Today’s post is by Tiffany, one of my recent coaching students. She’s here to tell you about her experience with quitting her job for self-employment. Take it away Tiffany!
In March 2014, I made the big decision to quit my full-time job working from home as the Director of Operations for a multi-million dollar online company. I had just earned the highest salary in my career racking in $71,000. For me that was huge considering this was only my second full-time salaried job and my first paid me $41,000.
When 2014 kicked-off, I had no intention of quitting my job. I figured I’d be there at least another year so I could save money, continue to pay off debt, and gain professional skills. However, after making my fist Vision board and realizing the companies values weren’t in line with my own, I had to make a hard decision. Do I quit or do I stay?
I didn’t have a plan of what I’d do after or really too much savings since I used most excess income towards my debt. Quitting sort of caught me off guard but instead of living for guaranteed paycheck rather than for my values, I took the plunge and quit my job.
After quitting, I literally spent two months trying to figure out what I was going to do next. The first month I allowed myself to chill out and regroup after such an intense year. The second month, I worked more intentionally to figure out what I was going to do. I considered going back to a full-time job but when I reflected on my goals for the year, I didn’t feel a full-time job would allow me the space I needed to create the life I wanted.
So I started my own business instead. From the start I knew I wanted to do consulting work but I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to do it. So I settled for something slightly less intimidating and that I knew I could do. I launched myself as a Virtual Assistant. Doing this helped me face my fears of starting a new business and allowed me to simply take action rather than sit around and wait until I was ready. Through taking that action, I gained confidence and about a month or two into being a VA, I was ready to focus more on consulting work.
Consulting wasn’t something I had necessarily done before but I knew I had a skill set in operations, operations management, scaling, and improving systems & processes. From my experience in my previous job, I knew this was an area many business owners struggled with so I wanted to find a way to leverage this skill set I had.
At first I thought I wanted to do this work for Small Business but I quickly found that although small business owners need this service, many aren’t willing to pay much for it. Since I have two kids to care for, I didn’t have time to convince people of the worth of my services. So I moved on to businesses that were more established, had a revenue of 2-6 million, knew they needed what I offered, and were willing to pay for it.
As a consultant, I focus on working with decision makers to improve their daily operations and processes so that they can scale more effectively, improve culture, and increase profits. How this plays out varies from company to company. Some companies simply need me to come in and assess their company dynamics and offer advice on what they can improve to reach their strategic goals. However, most companies are growing so fast that even if I gave them a plan, they’d have no one to implement it.
So most companies hire me to not only create a plan but also work with their team to implement it. Since the work is usually more hands on, I’ll on average have 1-2 clients at a time depending on the project. So far, that’s worked really well for me since I also do other freelance work. It enables me to give them the attention they deserve while also having other smaller clients that I do virtual assistant work with or create websites for.
As you can see, I have multiple hustles. While this isn’t my ultimate revenue goal, since launching my business in May, I’ve made $41,325 so far, which is more than I’d thought I’d make in my first year. This is mostly from consulting clients but also includes a few websites and a little VA work. And this is definitely on the low end of what consultants can make.
I’m really enjoying the balance that being a business owner and consultant brings me. My favorite part is that I get to go into a company and work with awesome people to create real change and then I get to go home. I rarely ever have to spend my time doing things I don’t enjoy, which is priceless to me.
From running my business to doing client work, I’m always doing something I enjoy. It’s pretty remarkable. Especially considering the fact that before this, I’d only worked in operations for one year. I worked in a High School before that as an Assistant Dean of Discipline and Community Service Director. And I studied Sociology in College. Nothing in my background really warrants me having my own consulting business. But this is what I love to do and I’m good at it.
The last year has been about me gaining confidence in my ability to do exactly what I love and get paid for it. I don’t have a business degree. I’ve never officially studied organizational development. I don’t even have a lot of “work” experience. I’m simply a renaissance woman who decided to give myself permission to be just that and make money being who I am. All I can say is that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s been pretty freakin’ awesome.
If consulting is something you or someone you know is interested in trying, below are five simple quick tips for getting started:
- Determine your area of expertise
What do you want to consult on? Do you find that you give a lot of free advice on something right now that you could possibly charge for?
- Create a simple website outlining your services
When I first started, I literally created 3 different websites for myself for my business within the first 5 months until I landed on something that represented my business. So don’t get attached to the first site needing to be perfect. It will likely change and evolve as you do.
- Pick a launch date
When you’re starting something new, fear often gets in the way and can keep you from just getting started. So pick a date, tell a friend or coach, and hold yourself accountable to getting all your ducks in a row so you can start.
- Send a launch email to your network
This is vital. Use the network you have rather than trying to come up with a marketing strategy to reach people you don’t know yet, at least to start. In my first year, all my clients but one came from referrals from friends. (Mainly one friend who has an extensive network.) When I had a coach, they pushed me to market myself but it felt inauthentic and overwhelming. So I stopped. Do what feels right to you but from my experience, your network is the place to start. Leave social media and marketing for another time.
- Stay open
You may have a vision of what you want your new consulting business to look like. But in the first year, it likely won’t look like that. But don’t get discouraged. This process is about learning, growing, and ultimately finding out what people want from you. You may think its one thing but you have to be open and willing to it being something entirely different. Go with the flow, be flexible, and just have fun.
So there you have it. The hardest part is often just getting started and moving through our fears and resistance. But hopefully through my experience you’ve gained a little more confidence that it’s possible.
So who is Tiffany? Well, I’m a mama, entrepreneur (my biz is here), partner, fiery ball of awesomeness, loyal friend to my small circle of peeps, artist, a woman of many colors, a writer for hire, singer, dancer, and a huge promoter of living one’s best, most fullest life.