Welcome to Out on Their Own, where brave women share the nitty gritty stories of how they kicked their 9-5 jobs to the curb and began living the One Woman Shop lifestyle. If you want to share your story, email us!
Meet Jessica Remitz. She's a writer, editor and content producer living in Brooklyn with her boyfriend and pound puppy. She co-writes the blog I Love I Need with her sister and is currently contracting with Food Network and freelancing for various lifestyle, health and pet websites. Check out her personal website and don’t hesitate to contact her to swap freelance stories.
So, what prompted you to quit your job? Was it one moment or was it simmering for awhile?
I had wanted to quit my most recent job, in some ways, even before I started it. I had been working on the advertising/sales side of online publishing, first as an assistant, sales planner and ad trafficker and finally as a client services manger, for three and a half years. While I had wonderful co-workers and great, supportive bosses at both companies, I wasn't happy in advertising and knew my jump from company to company wouldn't change that. I took the job hoping to move into a more editorial or creative position within a year (I had been told that the company was "all about" moving people internally at my interview) and when it didn't happen and time continued to tick by without any concrete plans for a future transition, I knew it was time for a change.
What (if anything) did you do to prepare for the transition out of your 9-5?
Over the time I spent in advertising, I tried to make as many professional connections as possible. I never burned bridges and tried not to blame anyone at work for my situation. I knew I wanted to be writing (in any capacity), so I kept in touch with those early connections and stayed persistent (or lightly stalked, whichever) in order to secure my first freelance writing gigs. Those opportunities gave me the confidence and small financial cushion I needed to feel comfortable taking the next step.
Let's get real: how did you feel the day you quit? Liberated, scared sh*tless, nauseous?
The morning I decided to put in my notice, I was all: "I'm totally quitting today, ain't nothing gonna hold me down!" but when the time came to actually do it, I was shaking like a leaf. Fortunately, my boss had known it was a long time coming (we had discussed what I may do next when it became clear that I wasn't getting the help I needed to move into a role that would make me happy) and was very accepting of it. If she saw that my palms were sweating and my voice was cracking, she had the decency not to judge me for it 🙂 I think, in some ways, everyone feels this panic--physically and mentally--when they're about to do something scary, no matter how prepared they are for it.
Tell us about the days and months following quitting your job- were you overwhelmed with work? Eating Ramen? Networking your butt off?
The two weeks or so felt strange--like an extended vacation that could end any minute. It felt like I would wake up the next day and just go back into work, like any normal day. I was lucky to have some writing work to keep me busy (the same work I used to do at night and on the weekends in my spare time) and spent the rest of my weekdays reconnecting with people, sending pitches and basically telling the world, "I'm available to write for you! Please hire me!" It's only been four months since my last day working full-time so in a lot of ways, it still doesn't feel real.
How do you feel now? Do you wish you transitioned earlier? Do you wish you didn't go out on your own at all?
In July, I accepted a contract position working for Foodnetwork.com in their office 30 hours/week, so I'm readjusting to life in an office three days a week. I'm thrilled to have this project though, and hope it continues on to more contract or freelance work. I'm still juggling my writing gigs and picking up more when I have the time, and it's so nice having two weekdays all to myself to focus on the projects I want to. In a lot of ways, I think I'm still transitioning and am curious to see what next year brings, but I'm so glad I made the leap when I did. It was the scariest thing I've done, and even though I still feel panicky thinking too far into the future, I'm optimistic that I'll always look back on 2013 and have no regrets about going out on my own.
Do you have any advice for others considering going out on their own? Words of warning? Caveats?
Yes! I shared these tips on my friend Amanda's blog, Advice From a Twenty Something, and would love to provide them again here. Even though I still don't have it all figured out (clearly) I have found that these four things have been crucial to my success.
- Be realistic—I knew I wanted to leave my job about six months before I actually did, but giving myself a reasonable amount of time to make the changes I wanted helped me to stay positive even when I felt bad about my situation.
- Think about YOU—it was so easy for me to get tripped up about what my coworkers are doing, how much my friends were making and what I thought I should do next. Guess what? None of these things made me happy. To find something I’m good at and actually care about doing has given me the drive to keep networking, writing and e-mailing folks every day.
- Say “no”—I don’t regret anything I’ve done professionally, but I do wish I was better about saying no to things that didn’t feel like the right fit or that I did because I felt like I had to. This is something we all need to be stronger about business-wise, and I hope to remember it as I consider future assignments and projects.
- Grow what you love—I left my job with the hopes of building a portfolio of work I’m proud of, finding a role that fits my skills and passions and give my little blog the time and effort it deserves with my wonderful sister. Who’s to say if any of these things will make me particularly rich or successful, but I can only hope that everyone gets the chance to grow something they care about.