True story: "I resigned on the spot and never looked back"

True story: "I resigned on the spot and never looked back"

On Friday 3rd March this year, I made one of the most important decisions of my life.

I packed up my highlighters, emptied my drawers, gave away anything of value (teabags) and walked out of a steady $80,000 job.

You'd think that a major decision like this would have been hard to make.

I was working as a Content Marketing Manager for a large wine retailer and doing well. I could've done better, gone further and even collected my annual bonus if I'd stayed a month longer, but in truth, I just didn't want to.

So I came into work as usual, calmly handed in my notice, then stood in the staff kitchen waiting for the niggles of regret and doubt to set into the corners of my brain.

But they never did. And so for the first time in my life I experienced the unusual feeling of knowing I'd done exactly the right thing at the right time.

I felt like a Beyonce of the editorial and marketing world, breaking away from Destiny's Child to go solo, only instead of being Dangerously In Love, I was Dangerously Unemployed.

I had no other job lined up, no other income, just a vague idea about freelancing as a writer and graphic designer for a while.

Sensible cannot-be-in-any-debt me of 2014 would have thought I was off my rocker, but over the last year I'd started to see things differently and I wasn't entirely convinced I was happy any more.

I've always been career-driven, but I felt like my own personal problems were holding me back.

I'm generally an anxious person, and a trip to the doctors confirmed that the 3 hour-round-trip commute and frustrations in the workplace weren't exactly helping matters.

I was prescribed medication for anxiety and signed up to therapy sessions; but I didn't just want to cope with things, I wanted to change them for good - so seeing as it consumed 11 hours of my day every day, I started with work.

The support from others was overwhelming.

After floating the idea about, not a single person voiced a doubt or concern.

I was greeted with things like 'good for you!' and 'you'll be amazing' and 'you won't regret it!' and at this point I still didn't know if freelancing was the way I wanted to go.

I just needed some time out for my head.

But this support just kept growing and growing, until the point where I thought maybe, just maybe, I could do this.


By the time my last day came around, I'd been presented with motivational notebooks and pens (and gin) to see me off from the safe and stable corporate world into the unchartered territory of life as a sole trader.

I was now in no man's land, dodging the bullets of bills and bombs of a mortgage, only I didn't know if safe territory even existed on the other side.

For the first time, my brain clicked into worry mode and I thought 'oh sh*t'.

But I had all these notebooks and a bunch of smiley hopeful people waving me off, so I couldn't back out now.

On that first Monday by myself, I sat down and made a plan - a long list of things that would have been sensible to do whilst I was still working.

Yet instead, here I was writing it now, without any financial backing and only a tub of Ben & Jerry's to tell me that life was going to be okay.

I'd never felt so much like a child and adult at the same time. (Cookie dough in case you were wondering.)

Top of my list were things like 'redo portfolio' and 'set-up website', but despite my ice-cream fuelled prioritisation, these didn't quite go to plan.

See, I'd blabbed my mouth off to anyone who would listen about how I was quitting work and giving freelance a shot, so by the time that first week came around, I'd already had a few emails about projects from various people I know and numbers 1 & 2 on the list had to take a backseat.

But that wasn't a bad thing - I figured I could just revisit them a week later, right? Wrong.

That first week I started off with a branding project for a friend.

The next, I was given a heads up about a company who were looking for freelance writers and was put in touch with the Editor.

The week after that, I was given some banners to design for a fashion company another friend worked at…. and so it carried on like this.

I kept gaining new projects through word of mouth, and each time I did a good job this would lead to more work.

Since that first week, I've been busy almost every single day with different projects and clients.

More people I know keep getting in touch, and new people and companies who I don't know are finding me through my LinkedIn profile.

I'm also on the books with a few recruiters for freelance and contract work, again who found me through LinkedIn, so don't neglect your profile if you're thinking about taking the plunge too!

Photo: herworldPLUS

I generally work from my makeshift home office (aka kitchen table) from 8 in the morning through to 8pm at night.

It seems like a lot of hours, but the difference is, I can get up and go for a coffee down the road anytime I want, or have a 20-minute nap if I'm hungover.

I can take a day off in the week to binge Netflix and work a Sunday or extra hours the next day instead.

I've got time to do things again. I run in the mornings, do aerobics in my garden, slide on the kitchen floor in my bed socks, get hair appointments in the day, be on time to meet friends in the evening, and go to an event for the blog I also write for.

Most importantly, I don't have the stress of having to get up at 6.15am, catch three packed tubes, a train and walk for 20 minutes just to arrive at my desk a sweaty, stressed ball of goo.

But of course, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't had my moments.

I've had to learn how to register a business, conduct extensive googling on trading under my own name vs a company name, and become an expert in taxes and accounting, which isn't ideal for someone whose savings live inside a ceramic pig moneybox.

I have to consider cash-flow, negotiations, contracts and invoices and it's tough, but I get so much satisfaction back from my clients being happy that it's worth it a hundred times over.

I also thought I'd struggle with the social aspect of having a full-time office job.

Not having anyone to bounce ideas off, or speculate with about who left the giant poo in the girls' bathroom.

But freelancing is a whole community in itself, and once I got out there into the big wide world, I started to see so many other macbook-yielding nomads just like me, exhausting every coffee shop within a 7-minute radius.

I've even joined a neighbourhood group with other freelancers and a group of us are looking at sharing rented desk spaces nearby, so the support is out there wherever you may be.

Photo: herworldPLUS

So that brings us up to today.

Four months after that big Bey moment, I'm now inching ever closer to what I was earning in full-time employment.

I'm at a point where I've got regular client work and numbers 1 and 2 on my list are almost completed (only 4 months late, but hey!).

With my own branding finished (finally) and website ready to launch (also finally), I'm mega excited to start marketing my business properly for the first time - and if I've come this far without any proactive action, I can't wait to see what happens when I do start taking some.

Right now, I'm sitting at my desk and I've been stuck on this sentence for 5 minutes because I keep stopping to sing Shake It Off out loud along to the radio with jazz hands.

Being your own boss has its perks sometimes, and you know what?

I couldn't be happier. Now, if only I could give myself that bonus…

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