In 2016, I emailed my part-time PR firm I worked for to put in my two weeks’ to a month’s notice. It looked something like this:
I have enjoyed blah blah blah, but I have started a side business and business is picking up. I’d like to submit my blah blah blah.
Thanks so much,
Then, I received a relatively quick and slightly snark response (at least I thought).
Thanks for letting us know. If you’re doing so well, then today can be your last day.
aka FUCK you. At least, that’s how I remember it.
You would think this would be amazing, since I was doing SO well, but the reality was that “well” to me at that point in time was three clients and a couple of hundred bucks a month
So, what was an exciting moment quickly became a reality check. At the time, I needed about $1500 to live and pay my bills. Obviously, I had some work to do.
For the next three years, I preceded to build a 6 figure business. Practically doubling my revenue year after year. BUT I also really messed myself up financially.
I got into $10,000 of credit card debt.
I had NO savings or emergency fund.
My credit score dropped to below 500 at one point.
I increased my living expenses dramatically once I made more money.
This has made my life SO much more stressful over the past five years. I haven’t been able to invest in buying a house. I haven’t been able to get lending of any kind without a co-sign. Constant calls from collections. Worrying every month if I was going to be able to pay my subs. Paying my subs and then worrying about rent. Worry. Worry. Stress. Worry.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Honestly, I don’t want this to happen to you, here’s what I did wrong and what I would do differently.
Leaving Your Job Too Soon + Not Saving Enough Money
I was excited, and I jumped the gun. I had started dabbling in my business, but I was NOT mentally or fiscally prepared to go full time. What I should have done was stayed with my current job for an additional 6 months, grown my client base on the side, and saved at least an emergency fund.
I just now got a financial advisor and have started prepping for a more stable and solid financial future. One of the things he talks about is the importance of having an emergency fund, which my dad has been telling me for 10 years, as well as a million YouTube videos. I just didn’t have the patience then, and I barely do now. But trust me, it is SO worth it.
For an emergency fund, the professionals recommend 3–4x your living expenses. If I would have had that together AND waited a few extra months, the trajectory of my entire business and financial health would have been drastically changed for the better. It may seem difficult or the longer hours may be frustrating, but do your future self a favor.
I do feel like I have to mention TWO devil’s advocate responses to this in my past self’s defense.
Being Broke Made Me Truly Hustle
There’s something raw when you reach your lowest of lows monetarily and you are forced to deal directly with your fight-or-flight responses. It tests your mentality. Your morals. Your humility and pride. I’ve had to make calls I didn’t want to make to ask for money. I’ve had to cold call potential clients and take way less than I was worth. I’ve had to sell possessions to afford gas money to get to appointments. I’ve gotten home after grind mode days and laid on the couch to realize my power is out.
In the moment, these times aren’t fun. They actually quite suck. But when you make it out, there is such immense pride and self-love that it’s really hard for me not to be thankful for my recklessness.
Take that with a grain of salt.
I Learned Twice As Fast And Twice As Much Through Experience
One of the reasons I felt I was ready to leave my job (or why I wanted to leave) so badly is that I felt SO incredibly bored. I was doing social media management mostly at the time, and I felt like I was dying! I needed something exciting, challenging, and even stressful.
When I left the distraction of my job, I then had literally all day to do nothing but learn and grow my business. How exciting is that? I studied. I experimented. And ironically enough, I worked nonstop. I’m talking four cups of coffee a day, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. I didn’t have to worry about my part-time gig or delivering pizza. I just focused on building, and though it was a slow start, I began planting the seeds to what was a successful business.
So reading that, I could see how it could be confusing. Let me clear it up.
My main mistake here was not saving money because this led to the chain reaction of poor financial health for the coming years. I was working two jobs in 2016, but I didn’t make the smartest decisions with my money. I should have put $100 a week in an emergency fund AND the market for one year. No matter what it took. That’ll change the game for you my friend.
Know What You Are Chasing — Make Sure It is Truly your Passion
A lot of times it takes trial and error to figure out what exactly you want to do and what you want your business to be. I think it’s important to narrow this down as much as possible before you quit any and all jobs.
For the first year or two of my business, I was pretty much everything in the marketing space. I was designing websites, writing for people, doing social media and PR for businesses of any kind. It was a wild, wild time.
My website didn’t lead people anywhere. It really didn’t even make sense, and worst of all, it turned people away because they didn’t even know what I did. So pretty much the only jobs I would get were jobs that I directly reached out to people to have. I wasn’t getting a lot of traffic to come to me and word of mouth was slow to spread for that reason as well.
My business didn’t really take off until I niched down, taught my clients, AND became more authentic. I started (and still am) constantly shedding the services that I don’t enjoy or align with who I am.
My point is I wish I would have done more trial and error before I actually launched my business and took on clients. If I would have done more research, had an emergency fund, and had much more patience, I would have realized sooner what I am the best at and therefore provide the best service.
Why are you quitting? And how can you turn that why into reachable goals?
This is is really the first thing I wish I would have thought about a little more. Back in 2016, I would have said, “Because I’m bored with my work AND I want to make more money.”
Simple as that.
But in reality, it is not as simple as that. We need a better answer to this question to properly prepare us and our business for the future. At least, I did.
It was a mistake for me not to break this down. Why was I quitting? Yes, I’m bored and want to make more money. How much do I want to make? Why do I want to make this much?
I wanted to make music and create full-time. I’ve wanted that since I was 21. Did it really matter how much I make? Or did it only matter that I was surviving, growing, and creating without distraction?
But all I focused on when I quit my job was not being bored and making more money. Do you see where I am going?
Chasing your passion isn’t about just making more money. It’s about learning the ins and outs, providing value, and growing every day. It all pays off and money will come. If you just focused on making money, you could stay at your corporate job or pursue a business you actually don’t really care about just because it funds your life. I think this is how people watch their life drift by and one day wake up to the fact that they just aren’t happy.
Don’t be afraid to keep your head down while you find the answers to these questions. As a youngin, I couldn’t do this a second longer (in my head), so I jumped the gun and learned all of this on the go after many, many mistakes along the way. No matter where you’re at in your journey, it’s okay to take a step back and reevaluate your why.
It helps me every time I do it.
Okay, I think you can quit your job now. Good luck.