Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenny Stecklair.
Hi Jenny, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
The last time I connected with SD Voyager, I owned a boutique event rental business – Stecklair Event Co. The next year, our lives completely changed.
In early 2018, I was nursing my nine months old daughter and often noticed that one side never really emptied. Without realizing it, because I had been nursing for months, I had developed a large lump in my breast. I decided to put my fears at ease and make an appointment with my doctor to have the lump checked out. The doctor sent me straight to their imaging office to have an ultrasound done. The tech that did the ultrasound asked me to wait in the room for the radiologist to talk to me about my results. He sat down and explained to me that the lump in my breast looked concerning and I would need a biopsy.
Now I am panicking! I thought I would be told it’s just a cyst or something benign, suddenly I am scheduling a biopsy and mentally preparing for what could come next. The week was a whirlwind and within a few days, I had my biopsy done and had to wait about a week for the results.
As I waited and tried not to worry, the one emotion that dominated my mind was…regret.
The event industry is not for the faint of heart and can be a challenge when balancing a family with young children. In early 2018, I had three kids, three and under as well as our business to take care of. I was maxed out, often working late into the night, caring for the kids in the day, going out on deliveries and set-ups through the weekend. We started the business so that I could have flexibility in my schedule and be home with my kids. Now, I was frustrated, exhausted and resentful of my kids because I had so much work to do!
As I faced the possibility of having cancer, I worried that I was out of time. Is this how my kids would remember me? Stressed out and exhausted? If all I have is months left to live, how do I want to spend the time?
Every night of the week, we waited for the results, my husband and I stayed up having lots of hard conversations and preparing for what could be coming our way. By the end of the week, we decided that regardless of the results, it was time to sell the business.
The lump was a slow-growing tumor that needed to be removed. If left, it would eventually metastasize and wouldn’t respond to treatment. I found it soon enough that it could be safely removed with no further treatment needed.
I felt a huge weight lifted off of me when I got the news. But even with the good news, I still needed to make some huge changes in my life. The week of waiting and taking a hard look at my life was a gift to me. I am so thankful for the wake up call. It forced me to make big changes I otherwise wouldn’t have felt able to make.
Long story short, we found a buyer within a few weeks. We spent six months transitioning the business and preparing the new owners. By August of 2018, Stecklair Events was officially handed off and we were free to explore new possibilities.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Like I shared before, the business I owned evolved into something too big and too demanding for me and my family.
Some of my identity was wrapped up in the business, it was part of who I was. If I let it go, what would I do? What am I about?
As much as I knew that we needed to sell the business, it was a hard decision. But if it was hard either way, I had to choose my hard – the struggle of being stressed out and unavailable or the struggle to figure out what was next for me. I chose a fresh start.
The last few years have had their own challenges, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
One thing I have noticed is that there seem to be a lot of people in the world who do not work a traditional 9-5 but are doing just fine! When we sold our business, I decided that I would make it my job to figure out how people did that.
In my journey, I learned a lot about the idea of financial independence, got my real estate license and a financial coaching certification. We have started investing in real estate out of state and I am loving it!
We flip homes with partners in Waco, TX and own a few rental properties in Memphis, TN. My husband works a full-time job, so this is my focus. It’s enough to give me something to work on and bring in some income, but it allows me the freedom to raise my children while they are still so young.
What does success mean to you?
This is a great question but hard to define. Every person’s idea of success is different, which makes it so illusive. To me, success looks like thriving in every area of life.
To have enough margin and brain space to have health in my faith, family and community relationships, physical health, always learning as well as finances and giving.
To have peace about where you are and what you are doing. A deep-rooted sense of contentment that doesn’t fade with the next bump in the road.
That is the idea of success I am working toward everyday.
- Instagram: @jennystecklair
Photo Credit: Eden Day Photography