Why I Quit My Day Job: Tips, Tricks and What I've Learned So Far
This post has been in the works for quite some time, and is one that has come highly requested from you all. While my life is not perfect by any means, and I am still trying to make ends meet and work out long-term goals, I can easily say I am happier now than I have been in a long time. I’ve avoided writing this post for a while now since I never want to come across as ungrateful. I am also so thankful and grateful for the jobs I’ve had in the past that enabled me to learn so much about myself. I also know that I am EXTREMELY lucky to be able to do what I do, with a family who supports me (although they might not fully understand what I do).
You may be reading this and wondering what the heck I am talking about. Here’s the scoop. A few months ago, I posed the question on my stories if you all would be interested in hearing about why I quit my job to become a full-time blogger. The decision was finalized after months of contemplation, saving and ultimately, bravery. My goal for this post is to inspire you all to follow your dreams (whatever they may be), and stop at nothing to accomplish them!
In August 2015 I created my Instagram account. It was my second health-focused account, but this time I knew I wanted to turn my account into something bigger. It has been a slow-growing account, but I am completely fine with the organic growth I've had. As you all know, I try to stay as authentic to myself and my brand as I can, and there's something about pages that promote tons of products just for the sake of growing their following that never felt right to me. Anyway, my page started as an outlet for posting pretty food pictures, but has quickly turned into a general holistic lifestyle account. This includes natural stress management tips, clean living, healthy recipes, and other general lifestyle tips. Being a multi-purpose page felt more natural to me than solely sticking to posting pretty pictures of healthy food.
A little more background about me: I graduated from Elon University in North Carolina with a degree in Strategic Communications. I always imagined I would work in Public Relations or Advertising, thinking it would allow for a glamorous, fun lifestyle (thanks TV and movies for giving me this impression about the PR workforce!), and perfectly fit within my degree. After graduating from college, I worked as in intern at a local Baltimore advertising agency as the Social Media and PR intern. There were elements of my internship that I liked, like communicating with bloggers about campaigns, and working with the creative team on photoshoots and commercials. But ultimately, my internship allowed me to see early on that a desk job probably wouldn’t be the right fit for me. However, after a few months of searching for the right PR job with no success, I was given a job at my family advertising agency and marketing firm. While I was SO grateful for this opportunity, from the start I knew it wouldn’t be a great fit. Not only did I know that a desk job wasn’t for me, but I am the type of person who burns out easily if I am not completely passionate about what I am doing from day to day.
I distinctly remember walking down the hallway on my first day of work and thinking to myself “why has working from 9-5 Monday-Friday become the norm?” I had a very difficult time wrapping my head around this reality. Nonetheless, I worked at my job for 16 months, finding myself in tears at the end of most days. I was Googling (more frequently than I'd like to admit), "How to know if you're in the wrong job". I would search for excuse after excuse not to go to work, or to leave early. On some days I literally would walk out of the office an hour or two early. I certainly wasn't the best employee. I wasn’t performing at a level I was proud of, and had reached a point that both myself and my bosses knew my time was nearing an end.
I am thankful for my boss in my final role who really encouraged me to pursue my passion. I think his guidance truly shifted my perspective on what I was put on this earth to do. He had worked in freelance himself, so I appreciated his advice. He worked with me when I was hating my job, and he never gave up on me (although I'm sure he wanted to!). The fact that my dad is an entrepreneur also helped give me the push I needed. I have ALWAYS known that I would be my own boss at some point, thanks to growing up with a father like mine.
People ask for my advice on what they should do if they want to quit their job to become a full-time blogger, freelancer, etc. While I am definitely not an expert in this field, I do have some tips** that have helped me along the way. I hope you find these helpful! Also, thank you for being such a wonderful audience. I literally wouldn’t be able to do what I do without you, so THANKS SO MUCH for all of your love and support this year.
1. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE
Prior to quitting my job, I saved a significant amount of money so I’d still be able to pay my rent and bills on my own. This was a game changer for my since I certainly haven’t been making money like I used to. I have also found other ways to supplement my income. For example, I sell old clothes on an app called Poshmark (similar to ebay) which has been SO wonderful in bringing in extra cash, while cleansing my overflowing closet. I dogsit for my friends and family, as well as assist my friends in random odd jobs. If you are considering quitting your stable full-time job for one that is more based in freelance, my number one recommendation would be to SAVE WHATEVER MONEY you can, and set up other opportunities that’ll help you pay the bills.
2. Get Into A Routine
While everyday is different, I try to get myself into a routine to maintain a normal schedule. I get up between 7-8am most mornings, make my coffee and smoothie, check emails, check Instagram, get on Instastories, work on blog posts and then take some time to relax. This is my normal regimen and it really helps me establish my day and create a foundation in a schedule that can be a bit wonky. This is usually all before 12pm. I spend my afternoons running errands, grabbing groceries for recipes, testing recipes, taking photos of recipes and taking walks. My evenings are spent making dinner (or consuming the recipe I tested earlier) for my and my fiancé, watching TV and spending quality time together. My evenings are precious to me, since Yale works long hours.
3. You May Feel Lonely and THAT IS OK!
This took me awhile to get used to. It’s really easy to feel lonely while working as a freelancer, which is completely normal. I feel lonely all the time, but connecting with my audience on Instagram really helps. To combat my feelings of loneliness, I make sure to get out of the house for several hours a day, everyday. My schedule gives me enough flexibility that I am fine to be away from my computer for the afternoon, and take a break from working. This works for ME, and may not work for everyone. However, if you are feeling lonely, I recommend you reach out to friends to get together 1-2x a week. Whether it be for a walk, dinner or drinks, or just to veg out, human interaction is sometimes all we need if we’re feeling down in the dumps.
4. Get Comfortable Explaining What You Do
I still struggle with this, but working for myself has shown me just how much people ask what others do for a living (which is so strange when you think about it). I absolutely still stumble over my words when I tell people that I am a blogger fulltime, but it definitely depends on who I am talking to. With people my age, I have less difficulty explaining my job than I would to someone my parents or grandparents’ age. Absolutely no offense to them, but the world of social media (and the jobs that surround it) seems a bit more “normal” to people who fall within the millennial age range. It has taken me a lot of trial and error explaining what I do, but the more people ask, the more opportunity you have to perfect your job description.
5. Pinch Yourself
Ok so not literally. But I try to remind myself EVERYDAY how lucky I am to do what I do. I know not everyday is going to be wonderful, and I know I am going to be stressed far more than I planned, but I am SO grateful for my job. It really is not easy, which I am reminded of on a daily basis, but I think about how much happier I am now that I’m doing what I love. I hate sounding cheesy, but life really is too short to be miserable everyday. Just keep things in perspective, remind yourself that all will be okay, and SMILE!
*Photo by Sarah Miller
**I wanted to remind you that these tips have worked for ME, and might not necessarily work for everyone. Find what feels right for you and your schedule.
Outfit details: Sweater: Loft (old)
Acknowledgements: I quickly want to thank EVERYONE who has supported me in my journey so far. To my parents: thank you for pushing me to work a "normal" job, it gave me perspective on how lucky I am to do what I do. To Yale: thank you for encouraging me to follow my dreams and for the incredible advice you gave me both before and after quitting my job. To my former bosses: thank you for putting up with my shenanigans. I learned a lot about myself while sitting at a desk. To my friends: thank you for supporting my work, spreading the word of what I do, and always pushing me to be my best! To my followers: I DO THIS FOR YOU! You all are my biggest inspiration and I wouldn't be here without each one of you!