitting my business wasn’t the solution.

Instead, I needed to break up with the online marketing machine that told me I had to do things a certain way to be a legit success. Like…

🚩 Pick a niche

🚩 Make big payday promises if you hire me

🚩 Charge what I’m “worth” (aka high-ticket prices)

🚩 Ditch 1:1 work and create a course or a group program

🚩 Stick to my content pillars

🚩 Post on social media every day

Taking a break made me realize I don’t have to participate in the cult of online business (because it is pretty cult-like, if I’m being honest.) I just have to tune out the noise and listen to what I want.

And once I decided to make my own rules, I was excited to take on clients again!

So what changes have I made?

I’m no longer calling myself an email copywriter. I don’t want to just write email sequences. I like to work on a variety of projects, so I’m now offering added website copy again in addition to email sequences, sales pages, and full funnels.

Also? I don’t buy into the “stop trading time for dollars” mantra. I’m a service provider; no matter how it looks on paper, that’s part of the gig.

I won’t over-inflate my work’s value with an arbitrary high-ticket price tag. I’ve lowered my prices across the board to reflect an equal balance of the time I spend working on a project, my expertise, and the results those two things provide.

And speaking of results…

While it’s true that excellent copy drives action (which is why it’s different than content writing), it’s just a tiny piece of the sales process.

No matter how celebrity copywriters want to spin it, none of us can claim responsibility for a client’s success.

Who wants that kind of pressure anyway?

As for ditching 1:1 work? That’ll never happen. Maybe someday I’ll create a group program that feels like the perfect addition to my done-for-you services (so far, I haven’t figured out a way to be excited about that kind of offer.)

But because I’m an online service provider, working with clients 1:1 is one of the few ways I get to connect and collaborate with others. I never want to give that up!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more about how I’ve resolved my love/hate relationship with social media (and my plan to actually have fun with it again.)

For now, I’d love to hear how 2022 treated you. Are things looking a little different for you than they did a year ago?

Leave a comment and let me know!

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