Friday, May 28, 2010

Working for me, not the boss

Two months ago I left my well paid, but extremely frustrating, full time job, to work for me and not the boss, this has been a huge change in my life and has kept me so busy that I've had no time for my personal blog. This post talks about how this huge change has affected me.

I was a NSW public servant, working in eBusiness, project managing the development of such things as websites, applications, and at the end, the move to social networking through Twitter, FaceBook, blogs, etc. I commuted from our Blue Mountain's cottage to the Sydney CBD, a three hour return journey for 9 years!

Last year, this commute, plus my growing unhappiness and lack of fulfillment in my work sent me searching for other career modes that would free me from both commute and 'working for the man'.  I wanted something away from technology, I love using it, but was so tired of trying to convince managers that social networking wasn't 'risky'! A friend had become a marriage celebrant a few years earlier and so I investigated the idea and loved it, it suited me to a 'T'. So last year I returned to study and qualified as a registered Civil Marriage Celebrant and started the journey to my new business of Offbeat Ceremonies.

Being a Celebrant is such a complex and important role, I strongly believe that birth, coming of age, death, menarche, menopause, marriage and commitment ceremonies are rites of passage that need to be thoughtfully and appropriately marked for us to fully transition into the next phase of our lives. Being a Celebrant means that I work with people so they can transition between one phase of their lives to the next. A Celebrant marks these important stages, we are a gatekeeper and shaman and ritual maker. Perfect for a woman who has reached her third age.

Instead of office politics, I get to be with people who want to reconnect to community, who take time to mark and celebrate each new season of life, its a role where I can celebrate important and significant parts of people's lives.

I'd never run a business, had no idea what to do, so I went in search of a business coach who would be my guide and 'shaman' into this next phase of my working life. I found @TerriCook of SuccessZone through Twitter and she has been helping me turn from a 'desk jockey' to a small business entrepreneur who runs Offbeat Ceremonies.

Through Terri I found my 'Purple Cow', Seth Godwin's groundbreaking idea of niche markets. Once I found it, I spent ages finding out the who, what, why and how of them, once this was locked down I could design my marketing strategy, graphics,website around my niche. This is what I've been working on rather than blogging!

All of this has been a revelation to me, I have learnt so many new skill sets and discovered strengths that I knew nothing about. I am loving my business coaching and I would highly recommend @TerriCook to anyone who wants to take the plunge and change their life around.

At Easter I left my job and took early retirement to further develop Offbeat Ceremonies. I was apprehensive and scared of this step, iis hard to move from the secure boundaries of a good fortnightly salary, not to mention holidays, long service leave and sick leave! After a holiday in Melbourne I came back and panicked, 'argh! what have I done' but @TerriCook worked me through it and while I'll be hit by these doubts again, being my own mistress and doing what I want to do is so empowering!

Since I've been working from home, my life is enriched with so many wonderful community ventures, I've started to learn belly dancing and ukulele, get more into my yoga practice, create more in my studio, currently an 1880's 'saloon girl' outfit with a lovely bustle!  I am volunteering at the BM Coop and have been offered a local job for two days a week with Summit Gear, which I am enjoying immensely and gives me a weekly income as I build up the business.

I also spend time on my business, networking, reaching out, marketing and I'm running a competition at the moment:

Join my FaceBook Offbeat Ceremonies fanpage by COB on 31 May and you could win a wedding, commitment or vow renewal ceremony valued at $650!

I am loving the freedom of my new life, I love my clients who are people in love with each other, with life and the world. I love that I have more time for the things that are important to me, my beloved partner, my friends and my business.

The most exciting thing of late is the creation of two videos about Offbeat Ceremonies by @jerelmani and @Lizzzzzzigal from Who Needs a Secretary, once again I met them both through Twitter. A wonderful and creative pair and to quote them

We can handle all of your media requirements inhouse – including professionally produced corporate videos. Our video production team includes specialists in television production and interview techniques. Our team is ideal for working with media shy talent, helping bring out the best in our interview subjects. Take at look at Lorna McKenzie’s latest video, for her Blue Mountains based business, Offbeat Ceremonies.

So, as invited by Who Needs a Secretary, here's the link to my YouTube videos, go and find out about my passion for Offbeat Ceremonies

Why Offbeat
Rites of Passage

May good fortune rule over you,
Peace live in your heart,
And the stars watch over you.


  1. Hey Lorna - thanks so much for the mention but really its you who is blossoming into who you are truly supposed be - I am honoured to be part and present during your wonderful journey

    To your FABULOUSITY lovely lady


  2. Congratulations! I admire your bravery in figuring out what you want to do with your life, and then going out and doing it. Looking forward to hearing more about your business as it grows--I love the idea of helping to create and celebrate personalized rituals for people to mark life's major transitions.

  3. Ah Lorna, you really are a gorgeous creature, and I'm looking forward to seeing you find your flock, knowing how well they will love to follow you! Well done...

    Cheers, Liz

  4. Good on you Lorna! Good luck with it all.

  5. You are incredibly brave. I am at that point now where I am wondering how much longer I can tolerate working an unsatisfying job. I'm afraid of taking the risk, frankly. I'm not sure what direction I could go in if i left my job, and we are struggling already as it is. I wish I could just simplify. I'm so tired of the two-hours a day in the car.

  6. Thx Hungarican Chick, what's your passion, looking at your blog links there's a lot of choices, my business coach says to 'follow your heart', start seeing what makes it sing and you may find the answer. I wish you well :)