It’s been almost 3 years since I quit my six figure corporate job for my unpredictable life as an entrepreneur and I’m not going to lie; this is the most scariest yet liberating thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Sure there are still days, when I say to myself “What the hell did I get myself into?” but I wouldn’t trade this emotional roller-coaster ride for anything in the world.
Between calling all the shots on what I will and won’t do, helping other entrepreneurs turn their vision into reality and having the freedom to work anywhere in the world, fleeing the cubicle farm feels like I jumped off of a clip without a parachute and landed safely on my own terms.
So how did I get stuck in a career that I hated? Well for many years, I was following someone else’s path to success. Seriously, I just wanted to make my parents happy. So I went along with the traditional career path.
After I graduated college, I had dreams of working at a well known communications firm with all the perks—fancy title, first class business trips around the world, luxury car, designer bags, six-figure salary, and of course, a house and husband. I got everything I wanted but the Chanel bag and husband–but hey that’s another post. I spent about 10 years waiting for one of those ‘things’ to make me happy and validate my worth. But real talk, I cringed every morning before I walked into my office and cried when my head hit the pillow at night. Each year, I thought to myself, “maybe it’s the company culture, the project or the client.” It took about 2 years before I got the courage to say “Screw You I Quit”—okay it wasn’t that harsh because I actually gave my former employer 3 weeks notice, but the point is I was miserable. So when I finally got tired of my own BS, I took a huge leap of faith.
You’re probably thinking, “In this economy, who in the heck would give up a good paying job with travel and benefits? And then you’ll probably say: “Many people would give their arm and a leg to land a job making that type of money.” It’s a feeling I really can’t describe. I was tired of hiding behind degrees, titles and money. I knew I had a greater purpose in life and trying to fit someone else’s definition of success left me mentally drained. Looking back, I can’t believe I wasted so much time unhappy about my life.
So, here are five reasons why quitting my job was the best move for my career.
- I found passion and purpose – Several years ago I felt my life had no purpose. I had little to no time, to be of service to anything that wasn’t a company-sponsored event. So after I quit my job, one of the first things I did was volunteer for organizations dedicated to empowering young girls and women such as the United Nations–He For She Campaign, Global Connections For Women and Girls Going Global. Not only did I help others turn their ideas into reality, I expanded my network and increased my self-confidence. And I found my true calling for helping people turn their expertise into a marketable brand.
- I took ownership of my career and developed a kickass network – One of the biggest mistakes I made while working for my former employer was putting too much time into building my brand and establishing a network within the firm. I only attended company-sponsored networking events, and I wasn’t active on social media, so I faced a huge challenge when making the leap into entrepreneurship. To bridge the gap between where I was at the time and where I needed to be, I developed a monthly networking plan: I attended several “relationship building” events each month to connect with some entrepreneurs and industry insiders, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram became my go to networks for establishing meaningful connections, and I started my own blog which helped me land an opportunity as a freelance writer for Black Enterprise Magazine, which ultimately helped me land new clients and speaking engagements.
- I stopped seeking approval and built my confidence – As an employee, you follow a set career path or script for getting ahead within a company. And you may receive feedback from your managers or colleagues, which ultimately helps to boost your confidence. But entrepreneurs don’t have a blueprint for success. As an entrepreneur, you’re forced to learn the job of 3 different people. You’re challenged to make decisions quickly, and learn new things regularly. And honestly, entrepreneurship can be lonely. It doesn’t feel good when you’re “growing” through it and figuring it out all on your own. But Oprah said it best “Learn from every mistake, because every experience, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more of who you are.”
- I found the ultimate form of freedom – The absolute best part of quitting my job is the freedom. I was traveling weekly to client sites throughout the US and Canada, and returning home about 4 times a month, my entire life was confined to a suitcase. The transition from employee to entrepreneur allowed me to eat dinner with my family and friends during the middle of the week and choose the types of projects that would allow me to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
- I created my own sense of security – Listen, despite what I was told as a child, there’s no such thing as job security. Most people are 100% dependent on a company to determine their career and life path, and give them a paycheck–every two weeks. But what do you do when you walk into the office one-day and your job is no longer available?
In a weird twist of fate, the challenges, twists and turns on this entrepreneurial journey have forced me to create my own lane and figure things out. When things go wrong, I say to myself: I am the problem, and I am the solution.
Are you ready to make a major career change? Are you feeling stuck in the wrong career but you’re unsure about how to make the transition into a new career? Well, in 2012 I quit my corporate job for a life on my own terms. Since then I’ve helped many other career changers successfully launch new ventures. Check out my consulting packages or simply shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org, even if it’s just to say ‘Hey!’