This is a guest post from Allison, my yoga teacher. She writes about her experience transitioning from working in an office to becoming an entrepreneur and doing what she loves. Her business is focused on corporate yoga and personalized yoga therapy, and is based out of Portland, Oregon. She is starting a 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training program in January if you want to try teaching Yoga. Click on the logo below to check out her website.
A week before Christmas 2007, I was working as an office manager for a chiropractor when I received the largest Christmas bonus of my life. I should have been ecstatic, but somehow the weight of the check felt equal to the weight of the job. I didn’t realize how unhappy I was at my office job until I received that bonus. At that time I was also teaching three Yoga classes a week and when things got bad at the the chiropractor, I would just sit and daydream about the day I could teach Yoga full-time.
Christmas came and went and as the New Year approached, I had already applied for my business name with the Secretary of State. The first week of 2008, I took a huge risk and left my stable office manager job to pursue a career teaching Yoga to corporate clients. The SCORE division of the Small Business Administration assisted me in completing my business plan and I applied for a business loan with several banks.
Unfortunately for me at the time, it was very difficult to get a loan. I found myself without consistent income, and I knew I’d need enough money to cushion me for a few months as I gained clientele. I took another risk and called my credit card companies to access enough credit to get me through March (I gave myself three months to start my business…if it didn’t work by then, I would have to go back to “office life”).
This was my first challenge and it was a huge scare. What if I couldn’t find enough clients? What if I had to give up and go back to working a job I didn’t love?
I just continued with the plan. I sent out marketing materials. I posted my website. I cold-called human resource managers. I waited. And waited.
And, somehow it worked. By March I was teaching enough to make what I made at my previous office job.
Since then, there have been many ups and downs. I have added and lost clients. I have had to learn that there are times of the year that are more profitable than others, so I’ve had to learn to plan for those times. I have had to take care of things myself. All things. Health insurance. Savings. Taxes. Accounting.
Looking back, I would not change a thing. It was all part of my learning process (even the scary realization of “uh-oh, I just quit my job without any concrete plan to make income!”).
When I began this path, many people said to me, “When you work for yourself, you will work all the time.” I didn’t believe them. But in a way, it has been true. I am always thinking of my classes. I am always thinking of how to grow my business. I never “punch out.”
Because of this, the best advice I can give to someone else who is beginning in business is: do what you love. I love Yoga. I love teaching Yoga. So, even the mundane office administrative-type work I do, I enjoy. I enjoy invoicing my clients. I enjoy planning my classes. I even enjoy the many, many miles I drive to my clients’ offices (most days!).
I have weighed a heavy check given to me by someone else against the weight of a career I created for myself and it’s no contest. Do what you love!