4 years ago, I left a cushiony job that I was so fearful to leave for the longest time. The dangling carrot of a 6 figure job and security of a paycheck wasn’t an easy decision for me to step away from.
And I bet you feel that way too, if you’ve climbed the corporate ladder, paid your dues, and are saying, “Am I a fool to leave?”, you’ll want to watch my video below.
Well firstly, who am I to tell you what to do? You will have to make that decision on your own, as long as you really understand that decision, and it’s really what you want to do. Hopefully what I have experienced so far for myself will help you validate your choice in whether to quit that secure job, and take the leap.
Everyone’s motivation and reason to quit may be different. So, I’ll share with you my experience with leaving my 6 figure job to pursue entrepreneurship, and my biggest lessons I’ve learned so far.
I didn’t have to make the same amount as my salary to be able to have a happier life
The waiting game of not quitting until I made the same amount as my salary was just a story I told myself. Knowing what I know today, I could’ve totally quit a lot sooner than I thought I could. I made a mistaken assumption that I HAD to make the same amount as I did in my corporate salary in my business FIRST, to be to quit.
How wrong I was.
I needed to confirm my “break-even point” and really knew what I needed to prepare for my exit plan before making that assumption. What non negotiable bills did I really have? What could I consolidate? How can I not spend so much on unnecessary things? What was the REAL number that I had to face if quitting my job to pursue a better lifestyle or career was of the utmost importance to me?
I had to question why I was so attached to my 6 figure salary. Why did I work so hard to get to that number, and what was I hoping to use that money for anyway? And you know what? It was to buy myself things like holidays, adventures, time and space to relax, travel.
And you know what else? All those things didn’t need 6 figures. That was just a number I made up in my head. I could afford to do all those things with much less than I anticipated.
Once I figured out my break-even point, another big lightbulb hit me. I went on the internet and started seeing others like me, and even with families, living abroad. Hmm…perhaps I didn’t have to stay in Canada at all!
I started looking at alternative ways to live, and stumbled upon the world of digital nomads and people who travelled while working from their laptops. Mind blown. Now I was able to quit faster than I thought.
I am so much more creative when my career revolved around service and purpose
Screw The Cubicle was not my first business. My first business was a transition business, where I stayed in the same industry of international education and travel, and built an agency that sold programs to students, travellers, and teachers. I will always be grateful for it for making me the income to allow me to quit, but within 6 months in, I felt completely dissatisfied my career yet again.
Geez,, I thought. How could I be miserable AGAIN if I’m out of the cubicle? Isn’t this what I wanted?!
I felt a big disconnection to a bigger meaning with my work and didn’t feel as fulfilled as I imagined a purposeful career to be.
I took a step back. I took a pause and re-examined what I would really want to do or create if I couldn’t fail or if it had nothing to do with the money. I reflected upon what around me was already bringing me some fulfillment, and what felt at ease for me to do.
I had to start from the drawing board again, look at my skills, admit to throw ones out that I hated to do again (even if someone paid me), and committed to honouring the parts of me that felt the most authentic and natural. What voice would I have? What message would I want to share? How would I want to help solve problems?
When I did the work to understand what business I was really designed to do, and was able to express and help the way I am built to, purpose came in.
Because now my work feels bigger than just a J-O-B and had a bigger WHY, I find myself having more creative ideas, more flow with my conversations about the problem I solve, and my lifestyle integrates with the message I’m trying to convey in my business
Most importantly, I have CHOICE.
The boundaries I kept myself in because of fear wasn’t as bad as I made it up to be
I was fearful of the loneliness I would experience in the entrepreneurship journey. To be honest, I missed the watercooler talk. I was a social person, and though I worked efficiently on my own, I had to have moments of collaboration, conversation, and community.
What I did find out was that there were others out there like me, a lot in the same stage as I was (startup), even if they weren’t physically in my city. There were ways to meet people in the same path online (groups, forums, social media) and join coworking spaces around the world to meet real life people on the same journey.
I was also extremely fearful of not making money, and that I would be homeless (no, honestly, this crossed my mind more than a few times). And you know what? I was in the hole (in the minus zone in my chequing account from -$1,000 – $3,000) about 3 times. I vowed this would never happen again and I would go get a job if this happened.
But I didn’t. Why?
Because each time this happened, I managed to survive. Yes, I did go into a small state of panic each time it happened, but something changes each time it happened. I got more courageous, little by little. I knew in the worst case scenario, I could still figure shit out instead of just folding and going back to the 9-5. You LEARN to get creative when you have to. And then you realize how many possibilities are around you to make money when you have to.
I was afraid of all the things I had to learn. I was fearful about not being able to be smart enough to learn how to run an online business and market myself in a world where a blog post was about all I could do with technology.
What I did learn was to ask for support and shadow others I admired who became a shining example for how I wanted to operate in my business. I took courses on pieces of business that mattered the most at where I was. I sponged up what worked for others and tried to discern the ones that wouldn’t feel right for me, and took on ideas that would.
I still stumbled, sometimes I landed on my face.
But each time, I learned something different. Something that allowed me to realize things I wouldn’t have realized unless I stumbled.
Entrepreneurship is like a spiritual journey
You find out so much about what you’re capable of, and transform so much as a person, because you have to. I have even related it to it being like 10 years in therapy for 1 year of entrepreneurship.
It’s because you’re given a platform to show up, step up, and challenge yourself in ways you wouldn’t be able to do in a 9-5 job.
Usually, when you are in a job, you go to work at the same time, you eat pretty much the same thing most days, see the same types of people, and work in the confinements of your job role.
This is not the case when you run your own business. You are challenged to put on multiple hats, learn, UN-learn, and most importantly, be given the opportunity to make certain changes in how you are being, to get what you want in your life.
You are given the freedom to choose. To choose how you spend your time, the work you want to do, and the people you choose to work with.
And this, dear ones, will be impossible to put a dollar figure on.
P.S. If you find today’s episode helpful, please forward it to a friend, colleague, or anyone you think that could benefit. And of course, comment below to speak directly to me and I would love to support you 🙂