This Is Not Life Advice: Leaving a Stable Job for the Uncertainty of a Startup

This Is Not Life Advice: Leaving a Stable Job for the Uncertainty of a Startup

I did a thing… It was a massive life change. A complete pivot. It will have a direct impact on my new business. And it will make things harder yet more manageable.

What is it you ask? I left my job in consulting.

A job that offered good pay and benefits. I went from being comfortable with my full-time job, to now pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

Here’s why.

First off, this was not a decision made lightly. To be honest, I’ve had an idea for over a year that things at my full-time job were going to change. I needed to start thinking about what’s next.

The company I worked for was acquired in 2022 and within a year, a lot of the integration changes kicked in. I had a serious reflection on my career and the direction it was headed.

Was I going to start searching for another job? My side business is always on my mind. For better or for worse, when I jump into something that I care about, I get so excited that it’s all I want to work on.

Starting a business has always been my ultimate career goal. But, I never knew exactly what business I wanted to start. There were some ideas that I didn’t act on, such as a thermos with a straw - an early Stanley if you will, and cold almond milk canned lattes, like Pop & Bottle or Chamberlain Coffee. And some that I did act on, like the sustainability newsletter, but didn’t pan out.

Back then, I didn’t have it in me. The eagerness was there but the determination was not. Now, I feel confident in my business idea and I'm ready to give it my all.

Like I said, the decision to leave my salaried job wasn’t made on a whim. A year ago, my husband and I sat down to make a financial plan. If I were to leave my job to work full time on my side business, how long would we be alright living off of one salary if it takes time for my business to start to make money? We had to have a serious discussion about cutting expenses in certain areas. We also had to talk about what I would do next if this doesn’t work out.

When it came down to it, we both believed that I would probably know if this business would work out within 1-2 years. If it doesn’t, I’ll go back to finding another job. If it does, then I’m on track to accomplishing my biggest goal that I set for myself back in college. Either way, my husband and I both got comfortable with the potential outcomes and understood what our next two-plus years might look like.

I’m unbelievably lucky to have a partner who supports this crazy, irrational dream of mine. Someone who is willing to make sacrifices while I try to figure this thing out. He’s the real behind-the-scenes hero of this startup story.

I do not recommend leaving your full-time job this early on in building a business. However, I feel strongly that this was the right move for me based on my current personal and professional circumstances.

Most people in this position would (smartly) wait until their side business was making money before leaving their full-time job. Trust me, I’d feel better about this decision if that were the case. I wish we were all eating Minky Muffins right now.

But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past two years, it’s that you can’t plan everything in life. Things that you want to happen may not happen for any variety of reasons. And things that you don’t want to happen may happen regardless of what you do. The only option is to adapt and keep pushing ahead.

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