Resourcefulness: Think outside the box

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s time to take on another completely blank slate!

Last year went by really fast. So much happened in 2016… my husband got his first traditional book deal for his upcoming narative non-fiction, Beyond ADHD (10 years in the making, so that’s no small feat!), my SEO Copywriting business grew by leaps and bounds, I made my return to the speaking world, launched The Leading Lady blog, and we even manifested our dream home & moved two hours west to our little piece of heaven overlooking Lake Huron.

It’s funny … the word ‘manifest’ used to trigger an uncontrolled eye roll from me. But now, it’s the only word I can find to properly describe the events that continue to unfold in my life. But things haven’t always been great.

Not so very long ago, I was broke — I mean seriously broke, didn’t have two pennies to rub together broke. I’d just ended a really bad relationship and was forced to move back into my parents’ townhouse (in the living room because they didn’t have a spare room for me). After a few months of recovery, I was able to find a new apartment and get back out on my own.

The problem, though, was that at the same time my relationship blew up, so did my career. No, not in a good way. I won’t go into the gory details, but let’s just say that I had all my eggs in one basket, and my ex obliterated that basket when I left him. For a while, I was living on my savings. As you can image, they quickly ran out.

Sooner than later, it all dried up and I had no idea where next month’s rent would come from. I had nothing of value left to sell. I had no money for groceries. I couldn’t even scrape together $5 to put gas in my empty car to go raid my mom’s freezer for food. All my bills were past due. Debt interest was piling up. I was in such a bad place, I was forced to take a house-cleaning job for less than minimum wage. It was a brutal time in my life.

Then I Remembered Resourcefulness

When things got really bad, I had to remind myself that it’s not about resources, it’s about resourcfulness. I had to think outside the box and get creative.

I lived in a college town and my apartment building was filled with freshman. Every year, well-to-do parents would load their kids’ apartments up with furniture, which they’d eventually throw away because they had no concept of the value of a dollar. Fortunately for me, that meant I could go down to the basement, collect the furniture, appliances, electronics, etc., drag it up to my apartment and sell it online. That’s how I paid my $850 rent.

What about my bills? I got resourceful again.

I’m a pretty good sketch artist, if I do say so myself. A talent I stumbled upon as an adolescent. So, I made some flyers and put them up all over town advertising Pet Portraits, the perfect customized gift for the holidays. And sure enough, people replied! They’d send me pictures of their pets, and I’d sketch them — for a modest fee, of course. That money helped me pay my bills.

Holiday season, as you can imagine, was a huge stress at that time. But guess what? I got resourceful again and called on my creativity. I made homemade cookies and crocheted hats and scarves as gifts. Super cheap.

I guess you could say I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I’ve also always been very resourceful. When something needs to get done, you find a way. You get creative.

And that’s what being resourceful is all about.