Why I quit my $500k job
WHEN I turned 30 I started feeling depressed.
I was in a good job and a happy marriage, but I felt like the work I was doing was not my life's work. I knew that I was put on Earth for something other than selling advertising software.
Do you feel me on that one? If not, I high-five you that your job meets all of the needs you have for personal and professional fulfilment. Because that's rare.
In 2014, I was working as a sales director for a Fortune 500 company. But if you met me after I'd started my evening and weekend side hustle, I'd have introduced myself as a life coach. By this time in my life I'd read over 500 self-help books and was already coaching people in my life far and wide (for free). Friends wanting salary negotiation advice. Colleagues seeking counsel for marriage problems. Families hoping to resolve conflict among themselves. I was the go-to.
And so, I decided to hit weekend coaching classes at the local New York University to see what else I could learn about the field. (I'm Australian, but I've been living in the States developing my career.) Then - in a brave act of faith - I put myself "out there" as a life coach for clients seeking "positive transformation in their lives". I kept it as simple as that.
My side hustle brought be tremendous joy. And it became lucrative, fast.
When I started out I was making an extra $4000+ per month pretty quickly, limited only by my hours as a full-time employee with a tonne of travel and after-hour client entertainment. But, I knew that my potential was just scratching the surface. Because when you work with passion, it's incredible how magnetic you become to prospects.
And I knew this was the career for me. It felt right. What would it mean to you, to do work that just feels right?
The interesting part was I was earning $500,000 a year in my job. Part of me felt tremendous guilt for wanting more, especially because I grew up on welfare. Why couldn't I just shut up and be happy?
But here's the thing - my income (like most things in life) wasn't guaranteed. It was mainly commission-based because I was in a sales role. Would I earn it again the next year? Was my job even guaranteed? You never have such a thing as job security as an employee anymore.
Plus, my income became much harder to maintain year after year as goals just keep increasing (thanks boss), and I kept having to jump through higher hoops to meet targets.
It wasn't a matter of "turn up next year, do the same work and get paid the same", it was "turn up next year and significantly increase your output if you want to get paid the same".
But you know what doesn't happen when you work for yourself? No glass ceiling! No income caps! No annoying meetings where you have to play politics! No worrying about lay-offs! No …. nothing. Nothing that you don't choose.
When I explained how much I was earning from my side hustle to a teacher friend of mind back then, he said: "Susie, if you're doing that at your income, I should really be doing it at mine."
I hated my salary being at the whim of people above me. I hated being told what to do, too. I felt dissatisfied, uncomfortable, rebellious even. If you feel that way too, no matter your career lane, you're probably a natural entrepreneur.
And there's good news. Side hustling has become the new normal. The 2016 NBN Side Hustle report calls it "a trend taking the nation by storm" with eight out of 10 Australians looking for fulfilment outside of their 9-5 job. That's 80 per cent of us! Woah. It means there's no better time to begin.
I'm not telling you to quit your job. I'd never tell anyone to do that. But I am telling you to protect your financial future and spiritual sanity.
Side hustling is the now. Not the distant future. It's not a nice idea - it's necessary. If you're good at something that others find valuable - helping friends get fit, making jewellery, helping less organised people in your life arrange their closet or plan a party, creating gorgeous Instagram photos - you're a side hustle success story waiting to happen.
And you don't have to follow the status quo. Your friends and colleagues may choose misery over uncertainty, but you don't have to be one of them.
Now, I make at least the same amount I made in my former job. And it's just the beginning. I hope you'll join the ever-growing and inclusive club.
Susie Moore is an Australian high-performance coach, consultant and author based in New York. She's been featured on the Today show, Forbes, Oprah.com and more. If you're curious about starting (or scaling) your side hustle, sign up for her free workshop here.