Why I quit my job and started my own business.
I've shared my story behind starting Get Social YEG from a professional standpoint before, but today I wanted to dive a little bit deeper and share some of the personal reasons behind starting the company.
WARNING: This blog post is going to get personal, so if that’s not your thing you might want to sit this one out. I won’t be offended.
FROM EMPLOYEE TO ENTREPRENEUR
My journey to entrepreneurship began in 2015. I was a single mom of three boys, aged 14, 10, and 4, and was working full-time as a project manager for a design agency in downtown Edmonton. At the time, I needed to figure out how to make more money and support my family.
I felt stuck creatively and financially. In my heart, I knew that something was missing.
Around this same time, my eldest son started to experience severe anxiety and was having problems at school, or should I say trouble going to school.
I was struggling between working full time at my job, leaving my house at 6:45am to get my little guy to daycare, and hoping and praying that my two older sons would get on the bus. Seven out of ten times, only one of them got on.
I received frequent calls from the school and witnessed my son struggling more and more as time went on. My stress level was constantly through the roof.
On top of that, my work suffered. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I left my home early to make my 8 am start time, I ran the risk of my son skipping school. But if I drove him to school, I would be late for work.
I’M SURE YOU CAN SEE THE PERSONAL STRUGGLE.
As a single mom of 3, it was all up to me. I didn’t have anyone that I could depend on to take care of them when they were sick. There were days when I’d have to leave one of them at home alone when they were sick because I knew I couldn’t miss work, or have to leave work early because I’d received yet another dreaded call from school.
I knew that this current lifestyle of fumbling between my family and work priorities wouldn’t end well in the long run. So, I had to make a change. The seed was planted.
SOCIAL MEDIA - A WHOLE NEW WORLD
My 10+ years of experience at the design agency allowed me to recognize that social media was an incredibly powerful tool that I could harness for my business. My journey started quietly. I read, I studied, and I watched and learned all I could after my kids went to bed.
I attended my first conference in 2015 (shoutout to @imedia) and instantly felt like I had found my people. They didn’t judge me for grabbing my phone and taking a shot of the swag (or my coffee)!
My mind was blown! The speakers at the conference were so in tune with what was going on in the world of social media marketing, and the vibe was so positive. I was able to meet tons of talented professionals. Witnessing this thriving group of creators and marketers in Edmonton made me feel like I could do it too!
The conference really gave me the push I needed to start propelling myself, and to finally make the decision to launch my business.
Get Social YEG was my Christmas baby, launching on December 27, 2016.
FYI - I launched my Instagram even before I had a website! (Pro Tip - make sure you confirm your username is available BEFORE you purchase your domain)
BEFORE LONG, I TOOK ON MY FIRST CLIENT, THEN MY SECOND, AND THEN MY THIRD.
Entrepreneurship gave me so much adrenaline that I swear I lived off of it for those first 6 months on business. During the day, I still worked full time at the design agency job and at night I took on a full-time workload for my own business. Coffee was my fuel and saving grace.
After months of wearing myself thin, I finally hit a breaking point. I realized I couldn’t keep up at this pace. My kids were suffering, my relationship was suffering, and my work was suffering.
So, I decided to go on a short holiday and do some soul searching. I asked myself: “10 years from now, would you wish you had stayed at your agency job or would you wish that you followed your dreams and started your business?”
A few weeks after I returned home from my holiday, I knew I had to make a decision. My son’s anxiety was getting worse, and I was being pulled back home more and more.
My business had started to pick up, I was taking on new clients, and I found that my income from my “side hustle” was overtaking my pay from my full-time job.
It wasn’t until someone asked me, “When will you be getting back to your regular work schedule?” that I knew I couldn’t. My employers had so much patience with me and tried to support me, but at some point, when an employee can’t take on their regular workload anymore, it becomes too much to handle.
So, I handed in my two weeks notice and did my best to help support the agency in my transition out. It was emotionally draining because I genuinely cared about the agency – after all, I had been working there for many years. My colleagues felt like family, but I knew that I wasn’t able to provide them with the attention that they deserved.
SO ON JUNE 15, 2017, I WAS OFFICIALLY UNEMPLOYED.
It was terrifying, exhilarating, and honestly overwhelming.
Could I really do this?
Was I cut out for entrepreneurship?
I jumped off the cliff and built my wings on the way down. (Hitting a few rocks along the way).
But, with the support of Shawn – Mr. Be Social YEG himself – I was able to push through these first few years of business, and starting the business has been the best decision I have ever made.
I’ve learned more about myself over these past few years (the good, the bad and the ugly) than I have ever learned before.
Obviously entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. There is a tremendous amount of risk and chance. But, for me, the payoff has been more than worth it.
I am at home for when my children need me and Shawn and I have been building our businesses together, making our relationship stronger than ever. (I may write a future article about working with your spouse - let me know if you’re interested in the comments below)
If you’re on the fence about whether you should turn your side hustle into a full-time job, here’s my advice:
1. Is your idea a business or a hobby? Take some time to lay out a rough business plan, and ask yourself: “is there enough demand to support you full-time?”
2. Are you Self-disciplined? At first YOU are your business. Will you hold yourself accountable? Are you ready to put in the time and effort in before you begin your venture?
3. Are you flexible? Businesses are changing constantly, so it’s important to be open to these changes.
4. Are you following your passion? If you really believe in what you’re doing, it will help you make it through the difficult days. (Bad days happen to everyone, I promise!)
5. Do you have experience in the industry? If you don’t have any previous experience, have you taken the time to learn from the pros?
6. Do you have support? It’s even harder to be an entrepreneur if you have nay-sayers or Debbie downers surrounding you. Try to surround yourself with like minded people that will cheer you on.
I’d love to hear your story behind starting your business! Tell me about it in the comments below!