I was recently detailing a car and listening to the Goal Digger Podcast (episode 310 // Ask Jenna Anything: How to Start). There were a TON of great questions submitted by people just starting out (LIKE ME!) and all her advice was speaking directly to me and where I am in my journey. It got me thinking…. Sure May 1, 2020 is technically when I launch my new business. But that’s not where the journey started… that is not my DAY 1. Out of curiosity, I made a timeline of when my thought and focus shifted to this bigger dream.
I could start this story at the beginning >> ever since I went to design school in 2001, I knew this was the right fit for me, blah, blah << but, that will include 15+ years of fluff. This part of my story is known as the slow start of a film where people lose interest and switch to something else.
Let me start by saying that I loved the job I had. The customers were AMAZING. The jobs I got to do were FUN and EXCITING. My co-workers were fun and quirky (insert several inside jokes and “That’s What She Said” innuendos here). There were however walls…. I was technically a ‘leader’ (in charge of all the other designers)… but, alas, a leader that wasn’t given freedom from above to actually LEAD.
There was an incident in June of 2017 (TWO YEARS BEFORE I LEFT) where I was backed into a corner and yelled at and treated to like a prisoner who broke her chains. I got home that night and wrote a 3 page letter of my fury and frustrations and how, as the owner of that company, should NEVER speak to anyone like that. That letter included a resignation. Then I thought – “great, I’m going to let him win. Just cop out and walk away… throw in the towel without a safety net?” At that time, I was making a comfortable wage and technically I liked the duties of my job. So, I stayed. I stayed and I disconnected (definitely not the best way to lead a team). I mentally stepped back from going above and beyond. I mentally shifted my focus to just clocking in and out (like 95% of the rest of the building); this was HARD for me, because I like the competitiveness. I didn’t like to be a slacker, but in my mind, I was protecting myself from another incident.
That’s when the transition happened… that’s my DAY 1 >> June 2017. I subscribed to so many podcasts my earbuds were always in. I was smothering myself with anything and everything about courage, business, leadership, making the jump, doing it scared, EVERYTHING! I know what you’re thinking “what a coward – just confront your boss and use this new motivation to enrich the company” – I agree… but it wouldn’t have helped, so I kept it for myself.
I started selling off clothes and items that I wasn’t using to save as much money as fast as I could. I started a side hustle (detailing cars) to save some money and have SOMETHING to fall back on when I finally did take the leap. I brainstormed business name ideas, product ideas, writing a business plan and future strategy. I secured my domain and social handles (teeemwrk LLC). I researched what equipment and inventory I would need to get off the ground. I calculated how much money it would take.
I SOLD MY FREAKING CAR! This was the biggest move for me. I LOVED my car! Bought it new 2016 – a Ford Explorer. It was beautiful and sporty and I probably got away with more speeding tickets than I deserved because it looked like a cop car on the highway. I swallowed by pride and put it on the market. When it sold – I knew I was all in. No going back now.
I was on a path to break 6 digits income for 2019. I say that to emphasis that I was walking away from comfort, security & a nice paycheck. Then I realized that I don’t care about money in the bank (I mean, I do because I tried to pay my grocery bill with a hug once and was denied, so I had to fork over some real cash, I recognize that money is important, but it’s not the MOST IMPORTANT).
I quit on April 26, 2019. I had signed a non-compete, so I had one year to wait to do anything with my new business. WOW – THAT’S A LONG TIME! But I’m a hustler. I’m a problem solver. I’m a go-getter. I detailed cars. I worked with my dad (pouring concrete, y’all). I picked up shifts here and there bartending and cleaning houses. I hustled. And MOST IMPORTANT, I focused on myself. I spent time on the pontoon & motorcycle. I read A LOT of books. I went to Sturgis! I enjoyed life.
You know what I realized. I was overthinking the jump. Life was (and IS) so much better after the leap. I’m not suggesting that you up and quit your job. I am saying that you should put a good amount of thought into whether you are happy with where you are in life. If your answer is no, are you doing everything you can do fix that?
So here’s to new adventures and hurdles. I know entrepreneurship is hard and it’s not for everyone. But after my journey, I’ve come to the realization that I can do it! I am smart. I am resourceful. I am a hustler. I have an amazing support system with my family and friends and I HAVE BIG DREAMS!
Check back this Friday for my next post – What I’m calling Phase 1 of teeemwrk LLC – this is just the beginning!
I am so excited to see where this journey takes me and I hope you join me for the ride.