On this day 8 years ago, I probably woke up 15 minutes before I had to be at the office, rushed out the door into work just in time to clock in by 9:10 AM before I was marked as late on my timesheet. I walked to my desk hoping to not have any voicemails or emails from my boss. I probably went to the cafe and spent 10 dollars on overpriced coffee and baked goods to help me get through the morning. I probably spent the rest of my time scrolling through the internet trying to figure out a way to escape corporate America. Unless I had a deadline that day, in which I was probably frantically trying to get my sh*t together to make up for the work I hadn't done all week.
At this point, I was working as a clinical research assistant and my position couldn't be any sweeter. My job was relatively interesting and relevant to a topic I was interested in. My boss was really sweet and also worked from home 90% of the time so I never had to see her. My schedule was flexible and I worked by myself so didn't have to deal with annoying coworkers. It was the ideal job which made it really difficult for me to understand why I hated it so much. I realized my unhappiness was not about the position itself but moreso about the fact that it was a job. I hated clocking in and out, I hated having a specified amount of time to eat lunch, I hated that I was spending 40 hours a week working on achieving my boss's goals.
So I decided to start a business. I thought about opening a yoga studio, then pop up yoga, then a daycare...every week I had a new idea. I began to go to entrepreneurship meetups and networking events. When people asked me what I did, I had no idea how to respond. Sometimes I was the owner of a pop up yoga studio, sometimes I was "interested in getting into real estate." As an introvert who was known by my friends and family as always having a life-plan and always having my shit together so these networking events were extremely uncomfortable. I continued going because I would always connect with one person who gave me encouragement and hope.There was always one person who had achieved a certain level of success in entrepreneurship but their story started in confusions and uncertainty.
I went to one event at Wework coworking space in Washington, DC. I fell in love with the space and with the people there. The following week, I spent way too much money to secure an office space for a business that didn't exist yet. The following months were a whirlwind of me trying to balance my day job and wanting to just be at wework networking with other business owners. I met someone who was doing short-term rentals and he said he would pay for client referrals. So I hopped on craigslist and emailed every single listing in DC offering short term rental services. I sent over 100 emails. I got one response back. He ended up being a developer who I partnered with and helped me to launch a short-term rental company which turned into my full-time business for the next two years.
I quit my job at a point when the short-term rental business was more of a side-hustle than an actual business. I only had one client and was not making nearly enough money to cover my expenses. But everyday I walked into my cubicle, I felt I was losing a part of myself. I felt I was selling myself short and that I was wasting time that was extremely valuable and limited. Quitting my job was the scariest and (in retrospect) reckless thing I'd done to date. I had no safety net and no backup plan.
Starting my first business was truly a crash course in entrepreneurship and it was EXPENSIVE. I had no.IDEA.what I was doing. I made a lot of mistakes that cost me a lot of money. I have come to realize that learning is expensive. Whether you spend it on tuition or losing money in real life mistakes -- it is going to cost you. I've also learned that money comes and goes. Moving forward as an entrepreneur means that I will lose money. I also know that I will make it back.
I want to hear from all of you people who know that you are bigger and better than your day job. What's holding you back? What are your fears? Let's talk through them and turn your passion into your paycheck. Comment below, send me a message on FB or IG or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org