Why I Quit My Job to Be a Full-Time Financial Coach
On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, I told my boss that I would be resigning from my position at the end of the month. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking. I could even hear my voice trembling as I spoke. I had been pumping myself up to quit for days, and the anticipation was really stoking my anxiety. I was worried that my colleagues would be angry with me. I was scared that it wasn’t the right decision. I was downright terrified that I would end up failing in my entrepreneur journey. But once the words were out, I could feel my body relax with relief. My boss was surprised and definitely sad that I was leaving, but she was also incredibly supportive. She knew I was running my business on the side, so she was excited that I felt ready to pursue it full-time. I was lucky to get a similar response from most of my colleagues.
So what made me finally pull the trigger and quit my well-paid, very stable job?
I Want to Make an Impact
It’s always been important to me to feel like I’m making a difference in this world. When I was 8, I launched a campaign against my elementary school principal to implement a recycling program at the school. I drew pictures of kids recycling and everything. It didn’t work, but I felt like it was my duty to speak up when I saw people throwing recyclables in the trash.
When I first moved to DC, my passion was environmental advocacy and fighting to stop the effects of climate change. I worked at the National Wildlife Federation as an intern and then moved on to the Pew Charitable Trusts, where I worked for nearly 7.5 years. Pew does amazing work. They tackle incredibly important issues throughout the world. However, my role within the organization didn’t allow me to see the impact of that work. Of course, I was helping the organization run better by assisting campaigners with their strategies, but I couldn’t truly see how my work was making the world a better place.
The main reason I started my business was to make a difference in women’s lives and help them to be financially secure. Money touches every part of our lives and can help or harm us, depending on our situation. I saw a need for support and guidance, and I decided to fill that need. Now, with my clients, I can see the changes they are able to make in their lives. I can see how their mindsets shift around money, and how they become more optimistic about their futures. I hear from my readers and followers about how my work makes them less afraid of money. They feel less alone. This work makes an impact and allows me to see and feel that impact everyday.
I Was Running Out of Energy
For nearly 2 years, I was working full-time and running my business on the side. I would take client calls during my lunch hour or after work. I would stay up late and spend weekends writing or following leads. I spent most of my free time working in some capacity. At first, this business gave me a new jolt of energy everyday. I was so excited to be doing something new and to have complete creative control over my work. However, as time went on, I started to feel a little resentment towards this work, because I was yearning for some downtime.
I also bought a house with my fiance in October. That was after months of looking at houses and negotiating with the sellers. It was incredibly stressful. And now we are diving into wedding planning, since we are getting married later this year. So, as it might seem, I was kind of running on fumes. I was running out of physical and mental energy to keep up with everything in my life. And it was starting to show! I have always prided myself for being very organized and having a great memory. But during the last few months of 2017, things were starting to slip. I was having a much harder time keeping track of things. The stress and business was taking a toll on my ability to get shit done. Something needed to give and I decided that was my day job.
I Want My Business to Grow
I want to have more one-on-one clients. I want to write more. I want to launch courses and host workshops. I want to speak to groups and travel for conferences. I want to do all of this while still having a balanced life where I feel happy and healthy. In order to allow my business to grow in these ways, I needed to make more space for it. I couldn’t grow in the way I wanted to when I was already working somewhere else for 40 hours a week. I didn’t want to stay up until 3am every night working on my business. I wanted to get 7-8 hours of sleep, and I wanted to have free time to spend with my loved ones. Yes, overworking is the traditional calling card of an entrepreneur, but that’s not the life I wanted to life. So I decided to clear 40 hours of my week (plus commuting) and make more time for my business. In my first month after quitting my day job, I already have more monthly clients than I ever had at one time before. So it seems to be working!
I Had Money in the Bank
As I tell readers and clients, having an emergency savings account is super important for financial stability. It’s your safety net if anything happens to you. It allows you to pay your bills and keep the lights on. I’ve prioritized this savings account for the last several years, and now have enough saved to pay my half of the mortgage for 2 years. Assuming I would make no money with my business this year, I would still have enough to pay all my bills. I also have an emergency savings account for my business. I didn’t pay myself from my business income at all up until now. That means I have money saved to cover my business expenses for quite some time. It will also allow me to attend conferences and take advantage of other professional development opportunities.
I Have a Supportive Partner
Now that I own a house and have a mortgage, I don’t think I’d be able to take this risk without my fiance, Dan. He’s always been incredibly supportive of my business - he designed my brand and built my website! But now, he is shifting his position to also be financially supportive. We’ve decided to do our best to live off of his salary only this year. Any money I bring in will go directly to our wedding savings and savings for other goals (like getting a corgi).
Now, I’m incredibly grateful and privileged to have a partner who is willing and earns enough money to support us both. However, as both a feminist and a financial coach, it makes me pretty uneasy to be relying on my partner financially! This is one of the things I often warn women against! However, I do trust Dan, and I’m confident that we’ll hit our spending and savings goals this year. We had to have many uncomfortable conversations to get to this point and make sure we’re ready for this big change. To stay comfortable and confident, we’ll have to continue to be as transparent as possible about money and how we are feeling.
It was really hard to take this leap. I am a risk-averse person at heart, so the safest thing was to keep the day job and keep side hustling. But I was sick of playing it safe. I wanted to see what I was capable of without a safety net. So here I am! I’m almost a month into being a full-time entrepreneur and haven’t regretting my decision yet. I’m excited to see what this year brings me.
Are you thinking of quitting your job? Do you want to start your own business? Share your story in the comments!