I quit my job in Corporate America 26 months ago. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy to do. Not at all. In fact, it was one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life.
At the time, I was a sales manager with a Fortune 1000 company. I had a six figure income, and I was the only earner in my family. I was married with three children, two dogs, and a house.
How could I walk away from that? Why would I? How did I pull it off?
My Side Business Made Money
Without a doubt, my biggest advantage was that my Izzy Video business was generating consistent revenue every month, even though I was working on it in my spare time – mostly on weekends.
It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was a few thousand dollars every month. While it wasn’t enough to replace my family’s lifestyle, it was enough to cover my mortgage and groceries. I considered these non-negotiables. If things really got bad, I could do without a lot of other things, but we needed a place to live and food to eat.
I thought if I was earning this amount on a spare-time basis, I could increase the revenue if I spent more time working on it.
Luckily I was right. It took almost a year, but I eventually replaced my income. In fact, I’m now earning more than I did in Corporate America.
But you need more than income…
My Expenses Were Low
Early in my marriage with Noell, we were much bigger spenders than we are these days. It used to be that when I made money, I would immediately think about buying things with it. We had accumulated consumer debt that took us years to pay off, so we learned to hate it.
Because of this, when I was considering leaving Corporate America, we didn’t have much debt — only the mortgage. We had no credit card debt, and the cars were paid off.
Also, we didn’t have cable television, satellite, or many unnecessary monthly expenses.
The expenses we did have, we reduced when I quit my job.
In fact, one of our biggest monthly expenses at the time was our daughter’s once-per-week dance class. It was around $45 every month. She loved this, and it broke our hearts when we pulled her out to eliminate the expense.
We promised her that as soon as we could, we would put her back in. (Not only is she currently dancing again, but she dances four times per week, and she’s on the company team.)
Low expenses give you freedom because it’s easier to make a move away from your j-o-b when your expenses are low.
I Had a Bad Day
Right before I left, my sales team and I were under our projections. Our performance needed to get higher. For the first time in my career, I was seriously starting to wonder if I would get demoted or let go. I had always performed well previously, so this was new to me.
During this time, three of my bosses came to visit me at the same time. They interviewed my team members. They went through my reports and books. It was something they frequently did with other managers, but this time I was very nervous, and it showed. I stumbled on my words, and my team could see that I was nervous.
At the end of the day, my immediate boss pulled me aside and told me that I “made us look like fools today.”
That was a very bad day.
(It wasn’t the only bad day I had. I had some good days, but plenty of bad days before that one.)
As I drove home, I thought about how my little side business had started generating revenue. I thought about how my family’s expenses were low. And I wondered if I had the courage to strike out on my own, leaving the “security” of my paycheck behind.
Not long after that final bad day, I gave notice that I was leaving. They tried to keep me, but my heart yearned for freedom, so I rejected all the offers.
The Happy Ending
Here I am now. Two months ago I celebrated my two year anniversary since leaving Corporate America, and I intend to never go back.
It’s hard to describe how amazing it feels to take your children to school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon when you couldn’t do it before. I know some people might consider it a chore, but I feel like it’s a privilege.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of heading to Starbucks to spend a couple hours writing emails, or notes for tutorials, or all kinds of other content for our incredible audiences.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of waking up in the morning knowing that you’re free to do what you want.
For me, it’s not about the money even though I’m earning more than I did before. It’s about freedom.
If you’re at all like me, or find yourself in a situation similar to what mine was with too many bad days to justify staying, I strongly encourage you to reduce your expenses and build a side income, so you can give yourself the freedom to do what you want.
You deserve to give yourself the chance to try.