How I Left My Corporate Job to Work for Myself
Seven months ago I transitioned out of a corporate job in market research to
This post originally appeared on LearnVest .
Getting Ready to Go
The road to
As I started sharing my story with
What started as a small hobby
on the side
Because money can be a landmine topic for some people, I knew I had to learn more skills around talking about money without judgment. I got certified in coaching at NYU, and by some miracle my classes were approved for tuition reimbursement from my corporate job. After about three years of slowly building up a private coaching and consulting practice, I made the decision that I wanted to do this full-time. I wanted flexibility in my schedule, I wanted to ditch the 45-minute commute and I wanted to help more people, putting them first instead of squeezing them into my nights and weekends. After working in market research for nearly 10 years, I was ready for a change.
Deciding When to Make the Leap
I love security and certainty-Richard Branson, I am not. Wanting never again to fall into the financial straits I had faced in the past, I decided to build a strong financial foundation
, before leaving my corporate job
Over the course of a year and a half, I saved up about $22,000 through tax returns
My husband has always been extremely supportive, and we had nightly discussions about when it would be the right time to leave corporate. We decided that when I had enough on my plate in the business to fill up a full workweek, I would leave. And anyway, if it didn't
Since paying off $30,000 six years ago, I still use credit sparingly, and I didn't take out any loans to fund the start-up of my business. Instead, I created a separate savings account called "
So I doubled down and focused on attracting more clients, to reach my tipping point faster. But once I stopped treating my consulting like a hobby, I got nervous. I had trouble promoting my services beyond word-of-mouth referrals, and I was afraid to follow up with people, breaking into a sweat when discussing my fees. But I knew I had to conquer those fears if I wanted to
To attract clients, I worked around the clock. I hustled, but it was exciting! I woke up about an hour earlier than I had to every morning, and by 7 a.m. I was at my computer with my green tea, either writing posts on my blog or content for my workshops, emailing clients, asking for speaking engagements or studying up on how to run a business. I even took 8 a.m. client calls before showering, and put in a full day of work at my corporate job! I'd teach workshops, and speak or meet with clients on nights and weekends.
After eight months of really focusing on building my practice, though, it became clear that I had to choose. I essentially had two full-time, demanding
My Last Day at My "Real" Job
I crunched the numbers to see if I was ready. Overall, I was running a pretty lean machine. Most of my work was done remotely out of our
The day I left corporate, I was definitely excited but sad. It was hard to leave a job that I'd called home for six years. When my coworkers asked if I was taking time off, I laughed. "Time off?" I said. "No way. I have a full schedule next week!" It was definitely a
Financially, self-employment isn't as drastic of a change as I once thought it might be. The hardest part is creating a system to manage my cash flow so that I can forecast what I'm making every month. I use Excel to plan out incoming client payments and outgoing expenses every month (including what I pay myself). That way I can see all in one place what I need to earn each month. Once I reach that number for one month, any extra carries into the next month. I still pay the same bills I was paying when I was working full time, including the phone, cable, utilities, groceries, parking and part of the mortgage.
changed quite a bit is my "fun money" fund, meaning my allowance for personal expenses, like getting a haircut or buying clothes. For now, it's half of what it used to be, which means I really have to watch what I'm
The biggest challenge for me now that I'm self-employed is keeping my confidence up during the natural business ebbs and flows, like during the summer months when people are away on vacation and the phone never seems to ring. I've found that when self-doubt creeps in, it helps to reach out to other self-employed friends, or my amazing husband, and ask for a kind ear to listen.
So far, it's been a joy, and I don't see myself going back to corporate any time soon. The flexibility to create my day and really make a difference make the financial ups and downs completely worth it.
Jillian Beirne Davi is the creator of Abundant Finances , which offers inspirational articles and programs on how to get out of debt, amass savings and live a life full of abundance. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Google+ .