Lessons I learned in my first year after I quit my job

In just a couple of days I’m celebrating my first year of no job. Well, at least no job in the traditional sense so I will call it no job/ entrepreneurial venture because it was only in the last couple of months that I really transitioned to entrepreneur.

Of course this one year celebration calls for some meditation and analysis on how the past 12 months shaped me, what I learned, how I grew. I am definitely not the same person I was when I quit my job but I cannot say I had a complete make over.  In all fairness this year did teach me some valuable lessons that I, as a narcissistic self righteous person, would like to share with you:

  1. Do not expect results if you do not put in the work. This is something that in theory I knew but IRL it’s not such an easy lesson to learn. It took me most of my year to actually realise that spending my time on the couch and binge watching TV shows will not help me get where I want to be. My business won’t magically self start and customers won’t throw their money at me just because I want them to.
  1. Quitting your job is the easiest part.
  1. Give yourself time to adjust to your new situation. I don’t believe in those super humans that make a drastic change in their life from one day to another. I mean OK if you had a business in the working and then you quit your job, I get that the next day you can pick up things and go on easily. But for most people the shock of “what am I doing with my days now that no one is telling me what to do” is a bit overwhelming. At first I thought it was something wrong with me, that I am not cut out for the entrepreneurial life style. Luckily, I have friends that told me that it’s absolutely normal to be lost in the beginning. So yeah, give yourself some time and cut yourself some slack. You’re changing your life. It’s huge and you need to process it on your own terms.
  1. When adjusting turns into procrastination it’s time to kick your ass into working.
  1. Find role models and let them inspire you. During my adjusting period I wanted to do a lot of things but Evil Lady Procrastination was kinda getting in my way. That’s when I discovered Brooke Saward from World of Wonderlust. I mean this girl does everything: writes, takes photos, makes videos. She turned her blog into the no.1 travel blog, has one of the most influential instagram accounts and her videos are super cute. Everything while traveling. This  made me realise that I am a sloth and I am wasting my time. So yeah, fight that urge to envy people for what they accomplished and turn them into a good example for yourself.
  1. Never ask anyone what they want to buy from a pharmacy. I don’t think this has anything to do with this year of my life but I realised that it’s really inappropriate to ask someone why they need to go to a pharmacy.
  1. Your skin will get thicker. I’ve dealt with a lot of shit this year. From people telling to my face that I’m not gonna make it or my business will not work. Or that I am stupid for not making a business plan. Or people thinking I am not doing anything the entire day. Or I received inappropriate requests from tourists. Or people telling me what they think I should do. Or realising that your people are not really taking you seriously. Oh my gosh this list could go on and on! Fortunately I am a bit of a tough cookie to break so not a lot of things got through to me. But even so, learning not to care about anyone’s opinion may have been one of the hardest things I needed to get through this year.
  1. People will confuse you with a free travel planner. Since I quit my job and word got around that I went into the traveling business I was asked to look for vacations for just about anybody. While I don’t mind doing it for my family and friends or a person I am fond of, I will not do it for the cousin of a friend of a friend of whomever. This is my job, ok? I make a living out of it. The same way you have to pay for getting a haircut, you have to pay for someone spending their time to look for a vacation for you.
  1. Developing a work routine is essential. One year ago I had this idyllic image in my head that I will wake up early in the morning. Smile while the warm rays of sunshine touch my face. Put on nice clothes, get my dog and my laptop, go to a nice coffee place to enjoy a coffee while ideas would just flow out of my hands straight into my laptop. Everything was pink and puffy into this imaginary world of mine. I. WAS. AN. IDIOT. The only thing out of this picture that I sometimes nail is the waking up part. I usually spend my days in my pj’s, wrestling procrastination urges to try to complete my never ending to-do lists. I’ve been through an impressive number of work routines and none of them stuck with me. This is work in progress, I will get back to you on this one.
  1. Don’t expect others to understand. Building your business means that you leave the scene of what is generally perceived as normal life. Working hours change, priorities change, interests change, you change. But this doesn’t mean that the people around you change. Suddenly you have to explain why Saturdays are not week end days anymore and why you need to stay in on a Friday because there’s still something you have to take care of. Or why you are no longer available so often on FB or why you don’t care about things you used to care. Basically, at this point, not loosing friends is a very sensitive topic.
  1. It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster. Some days are so good that I see rainbows and unicorns all over the place. I smile on the street to complete strangers and live in wonderland. Some days are so shitty that I feel like eating Bambi.
  1. If you put yourself out there expect a lot of “constructive criticism”. Everyone will have an opinion on what you do and how you should do it.
  1. Tinder dates suck.

That’s enough wisdom for now. Do you have any questions for me? I’m game! Have you been through similar experiences? Do tell!


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2 thoughts on “Lessons I learned in my first year after I quit my job

  1. My God, this is spot on! I just recently celebrated my one year of freelancing at the end of September. Ohh boy, what a year! I can relate to each and every lesson you enlisted (well, except the Tinder part). What I’ve experienced as an active freelancer is that have to explain in detail for each and every person I know/meet about who pays me, how I get my work, where, how, when?? And a gazillion other questions to answer..(it’s exhausting). And of course, I don’t fall under any normal categories found here in Romania. When we Christened our grandson, the priest put me under “unemployed” because there weren’t any other options in the form except for “housewife”. Still don’t know which is more humiliating.. Anyways, great article (gotta love your humor), and just one piece of advice: YOU GO GIRL! (also, if you ever think of widening your horizons and ventures towards Transylvania, you know where to find me) 🙂

    1. Your comment made my day! Thank you! I know all about the struggle of explaining what I do. I guess it’s still very new for Romania. I have the feeling sometimes that it makes people uncomfortable. They don’t know where to put you exactly. Quite funny actually. I may be coming towards Transylvania in late November but it’s not decided yet. Maybe we can meet up and chat about what it’s like to be a freelancer/entrepreneur, share some experiences. I will let you know as soon as I know something!

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