Making happiness my goal
“ If you’re happy doing something you love, you’re going to grow a successful business around that ”
I am Emma Hine and I am a business strategist. I work with people to grow their business on their own terms.
I live in the Staffordshire moorlands and I’m a mum of three and just living my best life basically!
I was a bit of a rebel teenager which doesn’t always go down very well in a school environment. I remember this teacher telling me that I was never going to make anything of myself.
My response at the time was ‘yeah whatever…’ but I have come to realise over the past couple years as I continue to work on myself, that the comment stuck with me for years to come.
I left school at 16 and I became a mum. At the back of mind, I thought that this was the start of what this teacher had said to me.
I think that being a full-time mum is an incredible job, but I didn’t feel then, that this was what I had been put on this planet to do.
Nevertheless, this was a pivotal moment that changed my life path. If I hadn’t, I might have become not a good person.
My first ever job was when I was 18 and I worked in a building society. Over the course of over 14 years, I put my everything into that job. I came into it with a basic education and left that corporate job 14 years later. I had grown myself to be a sales and regulatory change manager and I managed a team of people.
But I always felt like I was missing something. I wasn’t sure what it was really, but I knew that this career wasn’t giving me the freedom that I wanted.
So, in 2006, I launched my first ever business. I didn’t have any experience in running one but by 2008 it had grown to a level that allowed me to leave my corporate job. And by 2010 it was bringing in a lot of revenue.
We had grown from premises to premises and I was working really, really hard to make it into a success.
In Christmas 2010, my daughter, Emily broke her leg while she was at work with us in the warehouse. She had turned to look at a butterfly on the wall that her dad had pointed out and her femur had snapped in two.
It didn’t occur to me at the time what this meant. I thought they would put a cast on her leg, and we would come back to work the following day but no. She had a cyst in her bone, and we were in the hospital for 18 days.
It was Christmas which is the business’s absolute peak as a retailing commerce business. My husband did everything he needed to do to keep the business going during this time and I stayed with Emily.
She was asleep a lot of the time. It gave me time to self-reflect. I thought about whether I had grown something that gave me the freedom that I desperately wanted. If I was honest with myself at the time, the answer would have been no.
I knew the business wasn’t giving me the happiness and freedom I wanted. I was still adamant though that I hadn’t yet proved to the teacher that I actually had made something of my life.
Working 80 to 90 hours a week I was just focussed on an end goal. There was always going to be a point that when I reached it everything would click together and become perfect. Happiness as a goal wasn’t at the forefront of mind.
Depression took hold here instead. I drank a lot of alcohol, and I lost a lot of weight. By 2014, I reached my darkest point where I thought that the only way to take myself out of the world I had gotten into was to end my own life.
I thought it would be better for me and everyone around me.
My husband found me before it became too late. Had he not, I wouldn’t be here today.
I got up the next day and carried on as if nothing had happened. And I worked and did everything I needed to do to grow my business. It hit the 7-figure mark and I had lots of materialistic things.
What I was missing was that I had done all this because I wanted to prove to other people that I was successful. I carried on even though I knew life wasn’t right.
In 2016, I asked myself what I could do to change my life. I decided the best way to make myself happier was to give myself even more work, so I opened a retail store.
My thinking then was that the main thing I missed was interaction with people. I loved it a lot but really it just added more pressure to a person who had already been completely broken.
After Christmas 2020 I knew I had to do something drastic to change. I closed the business down for three weeks. That had never happened before.
I wrote myself a new plan. I set myself some strong goals.
The plan was to outsource a lot of the work we did in-house. That meant we were going to reduce revenue but that’s what I did.
I sat back and waited to see what would happen. It worked and I am grateful that I tamed the monster so to speak. My working hours reduced from 80-90 hours a week to that much in a month.
Now I had more time on my hands. It was a case of asking myself, ‘Who is Emma?’. All she has done for the last 16 years or so is run a business. She hasn’t got close relationships with friends because she hasn’t had time, she hasn’t got a hobby and she doesn’t even know at this point what her favourite colour is! She just doesn’t know who she is.
So, in 2021, I began my journey into finding out who I am, what I wanted to offer the world and in what ways I was going to feel truly successful and happy.
The one thing that came through loud and clear to me was the realisation that the teacher’s comment had turned me into a materialistic person. I had taken it as something I needed to prove wrong.
I have spent the last two years finding my happy place instead. I know now that money comes when you do something you love. My goals are based around happiness.
I spend my time now helping other businesses do the same thing. To grow their business in a way that lights them up. And that’s my happy place, I’ve found it! Doing this makes me feel successful.
I love to tell people my story and say that it’s ok to hold your hands up and say, ‘I grew this business and I don’t like it.’ Or ‘I need to make some changes.’
I work with people on all different stages on their journey.
When I speak with people near the beginning of their journey and they say they want to earn 10K a month, I ask them ‘why?’.
It is so important to ask because everything starts with you. If you’re happy doing something you love, you’re going to grow a successful business around that. This is because people pick on your passion and your integrity. And that comes from you.
This blog was written by Ava Goldson, based on the interview with Tales to Inspire.