I get questions all the time from beginners about ‘How Did You Get to Where You Are Now?’ (and it’s really hard for me to think of it in those terms, because I don’t feel like I’ve “arrived”. I think I’m still somewhere in the middle of my path). 🙂
When I sit down and really think about the answer to that question, the simple answer is steps.
I’m huge on goals and taking steps toward toward goals.
My first big goal when I got out of the homeless shelter was that I just wanted to be able to stay home with my kids. My ex-husband had just abandoned us and I felt like the kids already lost HIM, I didn’t want them to lose me too. So, I took steps toward that goal.
Worked day and night reselling on ebay to make money, and eventually started making enough money to survive, $700/month.
My ex-husband came back. I forgave him. We moved as he was famous for always doing, and not long after, I knew he was ready to leave again.
This time, I could tell the signs.
Not wanting to be homeless again, I started buying heavy furniture. After all, unless he was ready to tell me he was leaving, why WOULDN’T he help me buy and move furniture? And, I knew I could easily sell the furniture if he DID leave and get thousands of dollars collectively. If he did leave, he would pack a car, not a uhaul. The furniture would stay and so it was my “savings account” to protect myself in case he left.
He did leave, as I knew he would. Left on Easter morning. Later I asked him why he left on Easter. Easter is after all, my favorite holiday. He said he really wanted to hurt me. He did.
This time though, I knew how sustainable selling on ebay was. So, my goal wasn’t to just make money and survive. It was to create a life for me and my kids.
I was doing pretty well when he came around again. Yes, I forgave him yet again. I’m a very forgiving person (to a fault). And he moved us to another state. It was about a year, and I could feel the tides turning. I could tell he was considering leaving. I knew. I had given my life to God. I was a different person now and he didn’t like it.
He asked me to give up God for him and I said, “NO! I won’t give up God for you or anyone else.”
Within a few days, he left. This time, for the last time.
He would go on to try to come back a few more times, but there were too many affairs he had, too much damage, and new babies he created by other (multiple) women involved. I wasn’t willing to play back and forth. I’m not into games.
This started my journey upon making real life-changing goals. I wanted a life he could never provide me. A stable life, not moving around all the time. Not working outside the home, but being with my kids.
I wanted to give my kids a better life then they had ever known and so, I wanted to live in one of the wealthiest subdivisions in my city in a nice home. Not an apartment. Not having roommates. Me on my own. It’s what I wanted. So, I worked hard toward that goal.
Selling on ebay full-time, redoing furniture and selling it on Craigslist. Yes, I was able to have my dream life at that point and have it all on only $18k/year as a single mom.
Friends would visit me. They’d call or email to get my address and ask me for an apartment number.
They knew my situation. I was alone. Abandoned. Why WOULDN’T I live in a small, run down apartment?!
When they’d come to my home, their jaws would literally drop when they visited and saw all I had. Seeing the furniture I never ended up selling…nice stuff.
They told me they were making $60k/year and didn’t have as much as me. How in the world could I do all this on only $18k/year. It’s impossible.
I opened up this little blog, still to this day called SarahTitus.com, and simply started answering their questions in private. The questions were very much a lot of the same and instead of writing emails individually, I started this blog to save me time. Write one post, refer the person to the post, and see if they’d even read it. But at least then, I was saving time answering the same questions over and over.
The blog wasn’t open to the public, it was password protected and just available to my close friends in whom I gave the password to.
They started sharing the password, unbeknownst to me, and I started getting quite a lot of traffic. I couldn’t figure it out, until they mentioned it. Uhm…password means private guys! But here I was getting 100 pageviews a day from just that, and many people were spending an HOUR on my blog, reading, absorbing my posts.
I didn’t want the world to know my story. How I was abandoned, lost, and alone. And yet, here they were, strangers reading my private “emails”.
I prayed a lot about it. Scared to death to show my story to the world.
God was showing me I could monetize my blog and make money online from it. “What’s the harm?” I thought to myself. If no one reads my blog and it goes no where, at least I can try it. Put myself out there a little bit and try…see what the Lord decides to do.
Maybe He will provide financially some money through this. And I started to see that I could make a little money from it. My eyes were being opened to the potential of what a blog could do.
And so, I made a goal to make $1k/month within 12 months blogging.
At this time, no one believed I could do it. Not my friends, not my church, not the judge in my divorce hearing.
My mom and pastor said I was fooling myself trying to make money from home. That I was being irresponsible for not getting a job outside the home.
The judge told me to get a job outside the home “or else”. I naively asked what “or else” meant. He said, “you risk losing everything in the divorce”. Child support, alimony, even my kids.
I told him with great fervency, “NO!” He said something to the effect of, “Excuse me?” I said I wasn’t willing to leave my kids with a babysitter. I wanted to be with them more than life itself. I told him that I could DO this. I can make $1k/month blogging to survive. He asked me how long it would take me to accomplish this. I told him it would take 1 year. He set the divorce hearing out, 1 year.
He was very kind to me in giving me that time.
What happened was very different than what I told everyone though. I started making $10k/month within 12 months blogging!!! Ten times the amount I prayed for!
Year by year, I stayed in the same living conditions. Same car. Same great home. And made a new goal. I wanted to have my dream house. I wanted to rent it first with the intention of buying it later on, when I could afford to do so.
I moved into my dream house and accomplished my goal. I was now renting my dream house. Several months later, my car died, and this time, I bought a brand new car and paid cash, my awesome Honda CR-V.
Then, my next goal was BUYING this dream house I was renting. And, 3 years later, I did. I’m now a proud owner of my dream house, having stability, having roots, I’ve lived here now 3 1/2 years.
But…truth be told, I had been working 80-120 hours a week (not a typo) for 3 years and I was tired. Drained. Exhausted. I wanted to be able to sustain my current level of living all the while, getting my hours down to full-time work. 40 hours a week.
I wanted to spend time with my kids. After all, what’s the point of having a good life if you can’t ENJOY IT?!?!
What I did was much more than that. Not only was I able to get my assistants hours down from around 240 hours a month to 63 hours a month (saving me bookooo money!), I was able to get my OWN hours down to part-time.
With much joy I tell you, that I now work part-time and make almost $2.5 million dollars a year. I’m now able to invest much more time in my kids lives.
Now, my next goal is to pay OFF this dream house of mine. So that I don’t have rent, don’t have a mortgage, and I can live comfortably on $1k/month.
Since my mortgage/insurance/taxes payment is a little less than $2k/month, right now, all my living expenses are $3k/month total. If I can pay off my home, I’ll only have to pay $1k/month living expenses, which is not bad at all. Not for all that I have. A beautiful 5 bedroom, 3 bath, 3 car garage 2 story home with gorgeous granite countertops in the kitchen and a garden and pergola out back.
That’s my next dream. That’s what I work toward now.
So, when I’m asked how did I get to where I am today, it’s a long, drawn-out story, but it all comes down to steps. Goals.
I make a goal of what I want, I take the steps to get to my goal. When I reach my goal, I make a new goal and take new steps to reach that goal.
For me, paying off my house means, I need to spend 5 hours a week on top of my part-time blogging and Shopify store work to make a thousand dollars in order to put on my house fund…to pay that puppy off. Yes, it’s a lot less pay than I’m used to, for sure, BUT, it’s extra money. And I’m not above making extra money. 🙂
In those 5 hours a week, I’ve been selling on ebay and I’ve been creating and designing printables to sell to others to put in their shops (includes resell rights). I sell them in my Facebook group.
Here’s what I want to say, if you have a big dream, that’s awesome, you need one, but you need to break DOWN your dream into bite-sized pieces. All of that took me 9 1/2 years.
Step by step, one foot in front of the other.
You can HAVE your dreams, no matter how big they are. But you need to make them. And it’s okay if your dreams change and even get bigger.
Mine certainly did!
If you would ask me the day I was in the homeless shelter if you thought I could ever make over $2 million dollars a year, I would have thought you were completely insane. And yet, here I am, standing right here in front of you doing it.
I’m living my dream life and you can too.
Whatever your dream is, you CAN do it, if you stay the course and put one foot in front of the other. That’s the key. That’s the whole secret right there. The whole enchilada. Take one step at a time. Things will come up along the way and make you feel like you’re crazy and you’ll never reach your dream. But you will. If you stay consistent with each step working toward it.
Because even a little progress is better than no progress.
I once heard a statement somewhere along the lines that changed my life forever. It went something like this…
We never truly stay in the same place. We always are either moving backwards or moving forwards.
My question to you is, are you moving backwards or are you moving forward?
Even a tiny step toward your dream COUNTS and let me tell you, ain’t no one else in this world gonna go after YOUR dreams for you! Not your husband, not your kids, not your friends, not your parents, not your staff if you have people under you, no one.
YOU ALONE go after your dreams.
You alone choose your dreams and whether or not you’re gonna reach them.
Yes, God’s sovereignty plays a massive part in it; it’s all encompassing. But you need to do your part too. You need to take those steps toward your dream, and trust the results up to Him.
I wouldn’t be where I am without God. I wouldn’t be where I am without you…my friends, my audience. <3 But I did the work. Tears. And you have to do the work too.
It won’t always be fast or easy. Sometimes, it’ll be downright hard.
But you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep your eyes on the ball…on your dream. You’ll get there someday.
If I can accomplish all this, as a single mom with no outside family (other than my two kids), imagine what YOU can do, you have help! You have a spouse. You have family. I have nothing like that.
I know you can do this. I know it in my gut and you should know it in your gut too.