Self-esteem is a huge factor in all aspects of our life, especially when we decide to launch our own businesses. Whether we are opting for a direct-marketing platform where the corporate side is handled by others or a self-employment model where we take our love and talent and create a business out of it, the better our business is and the success we reach is dependent upon how much we truly believe in ourselves. I recently joined a Manifestation group on Facebook, not realizing what it was when I joined, and although I don’t completely subscribe to their ideals, (that you can manifest anything just by believing it), I do believe that if we don’t believe in ourselves and what we want to accomplish, we are making it that much harder for others to believe in us and our product. For me, as a freelancer, I am my brand. If I do not believe that I am capable and that I can produce unique and publish-ready content, why would a potential employer believe it?
For Breanna Reish, self-esteem has been a huge factor for her. She recently left her 9-5 financial firm to start her own financial planning company, Wealth of Confidence, and is loving every minute of it. She was motivated to launch her own firm after realizing she wasn’t satisfied with what she was doing. Reish struggled finding how she fit in an industry that is investment heavy, while she prefers to focus on her client and their specific needs, investment based or not.
“I had years of experience working in it [financial planning],” Reish said. “And feeling that cruddy feeling – knowing how it feels to feel like I do not belong, and feeling like I am at rock bottom, wondering if I would ever make it. I would cry at night. I wanted to quit several times. My husband would watch me roller coaster every year and just said to me, ‘You know, if this is what you want, you have to do it.’”
Reish was also motivated by her two young children, she wanted to have more control over her schedule, giving her more time with her two young children and her husband. But she also wanted to be able to pursue financial planning for clients putting more stake in familiar obligations and needs in a field that is generally investment focused. While she can assist with investments, she loves to help clients learn how to prepare for the future, make financial decisions, and prepare for end of life.
Prior to making the decision to go out on her own, she started working with a coach who helped her figure out what her next steps would be and why.
“She peeled back the layers like an onion,” Reish said of her coach. “She got me to talk about why I was really doing this and she – before I met her I was frantic trying to figure out my place and then she really helped me hone in on why I was doing this, what is really important in my life – all of these things and it gave me a little more confidence, and focus.”
Since going out on her own, Reish has been able to enjoy time with her family and with her clients. Ensuring her clients’ needs are met and they are happy is her top priority. Wealth of Confidence is giving her the means to continue to do what she loves and help her clients succeed while also being there for her family.
“I will say that you do have to work your butt off and stay focused,” Reish said. “You can make it what you want. If you want your business to be at a certain level, achieve a certain goal, you have to figure out what that goal is and what that number is that you need to be making, and then put that much time into it. Your responsibility lies with your family and your children, whatever responsibility you have is to them. I do get to keep 100% of my income, but I am also responsible for 100% of my income now. My goal with the business is to, number one, take care of my clients, and in turn, take care of my family and be a good mom.”
While she and her family are enjoying their newfound time together, starting your own business is not a simple decision. You need to take into consideration that you are now the one who drives business and income. Without clients or dedicating a certain amount of time to your business, a large paycheck can’t happen. Beyond that, prior to starting on your own, Reish cautions that you formulate a plan and determine what your family can handle while you launch your business. Going a couple months without a paycheck is a very real reality for many people who start their own businesses. Despite this, owning your own business can be as fulfilling for you as it is for Reish. It can allow you more freedom in your schedule and the ability to participate in more activities with your family. The key is to believe you can do it!
You can learn more about Breanna and her business, Wealth of Confidence, by visiting her website here.
It is not everyday that I get to sit down and have an open conversation with a woman who has admitted to posting suggestive pictures of herself on Craigslist. If you aren’t already aware, there is a page on Craigslist for Casual Encounters where posters can post about seeking any type of sexual experience. Requests vary from the most grotesque to the average three or foursome. There are swingers, transsexuals, homosexuals and others seeking a little bit of Fifty Shades.
The New York Times gives some statistics for the site in an article written a couple years back. The Casual Encounter section accounts for 2% of all posting on Craigslist. Despite this small percentage, the Personals section, (of which Casual Encounters is a part of), has a higher rate of traffic than any other online personals site, (eHarmony, Match and Yahoo! Personals included). One major draw is the ability to remain anonymous, at least initially, and therefore, be honest about what one’s true desire. Despite all of this, it remains a taboo that isn’t openly discussed.
Posters can attach pictures to their posts to attract a greater response. At first, it might be thought that posters are all social outcasts, 40-year old virgins, and prostitutes. But that is not the case. There are a great deal of everyday people posting, looking for the partner with which to fulfill their fantasies. Selena* chose to post on the site for another reason altogether. Yes, she wanted to fulfil the curiosity that the site naturally encourages, but she was primarily looking for a self-esteem boost.
My interview with her sheds light on an aspect of her personality that led her to need attention enough to result to this. While she did not pose nude or show any part of her you wouldn’t see in a bathing suit, she still felt dirty after receiving responses. Ultimately, her experience is not one she recommends. She reminds us the very real things that could happen if a woman did opt to follow through and meet with a responder.
My Interview with Selena* – A One-Time Craigslist Casual Encounter Poster
Q: Selena*, my first question, why would you want to post pictures of yourself online? And what kind of pictures did you post?
A: Well, honestly, I have always wondered about the people who post pictures of themselves in this casual encounter corner of Craigslist. Sometimes I just go through all the postings reading and wondering what drives a person to do this. And, of course, what kind of response they receive. Sometimes the posters will refer to the responses they received as being unwanted or different than what they asked for. I just really wanted to know. So, I took four pictures of myself from shoulders down in a deep-v lace body suit. I didn’t want my face to show and they weren’t overtly sexual. I don’t want to have those out there forever!
Me: I understand, everything is permanent online!
Selena*: (Laughing) Yes, it really is. And I do value my career and my future, I didn’t want this one experiment to label me. And worse, what if I did have my face in the picture and somebody on the street recognized me, that would be terrible!
Me: Indeed, it would be. But let me ask, interesting word choice. You saw this as an experiment?
Selena*: Yes, I really did. I am not going to say that sleeping around is bad, but it is not my personal choice. I prefer relations with men after a personal connection has been established. Even then, I am picky!
Me: So you weren’t actually attempting to solicit sex through this ad?
Selena*: Well, in regards to what I actually wrote, yes, I was. My post was short, just four sentences, but I made sure it reflected mainstream pornographic culture to garner a healthy response. But I didn’t personally want to solicit sex. I was trying to see what kind of responses I would receive.
Me: What else compelled you to do this experiment? You must have great self-esteem to post any part of you online in a suggestive way. Especially on a platform designed for hookups.
Selena*: Honestly, my self-esteem isn’t very good. I am often worrying about what others think of my body and whether men find me attractive sexually. I am of a curvy frame and I often feel that I am not what is generally considered attractive.
Me: So were you concerned about the responses then? Did you ever consider that you may receive rude responses from these men? How did you weigh this against possible positive responses?
Selena*: Yes, when I did this, I was worried that I would receive nasty responses from men calling me fat or undesirable. But I also needed the affirmation from the men that I was desirable. My need for someone to desire me, even a creepy man behind a computer, outweighed my fear of being ridiculed. I suppose I just wanted to know what it would feel like to get that kind of attention, the sexual kind, in a safe way.
Me: Well, I think you look fantastic today. I don’t know why anyone would find you unattractive.
Selena*: (blushing) Thank you, I am trying really hard to remind myself every day that I am beautiful. I think this experiment really opened my eyes to the despair I could fall into.
Me: Despair? Please elaborate.
Selena*: Well, I guess I mean that I now understand something key. I follow a lot of plus sized models on Instagram and they are always letting their bodies show, and I think that is beautiful, the confidence. But sometimes they let way more skin show than I would feel comfortable doing, and I am not plus sized. Then I go to bars with my friends and I see plus size girls dressing the same way and I wonder if there is something wrong with my thinking that keeps me from showing all that skin. I watch these girls throw themselves at these guys and the guys pay attention generally, but never to me. I can’t help but wonder if they are attracted to the confidence, the girl, or the fact that she is letting it all hang out.
Me: Interesting, this is something I have also wondered about. I am also curvy, not plus sized, and I often feel lost between the thin and the plus sized women. It is kind of a no man’s land.
Selena*: Seriously! And you are built much more athletically than I. I am totally envious of your muscle girl!
Me: (laughing) Thank you! Well, I think the main question now is, just what kind of responses did you get?! Where they like you expected?
Selena*: Oh my! (blushing) I received some interesting responses for sure. They were all positive though! That was the best part. It was actually funny, I posted it and then I opened my email. I had no responses for five minutes. I was so sad, so I closed my email and decided to take a shower. 15 minutes later, I checked my email again and I had 42 emails. All responses. After that, I was receiving about a response a minute. I was so overwhelmed!
Me: Wow! That’s a lot of responses. Any that were memorable?
Selena*: Yes, originally, I hadn’t intended to respond to anyone. However, as the responses started flooding in, I was pleasantly surprised. Some of the responders said really nice things and seemed like really nice guys. I had to remind myself under what circumstances they were emailing me!
Me: So is the posting still up?
Selena*: No, I took it down after about 30 minutes. I got such a large response that it was too much for me. Plus, I ultimately wasn’t comfortable with the kind of talk that the posting elicited. I am very private about my sex life so the blunt responses were very overwhelming and kind of gross. I could just imagine the type of guy who trolls Casual Encounter postings on Craig’s List.
Me: I take it you weren’t imaging Prince Charming.
Selena*: Not at all! (laughs) I was expecting some creepy guys.
Me: What is the weirdest response you received?
Selena*: One guy said some nice things, beautiful body, that type of thing. And at the end of his email, he asked to be notified of any donations.
Me: Oh! Wow, I hadn’t considered that.
Selena*: Neither had I! Honestly, I didn’t understand that at first. Then I realized, he meant money most likely. Which opened up a whole new world of possibilities and I thought to myself, wow, suddenly the number of people posting on here is more understandable. Not assuming all are looking for money, but if you are already willing to have a random hookup, then the idea of donations would be a bonus, I assume.
Me: Going back to your self-esteem, after all this attention, how do you feel now?
Selena*: I felt a bit dirty at first. Especially when the responses started rolling in. But I did feel good too. It was so heartening to receive all that attention. Granted it was sexual attention and it was because I elicited it, but I still felt good to hear that all these guys wanted me. I understand that they might just respond to anything or that they are totally gross, but I felt good. I left this experience knowing that if I chose to be overtly sexual and dress provocatively, I would get a response.
Me: Is this something you intend to do again?
Selena*: Absolutely not! Once was enough! It wasn’t a bad experience by any means, but I defiantly realized how precious my body is and how much I value myself. I don’t want to receive attention just for the sake of attention, and that’s what I did with this. I want honest attention from guys interested in me, not my body. So, going back to the previous question, I suppose my self-esteem was affected because I am much more self-assured now.
Me: Is this something you would recommend other women do?
Selena*: Well, I suppose if you really want to, sure. But I would caution against it. You just never know with the internet. I realized afterwards that somebody could maybe trace my IP Address and find out my location or something like that. I am probably paranoid, but safety is important! And never actually respond or meet with these guys. The least worry is that they have a disease, the worst is that something terrible could happen.
*Name has been changed for confidentiality reasons.