Episode 33: Why I'm Leaving My Job to Take Chantiluke Full-Time
Why I'm Leaving My Job to Take MY BUSINESS Full-Time
This is the episode. The episode where I spill the beans on why I’ve decided to leave my full-time job and do this business thing full-time.
You can’t see me but I’m doing the dance emoji!
I asked you all on Instagram to share what questions you have for me about my decision to leave my full-time job. And you asked, so today I’m answering.
Listen to learn:
When I decided to leave my full-time job
How I (did not) prepare myself financially
The best advice I can give for folks who are grappling with this decision
Before I dive into the questions, I want to give some context on what I had been doing professionally since I started Chantiluke. I had been working as a data analyst for a school district for the past 2 years. It was something that I liked at times but I never truly enjoyed.
It was from this boredom and space to really evaluate what I enjoyed, what I wanted, I came to coaching, first in careers and then for new entrepreneurs.
When I started Chantiluke in 2017, I had been working full-time as well. The coaching, the writing and recording of the podcast, the marketing, the business, had to happen while I was balancing a full-time job. I did have the luxury of the job being very manageable work. There were many times when I had the time and space to be working on things for Chantiluke at my full-time job. #sorrynotsorry. But even with that luxury, I knew I wanted to take Chantiluke full-time.
When did I decide to leave my full-time job?
I knew I wanted to leave my full-time job before I even accepted the position. If that doesn’t tell you where my heart was, I don’t know what would. I was working on one team which was grant funded until June 2018. In early 2018, I didn’t want to take the leap to doing Chantiluke full-time, so I was getting ready to look for new roles most likely in the same organization. Very seamlessly, I heard about the role I am leaving now, did some interviews, and was offered the position.
The funny thing is, I was not thrilled about the job when I accepted it at all. I felt pretty bland about it. I seriously only saw it as a paycheck. Which was a problem for me because I truly value work that excites me. Its not a “fun to have” for me, it’s a “must have.” And to not feel excited about the work I was getting ready to do was both eye opening and disappointing.
I knew that I wanted to leave the role almost immediately. But it took time to actually put my actions in alignment with my heart. Back in about November, I spoke to my manager and told her I was planning to leave in January. I did not share that I started a business, that I was working as a business coach, or that I even wanted to be doing this. All I told her was that I wasn’t loving the work and I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go. In fact, I told her I was thinking of going into counseling, which was a half truth. Yes, I did seriously consider that but that was my mind telling me that made sense. It was not what my heart wanted to do.
After November, I sort of didn’t really talk about my decision to leave again with my manager until December, when I told her my last day would be January 31st.
Up until late December, I was supposed to be finding another job that was flexible, enjoyable, and could tide me over until I could take Chantiluke full-time. This was the plan I made with myself and shared with my husband. But then I started to look for jobs and felt so deeply that that was a “No.” I was half assing these applications, just cringing at the thought of sitting in front of an interviewer and pretending to care about what work they were doing. It was a clear no from my intuition.
Which makes me think this: Life can be astonishingly simple. Our yes’s and our no’s can be remarkably, astonishingly simple when we listen to our intuition. Truly. The static and drama and frustration comes in from our minds trying to talk us out of what our hearts know to be true.
And so, I talked to my husband and asked him how he would feel if I left my full-time job without taking on another one to pursue Chantiluke full-time. We talked about it and he said he supported the decision. We would make this decision for our family and I would do all I could to grow my business so that it could replace my income as soon as possible.
I did not want to do this in any shape or form. I did not want to have that conversation with him. I didn’t want to ask him to be financially supportive. I felt like I was making a completely selfish and self-indulgent decision to say no to getting benefits, paycheck, etc from a job just because I had this fanciful dream of being an entrepreneur. Yep, this is literally the stuff I had to work through. And in many ways, I still feel like this.
How did you prepare yourself financially, emotionally, mentally to leave?
Financially, I did not. I was not saving a nest egg separate from retirement to keep us afloat financially. I chose to divest one of my retirement savings accounts to supplement my income as I continue to grow my business. Talk about a ding to my pristine identity of always being “good” financially. I am also incredibly grateful that I had this option. I was startled by how simple and straightforward this decision was. I knew I wanted to make this change professionally. I knew I had this retirement savings accounts that was not performing as well as my other one; that I needed some money to invest in my business and cover some of my expenses. And there was that pot of money available to me. So I pulled it out.
My ego is kind of like “Danielle, people won’t be able to relate to how undramatic this decision was.” And if that’s the case, that’s okay. We both don’t need me to feign drama or frustration or resistance to relate to one another. But I truly, honestly, felt little resistance to making a “bad” financial decision and divesting from one of my retirement savings to make this dream possible.
I also have the distinct privilege of having a husband, a partner who is supportive of this decision. A partner who is willing and able to take on a bigger portion of financial support while I grow my business. Privilege is the right word here. If you’ve ever compared your business, your risks and investments to someone else’s, just know you don’t always know what privileges and resources they have. This isn’t blaming them; they are not better than you for having them, and your no more noble or virtuous for not having them. You just don’t have them. You will need to do things differently, not the way they have, because you don’t have those privileges.
Mentally and emotionally, I feel pretty prepared. Or I should say I feel good about where I am mentally and emotionally. Who really knows what this will be like, but I feel good. I cannot stress enough how simple the decision was. The work wasn’t deciding, do I leave, do I take this risk or not. The work was in, “I’m most likely going to take this path. How do I get my brain on board?” This is why I believe our decisions can be remarkably easy if we allow it. We often know what we want to do, but the hardest part is admitting that this is what we want and rising to meet that desire. That’s what the work was for me.
How do I hold myself accountable to put in the work?
Fun question! I do the best I can and engineer accountability. I know that it helps that I genuinely enjoy much of the work I do. Editing the podcast, no. Putting together the podcast pages, no. Writing the podcast, yes! Studying and sharing, yes! I am very motivated by the mission and vision of my work.
But I also know that I am human and motivation is not enough. It just is not. That doesn’t make me bad or good. It makes me human. Motivation will get you started but it won’t be the thing to make you finish. I purposefully engineer accountability. Commitment and responsibility and accountability keep me consistent. I share my Google Calendar that has my launch dates in there with my sister, who is very frank and is not interested in coddling my ish/hangups the way I’m wont to do.
I’ve made a public commitment to produce the podcast every Monday while we’re in season. So while I don’t enjoy every single part of producing the podcast, I enjoy the parts I do enjoy and make due with the parts I don’t so I can keep my commitment. And I’ve created this commitment to the people I work with, to you all, to show up consistently.
I am learning that I will always always always fall short of the pristine, perfect version of Danielle. I don’t know much about football, nor do I care to, but I was watching this game last week with my husband and I saw this one thing where the offense was 4th and Inches. The offense was inches away from making another down. Inches. So close, but not there. That is a proverb for my life. I will always be inches away from the “perfect” illusion of Danielle. Sometimes that distance will be yards. But I will never ever ever be a perfect version of me. Doesn’t mean I try to do things better, but I can never be better. My goodness is capped at unlimited. Even with my flaws that have been here, probably always will be, there. There is no better version of me to be. I am learning to stop pretending like motivation alone can sustain my work. And as I embrace that, I do what I need to do to accommodate this fact. Which has helped me work more efficiently and create more work.
Which leads me to my answer for the last question:
Any tips for living the freelance life?
I’m not going to give tips on finding clients, setting prices, etc. I’m technically not freelance, but I am self-employed and me getting clients depends on me going and serving and finding clients.
The only tip I will give is this: do what you need to do to learn to stay present and open to all of the things that are happening. I meditate every day and it’s not because it’s chic or pretty. A lot of times my meditation feels yucky. My heart is racing and I’m thinking “am I having a serious medical emergency?!” That’s what it was like a few days ago. But I meditate every day because it’s a daily practice of coming back to what is and staying open to it. Not rushing to fix my icky feelings as I want to do. Not rushing to analyze my experience as I want to do. But to experience my life. Not think about my life, but to experience it. The same skills I learn in meditating for 10-20 minutes in the morning are the same skills I get to lean on when the Bootcamp doesn’t sell as many tickets as I want. As the post gets more likes than I expected. It’s staying open with a soft grip to everything I’m experiencing. And in doing so, seeing the entire experience as a gift.
All of the tactical stuff, the websites, the conversion rates of running your own business you’ll learn. But if you’re miserable, too anxious, too lax while learning them, then that’s not fun. And what a waste of energy. But even then, there’s something to stay open and learn from.
So friends, there you have it. A peak inside my decision to leave my full-time job and do this Chantiluke thing full-time. I hope this helps you in some way. Maybe it helps you be more generous with yourself, extend more grace. Or maybe it helps you decide this is NOT the right decision for you. Whatever it is, I’m glad I can share my story.
Please reach out with your thoughts, questions, and wonderings. I’d love to keep chatting with you.
As always, stay inspired friends.
intro and outro music: danosongs.com