This was the year I took a leap of faith. After over 20 years of teaching I decided it was time to
launch my own business and take a bet on myself for a change. I took the plunge and jumped
into full time entrepreneurship.
This is definitely not a decision for the faint of heart and certainly not one made overnight. On
the contrary, it was a journey that started years ago. My life was progressing towards a number
of inevitable life changes. My son would soon be heading off to university and I had just
published my first children’s book. I also yearned for a new professional change – a change of
scenery from the classroom. Most small schools have little opportunities for teachers to take on
new projects, so I knew this would also propel me into a new arena. The time felt right.
However, I had to have a plan. Working in a number of different subject areas and educational
settings for over two decades had equipped me with a range of skills that were invaluable and
could be applied to other fields. It was essential for me to determine whether my desire to pivot
wasn’t being fueled by the emotional angst caused by the impending empty nest that I faced. I
also had to differentiate between the temporary fatigue caused from additional COVID related
duties at work. Was it truly a new challenge I sought or just needed rest?
Knowing the fuel behind my motivations was key as any venture into self-employment would
possess enough stress of its own. There could not be room for self-doubt and regret once the
wheel was set in motion.
My three biggest pieces of advice for anyone feeling the call to step into a new phase:
Test out your options first. It is scary to step away from a full time job, especially when you
have dependents. I had worked on building my capacity in the tutoring industry and in publishing
for several years before making my leap. So, if there is a business venture that you’re interested
in starting, do so while you still have a steady income. It has to be an area that will hold your
interest on a daily basis.
Lay a solid foundation. In the years leading up to my launch it became evident what my
strengths and weaknesses were. I knew education was my passion and helping others to
maximize their potential was my purpose, whether this through mastering math or charting the
course through self-publishing. However, I knew I would need guidance in establishing the
systems needed for business to run smoothly. I invested in coaching and found that my
confidence grew as I gathered the skills necessary to thrive as a business owner. Know what
areas you need to strengthen and invest in the training necessary to make you successful.
Be open to learning. The saying that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ is so true. The
nature of teaching is such that I am always reading up on the latest research on teaching
strategies, neuroscience and child development. Every new class brings new learners with new
challenges. I had to extend this growth mindset to learning more about business systems, and it
seems that as I solve one problem another appears. I have to remain humble and appreciate
that I do not have all the answers but be willing to seek out help from those who have tread this
path before me.
Have I ever had moments where I think leaving my safety net for starting my own business was
risky? All the time. Do I think it was worth it? Absolutely. I cherish the autonomy, being able to
focus on my own projects and breathe life into them while pursuing my purpose. It is undeniably
one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Lisa McLean is the Founder/CEO at Lisa McLean Publications LLC, where she is responsible for developing educational programs, writing children’s books, and facilitating book coaching workshops. On a mission to transform the educational landscape, she is focused on supporting parents by providing a quality learning experience for their children and creating quality children’s books to complement their learning experiences.