A few months ago, I quit my job- my brain numbing, soul crushing, cubicle, corporate job. Sure I had benefits and a steady check, but you know who I was making money for? Not me. Someone else way up the corporate ladder who reaped the benefits of my hard work while I got paid the same small salary week after week. I attended hour long meetings that could have been said in one email. I was forced to attend "team building" activities past standard work hours. I had no windows in my cubicle and was made to answer the phone each and every time it rang, regardless of whether or not I was focused on something else. I had to do things the way the company wanted them done, not the way I worked most efficiently. Every morning I would wake up and dread the day, hitting the snooze button, rushing out the door, and sitting in traffic with everyone else on their morning commute like herding cattle. I spent the day procrastinating, surfing the web, minimizing my browser the second I heard footsteps nearby, and counting the hours and minutes until I could get out of that tiny box and face another 30 minute, traffic filled commute home. It was simply a means to an end. It wasn't fulfilling. It wasn't inspiring. And it definitely didn't motivate me in the least bit. In fact, I felt myself becoming more lazy and complacent. By the time I made it home, I would have no energy to even spend time socializing, exercising or doing other things I loved. It sucked, big time. "Why am I doing this?" I thought. "Wouldn't it be so nice if my boss let me do things the way I wanted?" I want freedom. I want independence. I want flexibility. I mean, I'm smart and have great ideas, I can work hard when I feel invested. Why can't I just be my own boss instead? So there it began. After much research, I stumbled upon the idea of becoming a Virtual Assistant. I wouldn't have to report to an office each day, I could take on as many or as few clients as I wanted, I could work with a variety of people in a variety of fields and I would be an Independent Contractor aka my own boss. I started spending a few hours each day creating a business plan and taking small steps towards my goal of quitting my job. I started saving money. I created a website. I did a ton of market research and listened to many podcasts. I decided what services I was going to offer and how much I would charge. After that, I sent out some email campaigns advertising my services. I advertised myself on Craigs List. I emailed at least 5 people per day from Craig's List (focusing on one city per day, local and not local) who put up ads looking for assistance or social media help. I started networking and selling myself to anyone and everyone I knew. It was hard at first learning how to sound confident and sell myself. I had never worked for myself or owned a business. I had never sold myself, rather I had sold someone else's products or services. I talked to many potential clients and never heard from them again. I became extremely discouraged. It was disappointing and I felt like no one would ever want to work with me. But then, someone did. Then another, then another. I spent a few months simultaneously managing my clients and my day job. It was sneaky. Sometimes when I wasn't busy or no one was looking, I handled client projects during my day job. I wanted to keep the dual income for as long as possible to allow myself some cushion in case I failed miserably and needed to survive. When I hired my 4th client, I put in my 2 weeks. I can't even explain how liberating it was. Now, here I am, a few months into business and doing fairly well for myself. I don't miss corporate life at all. In fact, it almost pains me to remember what my life used to be like. Now, I can take lunch whenever I want. I can work when and wherever I choose. I can take a nap in the middle of the day. I can work out in the morning! But it's not all great. There are many days where I feel like a failure. I lost a big client and spend days panicking about my finances. I lie awake at night wondering what I've gotten myself into. What I can tell you though, is that it is extremely rewarding to say I am my own boss and to not have someone hovering over my shoulder. It's also a great to be proud to tell other people what I do. So if I can quit my job and make my own income, you can too. All it takes is some motivation, a little hard work, and belief in your capabilities. Take the leap!
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