So in my last post I spoke about making decisions and about opportunities showing up. This amounts to nothing if you don’t have a plan in place and action said plan (something I was learning day-to-day in my gig in change/project management). I put myself on action plan for my own life. I knew I needed to plan my exodus from corporate life but there were some things I had to consider. At the time I was living in my first piece on the real estate ladder-a condo I had owned for 5 years. I loved my little condo, the community in the building and the maintenance free existence. That said, if I was going to plan a new career as an entrepreneur a lot of my ‘work time’ would be spent at home. Part of the reason I loved my little space is that I was not in it a lot of the time (long hours spent at the office), the thought of living/working in a small (565 sq ft) space with no outdoor space started to get suffocating so I made another decision in addition to changing careers–I decided to buy real estate. Make a decision to leave your lucrative career AND buy a house with a bigger mortgage? Are you crazy? Yeah…not a lot of people thought that call was ‘brave’ rather….crazy, naive, doomed etc. (Insert your comment here) The thing is this…big banks don’t like giving mortgages to people with their own business unless they are already successful or have a whole lot of money in the bank! That was not me. So I put my action plan into place which involved 3 major pieces of the puzzle in the summer of 2011.
1) Arbonne: This is my network marketing business. I’ll be talking about this a lot on this blog because there are lots of misconceptions about networking marketing (is that a pyramid scheme?) and most people in my city/network have never heard of Arbonne. Arbonnie? What’s that? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again (many times) Arbonne is a Swiss, vegan certified health and wellness company. They’ve been around for over 30 years, and some impressive folks at the helm (see past posts or google them). My old friend who I annually surf with down south is a driven, focused, successful corporate communications background businesswoman. When she told me she had started her own business on the side and told me about the company I decided in August of 2011 to start my own health and wellness business under her (and our up line’s) guidance. Expect to hear lots about my Arbonne journey in this blog. The highs and lows of building your own network marketing business and all the things I’ve learned about myself since I joined. One thing I’ll say about them for now: I needed Arbonne to get me on track for my own personal development and I will always be grateful to Ellen (my sponsor) and the Arbonne community I’m now a part of for that. They are a class act, and I’m loving that I’m a part of this organization. I launched and ran my business on the side while still working full-time at my old corporate gig for almost a year….a very low risk way to venture into entrepreneur land….something I highly recommend if you’re thinking about it. There will be lots more on this theme in this blog too. (clearly I have a lot to say) Having this business up and running for 9 months before my departure from my corp job gave me a sense of where the business could take me and help me project whether or not I could make a living doing this full-time.
2) ‘Get my house in order’: Cuz when you’re planning to walk away from a big salary why wouldn’t you? 😉 I hired a real estate agent in the summer of 2011 and the long search for a new home for me would begin. I had a limited budget and was stubbornly committed to keeping my search area to my beloved neighborhood. (A rather expensive neighbourhood and I’m the sole income earner in my household of one) This would prove to be a long search….to the tune of 6 months. It was a slow time in real estate but I had a patient agent who very quickly assessed what I was looking for (thank you Emily) and only brought me to see houses that I would seriously consider. As a woman with a busy career AND side business now I didn’t have time to screw around looking at 50 houses a week. I actually bid on 2 houses and lost throughout the process. Have you ever lost a bid? It’s heart breaking! I was lucky to have a friend who came with me to many of the houses, inspect them and talk me through the decision-making process as well as talk me off the cliff when I lost bids (Thank you Graham). I have an old friend who also happens to be my mortgage broker help me through the process of figuring out what I could afford/what I could live with etc….he suffered many long conversations with me about ‘okay, how much more can I get? Is that reasonable?’ (Richard, extra thanks as you probably half that fall on the phone with me..xo) They say when you meet the right person you just know…I’ve heard the same about a house. I saw the open house listing for a cute little semi with 2 decks off the back, a garden, just over 1000 sq ft (so bigger then where I was but manageable for just me) move in ready and in my beloved neighbourhood. My agent and friend who been accompanying me on my house visits couldn’t join me that rainy November day when I went to the open house. The house was awash in earth tones (I’m not an earth tone kind of girl) and it wasn’t set up the way I would but I knew from the minute I walked in I was home. I was in the house less than 10 min, I could telling the selling agent was trying to keep me at the front door to ‘sell’ me more on the house….I left and called my agent the next day: I told her to bid. We bid 2 days later (the first day they accepted bids) and we won. I was at dinner with my mortgage broker and his partner when I was waiting for the call and I wasn’t that nervous because I knew in my gut it was my house to have. I moved into the house 3 months later….after having the entire house painted white (good-bye earth tones) to further bring out my old beat up dark hard wood floors, and spending most of Dec/Jan planning & shopping for the extra pieces I would need to furnish the new place. I worked like a mad woman but by the end of Feb it looked like I had lived there for a year already. I was home.
3) Now that the business was up and running and the house was on the books I called my old friend and told him it was time to do business with his new mobile marketing company. As it turned out the project he had in mind for me had the same timing as my preferred date for leaving my corporate role behind. The wheels were in motion.
Now came the part that gave me palpitations: putting a date in the calendar and working towards that. The friends and family who knew what I was planning were supportive but I know behind the scenes were worried or thought I was nuts. One conversation in particular stands out. My Mum was very worried about this decision now that I’d declared it, I’m her baby (I’m the youngest) now matter how old I am. She did (as she should) say to me “Do you think quitting is a good idea dear? You just bought a house and that’s a big mortgage”. I tried to put her mind at ease but she worries…she’s my mum and I love her for that. My Dad called me one night and also tried to talk me out of it (I’m guessing Mum put him up to it, although I know he was worried too..I am a Daddy’s girl after all, always was). I had a particularly depressing week at work and was beyond fed up so I responded in the most honest way I knew how…I said: “Dad, this job is sucking the life out of me bit by bit every day. I can’t live like this anymore”. My Dad’s response? In his thick Glaswegian accent he said: “Well hen, you have to dae it then.” The subject was never brought up again. That’s my parents, I’m a lucky lady.
What’s next? A leap of faith and date on the calendar……gulp.