I quit my job.
I had a competitive salary with a growing tech company, an expansive workspace with an on-site gym, yoga classes, espresso machines, a beer fridge and unlimited vacation — among other perks. I had a boss I loved, brilliant teammates, quarterly bonuses and near-total autonomy.
But just a couple months shy of my one-year anniversary, I scheduled a meeting with my boss and I gave my notice.
I hadn’t accepted an offer with another company. Nor was it a rash decision — I’d been deliberating the move for months, mulling over every detail and carefully planning an exit strategy.
So why did I choose to leave one of the best jobs I’ve ever had?
Chasing My Passion
I quit my job because I wasn’t passionate about it.
Sure, I enjoyed the work — but I wasn’t fulfilled. My heart was elsewhere.
Every afternoon, after toiling through an hour of traffic, I’d slip into my yoga pants, flip open my laptop and dedicate the rest of the evening to my side gig: writing and helping businesses build their content marketing strategies. I couldn’t get enough of that work — eagerly taking on new projects even when I knew I’d be sacrificing most of my weekend to finish them.
It wasn’t just about the extra income (although that part is nice). As a former journalist, I relished the opportunity to chase down facts, gather data and weave it all into a compelling story. And as the former content manager for an inbound marketing agency, I enjoyed breathing authenticity and color into brand content through storytelling. I delighted in problem-solving and cherished the rush of my clients’ big wins.
But most of all, I loved being my own boss.
Turning My Side Gig into a Career
A strange thing happens when you decide to quit your job to follow your passion: most people are really, really happy for you. Nearly everyone met my news with positivity and encouragement — which helped bolster my confidence when I entered the ass-busting phase of building a freelance business.
For nearly three months, I continued working my day job while simultaneously building up my client base. I reached out to every contact in my network who I imagined could help, I met with other freelancers to gather advice, I polished my portfolio and I said “yes” to every opportunity that graced my inbox.
I spent every waking moment working, often dragging myself to bed after 2 a.m. and then peeling myself from my pillow and heading into the office just a few hours later. I was exhausted, but I was giddy with excitement and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel growing larger every day.
After my last day at work, I plowed full-steam ahead and quickly amassed more than a full-time job’s worth of work. I landed projects from former employers, referrals from contacts in my network and earned requests from organizations that stumbled upon my portfolio.
There were weeks I was overwhelmed by my workload, but I never missed a deadline. And each time I finished a round of projects, just as I started to panic at the prospect of a lull, I’d earn another opportunity.
I think this early success was the universe’s way of telling me I’d made the right call.
And while it’s been a lot of work, it’s worth every moment.
What’s Happening Now
With all my resources dedicated to my clients, I initially struggled to find the time to finish my website and create my own content. It’s taken months to achieve a balance, build my process, carve out the bandwidth to take on new clients and get this website to the point where I felt entirely comfortable sharing it with you.
And I’ve learned some valuable lessons.
For example, becoming a successful entrepreneur takes a village. I’m fortunate to have some outstanding creatives and business mentors in my network who offered guidance, introduced me to new connections and helped me get a foot in the right doors. And then there’s my husband, who willingly swooped in to handle both our shares of the household chores for months, provided constant encouragement and lent his design skills to make my website worth viewing.
Secondly, self-care is critical. You can’t pour from an empty vessel, and loving your work won’t prevent burn out if you aren’t taking time to recharge your creative energy.
What All of This Means For You
The point of this post is to share a little more about why I quit my job to launch this venture — because I’m passionate about storytelling and using content marketing to create extraordinary experiences.
I know business owners and marketing managers are often spread thin and struggle to get their content marketing program off the ground. I know, because I’ve been there. And after working with a barrage of clients across multiple industries, I’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t) and I’m here to help.
And I also know what it’s like to spend years of your career flirting with freelance, not sure whether to trust the inner entrepreneur screaming to leave your 9-to-5 (and all its comforts) for the turbulent and wonderful world of freelance content marketing. And I’m here to help you, too.
Content marketing is about building authentic connections, sharing stories and connecting as humans. I believe in its power, and I’d love to help you leverage its magic.
Learn more about me and my services here.
Originally published at carriedagenhard.com on November 28, 2018.