The Reluctant Solopreneur: My Unexpected Journey to Self-Employment

If you would have told me a year ago I’d be self-employed, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I was sure my path to success was to slowly climb the ranks as an employee, and one day finally reach the top in my 40s or 50s. I was taught at a young age that patience and persistence were key when it came to attaining success, and I made sure to practice those virtues when I started my career.

But as the years continued pass me by, my surety started to wane and eventually devolved into full blown disillusionment.

After 7 Years in the Corporate World, I Hardly Made a Dent

I’d been a full-time employee in the corporate world for almost 7 years, and I’d hardly budged. Many of my friends have been able to jump several levels above me, garnering titles like “Specialist” or “Manager” (not to mention all the lawyers and doctors I know). And despite me turning 30, the age when you become a true adult, I still had the exact same title as my first job out of university — “Coordinator.”

It may sound cliché, but as soon as I hit 30, something inside me changed. For all of my 20s, I was constantly chasing this promotion or raise that always eluded me. So as turned the big 3-0 on my flight back home from Paris last year, a quote floated into my mind and stuck there until I reached Toronto.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The Only Way I Could Make an Impact Was to Go at It From a Different Angle

It was crazy for me to keep doing what I was doing and hoping that one day things would change. That one day I’d finally be recognized for my hard work, ideas and ambition. After 7 years, it finally sunk in that no matter what job I had, the only thing I was expected to do was show up, answer emails, check off my to-do list, and be accessible by phone on off hours in case of emergencies.

None of my employers cared if I had ideas on how to improve things, make things more efficient, or help the company become more innovative. They had money to make, budgets to stay within and higher ups to answer to.

Which is why last November I decided to make one of the riskiest decisions of my life — to stop the insanity and leave the corporate world for good.

After 6 Months of Self-Employment, I’m Proud to Call Myself a Solopreneur

Well, I’m 6 months into being a solopreneur now, and most mornings I still wake up in disbelief at how drastically different my life is.

I really did work for every weekend back then. Daydreaming from Monday to Friday of that small window of time when I could sleep in, relax, and not have to type emails for 8 hours per in a tiny cubicle under fluorescent lights.

Now, as long as I don’t have anything scheduled in the morning, I can sleep in guilt-free any day of the week. And to be completely honest, I rarely get up before 9am and it’s pretty much everything I could have hoped for (if you can’t tell, I really value sleep). I never wake up stressed, angry or sad, and when do I wake up, I’m actually excited to start my day to work on projects I truly care about.

What’s in Store for the Next 6 Months?

Short answer — your guess is as good as mine. Long answer — I hope to continue to grow my brand, launch my money coaching business, re-launch the Rich & Fit Bootcamp so more students can join, and just be open to whatever opportunities come my way.

It’s so weird that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less and less worried about the future. I always thought I’d become more worried, but like I mentioned in the video, I think a lot of it has to do with having a solid financial plan in place. I may not know where my career will take me, but I at least I know what’s going on with my finances.

Also, it’s not like I have to continue on this path just because I’m on it. The ultimate goal of course is to be a full-time entrepreneur until I retire, but if I decide to go back to the workforce, I don’t see that as a failure.

The one thing I’ve realized over the years is that you never know what the future holds, and whenever you try to figure it out, it turns itself on its head. That and I don’t think I’ll ever truly be happy doing one thing for the rest of my life. I like variety, I like learning new things and I like taking on new challenges.

Let’s not forget, I graduated with a film degree, then worked in the newspaper business, then a corporate law firm, and now I blog, vlog and podcast full-time. My résumé looks like the most disjointed thing you’ve ever seen. Still, I don’t regret a thing. I’ve learned valuable lessons and skills from every single job I’ve had, I’ve met so many amazing people and have grown into someone I’m really happy and proud to be.

And as I’ve said numerous times on my podcast and during many of my speaking gigs, I’m no one special. I’m just Jessica. I am where I’m at because I’ve worked hard and made certain choices. That’s it. So if I can change my path after so many years of thinking that it had to be one way, so can anyone else. Even you.

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Showing 8 comments
  • Kate @ Cashville Skyline
    Reply

    Congratulations, Jessica! I’m with you. Now that I’m in my 30s, I don’t want to give *my all* to someone else’s company. I wouldn’t turn down an amazing opportunity, but I’m really loving self-employment so far. I’ve almost reached my 1-year anniversary 🙂

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      That’s so awesome! And ya, so far, I wouldn’t give this up. Loving the time and balance I lived so long without.

  • Steve from Arkansas
    Reply

    As a guy who did it the other way, succeeding at the corporate game and then much later in life switching to the self employed multi side gig life I think that they both can be great. The corporate route is pretty cool if you always get the next promotion and big raises like I did but it is pretty awful if you don’t. And admittedly there is so much luck involved it can seem very unfair, can be very unfair. The solo route I’ve found to be equally cool and while there is stress it is a very different type and is much more manageable. You have a great blog and podcast Jessica!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Thanks Steve!

  • NZ Muse
    Reply

    can definitely understand this … I’m at the age where peers are now ‘managers’ (some of people, some not) and it’s hard for me not to get caught up in the comparison game. I will say that titles never mattered to me while I worked in news but now, in marketing, they do and I kinda hate that… Looking forward to seeing what’s ahead for you!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Thanks girl!

  • Eliza
    Reply

    Really lovely post Jessica. I completely agree that it’s impossible to predict where life will take you and where you will want to go. The best parts of my current life are the ones I was actually the least enthusiastic about in my early 20s. So I guess just going with it and jumping on the opportunities as they come along (or as you create them 🙂 is the best way to go.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Totally! I could have never predicted where I am now in my life, but I’m glad I was open-minded enough to just go with the flow and take risks, because those are usually the best ways to end up someplace awesome.

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