I’ve got something kinda personal to share.
I quit my job today. But for real this time.
Seven years ago this month, when I decided to put out a shingle as The Audacity Coach while living in Boston, I couldn’t afford to just dive into entrepreneurship without a stable income. So I got a full time job at The Container Store (or as I prefer to call it, “the store”) to help make ends meet thinking it would be an “easy job” that I could clock in and out of and focus on building my business the rest of the time.
Retail = easy, right? WRONG! Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows better. Retail. Is. Hard. Core. But I digress.
In my own mind, I committed to doing this for one year as that was all the time I needed to get my business off the ground. But after a year I was promoted to Sales Trainer, a job I was REALLY good at, and started to get comfy. My business was fun, but a glorified hobby. But since I was “working on it,” I felt like I had a forward momentum (even if “working on it” was really about 3-5 hours a week of poking at a newsletter and working with my two clients). And I LOVED the people I worked with – LOVED! Truly amazing people who will be friends for life!
The hardest part of working at the store in those early days was living my life “in the closet” all the time – and I ain’t talking about being gay. At the store, I was “in the closet” about my entrepreneurial ventures, as there was an expectation that I was 100% committed to building a career with The Container Store. In my business, I was “in the closet” about working in retail, as I was terrified that people wouldn’t want to work with me as their coach if I wasn’t already super successful. This duplicity made me as nervous as a pig on Easter alllllll the time. (And if you know me at all, this is soooo not my style. I’m a very WYSIWYG kinda gal.)
Now my journey at the store had lots of twists and turns, of course. Three years in, we had saved up enough to move to New York City and shift my work at the store down to part-time. After just 3 months of working at this big city store in uptown Manhattan, I was drowning. It pains me to admit that I was listening to all of the gurus who were shouting at me to “quit your job if you’re really serious about your business” and I decided to resign from the store and work on my business 100% of the time.
Big mistake. Big. Huge.
Why? Because these all-or-nothing thinking gurus weren’t responsible for my rent. Sure, I had more time to focus on growing my business, but I was CONSTANTLY worried about making money. And you better believe that prospective clients can SMELL it when you NEED their business. I couldn’t close a sale to save my life that year!
13 months later, my business was growing a little, but nowhere near where I needed it to be to make ends meet. Between the dozens of dollars I was bringing in as a coach and my wife’s salary as a special education teacher at an urban charter school, we were keeping afloat, but barely. So I knocked on the doors of the posh downtown flagship Container Store once again, but this time only asking for a short-term 15 week seasonal position over the holidays.
That was November 2010.
I just quit today.
But this time around, I was OUT of that freaking closet! (I mean, this store is in Chelsea, for goodness sake!) And since I was only working part time, the expectation that the store was my everything no longer applied. I bounced program ideas around with coworkers, edited chapters of Audacity Rules at the breakroom table, and invited half the store to my book launch party last fall! The people I worked with there celebrated with me as my business blossomed and wished me well as I departed.
Having a day job that just made us a little more comfortable was an absolute GAME CHANGER for me and my sales ability. Now I could approach prospective clients in a real way…not a desperate one. I could be pickier and choosier about who I invited to work with me because I knew how I was gonna pay rent. I could take bigger risks, fail faster, and try new things until something stuck. The Container Store saved my coaching practice.
Over the last three years, as my business emerged from a fledgling hobby, to an actual business, to a booked solid, profitable coaching practice. And over that time I’ve downshifted my availability to work more and more at the store to very, very little. In fact, for the last six months, I’ve been working there just 6 hours a week on Monday afternoons – just because they asked me nicely not to quit yet and I got to hang onto my 40% discount a little longer.
These are handsdown some of the coolest, smartest, and craziest people I’ve ever met in my life.
But now, I’m pleased to share that I can no longer do the juggling between. My business requires 110% of my time and energy and I’m gonna give it to her. So today I turned in my TCS badge forever…but I’m keeping my 5-year pin!
Look. If you are thinking that me and the Coaching Biz Badassery Bootcamp is just another guru who thinks you are not taking your biz seriously enough because you haven’t mapped out a strategy for getting out of your day job by next Tuesday, you are very much mistaken. I share this story to show you that I get the realities of building a business. I get that you need to make ACTUAL MONEY in order to keep chasing down your dream. I get that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to building a life around your business. And I get how hard you’re gonna have to hustle – both inside and outside your biz to make it flourish.
And I am ready to help you figure out how to juggle whatever you need to juggle until you can write your own story in a blog post just like mine.
The Bootcamp gets started next week. Sign up ASAP!
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