Adventures of the Newly Self-Employed
I recently had a “Writing on the Wall” moment. It was a situation straight out of the book, Who Moved my Cheese.
I was sitting in a Friday all-hands meeting when I heard the SEO Director mention changes that would be happening in the department that I managed. That morning was the first I’d heard of these plans. It was definitely one of those things that make you go, “Huh.”
I’ll Work for Myself Again – Someday
I’m lucky to have a supportive husband who wants me to be happy. For the last two years, I have been talking about going out on my own.
After 4 years of Black Friday and Holiday Shopping marketing marathons, I had begun to hate the holidays. The wind drifted out of my sails the year I missed my Grandpa’s last Thanksgiving. I had decided to stay home because I had a giveaway to manage, and I knew that I’d see everyone at Christmas. My grandpa died that weekend.
Of course, everyone makes sacrifices for their jobs at times, but I couldn’t help but to regret that decision to work on Thanksgiving. And since then, fourth quarter every year felt like it sucked the life out of me.
My husband and I had the conversation again, probably for the hundredth time, while wrestling a Fraser Fir into the tree stand this past December. His response to me was, “If it’s just money we’re after there are lots of ways to get it.”
The challenge for me was that the job wasn’t just about the money . I loved what I did. I loved the people I worked with. I had an 8-minute commute and the job came with lots of awesome perks like travel, catered lunches, weekly massages, and a gym.
Not to mention the fact that with three kids to put through college and a retirement fund that isn’t where it should be, giving up the steady paycheck never felt like the best decision.
Build a Business Part-Time while Working Full Time:
I have always had a few side hustles going on: freelance writing, being a virtual assistant, blogging, consulting. But after my writing on the wall moment, I decided to move forward with my business, just in case I needed it for a safety net.
The very next Monday, I filed papers to incorporate, asked a friend to design me a logo, and made an appointment with my accountant to get my business bookkeeping and tax stuff figured out. The company would be called Wise Owl Marketing and I’d be helping small businesses and professionals go from “Who’s that?” to “Who’s who” in their niche. I’d offer web design, blogging, social media marketing, and marketing strategy.
The initial plan was to throw the coals to my business throughout the summer, with a goal of transitioning it to full-time before 4th-quarter.
Until We Meet Again, FatWallet:
I signed a contract with a client for a website redesign on May 12th. The next day I was sitting in my boss’s office hearing him say, “We think you’re a wonderful person, but our direction is changing…”
It is never easy to get news like this. I was a month shy of celebrating my 4th Anniversary with FatWallet. As I sat there listening to them explain why they were letting me go, I felt sad but at the same time, I was hit with a huge wave of gratitude.
When I started there I knew marketing from a personal brand level. FatWallet allowed me to play a bigger game, learn how to market a corporate brand, and grow in ways I could never have done on my own. They gave me the gift of travel, new friends, and a strong network of contacts in several different niches around the world. They gave me a happy place to work and a salary that allowed our family to pay off debt and position ourselves better financially. Most of all, FatWallet gave me the confidence to know that I can handle the change.
I have no regrets. I played full out, gave FatWallet my all, and wouldn’t have changed a thing.
(That’s not entirely true. There are a few embarrassing moments I could have lived without. Like my first day when I tripped on my skirt while going up the stairs, pulling it down and spilling my coffee. And the time I didn’t realize my jeans had split in the back and I showed everyone my hot pink undies all day. Or the time I asked if anyone would like to have my flower…)
Change Keeps Us Alive:
I found this note while unpacking my box of personal belongings the week after I lost my job. It was given to me with a “change” sticker on my first day at FatWallet. (FatWallet gave out stickers to employees who were caught displaying one of the company’s core values.) The transition from being at home every day for 13 years, to balancing a full-time career and family was not easy. But we did it.
I’m keeping that in mind as I transition to trying to work from home once again. :)
While we all wish we could leave a job on our own terms, I know that this was the push from the nest that I needed. It would never have felt like the right time to leave a job I loved working with so many awesome people!
Let the Adventure Begin:
So here I go! I’m officially taking flight on my Wise Owl Marketing adventure. I know the ride will be bumpy at times, but that I’ve got an arsenal of skills I can use to help other businesses succeed in their dreams and goals. It is scary, exciting, and wonderful all at once–just the way life should be.
P.S. Please like my Wise Owl Marketing Facebook Page to follow the adventure!