A guest post by Megan Patzius, entrepreneur and founder of Window Seats + Bright Eyes.
College is a time that I would never take back, not even for one second. Going to university gave me the intangible skills to read a room and problem solve on my toes. Do I use my degree as a teacher or geologist in my entrepreneurial day to day… no. But, it was those degrees and the experiences collected along the way that gave me the inner confidence to go against the grain. I now can live a life full of adventures and curate epic memories.
In 2011 I was finishing my second year of college getting pumped up for my summer studying abroad in South Korea while simultaneously getting slapped with emails from the College of Education. Each email was telling me all the things I needed to prepare over the summer break for the next semester. To be quite frank every single thing in my body was saying, “barf this sounds terrible”.
But my professors and classmates didn’t seem to be phased by the expectations, or really limitations, that were being placed on us. To fulfill the requirements of people that we have not met for job descriptions that sounded undesirable just reading. Accompanying these emails were in-person seminars we had to attend that were supposed to help us network with some of the school districts in the state of Missouri. Of course, my classmates and I all showed up (aka my community).
At these seminars the basic gist of them went like this: stay out of trouble and graduate from college then work in a small district for a few years to get experience that will help you get into the bigger (to them this meant better) schools. What this also translated to was, go work for almost free out in the boonies for two years barely living paycheck to paycheck because “It will pay off”.
My entire community was okay with this sentiment. They did not feel the need to challenge this status quo or even shoot for a bigger better approach to start off their teaching career in one of those “better” school districts.
Of the 307 people that graduated from my teaching community about 250 of them followed the path outlined above. The other 50 did not end up teaching at all. Like myself, they tweaked the teaching path to fit a different desire.
Of the 250 that followed the path from above over 100 of them did not make it one year teaching. They hated where they were living/ their new community. Were expected to go extremely above and beyond their role, and literally were not making enough money to survive.
I share this because one of the most important lessons I learned in college that plays a deep role in my entrepreneur journey is, the impact your community has on your success and growth.
People you choose to sit next to matters.
Who you choose to listen to matters.
The people you choose to trust matters.
This is true for both personal and professional life. Running my own business and being an entrepreneur means my personal life can affect my professional life and vice versa.
Understanding this all the way back in 2011 in my second year at university I knew I wanted to be there. I could recognize the intangibles I was obtaining. I knew that having a degree is something that I could always fall back on. No matter what the degree was, it was something no one could take away from me. I wanted that security for my future.
But this was also the catalyst for doing things my way.
Once I graduated I accepted my first full time teaching position in South Korea and it was absolutely incredible. I truly loved it. I was getting everything I desired in that stage of life. The community I was surrounded by continued to push me towards positive growth. Working this job I loved that I got to impact over 1000 students every week. I had constant cultural encounters, and I had a freaking blast doing it.
However, I hated that because of money, I had to say no to some adventures. Student loans hit hard and I had to send a lot of my paycheck home to pay them off.
I knew that I needed to make more money to actually have the adventures I craved while living in South Korea. And did not want to miss out on anything and let me tell ya, FOMO is real! I also knew that with my current schedule I needed a business that once set up required no more than 1.5 hours a day to scale and maintain.
Knowing what I needed for me to create my own success. I invested in my first program and got my first ecommerce business up and running. This ecom table that I started sitting at broke down how the parts of a funnel paired with the right products inside it could absolutely lead to financial freedom. Life could really be limitless and I was learning how to make it my new reality.
In just under 6 months I had a winning product that I was able to scale to more than six figures. Then someone approached me to buy the online store. It felt like the easiest yes in my life. I sold it and then followed the same process two more times. If you follow me over on Instagram you’ll see that I actually don’t bring this up too much. When you sell a store you also sell the rights to assets inside it. Legally, I can’t really dive into this much more but the thing my kick a$$ funnels had in common was that I knew how to position my winning product/offer in front of the right people.
Understanding how and why funnels work or don’t work are what I carry into every single business I build for myself and my clients.
Using these funnel frameworks to create a freedom lifestyle are not exclusive to ecommerce. They have helped me sell out my services as a copywriter (which I no longer do), as well as, have multiple 6 figure launches as a freedom business strategist.
The framework for a freedom funnel is transferable from a product based business to a client based business. The components inside them are what adapt. This framework is what I teach inside of my program called The Freedom Funnel.
I’ve learned that being an entrepreneur is all about growth. Growth in every capacity, not just financial growth or emotional growth, or personal growth. It is a combination of constant expansion in ways that the typical human feels uncomfortable with because as an entrepreneur you allow yourself to be the truest version of yourself. Growth happens when you start becoming picky about the tables you are sitting at and the communities you decide to engage in. You get to make the rules and you get the power to live your version of freedom, whatever that looks like to you.