February marks three years since I published my first book, Beer and Junk, Adventures in Parenting. It immediately became a number one new release on Amazon and I was beside myself with excitement. During the same time, I launched my first business coaching class and secured my first paid speaking gig.
This February also marks three years and one month since COVID shut all of that down. For the longest time, I couldn't look at my book without a sense of sadness, longing, missed opportunity, wasted potential.
Just last week I pulled a copy out of my closet, flipped through the pages, and unexpectedly found myself smiling. The book chronicles our early life as parents and was just as funny, raw, and heartfelt as I remembered. As I placed it out in the open, on my new bookcase, I realized how far I had come, how much I learned in the past three years, in that space between crushing disappointment and calm acceptance. The biggest lessons?
Take pride in your accomplishments, no matter the outcome.
The book tour, signing parties, and music video (for real) never happened. But I was still looking at my own name on a book! I am a freaking author! 4th grade me, the awkward shy little girl always lost in a book or lost in daydreams writing her own stories, is for sure crapping her pants with excitement somewhere in a parallel universe. We did it!
Your big dreams never leave you.
I’ve wanted to be an author since I was nine years old, I’ve wanted to be a motivational speaker since my first high school speech competition, I’ve wanted to be a business coach since I first realized just how much fun it is to start and grow a business. All of those dreams have slowly come together over the years, with more starts and stops that I would choose, but they were never as far away as I allowed myself to believe.
Give yourself time to heal.
Closing down my first business, saying goodbye to my amazing team members, and having my entire professional life upended by a worldwide pandemic took its toll. And then for funsies, our best friend was diagnosed with, and ultimately lost a battle to breast cancer during that same time. I’ve needed every minute of the past three years to heal, to come to a place where I could share myself with the world again.
And most importantly, it’s never too late.
I haven’t fully given up my dreams of the book tour, the signing parties, or that music video. But as I release my business coaching, consulting, and speaking services into the world, I am learning to work a little slower. To trust the divine timing of my life and dreams. To celebrate the big AND little wins. To fully appreciate the joy and privilege and freedom of creating life on my own terms, and the sheer excitement of teaching others how to do the same.
So stick around, I’m excited to share more about what I’ve learned from both the accomplishments and perceived failures of the past 15 years in entrepreneurship.
And who knows, if you’re lucky you may even hear Beer and Junk’s theme song, sung by me. Loudly. And off key. You’re welcome in advance.
Kelly Bay is a speaker, author, small business coach and serial entrepreneur. She resides in rural Iowa with her husband and three kids. In her spare time, Bay enjoys not cleaning her house and showing unwilling participants photos of her two dogs.
You can find her first book here: