Here is Sara’s entrepreneurial journey…
I was born & raised in London Ontario Canada, where I now reside with my husband Roger of 17 years & 4 sons, who age from 8 to 15 years. I became an entrepreneur at the age of 17. From the age of ‘little’ – okay, I know that is not an age but I remember being really little – I always sold stuff. Whether it was freshie on the sidewalk, selling my toys at a yard sale or selling things to my friends, I always wanted to be in charge of my ‘stuff’. I wanted to make my own money, be my own boss and be in charge of me! Even when I would role play with my friends, they wanted to play house or school, I would always wanted to play store. I wanted to be the store owner, run the cash register and count the money. As you can see, from the age of little, I had the entrepreneurial spirit – some call it a bug, but I call it a spirit because bugs creep me out.
I got my first job in grade 10 as a receptionist at a car dealership. I went to school during the day, worked at night and spent the weekends dating Roger. Being behind the desk drove me bonkers as it was a slow moving job. If the phone wasn’t ringing I was studying…the cars we sold. Why you may ask, because I wanted to get out from behind the desk and sell the cars. I graduated high school in 3.5 years, I wanted out of there as fast as possible. Yet, when I graduated I didn’t know what I ‘wanted to be’, so I got a job at a major retailer in Canada. I worked in the children’s department, as a cashier – my role playing became a reality. I enjoyed the cash register & counting the money, maybe a little to much, as well as connecting with the customers. To be honest though, I got bored so I moved departments a couple times and eventually decided to move on to something new.
Next, I became a wedding gown consultant (sales person). I loved this position. It was such a blessing working with the brides. I discovered that I was really good at sales. My sales for 1 year were $167,000. Even though I loved the customers and I found a knack in sales, I discovered that I did not like my money, my time, holidays, etc being controlled by the owners of the business. So, I moved on, which…was weird. I mean, I went to work at a magazine distribution company as a data entry clerk. This job taught me everything I needed to know about being a miserable employee. During all the above jobs, I was going to school for my bookkeeping degree and already started my bookkeeping practice on the side of a full-time ‘miserable employee’ job. In 2001 I decided to take the control back and own my future. I officially quit working for others and started Martin Clarke & Associates full-time. Gosh! That was so scary, but totally worth it. It was the right decision.
From 2001 to 2012 I worked 50+ hours a week in the bookkeeping business, all while raising 4 amazing sons. During 2008 the business grew in huge proportions so Roger, my husband – who was by my side and supported me through the entire journey that you just read, came home and worked with me in our company in 2008. It was amazing! We were both home, working together (that was a huge challenge that we overcame) and raising our amazing sons. But here is where I lost myself…
Somewhere between 2001 and 2010 I became a hermit. I became entrenched in my business and family, so much so that I always had to be focused on one or the other. I became extremely uncomfortable in public, around people and simply being out of my house. I only left my home to take the boys to school, to get groceries, to meet clients & if able, to go to church, and all if only extremely necessary. If I found myself in a crowd or around people I did not know, anxiety would build up and I would move into a panic attack. My hands would get sweaty, my body would become very clammy, like when one has the flu, and my breathing would become erratic. It was horrible. So, it was just much easier to stay in my home, feeling on purpose while working my business & raising my boys.
Then 2012 came…and I had a couple clients who thought it would be good for me to join them at a couple business events. At one event I was placed on a ‘hot seat’, which was a chair in front of the entire audience. I was a nervous wreck but needed to hold my composure because everyone’s eyes were on me. I was asked questions about my business and life. Though I cannot recall the questions, I can recall the feelings as if I was there right now. Some of my answers must have been funny because the crowd laughed and some questions must have been thought provoking as the crowd would let out an ‘Ohhh’ or they would nod and they were even taking notes on what I was saying. This made me extremely confused because why would they be learning from me? What did I have to offer? It got me thinking, so I started sending out a newsletter with tidbits of the information that I held within. Remember, by this time I was in business for 14 years. Through my personal clients I had seen a lot, experienced much, and learned more than I realized.
In April of 2012 I got an email from a dear friend and mentor of mine, who was receiving my newsletter, asking me if I could run a workshop at a business conference in the USA. I remember thinking ‘why me’? ‘what did I have to offer’? Already out of my comfort zone with everything that had happened in the first 3 months of 2012, I said yes…then I panicked! Roger had to calm me down, shake me up and then he pushed me to create my presentation. I decided I would speak on starting, owning and growing a business – because I was helping my clients to do this. I took what I knew and put it into a PowerPoint…and then crossed my fingers.
I arrived at the conference and was welcomed as the only female speaker and that freaked me out, but I took control of my emotions, though at the time I did not know it, I talked myself into my inner power. I went into my workshop room noticed that it was a small room that seated about 15 people, so I relaxed…until the crowd that came it was much bigger than the room so they moved me into a larger room that sat about 30 people. I took a deep breath and started sharing my presentation…and then something happened! The only way to describe it was that I stepped into my mission. I stepped into my power. In this moment I knew…I knew that I was meant to share from the front of the room. It was like I became my destiny. It was amazing, fun and scary at the same time. I was asked back to host a workshop for the following years of 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2017 – when they called me saying that the attendees were inquiring where I was for the 2016 conference. I must also add that my workshops were recorded and are a part of the annual conference CD sets. My teachings have gone around the world and it is exciting to know that my teaching and stories are touching lives around the globe. It is safe to say that the panic stricken-ed hermit that I once was, was gone!
After my breakout speaking opportunity in 2012, Roger came to me and said “Sara, you need to do something. You need to get away from your computer and get a hobby or something. You work to much and if you are not with our boys, you are bookkeeping. It is time for you to do something.” My reply was “Roger, I am not taking time away from the business or our family unless it produces change in the world”. That week I found Mompreneurs® on Twitter. I inquired about the organization being in London and it did not yet exist. I met with the founder, Maria Locker, and in September 2012 signed papers to start a chapter of Mompreneurs® in London Ontario. Once signed, the announcement & launch was set for October, however, the news leaked through Facebook and I needed to bump up the launch as women (that I did not know) were getting excited and started asking so many questions. In two weeks time, I ended up working my bookkeeping business, going through a month of training for Mompreneurs® and being a hands on mom as my husband was away for those two weeks. It was by far the hardest two weeks of my life…but I did it! To this day it is still a massive accomplishment.
Being a chapter owner of the organization brought many challenges and many blessings. The challenges were figuring out how to operate two business, raise a family and making time to better myself. It also led to major challenges in my marriage. It put division in my marriage because any ‘extra time’ I had, went to business. I would work the bookkeeping Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm and then I would sink my head into Mompreneurs® 8pm-12am Monday to Friday and then 10 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday. You do the math…where was the time for the family and for my husband. There is an entire story to be shared here…maybe even a book one day. But I won’t leave you hanging…I will end this part of my story saying that 2018 marks 17 years of marriage! It took a long time and a many conversations but we got our ‘stuff’ figured out and we could not be happier AND Roger is the biggest cheerleader of all our businesses and of my time, which is where my time management projects have come from.
The blessings were HUGE! I began speaking throughout North America, on topics such as business development, time management, bookkeeping and money mindset (which I have not even shared an ounce of that story here – yep! Roger & I were broke a few times in our lives. Now we live in a million dollar home, with the power and energy to do what we need to, when we want to – more of this story to come in 2018). I have met thousands of entrepreneurs, created everlasting relationships, consulted many entrepreneurs in their businesses, created programs for me personally – which are now being made available for the public and I have been writing…now more than ever. I also figured out the time management issues and now run multiple businesses and yet work a lot less. I actually take evenings and weekends for our family and to write. No more toiling and sweating to make means for our family.
September 2016 was my four year anniversary as a chapter owner with Mompreneurs®. I spent the last four years working 40+ hours a week in the bookkeeping/consulting business and 30-40 hours a week working with the Mompreneurs® organization. I became extremely close to the Founder & CEO Maria Locker, that I became a business consultant to Maria, helping her and the team to create a vision and to work towards reaching the organizations full potential. In September 2016 Maria approached me asking if I would be willing to move into the COO (Chief Operating Officer) position of the organization. I accepted and we announced in April 2017. (April tends to me an amazing month for me).
2017 was probably the hardest year of my life. I had many people telling me to be more, do more and become more because I was destined for greatness, I was destined to be a light in this world and to make a difference. I felt what they were saying was very true and yet I got extremely scared of all the ‘what ifs’ and instead of embracing the words of knowledge I stepped out of my mission, out of my purpose and out of my journey to be a part of other people’s journeys, in the hopes of hiding from my destiny. I started to follow the easy road of ‘being’ and it seemed like life started falling a part. Opportunities were given, then taken away and relationships with people were changing and not for the better. I started feeling massive anxiety and frustration. I felt that I lost my purpose for living. This is when I had a breakdown and decided to breakup!
On August 30, 2017 I broke-up with the thoughts that held me captive of my calling. I decided that I was going to climb the mountain and raise my flag to surrender to what is meant to become of me. It was time to share my knowledge with all in the world who would listen. It was time to write and release my book series. It was time to give the world my time management secrets. It was time to stand in the power that I was given to make this world a better place. And this is where thepiggybankmillionaire.com was formed from. It’s time to stand behind my personal name, my personal brand and be the human I was created to be. I want to be a ripple effect in this amazing world, so that those I touch become ripple effects in their lives.
I have spent 20 years learning, strengthening, engaging, listening, watching, believing and simply being in every moment, taking goodness and learning lessons from every single experience. After 20 years I am now ready to share what I have learned, discovered, created and seen, so that others can have their own experiences, without the toil and troubles. If I can share one thing that will make someone laugh, make someone think or make someone do better, then I have succeeded.
My hopes is that you will join me on my journey, take what you need from my experiences and teachings to make your journey a happy and brilliant one. You only get one life, live it to the fullest. If you want be a part of my journey, to learn, grow & become a ripple effect in your world, please register to be apart of my community & receive communications from me.
Remember, Life is Amazing…and so are YOU!
Sara L. Clarke