…at least this is how I did it.
August 1, 2012: Today is the day. It has been circled on my calendar for quite a while. I have been living a double life for almost two years now. For the most part it has been a fun challenge balancing my two worlds but it has also been tough. To those who know me personally, I am the straight A student, bookworm-girl who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and worked very hard in the hotel industry for the past ten years to climb the corporate ladder. And I have reached a certain level of success; One would say I have a ‘cushy’ day job. And I can’t complain…but I also can’t settle for 9 to 5 for the rest of my life…
I have walked a very tight rope this past 18 months and rarely do the worlds collide (save for a few employees googling me then subsequently walking into my office shocked- which is always a hysterical and awkward moment).
By day I am a hotel manager for Hilton in a suit and heels…
And the rest of the time…Well it’s probably who most of you know me as.
It’s hard to believe my journey into fitness has been just a hobby up until now, but it has. I was never a model, never wore a bikini to the beach because I was too insecure and up until now have been a normal girl with a career and a ‘normal’ life. Competing in a bikini competition early 2011 opened up a lot of doors for fitness modeling, and as I kept competing and making more and more contacts in the industry, I realized how much I enjoyed this ‘other life.’ But I was not going to be that girl that quit her day job to pursue modeling in LA, plus my mother would have been very upset. So I decided to balance my time and do both as long as I could. But the more I talked to people through social media about my journey and gave fitness/nutrition advice I realized I loved helping people reach their goals.
And that is where I am at today. I am a certified personal trainer newly living in LA, starting my first day at the Equinox in Santa Monica today and am so nervous/excited/scared/anxious etc to start my next chapter. I believe you need to make room for success in your life and luck is nothing more than preparation meeting opportunity. I want to share with you what I learned through this process and hope that if any of you are thinking about turning in your 9 to 5 to be your own boss and share your passion with the world, that this helps- even just a little bit.
Don’t quit your day job…YET
It is a big decision there is no denying it, so don’t rush it. There were many times in the past year where I was exhausted going straight from working one job to the other with no break. Or times of great success in opportunity in fitness that I was itching to make it my sole gig. But I am glad I waited because it allowed me to get myself in a position to be successful. With the security of a job and a paycheck you can take that time to ‘get ready’. Study for that certification, research your industry or competitors, go back to school etc. Whatever it is you want to pursue do as much as you can on the side with the security of a job, it will take the pressure off a bit. With that said, remember: If you wait to do anything until you are sure it’s right, you probably won’t do much of anything. There will not be a perfect moment to make the plunge, so at some point you will have to make the call, but there is a finesse to timing the transition so be patient, but not complacent.
Follow your passion, but listen to your gut.
Passion is great. People say if you do something you love, you won’t work a day in your life. Or do what you love and the money will follow. And I have to say I agree; sometimes watching the clock from 8 to 5 was miserable but working on diet and training plans till all hours of the night was strangely enjoyable. But passion isn’t everything, you need to follow your instincts as well. Sure shooting for magazines and exercise DVDs was so much fun I felt guilty getting paid, but my gut told me that is not a sustainable career. You have to take calculated risks and incorporate what you love into a solid career plan.
Gather your tribe.
Don’t do it alone. FUD will consume you (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). Also, as passion projects usually go, you might be too close to it to get an objective,business-minded view. As uncomfortable as it made me, I was honest with my boss at work from Day 1 and her support and advice and flexibility is one of the main reasons I have the courage to make this move to begin with (thank you Kristi). And telling my friends, family and a few strangers about my dreams and plans gave me a new perspective and fine tuned some of my ideas. Sounding board, support group, shoulder to lean on; I don’t care what you call them but you need them. Tell people close to you what you are considering doing and talk about it often, their encouragement, advice and sometimes tough love will be invaluable. When I got the text from my mom telling me to ‘go for it’ I knew the time was right.
Remember: No Risk…No Reward.
It is exhilarating and awesome to think of a future where work feels like play and money comes easy. But just remember, it will still require hard work to create your empire. There will be times (probably many) where the money is slow to come. Courage is letting go of the familiar and getting up after every failure. So be courageous and know that you are staying true to you and sharing your passion with the world and stick it out. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. So I hope you will try..and try again and again if you have to.
Trust me, it’s worth it.