P A R T 2
My Journey to Building a 6-Figure
Business as My Own Boss
(and how anyone can do the same)
Missed Part 1? Read here.
At first, when I thought about leaving corporate America, my thoughts went something like, “What, are you crazy? You’ve finally secured a steady job, a title that rolls off the lips at cocktails parties, and a comfortable salary… you want to change everything NOW?!”
But I had a vision of freedom, passion, and fulfillment in my head that I couldn’t shake.
I began exploring my options.
Let me first say this: there is no ONE right path. Whatever speaks to YOU is right for YOU. I can only speak to my considerations, experiences, wants and needs. If there’s something that bristles YOUR heart, then it could be right for you. (And I am right here to cheer you on, sister!) But to put you inside my head, below are a few options I considered before making the leap from corporate America into starting my own business, in case you’ve ever thought about it too…
Maybe someone’s befriended you in your DMs on Instagram to sell you on their latest fitness regimen or beauty products. Maybe you’ve even thought to yourself… could this be for ME?! Could I make a ton of cash selling supplements? I was approached by many network marketers offering for me to join their team and, for a hot minute, I totally considered it.
I know lovely people who use network marketing as a way to build some side income or supplement their main business. According to the FTC, only the top 1% of network marketers turn a profit, so the people I know making good money in network marketing are HUSTLERS who have dedicated MASSIVE amounts of time and resources into growing a large community of buyers. They treat it like a business, going into salesperson mode all day every day.
While I admire their hutzpah, I knew I would exhaust even my most supportive friends and family pretty quickly, and I just didn’t personally feel that I was the gal who could confidently sell products in DMs. I didn’t consider myself a social media guru (and honestly liked taking long breaks from it occasionally haha) and I wasn’t ready to change that to build a massive social media following of buyers, so I decided to keep exploring my options.
Sign me up to BUY, however, and I am your GIRL. (All the cat-eye tips, plz.)
Virtual assistants (VAs) help other business owners run their brands and offload tasks. These helpful tasks include everything from engaging with other Instagram accounts to publishing pre-written social posts, following up on invoices, or sending pitches on a biz owner’s behalf.
For me personally, I just knew it would require more hours than I could work in a week to replace the salary I’d worked up to after a decade in corporate America. The starting salary for VAs is around $10 to $20. While many VAs scale up from there, to make 6 figures per year, it takes earning around $50/hour working 40 hours/week, or $100/hour working 20 hours/week. I began researching other industries to see if any offered that from the start. (More on that later.)
I also kinda loved the idea of being able to choose ONLY the projects that were most fulfilling to me and own my schedule in that regard. I was intrigued by building my own business and automating as much of the task-side as possible. I decided to keep looking…
Maybe due to one-too-many Shark Tank episodes, but another part of me felt like I had to come up with a brand new product, service, or business idea to justify leaving corporate America. What I didn’t fully realize (but probably should have) is that that coming up with a brand-new business model is often one of the harder, longer routes to freedom.
But it was the only thing I saw initially, so I decided to turn my passion for wellness into a biz from the ground up. I had background in marketing, so I thought to myself… how hard can it be?!
So, I built a website for digital products. Posted on social media. Wrote blog posts. Created opt-ins. Grew my email list. Pitched publications. Designed my brand. Created products and services like e-books, courses, coaching and events. Tested various price points. Invested in advertising. Learned to sell. Developed anxiety rash from said selling…
Ya’ll, it was WILD.
I saved up money before leaving corporate America and decided I would give myself until I got to $0 in the bank account as a worst-case scenario, and then it would be time to go back to a real job. But by the time that day came, I was already so invested that I couldn’t give up then. Even though I was slowly growing my business, it wasn’t fast enough to make ends meet, so I put what I had to on credit cards while I kept trying to find what worked.
You know what? I went tens of thousands into debt for that first business, and I used to feel so much shame for that. But looking back, I’m honestly just filled with so much compassion and pride for that girl who was brave enough to GO for it and trust that she’d figure it out eventually. (She couldn’t see how then, but she was right.) For anyone else who has been there, it’s actually SO common for new business owners to take on debt or burn through savings to keep their business afloat, especially when they’re building a new model from the ground up. One firm estimates the average small business costs roughly $80K, and that was definitely true for me.
In hindsight, I see now that there were ways I could’ve made ends meet INSTANTLY while building that business. (Again, more on that later.) But I’m grateful it’s part of my story because it led me to where I am today AND gave me such a passion for the industry I work in now.
As mentioned above, my first business started out as primarily a coaching-based model, and while there were some parts of this I LOVED, ironically the more successful my business became, the more I began to realize that coaching wasn’t the best use of MY energy or skills.
While I LOVED my coaching clients, the more my schedule filled with calls, the LESS time I had to accomplish all of the business-building and the MORE I found myself tied to my phone in back-to-back calls. As a coach, not only are you responsible for coaching, but for growing and managing a business—all the parts that you DON’T get paid an hourly rate for. Coaching comes with many of the same hurdles as launching a new biz model—testing a niche, doing sales calls, helping people navigate complex challenges, marketing your brand, tracking down payments, and holding the mental and emotional energy to be on calls all day every day.
I had left corporate America to create more freedom for myself, but found myself on more calls than when I was in an office. I felt tied to the phone instead of free to design my day or travel, often taking client calls at midnight across timezones whenever I did so. As much as I found fulfillment with my clients, I started to feel a little like a one-woman circus keeping it all afloat.
I also found myself feeling more like a salesperson than a coach. I loved helping people—that’s what drew me to coaching—but found it extremely awkward to follow a sales script with prospective clients, or to convince people into investing in coaching. I had a lot to learn about money mindset and my value at that point, and it was cringingly apparent on those calls!
I began to wonder if there was a way to take what I’d learned to create the best of ALL worlds…
to do work that felt meaningful to me about the topics I was most passionate about
to have ownership over my schedule, balance, health, and days
to be able to travel instead of being grid-locked into calls on one timezone
to be compensated for every minute of work vs. juggling hundreds of unpaid tasks
to have more freedom and flexibility while still finding ultimate creativity and fulfillment
That’s when I took a step back and looked at what WAS working…
Part 3: The most underrated route that provides ALL of these things (and makes it possible to replace a corporate income in literally weeks instead of years)