I didn’t mean to start a revolution, I just wanted to feel happy and fill that big void I felt inside of me.
That day back in 2000 when I chose redundancy due to a reshuffle, I didn’t think “that’s OK, I’ll just start multiple revolutions and make millions”.
I was scared. Newly single, no job and a mortgage to pay… But I also had a feeling, a spark, something new yet also deeply familiar.
I had worked as Global Brand Manager for a huge American software company and GUI/web designer before that for ten years in all. I’d frozen in offices with over enthusiastic life-sucking air conditioning, and I’d become way too used to the smell of stale, tar-like filter coffee. I’d also had the time of my life with worldwide travel, a part time life in California, dot com bubble stock options and an awesome salary.
And so here I was, leaving said office and oblivious as to how the wings of my destiny were about to unfold.
I gave a goodbye speech. Now post dot com bubble, this giant software company was in a financial mess, and it was looking like it might not survive. In front of all the big male directors, I said something like “I hope you all make it, but if you don’t, I will, and you can come and work for me.” They laughed. With me. At me. It was how we were together.
I was definitely a round peg in a square hole in the office. Designer types usually are. I loved travelling the world, the perks, the people. I loved it. But I didn’t love that alarm clock every morning, and my life revolving around my work. That always felt weird and wrong to me. But I’ve also always worked hard because even though I am a bit of a hippy, I love the finer things in life, too.
I had £8,000 (about $12,000) in my bank. I remember thinking “I’ll never have that much again”, and now I feel blissed that the Universe didn’t hear my limiting thought.
I invested in a clunky state of the art laptop (not a Mac!!!) and a printer, then I registered the name of my new company.
And like all good designers, I designed my new company logo. Even before I knew what on earth I would be doing.
I don’t know why but I knew I’d succeed even before I knew what I wanted to do. I also knew this would be the trip of a lifetime for me.
I started doing branding and design work for software companies, and it all felt familiar. The Internet was still new and smartphones were years from being invented, although I’d worked on designing revolutionary touchscreen technology that never came to light years before.
But although I loved design, I wanted something different.
I was already blogging at this point, although the world didn’t know what a blog was. I called them my journals — an in-depth and gripping Bridget Jonesesque account of my transformation from long term cooked vegan to raw food. Millions of people started to read them. But honestly, I was only being public about this food thing so I didn’t fail. I thought being public would give me a better chance, you know?
I also wanted to leave the UK and spread my wings so I could feel life from a different angle.
I contacted a company in the USA who wanted me to work for them, but it didn’t feel right. I was also excited by the abundance of fresh fruit in Southern Spain. But what would I do there? I flip flopped between the States and Spain? The States or Spain?
So I did what any artist would do, I went to an art show that decided my fate for me.
It was called The Museum Of The Unknown and one of the installations was a huge Wheel Of Fortune. I spun it and it landed on “Your future is very bright. You shall move to Southern Spain.”
So that was it! I rented my house out, packed up my clunky lap top and printer and drove my sunflower yellow car with my design contracts to sunny Southern Spain.
Ahhhhh… For the first time ever, I relaxed. I watched the mountains for hours, swam naked in the invigorating sea, made friends and made myself happy.
A few months earlier, I’d written a tiny booklet full of recipes that I was selling via a new online payment company called PayPal. Not many people trusted buying over the Internet back then, but those who did got their hands on the first brick that was to make up my two-warehouse empire. My parents posted the booklet from England. Don’t get me started on Spanish post offices or the Spanish queueing system.
My mum would call me, complaining about her job. She hated it. I was writing book number two, which was to be almost 400 pages. In that book I was recommending products that I use. I said to my mum “Why don’t we sell them?” After all, it seemed silly to not sell stuff that I was recommending. We started selling stuff, mostly via drop ship so there was no real financial outlay for us. To sweeten the deal, I said to my mum “When we take our first million, I’ll buy you a brand new car.”
Gradually, as my little shop got more popular, my mum was able to quit the job she hated and work full time for me. So did my sister. And then my dad. And loads of other really awesome people.
We went from trading out of my old bedroom at my mum’s house to running two huge warehouses in just a few short years.
By that time, I’d come back to the UK, had a baby and had published Naked Chocolate, a book I wrote with one of my best friends the raw food guru David Wolfe. Alongside PayPal, you have probably heard of him by now, too.
The birth of Naked Chocolate changed our worlds. What am I saying? IT CHANGED *THE* WORLD. We were importing raw organic superfoods from all over the globe… containers of it at a time.
We were also selling wholesale stock to food manufacturers, and selling our own brand to whole food stores. Everyone loved our stuff because it was the best quality and we gave the best service.
I bought a huge chocolate wrapping machine and created a range of six handmade chocolate bars with special seasonal editions. They were the first Raw, Organically Certified Chocolate Bars in the UK… in Europe.
To say I was flowing and in my element is an understatement.
Though life was hard in some ways (my daughter never seemed to sleep and I was doing the whole attachment parenting thing all by myself), it was also awesome — we had made health food sexy and I was truly living my purpose.
One bright day, in this glitter storm, my mum called me: “Sharon, we’ve just taken our first million…”
As promised, I bought her a brand new car to celebrate. She got to choose, and she chose a gorgeous black cabriolet. My mum has such style!
I squeezed out two more books, one called Evie’s Kitchen, which was so crazily niche I thought it may never sell. It sold TONNES. My lesson to micro micro micro niche was learned there.
I never worked in the office, as I lived a long way from it. I’d visit once or twice a year. I was a work at home, work in bed kind of girl. I still am.
I knew I was blessed, my dad was the deal maker (his official title was Director Of Big Things), my mum was the finance woman, my sister was the organiser. My other staff all took on their roles so well. We did our best to create a loving, family environment and pay our staff salaries above the local average wage because this was an Internet business. I soon came to realise that it saves you a fortune when you have a very low staff turn over.
By now, my two best selling books had been published in the States by a real publisher, and not just my business. I’d also written a few apps. Sleep Easily Meditation has since been downloaded around a million times. My creative drive was still strong, but my parents needed to retire and I was faced with a tough choice.
These years had been glorious… I’d done what I set out to do, and I didn’t want to take over the running of the office or be responsible for a manager, So I decided to sell the business.
We found an agent who found a buyer who was going to dismantle it and reassemble it in a different city. I didn’t want my staff to lose their jobs so I turned down the offer.
As I was going through old paperwork, preparing for the sale, I found an affirmation that I’d written and forgotten about. “By 2010 I’ll have found publishers for my books and I’ll have sold my business” Well it was 2011, and I was in the process of selling my business, and I had that publisher all sorted.
WRITE DOWN YOUR AFFIRMATIONS. Even if you lose or forget them, you’ll have worn a groove in that hard drive in your head and it will come true.
I went to a Tony Robbins Business course. One of those 4 or 5 day events where you are all excited about everything in the world after the first minute.
I was in the queue, wanting a front seat, when I spotted a guy with a green smoothie. I thought I must say hello. We got chatting, went to lunch, and before I’d finished my meal he looked at me with love and said: “I’ll buy your company”.
I knew he was the right one. He was just 26, but had a superfood company in Europe. He found a business partner and within months, I’d sold my business.
We had taken over $20m in our time.
We had set the world on fire with our philosophy, our passion, our love.
I had retired… aged just 43.
Most of all, I felt so over the moon that I could retire my parents, making sure they were comfortable enough to enjoy their twilight years in style.
After spending a couple of years doing all the things I wanted to do, and bagging myself the position of hostess of the world’s only raw food TV series (Raw Kitchen), I started up my new business helping people like you do the same as I did — find and follow your passion, build a business based on love, and then retire at an age while you are still young enough to enjoy life.
To get started, I ask all my clients to join me in this online business training class. I recommend you do the same. You get a workbook to download and we spend time going through those crucial ten steps that you need to put into place that will see you starting your own world changing business too.
So don’t delay and join me now, because your dreams are waiting for you, and they are more amazing than anything you could possibly imagine.
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