Most of the time when you hear about a millennial quitting their job to start a business, they’ll talk about how their debt held them back. However, that’s not how it worked for me.
When I graduated college in 2012, I felt lucky to have landed a full time job in my hometown. Many of my graduating college classmates didn’t have that luxury. They either took a part time job, or accepted an internship (sometimes even unpaid!) in order to get their foot in the door at their chosen careers.
Overall, I was content with my life choices up to that point. But as I laid down each night to sleep, I always felt like something was missing. I had worked hard and looked forward to each step of life, but after landing my career I had this nagging feeling that this couldn’t be all there was to life: working and paying bills.
The Night My Life Changed
In the middle of the night one night as I fought these feelings of inadequacy, I decided it was time to do something about them. I got up and started doing some research about how I could change my life. I was tired of going to work every day to earn money to pay for my home and lifestyle even though I was never at home to enjoy it because I was always working.
A simple search on the internet lead me to start a new hobby: a personal finance blog.
From Hobby to Side Hustle
Starting my own blog gave me passion and a creative outlet that I didn’t realize I was craving before, but I still wanted more.
To be part of a blogger community, you have to read and support other writers, which is exactly what I did and how I learned that my blog could be more than just a hobby.
Just a few short months after starting my own blog, I began guest posting for free on other websites. Then I was offered my first paid writing job and I was hooked. Using my creative writing skills to make money alongside my day job helped me feel more content with my life again.
At first I was happy just to be making some money with my blog and my writing skills. But then I realized it was once again time for me to dream bigger. I began to fantasize about being able to quit my job and run my blogging and freelance writing business from home full time. Little did I know that just 12 months of hard work, sacrifices, and late nights later, I’d be able to do just that.
Quitting My Job
When it came time to give notice at my job, I didn’t tell anyone beforehand. I didn’t want to be discouraged from my decision, even though it was a risky one.
The day I turned in my notice at my full time job, July 1, 2015, I still had over $148,000 of debt in the form of my mortgage, a student loan, a car loan, and some credit card debt. I also had little in savings. But what I did have was a drive to succeed.
Plenty of people asked me if I was crazy when they found out I’d quit my job to be a blogger, especially if they knew about my financial situation. But it’s amazing how far passion and a strong work ethic can get you.
That’s not to say I hadn’t thought about my decision beforehand. I had. I knew I had a steady client base with regular work and regular pay coming in. But there’s still nothing that can adequately prepare you for the transition from being an employee to being the boss.
One Year Later
I’m now just over a year into my journey of running my business full time. I still have debt to pay off, but I’m getting there and I’m so much better off now that I’m happy again.
Quitting my job, even though I had $148,000 of debt, was the best decision I’ve ever made. It gave me permission to go after my dreams again and I can’t imagine going back. Of course financial success and security is important, but being able to put a value on your happiness is what life is all about.
This post was originally published on the Huffington Post.