I was trapped in the frenetic corporate rat-race. And then, I quit my job.

Plenty of entrepreneurs start their side hustle with the intention of leaving day jobs they hate. I loved my job, but I was trapped in a rat race day in and day out trying to keep all the balls in the air. Finally, I had to give it up.

Today is my first day being 100% self-employed.

A lot of people dream of “quitting their day job” and striking it out on their own, but that wasn’t really my path. I loved my job, and I especially loved the people I worked with. I felt really, really sad last week packing up my desk, and nervous about handing over the reigns to someone else...would they care as much as I had?

Still, it was nice this morning to wake up early, make myself a cup of coffee, walk the dog, and be sitting down at my computer to write by 7:30. It felt good to have a morning where I’m not overwhelmed, rushed, and worried I’m forgetting something. And I’ll be honest...I really won’t miss the 45 minute train ride with my fellow bleary-eyed 9-5’ers :-)

I’m glad I finally worked up the courage to make the leap--even though I still think it’s a little bananas that I don’t have a “real job” anymore, after working more than half my life for someone else.

I used to think I’d have “made it” if I only achieved the next milestone:

  • Finish my master’s degree
  • Open my own business
  • Land my first client
  • Earn a 6 figure salary
  • Become a homeowner
  • Etc, etc, etc.

Along the way, it turned into a rat race.

I’m more unhealthy now than I was ten years ago and just starting out, earning minimum wage, sharing a tiny 1-bedroom apartment with my older sister, and eating microwave noodles from a styrofoam cup most nights for dinner. Now, my furniture isn’t (all) from Ikea or picked out of the alley, I can afford to buy milk whenever I want, and I have a 401K. How luxurious!

But, I’m also 30 pounds heavier, I frequently bolt awake in the night in a total panic over the most ridiculous things, and my husband and I struggle to find time to hang out. I started imagining my life 5 years down the road, and it was hard to figure out when I’d have the time or the energy to start a family. It made my heart race and my palms sweat to even think about taking a couple days off for a short vacation, let alone introduce another human life into the mix.

In the end, these were the reasons I finally decided to make the leap, leaving my full-time job and all its trappings & benefits behind. Even though I checked off all the milestones on my arbitrary checklist, I am mostly a mess.

There has to be a better way.

So here I am...day 1, starting over again at something new. I’m setting fresh intentions and making a NEW goal list.

(Yes, I still have to make money. Yes, I still have to save for retirement. Yes, I still have to do my part to put food on the table and make sure the mortgage is paid.)

All that aside, I hope this new life affords me some new kinds of “luxuries”:

  • More time for walks after dinner with my husband, just to talk about our days, laugh, and joke around
  • Waking up early in the morning to spend some time outside with the dog and a cup of coffee, just because I can
  • Enjoying time with my family, without falling asleep or being so harried/distracted that I don’t remember what we did together or talked about
  • Focused time spent on growing my businesses in a sustainable way...without feeling overwhelmed or like it’s an afterthought at 8pm after a full day of work
  • More smiling, more fun, more laughing, more saying “yes” to things that make me happy...family, friends, lunch dates, time in the garden, swimming in the lake, going to baseball games, grilling outside with my dad, planning road trips, working on the house, volunteering, keeping up with the laundry, living life

I know building a business is hard work...heck, I willingly signed up for the sleepless nights! I know this next phase will have challenges of its own, but this time I’m going to try to stay more focused on what matters...on why I do all this hard work in the first place.

For this next turn of the crank, I’m setting different intentions.

Time to get to work.

P.S. -- My dream is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners launch & grow profitable businesses. So tell me...what are YOU struggling with right now? What keeps you up at night? What’s holding you back from making that next “turn of the crank” in your business? I’d love if you would leave a comment below to connect and share your story.