Happy Friday! Today I’m really excited to share a new feature here on XO Sarah. You’ve heard all about my escape from a corporate world and now I’m going to share stories from a few other freelance badasses who have made the escape as well! I’ve got a bunch of fantastic ladies lined up and will be posting a new interview every other Friday.
Today I’ve got Ashley from Your Super Awesome Life sharing how she left the 9 to 5 to become a coach helping others create a business they love!
Tell us about yourself and what you do
Hi! I’m Ashley, a coach, blogger, and lover of all things pink + sparkly. I created my little corner of the internet, Your Super Awesome Life, to help women live a super awesome life while creating a freedom-based business. Basically, that means I help women start/launch/grow their own business so that they can be their own boss and work from an island surrounded by palm trees, if that’s their dream. We set up an action plan to build their business in a way that doesn’t make them feel stressed out or overwhelmed in the process.
I believe that we all deserve to wake up feeling completely excited about the work we’re doing and how we’re contributing to the world, so I’ve made it my mission to help other women feel that way too.
How long ago did you make the escape?
Almost exactly a year ago! I began creating Your Super Awesome Life in December 2011, but I officially quit my job as a non-profit counselor in February 2013.
What roadblocks did you face when preparing to leave your job?
My biggest struggle was saving up enough money to feel “secure,” which really is a big load of bologna. I mean, I’m not sure there is a number I could have had in my savings that made me feel confident walking away from a steady paycheck and into the unknowns of owning a business.
Once I figured that out, it was a matter of working on myself, getting clear about what I wanted, and setting up a plan to make that happen. For me, that meant lots of yoga, journaling, and limiting my Sunday morning brunch dates to stick to my budget.
How did you know you were ready?
I knew over a year before I finally walked away that it was time for me to leave. I was feeling exhausted, emotionally drained, and burnt out with the 9-5 structure. I made a pact with myself when I was in graduate school that I would never stay at a job I didn’t love, so when I started feeling those hints of apathy, I knew it was time to move on. That’s when I began creating Your Super Awesome Life. A few months later, when I sure I wanted to continue working as a coach, I decided to pick a date and turned in my letter of resignation.
What is the best part of being your own boss?
The freedom! I love being able to set my own schedule and work when and how I want. If I want to sleep in on Monday morning or spend Thursday afternoon watching House Hunters, I totally can. And being able to work from anywhere is pretty awesome too. Right now I’m in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in a few weeks I’ll be in L.A., and then I’m heading to Austin. My adventurous spirit is so happy about this.
What challenges have come up?
It’s tough to explain what I do to my family and friends. Sometimes I think they imagine that I sit at home all day playing on Facebook, so that’s frustrating. Another big challenge is managing my money and figuring out the whole “self-employment taxes” situation. Thankfully this is getting easier as I grow my business and book more clients, but it was a big fear in the beginning.
What are your work days like now?
Slow. Warm. Inspiring. Fulfilling.
I’m not much of a morning person, but I try to wake up around 7am, so I have an hour or so to wake up slowly with a cup of coffee. Once the caffeine has kicked in, I begin replying to important emails from clients, scheduling tweets and Facebook updates for the day, and looking over my schedule and To Do list in my planner. I grab a quick breakfast, usually a green smoothie or toast and an egg. If the weather is nice, I lace up my sneakers and go for a run while listening to the Joy the Baker podcast or Taylor Swift’s RED album.
By 10am I sit down at my desk to get to work. This is when I write blog posts, create new products, or work on any marketing material for upcoming projects. Most of my coaching clients are scheduled for the afternoon, so then I settle in for a few hours of digging deep and setting up action items. I try to close up shop by 5pm each day, but once or twice a week I have a call scheduled for the evening. When that happens, I’ll close my laptop and take a break and read a personal/biz development book later in the afternoon. This week it’s Think and Grow Rich.
Once I’ve wrapped up my calls, I write out a to do list for the following day, reply to any urgent emails, and feel incredibly grateful that I’ve created this job I love.
If you’d like more Ashley in your life check out her blog a YourSuperAwesomeLife.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook! She’s also about to launch a digital guide for new coaches & creatives called Jump: Into your business, your life, your dream, which will teach you how to start a business, find your niche, brand like a pro, and make the jump with confidence.