Taking the plunge: how I left the corporate world and became my own boss
Many of you know me as an Energy Healer, a Hypnotherapist, a Life Coach and an Intuitive Reader. Those I most certainly am. But did you know that I have a 20+ year corporate background and own a successful management consulting company?
Did you also know that I work less now that I had when I worked at my corporate job? I go on hikes, do yoga, meditate and travel, all while making enough money to enjoy my life.
How do I do all that, you ask? Well, I really love what I do, my work brings me pleasure and at the end of the day I am happy, energized and inspired. I love my intuitive side and also my logical side and together, they bring me balance.
I feel happy and fulfilled. I am in charge of my day, I set my own hours and I choose what to do and when to do it. Life is amazing now.
Yet this was not always so.
Growing up in a Soviet raised family where the mentality is such that everyone works for “the man,” I knew my path clearly. I would finish high school, go to a good college, get a corporate job that I don’t hate too much, excel in my field, take advantage of the 401K and insurance, grow old, retire and well… die. In this reality, the difference between earning a meager living and a good living is simply the type of job you have.
This was a blessing and a curse.
The good part of that was that I had a plan. I knew that I had to excel in school in order to get into a good college and then do well in college so that a good company would want to hire me. This kept me out of trouble, for the most part. I went to class, did my homework, hung out with friends. I did what was expected of me and I did it well. There was no question in my mind that this is the way to go.
Alternate possibilities did not exist for me. Not going to college, not getting a corporate job was never a part of my future. The fact that I could and would run my own businesses never entered my conscience. There were no entrepreneurs in my family back then. Everyone made the best they could out of working for the boss.
I fulfilled my mission with flying colors. Even before I graduated college I had three job offers, each one at a large successful company. I chose Cerner (leading provider of healthcare IT Solutions) because I wanted to move from Boston to Orange County and Cerner gave me the opportunity to live anywhere I wanted.
My first title was Systems Engineer. My first raise came within six months. I traveled the country, visited amazing blues bars in Kansas City, explored small towns in middle America. I went to Australia twice. All this happened before I was 25 years old. A series of other prestigious corporate jobs in the IT sector followed.
I never hated any my jobs, I excelled at every one of them. But I never loved any of these jobs either. My job was always “work.” It was never something that I would do for free. It was an exchange.
Caroline Myss says that each one of us embodies four survival archetypes: Child, victim, saboteur and prostitute. (An architype is a concept first introduced by Carl Jung. Archetypes represent universal images and patterns that are part of the collective unconscious.) My corporate job was where I got to play out my prostitute archetype. It was where I was willing to sacrifice my time and my passion for money. I was OK with that mainly because I saw no other alternative. Also, a corporate job was secure. I knew where my next paycheck was coming from and did not have to worry about health insurance.
I knew I could do more. I knew there was more within me than a simple nine to five drone. I was sure of it! But did not know where to even start looking.
Then a tragedy happened, my mom passed away and as often happens I began to rethink my life. I started to attend meditation and personal growth classes. Soon I found what eluded me my entire life – my passion. I found the one thing that I would gladly do for free. I found a job that was not “work.” I found an activity that fed my soul and that I could make a living from.
This was (and still is) my passion: helping people achieve their goals, motivating them to be their happier self and reach success in all aspects of their lives, through hypnotherapy, energy healing and life coaching.
I finally had a calling and I knew that I needed to heed this calling by opening my own business. It did not come without trepidation. I had my share of fears and anxiety about not being able to pay my bills and about losing my house. I also had my share of critics who couldn’t understand why I would want to leave my boring, but very secure and easy job, with a solid pay check and wander off into a world of uncertainty. But despite all the fears, criticism and unpredictability, I had to do it! I knew it would somehow all work out and bring me happiness and peace!
I did not quit my job right away. I had a plan to grow my clientele to the point where I could support myself. It took some doing and working two jobs at a time, so there were sacrifices and it was not all rainbows and unicorns. Once I started, my business grew quickly. I created a financial cushion through a separate “rainy day” bank account, which helped alleviate some of my financial fears.
After a few years, I was ready and took the plunge. I quit my corporate job!
Then an interesting thing happened. Other entrepreneurs started to come to me asking for help with their business. That was when I realized what a gift those decades in the corporate world were. I knew how to make a website, how to organize operations, I was familiar with sales, marketing and training. And I knew how to apply all of that knowledge to produce results in any industry.
I teamed up with Galina Prodelaylo, my good friend, whose corporate story is similar to mine except she reached her heights in the corporate finance and strategy areas. At that time she had been running her own successful financial consulting and entrepreneur coaching company and she was looking to expand into other business sectors.
We formed two companies: Management Strategies Consulting, providing small business management consulting and new entrepreneur advisory services, and Mjucation, providing business consulting services to entrepreneurs in the burgeoning California marijuana business space.
Almost immediately we were asked to bid on several lucrative contracts and we were on a roll.
One day, while on an eighteen mile hike up Modjeska Mountain we had an epiphany. If we could find our passions and turn them into profitable businesses then so can other people. It’s not a hard thing to do, it just takes desire, direction and action.
Since our distance between idea and execution is short and the hike was long, we had a plan by the end of the day. We took business concepts, modern brainstorming and the latest mindfulness/meditation techniques and combined them into a seminar that would help each attendee find his or her business idea. (You can read about the seminar here.)
When we pitched this idea to our friends and clients, the response was tremendously positive; we decided to go live with the idea.
So here I am today, an IT expert, a hypnotherapist, an energy healer, a coach, a management consultant, a business owner, and a teacher. I set my own schedule, pick my own clients and travel whenever I want to. This past summer I traveled to Texas, Chicago, Boston, Reno, Sedona and attended Burning Man. Some of these travels were for pleasure, others for business and yet others combined both. I had a great time at each destination and made some amazing friends, all while making money.
When my 89 year old grandfather came out for a visit, I took a week off to be with him. Together we went sky diving. The photo you see in post was taken while skydiving with Grandpa.
I am no longer a corporate drone attached for some nine to five schedule. I decide when I workout, when I go to yoga, when I hike, when I see my friends and when I work.
Finally, after two decades working for the man, I am free, truly happy, and actually living my life!
How about you, do you have dreams? Are you moving toward your goals? For those of you who are interested in having your own business, but have not yet gotten there, what would it take to get you there? Would love to hear your stories.