In November 2016, I took on a weekend job working in the city. The director who hired me could never wrap his mind around why I wanted a position I was over-qualifed for, but reluctantly hired me for it anyway. It was easy work, the pay wasn’t bad and I only went in 2 or 3 days per week. That alone was enough to pay all my bills, save, and support my travel adventures. That’s the magic of spending the first 25 years of your life on a Third-World budget; you don’t need much to live on after that.
Still, my priority has always been to grow my business and build my writing career, so I promised myself that I would only do it for two years and then it was time to call it quits. Though I only worked 2 or 3 days, I did work long hours and shifts no one else wanted, almost exclusively on the weekend. I also do not get a lot of vacation time and I don’t get holidays off. So, I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices to maintain my schedule, however glamorous it often seems to others.
By January of this year, I knew it was time to start making preparations to leave my weekend job behind. There was a lot of trial and error and even some money lost in failed investments along the way, but I kept on pushing and working hard and smart and any other adjective that would take me another step in the right direction.
By the summer of this year, I knew I was finally in a place where I could let go of my weekend job. I had enough client work to pay my bills, but my job was beginning to get in the way of it. I realised I could have one or the other, but not both. Still, client work is never promised and my weekend shift always is, so I hesitated and continued to make preparations, even marking the day on my calendar when I would leave.
As autumn rolled around, I started to prepare myself to resign from my position. However, a lot of things happened that made it seem like it would never happen. My highest-paying client had to call it quits after she and her father lost their home. My second-highest-paying client suddenly had a slow down in orders. My paperback novel started to lag behind publishing schedule. I then had the unexpected $1,100 trip to Jamaica, a $600 medical bill, and $200 in car repairs. And, finally, the backup plan I had in place if all else failed, fell through the cracks.
All of this took place in November and December, just as I was ready to round the bend, and it took a toll, not just on my finances, but on my faith in whether or not I could do this. I got cold feet. I wondered if I was doing the right thing—if I was being responsible. I considered waiting another few months. A million doubts crossed my mind.
Then, in the week of my planned resignation, while I was still walking the blade of making my final decision, a few things happen that seemed to tell me it was time. I got called for the third time on a Monday morning in the past year to be chewed out for the incompetency of another supervisor on my shift. My paycheck had an error for the second week in a row, costing me money, however small. And, my now highest-paying client put out so much work, I could barely keep up. Going to work this weekend is actually costing me money.
So, last Friday afternoon, I called up my boss and resigned from my shift. This is not a full resignation, however. I do want to stay on the books, because that employment history will serve me well when I purchase a house next year, but all I need to do to make that happen is show up for work for around 16- 24 hours per month. Easy enough, eh?
As if to further cement that I was taking a step in the right direction, mere hours after speaking to the director, I received an email. It was from a client I had tried to on-board back in September of this year. They were not particularly high-paying, but they promised consistent work with a weekly quota and that’s always a good backup plan. At the time, I had missed them by an inch, and when they promised to reach out to me in the future if they should change their mind, I thought it was just polite mumbo-jumbo. Well, I was wrong. We completed the on-boarding process yesterday, and we’re ready to roll.
Thanks to all of this, I can now once again focus 100 percent on my business and my writing, which is all I ever wanted to do when I first quit my corporate job in July 2015. At the time, I thought I would have had just six months or so of freedom before I was once again a cog-in-the-wheel. Instead, I managed to retain a full-time freelance career for 16 months. And, the same month I started my weekend job was the same month I officially registered and launched Alexis Chateau PR, LLC.
Now, here I am, doing it all again in an even better place than I was on the first round. How long will this round last before I must once again dip a pinky toe in the world of formal employment? I’m not sure. Only time will tell.
What I do know is that I’m happy to have my schedule back in my hands. Sure, it may mean taking the occasional pay-cut, but been there, done that. If it’s one thing I’ve learned in my adult life it’s that the pursuit of happiness sometimes means abandoning the pursuit of money.
However, once you have achieved happiness that comes from hard work and sacrifice, life repays you tenfold, and then one morning you wake up and realise:
I have more than enough.
Not because you’re rolling in cash—you probably won’t be—but because there is gratification in living out your dreams.
On that note, if you ever need help with your book, blog or social media, you know how to find me. Know someone else who could use some help? My PR firm pays 10% commission on all referrals.
Thanks for dropping by! Wish me luck!
33 thoughts on “Reclaiming My Freedom: Back to Being a Full-Time Entrepreneur”
Way to be strong and push through! Glad you are living out your dream. I sometimes find the sacrifices for living out a dream can make it even richer or meaningful in the end.
You’re so right! It’s been an amazing start to the year so far, where business is concerned. Here’s to hoping that trend lasts!
What sacrifices will you be making this year? And, to what end?
Trying for a good range of sacrifices, from giving up time to care for people in my vocation and smaller things like cutting way back on plastic usage (from plastic wrapped goods to throw away items) to help the environment. That’s a couple sacrifices I’ve got ahead for this year anyways.
Cutting back on plastic usage made my list this year, as well. I find the trouble is remembering to bring the reusable bags. I keep them in the driver door of my car and still forget. I’ve had plenty of face palm moments at Kroger. But, practice makes perfect!
Congratulations! Freelancing is always full of uncertainty, but the freedom it provides makes it worth the headache.
Thanks, Bridget! You’re absolutely right. This is the second time I’ve quit my job to freelance full-time, but it is the first time I did so having a mortgage and a car note. Bondye, be with me!