For those of you who don’t know Naomi, reading her blog is a real treat. She’s been called everything from genius to bitch (including a genius bitch and bitchy genius). In October 2007, Naomi launched IttyBiz and within the year, the company was bringing in a six-figure income. So, whatever people call her, she’s doing something right. In today’s interview, we see how Naomi went from the bathroom floor to where she is now, and where she wants to go next.
Who: Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz
Naomi is a buzz-cutted, homeschooling — slightly potty-mouthed –mama and who spends her days helping itty bitty businesses get a whole lot bigger using dirt cheap marketing and promotion techniques.
Name one moment in your life when you threw a pity party for yourself and the reasons why you felt you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Were you feeling stuck? Had you felt you failed? What wasn’t working in your life?
One moment? I have to pick one? I thought you said you read my blog! 🙂
About 4 years ago I was working in corporate communications for a Very Big Company and was hating every minute of it. I was doing nothing but watching Law and Order in my spare time and I was skipping more work than not. Zero intellectual stimulation except from my poor husband who by that point was sick of listening to me bitch. I got fat. I felt poor. (In Toronto, it’s a municipal law that everybody has to feel poor.) Basically, wrong job, wrong city, wrong life.
Even our worst behaviors fulfill a need in us or express our desires. When you threw that pity party, what did you hope to gain? What need did you fulfill?
I needed to hit rock bottom, I think. And not Lifetime movie rock bottom, complete with drugs and inappropriate relationships. Just my own personal holy-shit-is-this-all-there-is? rock bottom. Because I work a lot better when there’s only one direction to go, and when it’s that bad, the only way to go is forward.
Tell us what you did to break up the pity party. What actions did you decide to take? Did someone help you buoy your spirits? Push you along?
There were a lot of factors that went into getting me off my ass, but one stands out in my mind. I’m on the phone with my mother complaining and generally being woeful:
My mom: First, make yourself a cup of tea. Things are better with tea.
Me: I can’t make tea.
My mom: Why not?
Me: Because I’m in a ball on the bathroom floor.
My mom: Well then, the first step is to get off the floor.
And for some reason, “Get off the floor, Naomi” became a bit of a rallying cry for me, both literally and figuratively.
Can you look back on that moment and tell us how you felt when you did decide to take action? What results came about from your decision to take charge and move on?
Well, I felt good. Again, not Lifetime movie good. Just, you know, good. Hopeful. Because when you’re NOT on the floor, that’s one less step you have to take, you know?
As far as what results came from getting on with my life? Moved to London, had a baby, started a business, got my husband out of his lame-ass job and into the business, hired a few employees, got off antidepressants. That’s a few, anyway. 🙂
Everyone has a Someday problem hiding deep inside, even little ones. What variety of the Someday Syndrome do you currently harbor? What would you like to achieve but haven’t yet?
I wish this one was deep inside, but it’s pretty close to the surface, actually. I want to start using my powers for good. 🙂 Each of us has a set of skills that can help to change the world. Mine happens to be the power of persuasion. Up until now I’ve been using that power to sell stuff, which is great for getting yourself back up above the poverty line. But it doesn’t exactly feed the hungry or save the whales, does it?
I’m in the process of getting my business to the point where it is more self-sufficient so that I can spend more time supporting causes that actually matter. Environmentalism and climate change are obviously huge issues. And there are people who can help in small ways, like not consuming so goddamn much. But there are also people who can help in bigger ways, like organizing OTHER people to not consume so goddamn much. I want to be one of those people.
Examining your Someday Syndrome problem, what are you currently doing to resolve it and eliminate it from your life?
Right now I’m still in the examination stage. Along the lines of the rock-bottom we talked about earlier, I’m near the end of the phase of looking around and surveying the damage in the way I live my life.
We’re fairly low impact by North American standards — we’ve never owned a car, we don’t have an air conditioner, our family lives in a small basement apartment, we don’t commute. But right now I’m looking around me and I’m totally disgusted by our level of consumption. I think at the moment I’m just allowing that to sink in so I can move on from a position of knowledge and power.
Many people suffer the same problems you do. You’re not alone, and neither are they. What would you tell people in your situation right now to help them avoid what you’re going through?
Start putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. No matter what your cause is, start being aware of it. Start knowing exactly how bad the situation is. Read the books that make you want to close the cover. Watch the documentaries that tempt you to turn it off.
It’s very tempting to play the “every little bit counts” card, but that card was not invented to avoid action. It was invented to augment action. As in, “yes, I gave up my car and I’m ALSO drinking from a stainless steel water bottle and I’m not importing crap made in coal factories from China”. Not “look at me! I recycled my fourth water bottle of the day! Where do I sign up for my certificate of achievement?”
Find the courage to take big actions. And if you don’t have the courage, fake it. The courage will come.
If you could ask for one thing, right now, to help you overcome your Someday Syndrome, what type of help would you ask for?
An army of minions and reliable child care.