It’s officially been 6 months since I started my blog and newsletter 🥳 So this week I’ve been reflecting on my entrepreneurial journey and how far I’ve come.
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 that having a healthy work-life balance is more important than your level of productivity.
My “online space” is now something that I create to intentionally help you put your well-being above everything else.
Because let’s face it, your mental and physical health is the most vital thing when it comes 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.
Growing up I was never someone who had much ambition, a list of goals to tick off or a desire to learn more than what was taught at school.
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.
I also had the dream of working at Vogue which I never took seriously enough to actually try and do.
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 it just seemed like a lot of effort.
And you know what else is a lot of effort?
Applying for jobs.
Let’s be real, after University I was incredibly lazy and wasn’t that proactive in finding a job. My fixed mindset also got the better of me and every job application that I laid my eyes on would make me feel stressed out and overwhelmed.
So I gave up. Maybe a little too easily.
Then the conversation with my friend about the modelling agency came up. I then set my sights on becoming a model agent. And I actually found myself getting excited about the prospect.
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 late at night or on the weekends I would have a mini heart attack. Praying to myself that it wasn’t my boss asking me to do something.
I still to this day have nightmares that I’m still working there and wake up in a burst of panic.
Although I was grateful for the job and everything I learnt during those 6 years, I can’t help but think that I lost a part of myself while working there.
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 so were the other model agents.
When you have to work with models and cool model agents on a daily basis, you begin to mould yourself to dress like them, speak like them, and have the same mannerisms as them in order to fit in.
My wardrobe was full of florals and bright colours in my teens and it soon all turned to black by my mid twenties.
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 now 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 if there was more to life than commuting, work drinks on a Friday and hangover brunch on a Sunday.
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.
Something with more substance.
London started to become boring and incredibly lonely. The majority of my friends were either in serious relationships or had moved out of London and even abroad.
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 as I suffered from social anxiety. The thought of going to a party where I didn’t know anyone apart from a couple of other people would make me freak the fuck out.
So I turned to alcohol to help me cope.
I would drink to take the edge off and then I would 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 when it was still cool), then I was literally wasting my young years.
I cared too much about what people thought and so I created this person. A person, when looking back, wasn’t me at all because I just wanted people to like me.
At some point, I hit rock bottom.
I mean not literally rock bottom as I still had a job, a roof over my head and was relativity healthy in the physical sense. But in terms of my mental health, I was lost.
To save myself, I decided to quit my job, leave London and travel around South East Asia solo. (I make it sound easy but it literally took me a whole year to gain enough courage to do this).
And to this day, this will always be the best, life-changing decision I ever made.
I was 27.
You can always start again
Solo travelling gave me a new perspective on life.
That there was more to life than drinking and partying.
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.
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.
I began to discover my own likes and dislikes rather than just copying someone else’s. And I began to listen to Taylor Swift again. I had previously stopped listening to her music because my coworker told me she was uncool.
I gained a new sense of self!
Travelling soon 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 sick.
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 I taught English as a second language.
(At this point I hadn’t read The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss 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 Panama in Central America.
Oh, and I wasn’t travelling solo this time.
I had met my partner John during the 4 months I was home after South East Asia and before flying to South America.
He came out to meet me for a month while I was in Peru and we spent Christmas climbing Machu Picchu together.
After he went home, he quit his job, rented out his house and came back out to join me 3 months later.
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.
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 for now.
And secondly, I soon realised that John’s dream of building a digital agency that offers website development and funnels wasn’t exactly my dream.
I took a step back and instead focused on building something that I was passionate about.
Something that motivated me every morning to wake up and be excited for the day!
I’ve always been an organised person and so this started out as me sharing productivity tips on Social Media.
But soon expanded into talking about self-care and how to create a healthy work-life balance while working from home.
In March 2020, I changed my IG handle and Notes by Thalia was officially born.
In October that year, 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.
Reflecting on my journey from a girl who lacked ambition to a female entrepreneur and business owner has really made me appreciate slow growth.
I needed time to get to where I am now.
In a world where productivity, appearance and money dictate how successful you are, it’s easy to feel a little bit inadequate sometimes. As though you’re not good enough to be here.
On Social Media, it all seems to be about the hustle and jumping from one idea to another in a matter of days.
It seems to be 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.
Yes, this might be someone else’s definition of success but it isn’t mine.
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.
And that is one of the most vital things that I have learnt on my entrepreneurial journey so far.
Everyone’s version of success and approach to building a business is different.
Detoxing from Social Media regularly has also been essential in helping me to protect 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 when I was still stuck on 600 followers.
It made me feel like shit and that I wasn’t doing enough.
I got into the habit of downplaying everything that I’d achieved in the past year. Instead, I focused on the things that I didn’t manage to achieve. Like making a stable monthly income, hitting 5 k followers 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.
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.”
It’s been 4 years now since I left my job and went travelling.
One of the best decisions I ever made.
In those 4 years, I have been a nomad, a TEFL teacher, a digital creator, a blogger, a graphic designer and business owner. And I have loved every single moment of the journey to get where I am now.
No matter how slow it has been.
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 after all, I’d rather cherish every single moment of my wins and failures rather than miss them all because I was too exhausted to pay attention.
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