It’s officially been one whole year (and 2 months) since I quit my full-time job – and boy has it been a crazy ride.
In 2015, Jarden and I both made it a goal to quit the traditional 9-5 lifestyle. He quit a while before I did, but I managed to leave my full-time job in September 2016. We wanted to work from home and create our own income streams, work according to our own schedule, and travel the world as much as we possibly could. You can read all about how and why we quit here.
The last 14 months were definitely a lot different than we expected. We had a lot of ups and downs, had a lot of wins and made a lot of mistakes, but ultimately learned a lot about ourselves as individuals and working professionals.
A lot of travel bloggers/influencers boast about the highlights of ditching the cubicle, but often leave out the depressing bits and occasional lows – I’m here to lay it all out and tell you exactly what the last year was like for us – the good and the bad.
14 Months Ago I Quit My Job…
As soon as I quit, I gained a newfound sense of freedom. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have to commit to waking up disgustingly early and sitting in traffic 5-6 days out of the week – it was an amazing feeling and I absolutely LOVED it. I felt excited and motivated to work on our businesses, as well as travel as much as we possibly could.
For the next few months, I was honestly living the dream. I took a girls trip to Las Vegas, followed by a 3 week trip to Australia and New Zealand.
2 months after that, we spent another 3 weeks in Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and France. Jarden and I traveled to more countries in a few months than I’ve been in my entire lifetime. It was everything I imagined it to be, and I still couldn’t believe it was happening!
As time went on, I did freelance work and created content for sponsorships and campaigns. Jarden’s Hawaii Drone company, EOS Film, successfully contracted work from shooting music videos to weddings. But even with all our partnerships, it proved difficult to secure consistent jobs that we could financially depend on 100%.
After our Europe trip, our dwindling savings really started to rear its ugly head. While we felt that we were doing an okay job, creating a steady income turned out to be a lot more difficult than we actually thought. Some months were amazing – we would do a certain job in one day for a client that paid as much as 2 weeks at my old FT job. Other months were tough, bringing in hardly any substantial work at all.
The bills started to add up quick. We learned the hard way that the entrepreneurial lifestyle can be very stressful and unstable, and sometimes I regretted our decision to quit when the finances got low.
Jarden eventually drove for Uber and Lyft to make some extra cash, and I did side work as a brand ambassador. While this wasn’t the most ideal situation, we didn’t mind a whole bunch as we were still working only when we wanted too.
In the summer we took another trip to Belize, Mexico, and Cuba, happy to be traveling again, but sad about the hole burning in our wallets. We decided that after this trip, we would take a break to see how we could improve with our finances and entrepreneurial goals.
Taking on temporary full-time jobs for a few months, we both supplemented working from home with some stable income. While I was hesitant and nervous to get back on a “9-5 schedule”, it was honestly one of the best things I could have done for a number of reasons.
One, I unexpectedly ended up falling in love with my temp. job at a retirement home as a programs coordinator. I never thought I could be so happy at a “normal” job, but it was the first place where my work didn’t feel like work. The environment was encouraging and positive, I loved getting to know my residents and hear their stories, and my coworkers/boss were some of the most kindest people I’ve ever met. (Plus, the hours were a lot better in terms of traffic!) I actually considered staying on full-time as I loved the job that much, but ultimately, I’m not ready to give up traveling the way we do.
At first, I thought going back to a ‘normal job’ equated failure. I was initially embarrassed to admit that I took on a traditional job less than a year after quitting, but I realized that I should have been proud of myself, instead of ashamed.
It took a lot for me to quit initially, and I know now that I should respect myself for at least taking that step and going after what I truly wanted. My temp. job helped me realize that there are so many undiscovered, potential opportunities out there, and so many different ways to find happiness and success.
Another benefit to temporarily going back to a traditional job was that it reignited the need to get ‘creative’ again, reminding us of our passion for filming, shooting, etc. The structure of working a 9-5 reminds us why we wanted to work for ourselves in the first place.
We discovered we made a bunch of mistakes, but we wouldn’t have learned certain valuable lessons otherwise. Sometimes you don’t know what works until you do it wrong, and with a fresh mindset, we are now more motivated than ever to continue to grow our businesses.
Implementing new strategies for the past couple of months, our shift has already given us some great results, with November being our best month for business yet. With our finances getting back to a comfortable amount, we are set to leave for Europe in a few days. (We are also already planning some jaunts around Asia for early 2018!)
It’s been a whirlwind of an adventure, sometimes stressful and unpredictable, but I’ve had the time of my life and experienced so much in such a short amount of time. We are so excited to continue this journey and can’t wait to document it all. <3