Slow Growth; Notes On My Entrepreneurial Journey and Where It All Began

It’s officially been 6 months since I started my blog and newsletter. So this week I have been reflecting on my entrepreneurial journey and slow growth.

My blog and newsletter have gone through a lot of changes in these past 6 months and so have I.

I started out solely talking about productivity before expanding into self-care once I realised you don’t need to sacrifice one over the other.

My “online space” is now something that I create to intentionally help you put your well-being above everything else. Because your mental and physical health is the most vital thing to living a long and happy life.

So how did Notes by Thalia begin?

To answer this question, I think I need to go back to where it all began.

The start of my Entrepreneurial journey with a slow growth approach
The start of my Entrepreneurial journey | March 2020

Growing up I was never someone who had much ambition or a list of goals they wanted to tick off. I lived a lot in my own head fantasising about another life and coming up with scenarios that would probably never happen.

I flipped flopped my way through life doing things on a whim or because someone said I would be good at that.

No word of a lie, I ended up working for a modelling agency in London for 6 years because a friend was watching the reality show, The Model Agency and told me that she could see me as a model agent.

But more on that later.

I studied Fashion at University. At the time I wanted to become a celebrity stylist or even better, work at Vogue one day.

But trying to get work experience at a magazine when you’re 18, with no experience proved harder than I thought. I must have written to about 50 magazines and each one of them came back to me saying no.

About a month into my uni course, I decided that styling wasn’t for me. I stuck it out though for the next 3 years because doing anything about just seemed like a lot of effort.

And you know what else is a lot of effort? Applying for jobs. Again my lazy, fixed mindset got the better of me and every application that I laid my eyes on made me feel stressed out. So I gave up. Maybe a little too easily.

The conversation about the modelling agencies came up so then I set my sights on becoming a model agent. Getting excited about the prospect.

And this time my efforts paid off! Well, I wouldn’t really call it an effort. I emailed around 10 agencies in London asking if they were currently offering internships. I got interviews at 4 agencies and was offered a 3-month internship on the spot during one of them.

It was this agency where I stayed for the next 6 years.

Life in the fast lane

I have briefly spoken about my chaotic time in London before but let me take this moment to dig a little deeper.

My job at the modelling agency was incredibly high-pressured, stressful and fast-paced. There was no room for mistakes and god forbid you got on the wrong side of someone.

It was basically a 24-hour job. Every time my phone buzzed I would have a mini heart attack praying that it wasn’t work.

I still to this day have nightmares that I’m still working there and wake up in a burst of panic.

Although I’m grateful for my time there and everything I learnt during those 6 years, I can’t help but think that I lost myself while working there in order to fit in.

I’m not cool. Or sassy.

In fact, I’m pretty damn awkward, slightly kooky and a bit weird (I’m talking about the quirky kind of weird, not the creepy kind of weird).

Now models are cool. And the other agents too.

When you have to work with them on a daily basis you begin to mould yourself to dress like them, speak like them, have the same mannerisms as them.

I guess I was never truly comfortable in myself and this is why I was always looking to become someone else. I’m now on a journey to embrace my kookiness and just be my awkward self in every damn situation.

Yes, at times I loved my job. It brought in a stable monthly salary that I could spend on pointless things like clothes, alcohol and takeaways.

But most of the time I hated it. I had lost who I was as a person and became someone that I no longer recognise or want to associate myself with.

In truth, I was a bitch who had no patience for anything. And nothing excited me more than going out to drink.

I found it hard to believe that this would be my life for the next 5, 10, 30 years.

So I started to wonder that there must be more to life than commuting, work drinks on a Friday and hangover brunch on a Sunday.

Me on a drunk night out in London i in December 2016 pre my entrepreneurial journey
Me on a drunk night out in London pre-entrepreneurial journey | December 2016

What can I say, I got curious…

Having spent the majority of my twenties working towards a career I didn’t want, partying, getting drunk and waking up thinking “shit what did I do last night”, I started to yearn for something more.

London started to become boring and incredibly lonely. The majority of my friends were either in a serious relationship or had moved out of London.

It was a struggle for me to keep myself busy outside of work and I was too lazy to learn anything new. I also found it incredibly hard to make new friends.

I suffered slightly from social anxiety. Where the thought of going to a party where I didn’t know anyone made me freak the fuck out.

The answer? Alcohol of course! I would drink to take the edge off and then drink some more to be fun, drunk social Thalia. Because everyone loved fun, drunk social Thalia.

I was also at the stage in my life where if I stayed home on a Friday or Saturday night and had no drunk pictures on Facebook (this was before Instagram was cool), then I was literally wasting my young years.

I cared too much about what people thought and so I created a persona. A persona that I wanted people so desperately to like.

At some point, I hit rock bottom.

I mean not literally as I still had a job, a roof over my head and was relativity physically healthy but in terms of positivity, strength and wellness, I was lost.

To save myself, I decided to quit my job, leave London and travel around South East Asia solo.

Probably the best, life-changing decision I have ever made.

I was 27.

You can always start again

Solo Travelling gave me a new perspective on life.

I learnt to slow down and be patient.

Travelling also taught me to appreciate my own company. Yes, I met people and made friends on the way but I was never actively seeking friendship or someone to travel with.

This was my own journey.

Me on the Everest Base Camp trek pre-entrepreneurial journey
Me on Kala Patthar — Elevation 5,644.5 m | Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal May 2018

And I’m not going to go all cliché and tell you that “I found myself” because what does that even mean?!

But I did start to become me again.

Awkward happy me who loves to laugh at her own jokes and break out into song at every possible opportunity even though she can’t sing.

And clearly, someone who loves to talk about themselves in the third person.

Travelling became my therapy and I didn’t want it to end. The thought of going back to a 9 to 5 and a life where travelling wasn’t an option made me feel petrified.

As soon as I got back to the UK, I started to plan my next escape. One that would allow me to travel but make money at the same time.

So what did I do?

Taught English as a second language of course!

(At this point I hadn’t read the 4-hour workweek and didn’t know you could build an entire business online).

I flew to Peru, where I worked as an English teacher for 6 months before travelling the length of South America. And when I say length, I actually mean it. From the tip of Chile all the way to Colombia.

My South American journey from the tip of Chile to Panama | July 2019

Oh, and I wasn’t solo travelling this time. I had met John during the 4 months I was home after South East Asia and before South America. He came out to meet me for a month while I was in Peru and we spent Christmas climbing Macchu Picchu together.

After he went home, he quit his job, rented out his house and came back out to join me in Chile within 3 months.

We pretty much knew from the get-go that we were each other’s “ones” so during this trip we spoke about our future and building a business together.

A business that we could run from anywhere so we could travel everywhere.

Thalia and John at Machu Picchu pre their entrepreneurial journey
Me and John at Machu Picchu | December 2018

From lacking ambition to Entrepreneur

Sounds like the dream right? Set up a business with the love of your life and travel around the world together.

For starters, covid happened. And still is happening so we’ve had to put our digital nomad plans on hold.

And secondly, I soon realised that John’s dream of building a digital agency that offers website development and funnels wasn’t my dream.

I took a step back and instead focused on building something that I was passionate about.

This started as me sharing productivity tips on Social Media. And soon expanded into talking about self-care and creating a healthy work-life balance.

I changed my IG handle and Notes by Thalia was officially born in March 2020.

The start of my Entrepreneurial journey with a slow growth approach
The start of my Entrepreneurial journey | March 2020

In October, I hired a mindset coach to help me find direction and get intentional with where my business was going.

Within a month I had set up this blog and my weekly newsletter. By December, I launched my very first freebie.

In January I set up my Etsy store which is now home to 3 digital planners with one more on the way.

I’m now expanding on my skills and passion for graphic design by offering digital product design services to mindset coaches and wellness entrepreneurs.

Slow growth

Reflecting on my journey from a girl who lacked ambition to a female entrepreneur and business owner has really made me appreciate slow growth.

As an entrepreneur it’s so easy to jump from one idea to another, trying to do everything at once because we lack patience.

On Social Media, it seems to all be about the hustle and hitting a consistent 10k months in the first 6 months of business, pivoting to become a coach within the first 4 months and making passive income within the first 2 months.

It’s a race against the clock so you can put that you’re a 6 figure business owner in your Instagram bio and finally be considered “an expert”.

And for me, this level of competition and pressure is exhausting.

I’m not someone who can simply take messy action. I need to take my time to process things and plan out my next steps.

Detoxing from Social Media regularly has been essential in protecting my well-being during my entrepreneurial journey.

It’s so easy to compare yourself to others that you see online and unfortunately, I was trapped in this cycle.

I was comparing myself to how fast others were growing and what they had achieved in the space of a few months. I also used to fixate on people who managed to grow their Instagram accounts from 0 to 5000 in just 3 months.

It made me feel like shit and that I wasn’t doing enough.

I got into the habit of downplaying everything that I’ve achieved in the past year. Instead, I focused on the things that I didn’t manage to achieve. Like making a stable monthly income, or the fact that I didn’t launch a podcast or YouTube channel.

This is why it is so important to celebrate the small wins. No matter how small they are. To enjoy the journey and not always think about the end result because then you get lost in the process.

I’m now making a more conscious effort to not compare my journey to someone else’s. Instead, investing my time following women who have been building their business sustainably for years and aren’t just looking for a quick win.

My current fave being Phoebe Greenacre.

An Instagram post about slow growth and slowing down from being busy to just be human

Phoebe is the founder of multiple businesses that she has spent years building. I’m influenced by her conscious and mindful approach to entrepreneurship and the fact that she believes it’s “never too late to start over.”

Final thoughts

It’s been 4 years now since I left my job and went travelling. One of the best decisions I ever made.

I love the fact that I’m an entrepreneur and can work from anywhere.

I’m beyond excited for the future of my business. But I’m also not someone who will spend every waking hour working on it and push myself to burnout to grow faster.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not passionate or driven enough. It simply means that I respect and value my well-being more.

Something that has taken me a while to come to terms with.

It’s clear that I treated my well-being like shit throughout my early to mid-twenties and I promise to never do that to myself again.

So I encourage and celebrate slow growth. It doesn’t always have to be hustle hustle hustle. There are other options.

When it comes to being productive or building a business, I believe you need to be mindful of your own capabilities and do what works for you.

If fast growth and the hustle culture works for you then keep doing you.

But slow growth is what works for me and I’m finally happy with that realisation.

Because right now, I’m right where I need to be.

Until next week,

♡ Thalia xx

“Everything that is great in life is the product of slow growth; the newer, and greater, and higher, and nobler the work, the slower is its growth, the surer is its lasting success. Mushrooms attain their full power in a night; oaks require decades. A fad lives its life in a few weeks; a philosophy lives through generations and centuries.”

William George Jordan

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Here to help you mindfully navigate and balance your day. Notes on self-care, mindful productivity, mental well-being and wellness.

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Notes by Thalia

Notes by Thalia

Here to help you mindfully navigate and balance your day. Notes on self-care, mindful productivity, mental well-being and wellness.

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