How Black Friday Changed My Life's Course
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 47
THE DOORS TO SCALE YOUR SIDE HUSTLE ARE OPEN! Enroll here.
This week, three years ago, the course of my life changed in the matter of an instant. So, in honor of thanksgiving week, I am sharing the story of how Black Friday changed the course of my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but when I see my life in hindsight, there is my life before Black Friday 2017 and my life after. Tune in to this episode if you are ready to feel inspired and energized as you land into 2022!
Tune in to hear:
- How one decision that I made on Black Friday three years ago changed everything
- My biggest tips on how to enter the new year in momentum
- Why my signature program Scale Your Side Hustle will facilitate momentum and decision making in the new year
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Leah Gervais: Hello, everyone happy Thanksgiving week at the time of this release, it will be Thanksgiving week, which is so exciting. I hope that you are ready for an exciting cozy holiday season with family. Hopefully you’re able to safely do that after. Oh gosh. Well, we all know was not the easiest holiday season. Last year at the time of this recording’s release, I also will be, this will be my last week of work before I take maternity leave. The plan is to start my maternity leave at like Thanksgiving and just not go back to work after Thanksgiving until until February. Um, so, uh, assuming all goes, according to plan, I will be a week or two away from giving birth. And in my last few days of work wild, I mean, who knows maybe this could, Aaron, our little guy will have chosen to make his debut early.
Maybe he’ll end up being a little bit later, but as of now, this will come and it will be my last week of work. So I am wishing you a very happy holiday season and a very warm and to what was hopefully an incredible year, hopefully a year full of change and transformation and growth and, um, potential and dreams come to fruition. And 2022 is going to be even better. I really believe that ever since I really went all in, in my business ever since I like decided that my life was going to be epic every year has just gotten better. And I remember the first, like two years being worried that life like wouldn’t get better after that because things were so exciting. You know, like I was quitting my job and I was signing my first few clients and I was seeing money, like I never had seen before.
And I was starting to travel and be able to work at the same time. And I had my first five figure month and I was starting to see momentum and I had freedom because I no longer work for a corporation and I got married and had a beautiful wedding and, you know, fell so in love with my husband and life was just so exciting. And I remember being like, I had had moments where I just thought, oh, you know, am I overdoing it during these few years? Because is life really going to be able to get better and better? And I can honestly, and very gratefully and with a lot of gratitude and humility say that it really can, and it really has. And I feel so blessed to be able to say that. And I believe that that is available to all of us with a decision made for that to be a reality.
I can honestly say up to this point 2021 was, uh, the new best year of my life. It was the year that I got pregnant. It was the year that I became that I will become a mother. It was the year that I became a million dollar business owner, a seven figure entrepreneur. Our business crossed that mark. Um, it was the year that we moved back to New York after having been in Miami for a year. It was the year that we were able to get vaccinated from COVID after a terrible pandemic that we all went through together. Um, it was there. I stopped drinking so many incredible things happen that really just made me continually feel closer to myself and my purpose in life. And I feel just I could cry sharing all of this right now. And I hope that you have that same experience too.
When you look back at the year of everything that has happened, and hopefully you feel like there was so much intention behind the decisions you made this year and the person you were this year. And hopefully that is exactly what 2022 will bring, but at even a new level, I know that that is the intention for me. Obviously life will still continue to throw us curve balls, but a curve ball doesn’t have to define a year a curve ball. Certainly doesn’t have to define a life. So right now I wanted to share a black Friday themed story with you all. That really is one of the most defining moments of my life. And I know that that sounds dramatic, but it really is. So I think we all have the commonality that we have different moments or instances or happenings in our life where there’s kind of a clear before versus after, right, where before your life, before X happened, your life was one way and after life was a different way.
And it’s really incredible how things can change overnight or things can change in a millisecond, um, because of that kind of dynamic. And, and it’s, it’s rare. I think more often than not the situations in our life, the habits that we have, the people in our life, relationships, money, et cetera. Usually those things are a result of years and years of cumulation and habits and hard work or whatever the case may be. But every once in a while, there’s things that exist around us relationships, our personalities, uh, money, you know, same kind of thing that wasn’t the result of years and years of, of work or of cumulation or of, of just growth, but rather an instant in which everything changed. And this was the case for me for let us count this, uh, three years ago, three years ago, this holiday season, this Thanksgiving.
So I wanted to share that story with you in case you’re starting to feel like maybe you want to create your own before versus after moment. Not all before versus after moments are pleasant. I would say that a very clear one for me is my dad’s passing in my life before he passed in my life after very two different, very, very different lives. Um, pregnancy, I would say, I feel similar about my life before I got pregnant. And then ever since I got pregnant and now we’ll have a baby, I’m sure it will be very different.
But yeah, overall, my, my, the point I’m trying to make is that we can create more of those moments than we think. You know, I didn’t know my dad was going to pass away. I also didn’t choose the exact moment that I got pregnant, but there are certain decisions that you can make where we might think it could take years of time or years of proof or years of preparation for that day before and after moment to exist.
And you can decide it right now, the moment can happen right now, for example, my decision to, uh, choose sobriety and become a non-drinker that was instantaneous. Really. It was it wasn’t the result of years and years of problematic drinking. Um, you know, not knowing what I wanted to do about alcohol, having issues with addiction, having issues with alcohol itself. It really, it really wasn’t, it wasn’t that long time coming. It was sort of just the realization that this is not serving me and I lost the desire and it was just gone. Um, I never really worried about it again, granted, I did get pregnant a few months later, so I didn’t have the choice to think about it again, but really after I stopped it, wasn’t like I slowed down or, you know, cut back and then stopped or dabbled with it a little while I just stopped.
So my story here today for you is to invite you and empower you to, to potentially toy with making one of those before versus after decisions before the end of the year, this is the time of year to make these decisions, because this is how you get to go into the next year, knowing that it’s already going to be unlike any other, it’s already going to be a breakthrough. It’s already going to be a transformative year. It’s already going to have X, Y, and Z involved because you’ve already made the decision. And that’s what happened to me three years ago. And that is why we are having this conversation right now. It truly would not be, if it wouldn’t have been for this decision three years ago, I would not have the career. I have the income. I have the team I have the business I have.
I would not be on this podcast with you right now, sharing this and being able to teach it now, had it not been for this decision. And before we dive in, one more thing that I want to just remind you is that the doors to scale your side hustle are currently open. And when you enroll, now you start the first week of January. So you can enroll before the doors close Friday, we are closing the doors on Friday, um, for the rest of the year, then you are off for the holidays. You get December off, there’s no program. Um, you know, enjoy the holidays with your family. Enjoy the holidays with friends, have the peace of mind knowing that come January 3rd, you’re ready to hit the ground running. You already are enrolled in this program. You already have a curriculum set up for the first four months of the year.
That’s going to change your business and going to change your life. That is what you can really expect. I love this cohort because it’s exactly what I did a few years ago. The story I’m about to tell where I made my first big business investment on Thanksgiving, um, over black Friday, three years ago. And it didn’t, it actually didn’t even start until March. So it was a really delayed thing. Um, I would not want it that delayed again, but the point is it was really freeing going into the holiday season, being like, okay, you know what, this year did not quite have what I wanted it to have. It didn’t really, it wasn’t really what I wanted it to be.
I didn’t really see the change or growth that I wanted, but I know that I already know that this time, next year, things will be completely different because I already have set myself up to start the year out different. And it was, um, so anyway, let me go ahead and tell the story. The story was actually, now that I think about it four years ago, it was in, uh, Thanksgiving of 2017. I’m sorry if I sound like I’m out of breath. I am. If you’re listening to this and you have been pregnant before, I’m sure you can relate to the fact that this late in pregnancy, your baby is just like chilling on your lungs and your throat. Like it’s no big. So I constantly am feeling like I am panting even though I’m not working out at all.
So don’t mind my out of breath moments. It was Thanksgiving of 2017 and it was 2017 was the year before. Like it was the year in which I got fed up. It was the year in which I basically spent the whole year waiting for things to change, waiting for my life, to get better waiting for my side hustle, to take off, waiting for clarity about how I could quit my nine to five job waiting to have more money so that I would be able to live in New York in a more free, exciting, accessible way, waiting for direction in terms of where I would go with this side hustle, waiting for clarity about who, what I could even do with it, how I could even make money. Where was the money going to come from in order to invest in it? I mean, my life up to that point for the past three years had relatively just been the same.
It wasn’t a bad life. You know, it wasn’t like I was miserable. I had a great boyfriend now married to him. I lived in New York, which I loved. I had a good job at a nonprofit and in so many ways my dreams had already come true. You know, that’s what I had wanted when I was, when I was young, I wanted to live in New York. I wanted to have this job that was really involved in New York society, which my job was. I wanted obviously to have a good relationship and to feel really fulfilled and loved and to live in Manhattan. And those things had come true. And for about three years, I had suppressed the honest desire for more, because I felt guilty doing that. I felt like it made me ungrateful. I felt like it made me not appreciative of what I had achieved.
Speaker 2: (11:15)
I felt like it made me selfish. I just couldn’t really justify wanting so much more when I felt like I had already had so much, but near the end of 2017, I started to get this itch. And I just remember being at Rockefeller center here in New York and, um, looking out at the tree and, um, I, I was, you know, I don’t really know why I got so emotional, but I just remember feeling like, huh, this, this isn’t it. Like, this is not the holiday season in New York that I really dreamed of when I was younger. This is not how I feel like I should be passing the years. I feel like the end of the year, I should be able to look back and be like, wow, I feel so fulfilled by having done X, Y, and Z. It doesn’t mean that every year needs to be dramatic or, you know, insane or whatever, but it should be fulfilling.
It should be epic. It should have that thirst, quenched and mine just didn’t. And I even remember crying and calling my mom and, you know, I couldn’t even tell her what was wrong because nothing was really wrong. I think it was just this manifestation of suppressed emotions, knowing that there was something more out there for me, something better, something bigger, but I didn’t know what it was. And I wasn’t giving myself permission to explore it.
So for clarity, at that point, I had had my now million dollar business for about a year and a half or maybe two years. And it was just a blog at the time. So entrepreneurship was something that had been planting and planted in my head. It was something that I had been toying with. And my side hustle was something that I had been trying to pursue around my nine to five job for years at this point.
Um, I had been trying, but I didn’t necessarily have the vision to see it become a full-time job, a six-figure business level on a seven figure business. And I certainly didn’t have the clarity to know what I could even sell from it to make it something that would allow me to quit my nine to five job. I didn’t have the vision. I didn’t have the clarity.
I didn’t have the structure. It was just so vague. And I liked the idea of entrepreneurship because I liked the idea of freedom, but I suffered so much with my own self-confidence that I didn’t even know what I would sell because I couldn’t think of a great invention. That’s what I thought you had to do to be an entrepreneur. And I really just didn’t know what people would pay me for let alone what I, how I would market it if I could, but I didn’t even know what it would be.
So I kind of had that whisper and I had seen what people online were doing. I wasn’t really clear on coaching at the time and definitely didn’t know that it’s what I would do. But I had picked up on this sort of movement of people working remotely, being able to work from home, being able to work while traveling in a variety of different ways. For some people, it seemed like it was freelancing for some people. It seemed like it was through blogging and affiliate marketing from others. It seemed like YouTube or just Instagram influencing was enough. And then I did see people doing coaching, um, you know, people that were like teaching on their blogs. I kind of saw all of it a little bit and was very interested in it. But like I said, I so lacked the vision for my own website and my own business.
And I still lacked the confidence to think that I could even sell any one of those things honestly, or that anyone would even want to follow me on social media to, to even see myself in any one of these business models or strategies, but something I had done within the few months before was I had paid for a blogging coach who I still follow from time to time if she ever listened to this huge shout out and thank you to her because she definitely kept me in the game who just helped me see small ways that I could monetize what I had already created. So I had been blogging pretty religiously up to that point. She helped me see where I could get more traffic to my blog. She helped me see where I could monetize things a little bit more. Um, we’re not talking, you know, tens of thousands of dollars maybe.
Yeah. I think a few thousand is where she was kind of helping to get me at, um, which was huge for me, that was, you know, more than I was making at my nine to five jobs. So I was excited about that. So that’s kind of where I was by this time and Thanksgiving, my side hustle was there, but it was so lacking in vision and clarity and structure. I was on a little bit of a boost of momentum from this blogging coach where I had seen things grow. I think I had had one, $1,000 a month, um, up to that point and I had started seeing my audience grow. So I’m just pointing that out because I think that it was that little bit of momentum that re really helped me make a bigger decision come Thanksgiving. So let’s get to the actual moment four years ago when everything changed.
So at this point I had been feeling the holiday blues. I had been feeling that lack of fulfillment. I had been feeling a lack of clarity. I had been feeling this nagging feeling of waiting of wondering of just feeling like another year had gone by with a lack of fulfillment, but not knowing what to do with that. I just was basically lost, you know, and looking for that sense of clarity and my then boyfriend and I went to Spain.
So this was a two-part trip and it was one of the most, it will forever be one of the most influential parts of my life for a few reasons. One, the first half of the trip was to the Canary islands in Spain, uh, which are further south than Spain, but they are technically part of the country of Spain. And we went to the Canary islands because my dad did a transatlantic sailboat race from the Canary islands to St.
Lucia, which is the same route that Christopher Columbus sailed when he came to America all those years ago. And growing up, I had studied abroad a few times and I had just gone abroad by myself a few times and my dad would always come visit me. He just was always there for me. And so I decided I was going to spend my own money and I saved up all my money that I could, and I decided I was going to go to the Canary islands and I was going to say, see him off on his trip to St. Lucia. So I was going to see him off on his sailing trip and cheer him on and kind of see the big race start. And when I got there, I realized that, you know, no one else was really doing this. The other people he was on the boat with, they were like, yeah, our families like are not here to see us off.
So it was kind of a unique thing that I did. And I really believe that there is divine intervention involved in that, because that was one of the last times I ever saw him because he passed away a few months later unexpectedly, he, he didn’t pass away on his sailing trip, but, um, who I could get choked up, just thinking about that. The point is that was one really special part of the trip. And that really put me in a great head space because it was so cool seeing him off and just in the Headspace of what he was doing, you know, he, he didn’t know how to sail that. Well, we were from Colorado, like we’re from a landlocked state. He really did not grow up. Sailing didn’t have that much experience in it, but he just decided he wanted to do it.
He kind of attracted the opportunity to him, how he found that opportunity is an entirely different story for another day. Maybe I will tell it another time, but it is true law of attraction, 1 0 1, he manifested the out of that and just his joy, you know, to capture life and take it by the, whatever you want to call it horns and really make the most of it was really inspiring to me at that time. You know, he had a business, he had a family, he had, uh, he has had employees and still, he managed to make it work where he left for three, four weeks at a time to go sail across the Atlantic ocean. So I was really inspired by him and I was in this just sentimental state of feeling like even though I had had the holiday blues, I was inspired by my dad.
And, and I really feel like I kind of inherited his, um, just natural, uh, tendency to seize the day, if I do say so myself, I’m not trying to sound too much of a bragger, but, um, I really was seeing that in him and I was feeling that. And so after he left Adam and I went to Barcelona, so we flew from the Canary islands to Barcelona and I was really feeling so inspired and it felt so good to feel that way after I had had just a year of, of just kind of boringness to be totally honest, if there’s any better way to put it. And so we’re in Barcelona and we’re there for Thanksgiving as well as black Friday. And we had the most magical time in Barcelona. It hopefully you’ve been there and you love the city. I mean, it really just took our breath away, was such a magical time to be there, beautiful fall weather, a beautiful city, really such a romantic place and such an inspiring place.
And during that time, I decided to leverage my newly found blogging skills from the blogging coach that I had hired and run a sale to my email list. And it was going to be a black Friday sale. So I did that and I kind of did everything. She taught me and in Barcelona, unless I was at a restaurant or at our Airbnb, I didn’t have wifi. I’m not one of those people that gets data everywhere. And every country I go to, I kind of like to check out.
So I didn’t have wifi all that much, but I was running the sale in the background. And I remember I made one and only one sale from it. So I want to be really clear here. I made one $97 sale and that was it from this black Friday sale. And I was so excited over this one sale because for the first time in my life, I felt like I had actually experienced this almost untouchable connection between working from anywhere and making money while you travel and being able to passively make money while you’re exploring something.
It completely changed my mindset from what I had always known, which was that of working for your vacation, which is how a lot of people in this country think about work. You go to work and it’s kind of like your ATM, you go, you put in the time, it gives you a paycheck with that paycheck. Then you do what you actually want with your life in your spare time, but work isn’t really what you want to do with your life. You’re certainly not traveling while working it like the two are very separate. And so this was my first experience of having the ability to do what I want with my life while making money while working technically. So I was completely hooked. And I remember I had that experience and I was feeling the high from the Canary islands. And I was feeling this motivation to do something different after my holiday blues.
And I was feeling the motivation to, to actually integrate this in my life. And I was so inspired by Barcelona. So I made this declaration to the roofs of Barcelona that I was going to fly home back to New York. I was going to make the following year in 2018, the year that I went all in on my dang side hustle. Even if I didn’t have clarity, even if I didn’t have structure, even if I didn’t know what the vision was, even if I didn’t have confidence, I was sick of the excuses and I was going to see what I really had in me and it, I was going to be able to quit my job so that I could travel full-time if I wanted and I could still make money while doing it. I was going to figure it out. So I made this grand promise to Barcelona because of a one $97 sale.
That’s what happened. And so at that point, I just kind of assume that the universe like heard me and that it’s going to be there for me. And that it always, you know, ask and you shall receive, as it says in the Bible. And I believe, and so surely I was going to have a lot more black Friday sales after that, that didn’t happen. What I really learned is that it wasn’t enough to just declare that I was going to do things differently or declare that I was going to have success or declare that I was going to quit my nine to five job. I had to actually do it.
I had to start doing things differently. So I flew home back to New York and I was still motivated and committed and dedicated to the promise I had made. And I was really honestly wondering how I was going to make it for another year in my nine to five job when I knew so clearly that I wasn’t meant to do that after all. And that I had been kind of selling myself short all these years, but simultaneously feeling like I had no idea what to actually do differently, and that I really didn’t know what to do instead. And I really didn’t know what
Was going to actually change here or how to do this. So I got home to New York and I remember that Monday having to go back to work and I was starting to feel defeated and deflated. And I was on my yoga mat in the morning, in the living room before my job and just feeling like, how am I really going to do this? I still don’t know anything more than I did before the trip. I just feel more motivated now. And I feel like I want to do things a little bit differently now and being more honest with myself, but I don’t have any more money. I don’t have any more clarity. I don’t have any more clients. I don’t even know what I would sell to them. If I did things just weren’t adding up. So I opened my phone and I opened my inbox.
And in the flood of black Friday emails, I saw one for a year long entrepreneurship program. It’s no longer in existence, but it was at the time. And it was on sale from a black Friday sale. I think it was originally six or $7,000. And it was 5,000. Now, remember I had made $97 and thought that that was a big deal.
As happy as I was to be living in New York, I was barely getting by with the money that I did have. I had the student loan payments and I’m not trying to create some sob story about myself, but the point is I did not have $5,000 anywhere. I didn’t have it in savings. I didn’t have it on, you know, my, in my checking account, I didn’t have a bonus of $5,000 coming. I did not have that $5,000. And it was situations like this that had kind of prevented me from learning more about those internet type possibilities that I had been seeing because I couldn’t afford to do it. I couldn’t afford to pay people to teach me it couldn’t afford to invest in my business. I just didn’t have the money to do it.
Right as I was about to close out my phone and surrender to another day at corporate America, wondering when my life was going to change or get good, I decided I needed to start doing things differently. So I pulled out my credit card and for the first time ever in my life, I put so much on a credit card that I knew I wouldn’t be able to pay back right away. I knew that I was going to do something that Dave Ramsey and my dad and all the people I had learned personal finance from would disagree with and would probably shame me for. And I remembered the promise I made and I did it anyway.
And I remembered the promise. I had made that by the end of the following year, by the end of 2018, I would be self-employed. And I gave my resignation in September. So I gave it four months ahead of schedule. And look, there was a lot that went into that. That was only the beginning of my story. There were a lot of ups and downs. Um, and there’s, I’m not trying to oversimplify that. I just made that payment and everything changed, but that will forever be, that’s a very special cherish time in my life because it will forever be a before and after, before I didn’t believe in myself before. I always had to have a how before I took action before I always wanted to do the responsible thing. And now my life is different because I realized that I do believe in myself. I don’t have to have all the answers in order to start moving forward.
Money is there for me to use it, not be afraid of, and I can always make it back. And I have time and time again, if I didn’t spend that $5,000, I mean, now we have a seven figure business. I don’t even like thinking about what my life would look like if I would have been still too afraid to sell, oh, to spend that $5,000. So that trip to Barcelona, that motivation from my dad, I don’t know, maybe somewhere in the cosmos, uh, God knew that his time was coming to an end because I think that that was one of his last, really big gifts to me before he left was just the reminder that life is short. And even before he passed, he was reminding me of that. By going on this sailing trip, life is here to be lived to be seized, not to have it go by year after year, feeling unfulfilled and uncreative and stagnant just for the sake of being responsible.
That is so not what we’re here to do. And I don’t think I’ll ever function that way again, thanks to that year. Thanks to that decision. Thanks to that before verse after moment. So if you’re feeling maybe some holiday blues, or even if you’re not, if you’re just feeling like you want next year to be super effing, eff epic, that I hope that this story inspires you to create your own before versus after moment. It really can be that simple.
I’ve created a new one for myself recently, which was before I used to care what people thought about me in my life. And now I absolutely do not. And it wasn’t even something that I wanted to do. The personal development work on. It was just something that I realized was dragging me down. As my business grew, as my visibility got bigger, I started getting more unsolicited of advice and opinions about, um, my life and my business and, and the things I choose to share as if social media is all of who I am not like I’m a person, um, or separate from it.
And so I was just stopped caring. And that was, you know, it’s just a decision. It’s just a decision. So I hope that this story inspires you to make your own decision. And if your decision is to make next year, the year that your business starts and scales, then I hope to see you in scalar side hustle. But no matter what it is, know that life is here for you to live it. You’re not here to be stagnant. You’re not here to be responsible and opportunities really do come to those who show the bravery to pursue them. All right, visionaries, happy, happy Thanksgiving. I will talk to you all soon. Uh, potentially the next time you hear from me, I will have a baby and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season here is to your biggest vision.
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