Quitting Your Job To Start A Business Is No Fairytale

quitting your job to start a business

We romanticise the shit out of quitting your job to start a business.

We imagine typing away on our laptop at the beach, glass of pinot in hand, as we watch the sun set and the dollars roll in.

Ads on social media will promise you can make $100k in 3 months, with no audience, and no clue.

They’re lying to you though. All of them.

That life is merely an illusion, and couldn’t be further from the harsh reality of starting and running your own business.

I quit my job in fashion to set out on a new path as a writer at the end of 2016.

My journey has been filled with the most unexpected adventures, highs & lows, and unbelievable personal growth.

I barely recognise the woman I was three years ago. In fact, it’s hard to recognise the woman I was just one year ago – that’s how steep this learning curve has been.

Back in 2017, I remember when I was still living with my parents, and being sat at the desk in my bedroom, head in my hands with tears streaming down my face; wondering how the hell I was going to make things work.

Where was my next client coming from?

How was I ever going to make enough money to move out and support myself?

Was I crazy to think I was good enough to do this?

I was also in a relationship at the time (we’re still together), and my partner Sam was in a similar place in his life, figuring out how to pave his own path. Not having our own place and space put a strain on our relationship, creating further friction in my world.

Although their hearts were in the right place, and they were doing me a huge favour allowing me to continue living with them, I felt suffocated by my parents, and desperately needed to escape for the sake of both my sanity and my art.

But 2017 was also the year that I wrote my first book, and saw it published. Writing a book was a dream I had as a little girl, and to watch that come true made my heart swell with love and pride.

Nothing comes close to the feeling of having an ambitious dream, obsessing over it for years, then watching it become a reality.

I wrote two more books that year. And I was in deeply humbled by the messages that rolled in from girls and women around the world, who had somehow found their way to my words, and shared how inspired and empowered they were by those pages I poured from my soul.

But by the end of that year, things were looking up. Sam and I had made the decision to move to Bali for the year, live together, and finally take advantage of being able to work remotely.

Money was trickling in for me, and continued to flow over the next year.

It felt like the lands of Bali were laced in ancient magic and fairy dust. I’d make a wish, close my eyes, then wake up and watch it come true.

I made the move into empowerment coaching, and landed my first client.

I decided I wanted to host my own women’s retreat, so I dreamed it, planned it, then watched it come true in Sri Lanka the following year.

There, I met three incredible strangers who felt called to journey across the world and join me, as we shared, laughed, learned, cried and healed together in sacred circle.

When I allow myself the joy of looking back at that retreat, I’m in awe of what I accomplished. I almost can’t believe I did that.

It began to feel as though I was having a deep impact on women’s lives, and that the work I was showing up to do mattered. That’s all I ever hoped for when I set out on this journey – to inspire and empower as many women as I possibly can in this lifetime.

But it’s so easy to forget the highs, when the lows are fighting for centre stage.

Clients have been lost along the way. Sometimes the money has dried up. Dreams I’ve dreamt haven’t come true, but fallen flat as a pancake on their face.

There are still days when I have no idea if I’ll be able to pay rent next month, or if I’ll have to go and get a real job (although at this point, I’m certain that I’m unemployable).

There are still days, like today, when tears flood my eyes, and I’m curled up in a ball with Sam’s arms around me, hearing him tell me everything’s going to be okay. And I struggle to believe him.

This is the reality of choosing the path less travelled.

You won’t know where you’re going, or how to get there, because nobody has ever walked this path before you.

Most days, you’ll find yourself throwing spaghetti at the wall, feeling like a raving lunatic, praying that something’s gonna stick, and soon.

So if you’re thinking of quitting your job to start your own business, I’m rooting for you my love, I am.

But don’t choose this life unless you’re ready for it.

Don’t choose this life unless you’re ready to walk into the fire, and not only stand in it, but get comfortable in it. As it burns everything you’ve ever known to ash, and ignites your rebirth.

Don’t choose this life unless you’re willing to take the highs with all of the lows. Because no matter how much you grow and how successful you are, there will always be lows.

Don’t choose this life mistaking it will be easy. I can promise it won’t be. It’ll be the hardest thing you ever do. But it will be worth it.

I wouldn’t change my decision for anything.

If I could go back and do things differently, I’d pass.

The past three years have been a rollercoaster, filled with change, growth, challenges, and uncertainties.

But these are the years where I feel like I’ve truly lived.

I woke up from a numbed, slumber of existence in a grey cubicle, packed my life up in a suitcase, and trusted that as long as I listened to the voice of my soul, I’d be okay.

And I was. I am. I’m more than okay. I’m living.

But living, I mean truly living, is scary. Most of us avoid it.

If you’re ready to say yes, your life is waiting for you, somewhere out there.

More from Shani Jay

Don’t Fit In If It Hurts

Don’t bend and twist yourself, to fit into other people’s shapes. You...
Read More