From Nothing to Something
As cliché as it sounds, everything really does happen for reason. Thinking back to two years ago, I enjoyed my job but an unexpected divorce thrust me into being a single mom of three kids and doing it on $34K a year just wasn’t enough to make ends meet. To put it simply, I found myself struggling and a raise was no where in sight. I first took on a part time job on the weekends but not only did this not improve my situation much, I was away from my children even more. I made the decision to switch gears and seek a full-time position that paid more. I joined a new company and everything went well – for a while.
My freelancing career and becoming a mompreneur was born out of pure exhaustion.
(Very) Humble Beginnings
One payday morning in January 2016, I logged into my checking account only to find my direct deposit was hundreds less than usual. Assuming it was a mistake of some kind, I shot a quick email to the HR rep and proceeded to go into work. Upon my arrival, a meeting was called and myself and 3 other coworkers were informed that our pay rate had been changed. Just like that, no warning, no nothing. After the initial shock – and anger – something magical happened.
I saw this as a sign that I needed to shift my focus and make my own way in the world.
Up until this point, I had done everything that society tells us to do – go to school, graduate, find a job and work 40+ years until retirement. It never occurred to me just what that meant. I didn’t factor in the long commute times, the burnout or if I’d even be well enough to enjoy my retirement after being run ragged in corporate America.
We are often stuck in a rut until we are forced by circumstances to act. The issue with my paycheck went way beyond a wakeup call. I discovered it was never about the money. Yes, I switched careers in the effort to make ends meet but when money is taken away from you, you being to value what’s really important.
Rather than dwell on what happened to me, I decided to use it as fuel for chasing my own dreams.
I never again wanted to be in a position of helplessness and at the whims of another individual. I realized that working for a company did not come with guarantees any more than freelancing did. It was at that moment that I begin that I began to devise a plan for leaving my day job and working for myself full time.
Luckily, my day job involved very little human interaction and I used this to my advantage by spending my workday listening to podcasts, webinars and audiobooks. I began to brainstorm ideas, seek out freelance opportunities and I learned a lot in the process.
I also began to create a vision of the life I wanted. I realized it would only be reality if I truly believed it could work.
Something as awful as a pay cut was actually the catalyst for starting my own business.
I was at a crossroads in my life being in my late 30s yet still on the fringe of millennial status. I was immensely dissatisfied with spending my days and nights building someone else’s dreams while neglecting my own. Stepping out into the freelance world is not exactly easy and is largely frowned upon by mainstream society. Even your closest family and friends will doubt you. Luckily I’ve never been one to follow mainstream society and rarely is anything worthwhile easy and obstacles are there to test your commitment.
I slowly began to see that there was another way. I wanted to spend more time with my children, travel and challenge myself to create new opportunities. I started freelancing on the side and over the course of about 8 months I went from making about $200 extra a month to nearly replacing the income from my day job. Oddly enough, the closer I got to matching my income, the more apprehensive I became. I would continuously put off leaving my job, telling myself I needed just one more paycheck.
Mompreneur? Crazy Talk
It was at this point that I began to crunch the numbers and decided that I needed to make the leap. Discussing my decision with people was interesting at best since freelancers are some of the most misunderstood individuals. Coupled with talk of leaving the seemingly secure world of corporate America and people will not hesitate to tell you that you’re crazy. Admittedly, I did allow the fears or others to influence my decisions.
My foray into freelancing was slow going at first, but I was actually making money and each month I continued to earn even more. I began to use my time more constructively in my corporate office job and I listen to podcasts all day long at work and to and from on my commute. I took notes, I did seminars, I signed up for webinars and I even did some courses on Udemy to gain new skills. I slowly began to realize that even though I wasn’t leaving my home to do a part-time job, I still had very little time to do anything I would like to do or even needed to do.
I knew I needed to change my mindset and confront my fears if I was ever going to work for myself. I needed to change and I needed to do it quickly. What changed was my ability to extract the good out of any situation and I was propelled by all the wonderful ideas I learned from listening to podcasts. I abandoned the folklore that says making money online is an impossibility. I was listening to experts who were living it and I wanted to live it too. I found it remarkable how happy these people sounded. It was indescribable and if pursuing your dreams had a sound, it would sound like that.
Making the Leap
I began consulting with a life coach who helped push me in the right direction, give me ideas, and generally help me get over the fear of leaving my job.
Was I scared? Heck yeah! But I got to the point where the fear outweighed the unknown and I was ready to take take the leap no matter what came my way.
I put off quitting my job for months out of sheer fear of the but as I sit here today, I write for a living and it feels amazing. I make money from my laptop and I’m able to travel as often as I would like. I have even started the process of relocating my family to sunny Florida.
There were many times when I doubted if I would have enough freelance work to support my family or whether or not I would be able to pay my bills. I had nightmares of crawling back to corporate America with my tail between my legs begging for that steady paycheck again. Once I was able to get past the fear of the unknown, I no longer agonized over those things. Whether you believe in God, a higher power or the universe, everything that needs to align for you will do just that. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. Each time I thought I missed out, a better opportunity would present itself almost immediately.
Overcoming fear is not something that is easy for any of us. There will be days when you question whether or not you can really do it, and as the old adage goes if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. My best advice is to seek out like-minded individuals who support your goals, dreams and aspirations. Don’t waste your time trying to convince naysayers and non-believers.
Not everyone will see your vision and the way that you do and that’s okay.
Join mastermind groups, seek out a life coach or mentor and do as much research as you can. More than that, implement what you’ve learned and just get started. There will never be a ‘perfect time’ to start your own business, but putting it off does nothing but delay your greatness.