9 Things I'd Tell You About Quitting my 9-5

9 Things I’d Tell You About Quitting my 9–5

From Google to Solopreneur: The Good, the bad, the ugly.

It’s been more than a month since I had that farewell beer with my co-workers at Chili’s (yes, Chili’s) and many of you have been wondering…what’s life like on the “other side”? Is it everything I thought it’d be?

Well, yes, and more.

It’s AMAZING! It’s HARD! It’s TERRIFYING!

Are you considering working for yourself or do you know someone who is? I rounded up 9 observations from the past month you might like to read and share. To be honest, I heard a lot of similar insight years ago from others who left the corporate world to forge a new path, but until you’re in it or about the take the leap yourself, it may be hard to fully process (or care about). ;)

THE GOOD aka what I’d tell you if I ran into you on the street

1. More time with my family. Like 20 additional hours each week than I previously had because I’m no longer commuting — and maybe more if you consider how absent-minded I was when I was physically with them at the end of each day. These days, I feel like a better mom, wife, and human being. 
 
 On this particular topic, I’m learning it can strike a nerve with those feeling stuck in a grind. So, I wrote about it more in depth (journal style) over on my blog, which you can read at your own risk, here.

2. Prioritizing my health. Although my former workplace encourages employees to prioritize their health and wellness (to the extent that it has multiple onsite gyms), I rarely found the time and motivation to workout for more than 15–20 mins a couple days a week. I ate whatever free food was at the office, and often ate my “dinner” while sitting in traffic somewhere near 6th street and Brannan. Now, I have the flexibility to go on a real run most mornings, and I’ve really enjoyed going to Costco (during the week!) and meal prepping healthy lunches in bulk for myself. I’ve set up a little altar on my desk equipped with all sorts of hippie shit like rocks and sage to help reset my brain when it’s time to switch between mom and boss mode. I feel light, free, and balanced like never before.

3. Making real impact. Everyone who knows me, knows I’ve loooved every job I ever had at Google and YouTube. My work was always exciting and at times, I truly felt like I was making an impact… but now that I’m choosing who I apply my time and expertise to, I feel better about where I’m moving the needle. Instead of making big brands bigger, or celebrities more famous, I’m helping women like me reinvent themselves. I’m helping them make enough money to keep their businesses afloat or take them to the next level of sustainability. It’s empowering, rewarding, and sometimes it makes me cry happy tears just thinking about it.

THE BAD aka what I’d tell you if you bought me lunch

1. Lack of socialization. Without a question, my favorite part of going into my corporate job was hanging with the good people I worked with. I love banter, being able to pop my head up and ask questions, and having someone to grab a quick coffee (or three) with. Even though I talk to people each day in my current job, it’s more formal. I’m either talking/listening to clients, asking baristas if they accept Apple Pay, or on a good day, striking up small talk with a stranger at a coworking space. I’ve turned into the chatty-mom at preschool pick-up and I’m not proud of this.

2. Weight creep. I was looking forward to losing the “Google 15” after I walked away from all that free food and hefty commute hours. As it turns out, there are two sneaky culprits hanging out at home that I didn’t account for…

  • Unlimited trips to the kitchen without anyone there to judge me. Without the shame or inconvenience of walking into a shared kitchen to grab a snack in between every single meeting and activity, I guess that’s what I’ve been doing?!
  • Elastic waistbands. When you have to put on real pants to go to the office each day, you notice when they start to get tight and can reign it in. Yoga pants are forgiving. I had no idea I’d put on five pounds since I quit my job! I’m working on it and have even started a little #fatpants boot camp accountability group to help.

3. Keeping on task. My days used to be structured around meetings. I spent 8–3 in back to back meetings most days and there was no question where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to be focused on, hour to hour. Now, if I’m not meeting with a client, I have to schedule my own blocks of time to work on writing, billing, marketing, research, and homelife stuff as well. It’s really tough to stay on task when you’re creating your own schedule. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by other entrepreneurs whose good habits are starting to rub off on me.

THE UGLY aka what I’d tell you after three beers

1. Working to get work. Half of the work in consulting (and coaching) is finding people to consult. I definitely took for granted the “pipeline” of people I got to work with in previous jobs. Without a well-established brand (like saayyyy Google or YouTube) backing you up, all you’ve got is yourself to sell. And that’s… humbling.

2. No financial stability. I want to be very clear — I couldn’t have/wouldn’t have taken this risk if not for my husband’s salaried job. He has healthcare benefits, a 401k, life insurance, and a bunch of other responsible things I used to have too. Now, it’s pretty scary thinking about when and if I’ll get to a point where I can sock away any percentage of my salary for retirement. And, no matching (LOL!). And then there are the things that keep me up at night: like, what if Mike lost his job, or one of us got really sick? Scary shit.

3. The change in relationships. You don’t realize how much time you and your friends sit around commiserating about “your jobs” until you can’t relate anymore. Bitching about the same stuff bonds us. Now, I have less in common with most of my friends than ever before. I’m not a stay-at-home mom, but I’m not quite a part of “the grind” either. The things I feel smart and proud of just feel like bragging and no one wants to hear it. I used to have a very well-defined role in my social groups and now I don’t know where to fit in with them. I’m making new entrepreneur friends who get it and that helps. But it sucks to have to reexamine the value of friendships at this stage of life.

There you have it. Some of it expected, some of it not. By and far, the good is outweighing the bad, and #1 gets more important by the day. In fact, I’m at the beach with my son right now living my best life as a “working mom” of a different sort….