My eyes flash open. I roll over and check the clock. Fifteen minutes before my alarm goes off. My heart starts to race. Dread sets in. The thought of putting my foot down off the side of the bed to start another day at the office floods my soul with anxiety. It doesn’t matter how hard I wish, I simply cannot stop the passage of time. The inevitable will arrive. The second I put that foot down I vow to myself that today will be different. Today I would leave my career in pursuit of my passions.
I’m digressing a bit from my normal topics to discuss why I’ve been less than available these past couple of months. The thing is, I’ve got an exciting announcement to make. I pulled the plug on an 11 ½ year career in order to pursue a career in freelance. Fox in the Forest is officially a registered LLC here in the state of Colorado. In a nutshell, you’re looking at a brand new small business owner. Yet another internet cliché for the books!
I Did Not Quit My Job to Travel the World
Unlike most of the dime a dozen I-Quit-My-Job-In-Pursuit-of-Happiness blog posts, I don’t plan on being a digital nomad. Not that I have anything against digital nomads, heck, if I was less established here in Colorado I would probably be one. However, it’s just not the life for me.
I still have a mortgage, you can still send me snail mail, and my dog is still by my side. I just want a little more freedom. Freedom to explore when I want and how I want. For whatever reason, I have hangups with being told that I need to work a certain number of hours a day and have a certain amount of time I’m allowed to take off.
Will I be taking time to work remotely? Absolutely. But I’m not planning to sell everything I own and start over. Being your own boss means a lot of different things, but one thing it ensures is that you’re ultimately in charge of how and where you spend your day.
Building a business may not sound like freedom. Being a business owner usually falls under the category of no money, no time, and loads of stress. But here’s the secret: It doesn’t feel that way if you hold yourself accountable. Setting your own boundaries actually increases your productivity. Sure, I have long days. Yes, I worry about money. However, I’m able to stop what I’m doing and go climbing. Or get chores done in between queries. I can even take advantage of amazing weather and get out on a hike during the week. Find a good deal on airfare to an awesome destination? Sure thing! I can work from anywhere. In fact, I just booked a ticket to Malaysia this fall.
What Are You Doing?
Surprise! I’m a writer. I focus on content and copy writing. My niche markets include outdoor recreation, travel, architecture, construction and design. In laymen’s terms, I write the stuff you see on brochures, blogs, web pages, proposals, press releases, ads, you name it! Someone’s got to write it.
A lot of people ask if I am going to be a journalist. I am certainly chasing journalism work in the outdoor market as well as adventure travel pieces. These are pieces I truly enjoy writing, and I’ll be sure to let you know when some of my works-in-progress become published.
I also dabble in social media management and graphic design. Although these aren’t skills I market first, they are tasks I am perfectly capable of handling. In fact, a few of my projects currently in the works utilize this skill set.
How Did You Know when to Quit Your Job?
I get asked this a lot. Honestly, it was hard to tell. Looking back on it I’ve been unhappy as an architect since my second year of grad school. That was 8 years ago. I always struggled to find happiness in the profession. I’m not the kind of person that can get through a job without feeling passionate about it. Believe me, I truly envy those people sometimes. However, determined to finish what I started I decided to go after my license last year. Once I got it I realized that this simply wasn’t my calling.
I cannot stress the importance of being honest with yourself. A lot of people look at me sideways when I tell them it took me 8 years to get here. Life is messy. Stuff happens, you simply don’t realize what’s going on when you are in the thick of it. I spent a good long time thinking that it was where I was working, not what I was doing.
Furthermore, I grew up in a family that holds tight the traditional life path. Grow up, go to school, find a career, work for a firm, meet someone, get married, have kids. There was no “other way.” I traveled rather far down this path. Little known fact about me, I was once engaged to a guy who wanted just that. A traditional “secure” life. That simply isn’t who I am. It took me quite a while to realize that I was not wrong for disliking where I ended up. Nothing bad existed within me. I simply want something different. Being untraditional in life is often frowned upon, but that doesn’t mean you have to fit some mold you do not belong in.
What Does it Take?
A lot. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a sociopath or is simply lying. In fact, it’s probably much simpler to choose to be unhappy at a desk job. It took me five years to save enough money to feel confident enough to quit my job. I wrote two business plans. I had more meetings with various people across different industries than I can count. My free time was spent in classes with the Small Business Development Center in Colorado. In a nutshell, I made a plan and executed it.
Since I’ve quit I’ve felt every emotion, nearly every single day. I’m strong then utterly terrified. Hopeful then doubting myself. Motivated and infinitely exhausted. The process is exhilarating. I’ve contemplated if what I’m doing is actually going to work, or if I’m on some crazy downward spiral. Your entire mindset has to shift or you will fail. Being constantly optimistic despite all of the challenges can become extremely taxing. But at the end of every piece of bad news, something new arises. In order to succeed, you must constantly look towards the positive and chase the next opportunity with the same sense of optimism and enthusiasm that you started with.
Despite all the work and emotional turmoil, I’ve still had to maintain a normal life, pay my bills on time, and of course get my adventure on. Sleep and moments of downtime are precious. However, I no longer have that tightness in my chest or the dread to let my feet touch the ground each morning. Every day brings a new challenge and every day I know that I’m working towards something that is entirely my own. Building the life you want takes endless effort. However, as each day passes I’m one step closer to making that dream a reality.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past several years it’s life has a crazy way of working itself out. Every day more unique doors open to me. It’s tough to determine where I will end up. What I do know is that I am exactly where I need to be.