“Leaving your comfort zone is hard. Being broke is hard. Choose your hard.”
I’ve searched and scoured trying to find out who said this quote, because it resonates so loudly with me, but I’ve come up empty. Why do I love this quote so much?
Six months ago, I was leaving my job at the hospital to pursue a stepping stone to my dream job, (or what I thought was a good stepping stone to that dream job), all the while working as a tutor, babysitter, and online virtual assistant. I was finally going to be able to work towards being financially stable, and not living paycheck to paycheck, eating ramen and shopping the sales fliers for the cheapest generics.
Imagine my surprise when I got to my “stepping stone” on my first day, and it was complete chaos, not to mention not what I was hired to do. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Should I give it longer than a week chance, and hope to not go bald from pulling my hair out? Should I apply for my old job at a former employer who is hiring again? Or, should I use my skillset and take a chance on an “online” job that may or may not pan out?
After a few days of talking it over with my boyfriend (would we still be able to pay our bills, spend time together, make a living this way?), weighing the pros and cons, and some significant hair loss, I decided to take a leap of faith and take the online job. I had already been working online for a few years, whether I was doing voice acting for podcast commercials, managing social media accounts, or being a virtual gopher here and there, I knew it could be a sink or swim situation. I felt like I was prepared to give it a chance. Plus, being a dog mom to five, (yes, five!), furry babies and being able to work from home would give me time to spend with them, and my boyfriend of course.
So I did it. I accepted the online job. It was only about sixteen hours a week so I figured I would have to still do some other side jobs to make up the difference from what I was making before at the hospital, and what I would make from this job.
At first, I set up my day as if I were at a typical nine to five job. In the morning I’d wake up, take care of the dogs, greet my boyfriend as he came home from working third shift, and by nine I was settled into my office ready to work. What I didn’t expect….
The day to go by so slooooowly. My online job was to answer phones and manage a calendar along with client and employee interactions. I should have thought of it before, but I quickly found out that I didn’t need to block out that nine to five block of time. After a few weeks, I had the schedule down pat. Wake up, check messages, reply. Eat lunch, check messages, reply. Of course, if a call or something came in during the in between spots, I took care of it. I found that I had plenty of time for other things, so I started researching how I could turn my online job into a business. I’d heard of virtual assistants before, and I had done some VA work, but never put much thought into doing that as my full time job.
October ended, November ended, and in December I added two more clients to my list. In that timeframe I had gotten everything set up as far as equipment, legalities, etc. I finally told a few friends what I have been doing for work, because let’s be honest, I didn’t tell them before when I was having my sink or swim moment. So far they were all supportive, even if a little confused on how it all worked.
January rolled around. Three months into my “work at home” new lifestyle. I’m creating our budget for the month and realize-we’re making progress! We have managed to catch up on most of the bills we were struggling with. February comes in fast-I swear, it snuck up on me and in a blink of an eye it was almost over.
Now it’s March, six months into my “work at home” life, and we’re completely caught up (and in some cases ahead) on bills! I’m making more now working part time hours than I was working at any full time job I’ve had. Our dogs are happier-they’re getting wayyy more treats (note to self, maybe cut down on the treats…oh who am I kidding, that’s not happening), and they get to spend less time in their kennels. They don’t have to be in the kennel during the time when I’d be headed to work before my boyfriend got home from work. Speaking of my boyfriend, I actually have more time to spend with him. I’m excited to finally feel like I’m “making it” as an adult.
So what have I learned from taking a leap of faith?
It can be scary. You don’t know if it will be a success or failure. You don’t know if it will be “worth it”.
You won’t know until you try.
So if you’re wondering if you should take a leap of faith or step outside of your comfort zone, I say weigh the pros and cons-and if the pros outweigh the cons, go for it. Another quote I like? “Nothing good ever happens in your comfort zone.”