Life Lessons, Work + Relationships

Finding Happiness After Divorce

An inspiring story of struggle to triumph from a divorcée who found her purpose in spite of feeling like she had lost it all. Here’s how Susie Schaefer discovered happiness after divorce and turned a sour situation into a thriving success story on the work-front and in life.


“Finding Happiness After Divorce”

By Susie Schaefer


The D-word…

It has an icky connotation with endings, grief, putting the past behind you and starting over. But what they don’t tell you is that when you go through a divorce, it often means that your career will suffer upheaval as well. Nonetheless, here’s how I found happiness after divorce in spite of it all.

May 2019 would mark my 20-year anniversary, had I stayed married and in an unfulfilling, controlling relationship. Instead, I chose to file for divorce in 2015, with no idea how my life would change. For a few months, I continued at my current position in medium-market radio, but soon realized that living in a small rural community near my ex-husband was only keeping me from moving forward with my life.

So, I moved to Denver and took a leap of faith under the tutelage of a dear friend who owned a publishing consulting company, as she was ready to expand the business and took me on as her “guinea pig.”

What I learned was way more than the ins and outs of the publishing world.

I learned how to network, teach workshops, hone my speaking skills, and build a business. But most importantly, I learned about myself, how I like to work, and whom I like to work with.

Plus, I realized the joy of serving others, and the satisfaction in helping people to create their legacy.

I learned structure, discipline, and how to monetize my talent, skills, and expertise. And most of all, I learned how to become successful, on my own, without a husband to support me.

One of the blessings of my career path to self-employment is that I can now do my job from anywhere in the world. When my mom was due for knee replacement surgery—working for myself allowed me to move back to California to take care of her; and tend to my client projects between doctor appointments, physical therapy and rehabilitation.

After my mom’s recovery, I realized that it was time to launch my own brand in a new market—giving me even more freedom to tailor my business to what I wanted and needed in my life. I was able to create a brand that works with my core values, create offerings, and restructure pricing. After some ups and downs, I was finally on my way to happiness after divorce.

While some might think it’s crazy-scary to go out on your own, the up-side is so worth it!

One of the biggest perks, once you get past the paralyzing fear of failure and challenging yourself to run your own business, is that you to have complete control over how much money you make, who you work with, and when you work versus when you take time off—and the ability to live the life that embodies your core values.

As I launched my business, I began taking note of all the things that worked—and those that didn’t. Here are a few tips that are note-worthy if you plan to do the same.

It’s all about networking

You never know who you’re going to meet. Funny story… when I was living in Denver and building my client base, there were some months that were “slim” and other that were “fat”. Meaning money and consistency. Building consistency takes time, but how do you pay the bills when you’re in building mode?

I chose Lyft.

It was the perfect part-time gig that was there when I needed it, but I didn’t have to commit to it on a regular basis—or work a regular schedule. It gave me the freedom to work my business, plus do my side hustle when I needed to. But here’s the thing; even when I didn’t need it, I found that I was missing the social interaction and conversations that happened in the car.

Being a solopreneur can be a lonely life. So, not only did I enjoy the social aspect of shuttling people around, it also became an amazing networking tool that earned me teaching workshops, invitations to speak, and opportunities that would have been missed.

Do the math

Yes, your business is a numbers game. We all like to think that we’re a creative genius, but when it comes down to it, how are you getting paid? Start with how much you need to pay your bills each month, put towards savings, and of course, cover business expenses. Then figure out what you’re offering, where you want to price those products and services, and how many of each you need to sell based on what’s manageable for you each month (on a consistent basis).

Once you do the math, you’ll see how the numbers work—or don’t—and where you need to make adjustments. It’s all about the numbers, and this allows you to take control of your business instead of your business controlling you.

Diversify, but not too much

When you’re thinking about launching a business, there’s always a gazillion ideas that come to mind. Products, services, memberships, workshops, etc., etc. Probably too many to count, right? Well, take it from me, it’s good to diversify, but hone it in so that you offer just a few things that give you multiple streams of income.

I read somewhere that you need seven streams of income to create financial freedom. My theory is that if you can create seven streams of income with just three to five products or services, it’s much more manageable. You need diversity, but within limits.

Get a coach

It’s probably one of the best uses of your money to build your empire. Find a coach who has levelled up their business, understands your industry, and is making the kind of money you aspire to earn.

As you launch and build your business, you’ll need to have people in your corner that will give you guidance, offer support, and talk you off the ledge if need be. Plus, coaches will help you with the numbers, what products and services you’re offering, and may even send you referrals.

A good coach can help you get where you want in a fraction of the time, without all the stress and worry.

Take it from me, the divorcée who dared to dream and found success in spite of feeling like I had lost it all. Even though my career was as good as dead, I did my grieving and started fresh in a new industry, leading me to create my own brand and become an expert in my field.

I now live the life I always imagined, with the freedom to spend time with family, travel, and enjoy life on my own terms. I found happiness after divorce, and then some.

And, if I can do it, you can too.


About the Author: Susie Schaefer is a project manager and publishing consultant based in California. She works with entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, and speakers to professionally self-publish their books. For more info, visit


Editor’s note: Was this article on finding happiness after divorce helpful? Now, check out “How To Be Happier In Your Job” if you’re looking for a career change.