I spent the last six-ish months dealing with the worst depression of my life! If you're wondering what I've been up to, have a listen or keep reading!
You may know me from…
- Launch Audit
- The Group Guide
- 7 Step Easy Tech & Sales
- Tech VA mostly for coaches, etc. Business Architect. Project Manager. Business coach
- (although I've never called myself that until very recently, and even then I almost don't feel worthy of the title, for some reason. So i'm working on that, among many other things!)
I actually haven't been in touch in a while because I've been going through some things, personally, which I'd like to share with you in this audio. If you're struggling at all with your personal life, finances, mental health, and all of the above, then I hope this summary session will help you see that you're not alone and there are ways out of this crappy funk you might be in.
If you're new around here and don't know Rochelle very well (yet)
If you're new to my list or don't know me that well, this miiiight be a little awkward for you, because it's kinda weird to hear all about a stranger's struggles when you thought you were gonna get professional marketing advice. All I can tell ya is that this is part of entrepreneurship and being self-employed. It kinda sucks, but it's also incredibly valuable to hear about someone else's journey.
I hope you can find comfort in mine and what I've been through in the last half a year. I know I'm not the only one who went through a funk (and to be honest, it's still going, but it feels more manageable now, for sure) so I'm sharing this update with you in hopes that you'll be comforted and encouraged no matter what you're dealing with in your own life right now.
Depression and Other Things
Around October 2018 I got burned out and depressed: Therapy + medication. Literally the worst depression I've ever had in my life, which tops when my mom died suddenly when I was 13 years old. This one was so much worse because there wasn't any external thing to mourn. It was just me changing and growing and healing.
I also lost my part time job and had to deal with all the things that come from that: drained my emergency savings down to zero and negative.
Remember how the summer of 2018 was terribly for pretty much everyone, everywhere? The mess of the end of summer 2018 just continued for me.
Thankfully, things have gotten a lot better!
– I hunkered down and started creating opportunities for myself. Which sounds flashier than it actually is, and means that I spend hours and hours asking everyone in my network if they know anyone who needs VA help (because done-for-you services tend to sell faster than coaching services, I've learned). I also applied to a ton of day jobs, Starbucks jobs, coffee shops, jobs on Craigslist and Indeed.
Went back to my old day job
I ended up going back to my old day job which is a huge test of my ego and humility. I went back to the job I hated, that I've been using as the example of the worst place to work. You know, we all have that old job we love to hate on. But I went back to it, and it turned out to be fine, actually! So I now have one of those stories of my own, where I'm pro “going back to day job” if it brings some sanity back into your life. Plus it was neat because in the two or three years since I left that job, all the things I despised about it were gone and it's actually much better. Nothing I wanna stick around in for more than I need to, but at least when I have to go in, it's not bad. It's just incredibly boring.
Therapy & Family Support
All this, while I was going through therapy, spending a lot of time with a psychotherapist and the emotional and financial support from my family.
Things started to turn around around 2-3 months ago. I actually really stopped working on social media content and just openly shared my depression journey via Instagram stories, and seriously, you guys – I have no idea why this worked. But it helped people get closer to me and speak up when they were ready to hire a VA.
I started signing contracts with a few VA people, simply by virtue of showing up as myself online and being incredibly vulnerable. Oh! I learned all about vulnerability from Brene Brown in this past 6 months too. I have a lineup of books I can share with you that helped me get out of my depression, and also helped me understand what the heck happened.
So I started feeling better. But I was still really iffy about my business, because I was under the assumption that if you're a business owner or have the audacity to call yourself a business coach, you had better be swimming in riches and financially stable.
How It Affected My Mastermind Clients
By the way, I was completely honest about all of this stuff, my depression, my financial struggles, everything – with my mastermind that's still ongoing. I lead a mastermind and have monthly calls and trainings for them, and to be honest? I completely expected them to be like “Aw Rochelle, that's so hard! Okay that makes sense. But I'm going to unsubscribe and go get a business coach who's got her head screwed on right, while you heal and get your stuff together.” I totally thought they would do that, and I was ready for it, and I completely understood why someone would rather get marketing and entrepreneurship advice from someone who's not dealing with depression and credit card debt.
The weird and surprising news is that NO ONE did that. No one did. I still don't get it. I don't understand, and I'm still figuring that out.
So while all this is happening, I was openly depressed and working on mental health in a public way, AND signing new VA clients, AND no one in my mastermind was leaving for someone who's a little more sane and professional…
A Brief Love Affair
I got caught up in a distraction.
Hey, maybe I failed and haven't been super successful because I'm in the wrong industry! I started looking at the travel industry and travel agencies as a happy distraction, which is what I call it now. I got excited, attended a conference, spent a good 5-6 weeks interviewing travel agents and learning everything I could about the travel industry to see if I could be the go-to marketing person for that niche. However, that didn't pan out.
I can tell you about it some time but it REALLY didn't pan out, and I ended up coming back to what I was already doing. What I've BEEN doing for years now, which is teaching and working with life and business coaches.
It was me being scared that things were rocky but still working out, and looking for my OUT so I could just run away. I did end up signing one travel agent client though, so it wasn't a total distraction. Her stuff is fascinating to work on, too, so the variety of work I now have is fun.
You still with me?
- Lost job
- Mastermind still going strong (I actually had a few inquiries from people who WANT to join, based on how vulnerable I've been on Instagram. So weird and I still don't get it)
- Got super distracted in the travel industry, found my way back home. (Have you ever had that happen? Got scared, distracted yourself, and the distraction totally didn't pan out to be the lifesaver you were hoping it would be?)
- Travel industry is done
And now… refocusing.
So! Right now I'm doing some clean-up in my business. I'm actually fully booked out as a project manager and virtual assistant for a few clients and I'm thankful that my day job (which is in the construction industry) is in a major slow season lull right now. I'm making more from my project management gigs than I did when I was working 3 days a week for them, and honestly, the only reason I'm not quitting is because it's my security blanket. I've got a little bit of fear, like “what if 5 of my 7 clients suddenly say they need a break! I can't quit my job or else I'll have to ask for my job AGAIN later.”
So that's where I'm at, right now. Creating my own calm and getting used to the new normal of my life. Saving up savings, simplifying my marketing so I can do less and not stretch myself too thin. That's the bummer about having lots of clients, is that I'm doing all this stuff for them and meanwhile a lot of elements of my business are pretty outdated. I feel like Cinderella who never has time to work on her own dress for the ball, but when I actually manage my time and distractions well, I do have time and I can get quite a bit done! So it's a little bit of a juggling act, right now.
From Angry Asian Girl to Hippie Rochelle
So that's where I'm at!
I'm hoping to keep in contact with you every week like I did, back in the day.
Thank you for your patience as I worked out my mental health stuff! I learned a ton and grew so much in the last six months since everything started crashing down. I call myself Hippie Rochelle now — all about that love and being kind. Because I feel like before this depression episode I was an angry asian girl who was super judgy (even with myself) and now I'm like “oh my gosh I want to hear everyone's life story because I've missed so much by being so judgy all my life!”
I'm totally that person who uses phrases like “I can hold space for you.” I never thought I'd be that type, but here we are.
I know I've missed out on so much in my life because I was spending all of my energy and time being judgy and jealous of other people. So it's good that I'm learning this now.
If I could give you any advice, it would be to work on yourself. If you're going through something like this, prioritize yourself and your personal development.
Do a bit more reading and listen to podcasts that talk about self image, personal goals, plans for your life: Are you on track toward those things you want to have in the future? We're constantly working on those kinds of things on a superficial level, in every course and mastermind program or coaching group we join. Butyou should really hunker down and become your own ally or coach, and really focus on yourself.
That way, no matter who you cross paths with, or whoever you work with, you're still on track with your own thing. It's not about doing the same thing everybody else is doing. It's really about you and what you intend to do with your life.
Keep working on yourself. Be really honest about the things you're going through. I promise it'll get better, okay?