The past eighteen months have seen a great amount of change in my life; moving across the country, changing careers, building a home, marriages of friends and family members, and countless other victories along the way.
I left a career that I loved, it had changed so much, I had to leave it behind when we moved from Oregon to Texas. I knew that I wanted a change after teaching for thirteen years but I had no idea what that would be. We moved to Texas at the end of June 2015 and I took the rest of the summer off, as I normally would as a teacher. Well, I actually took the summer off, not in fact like how I would as a teacher! I read over fifty books, listened to several full seasons of podcasts while pool side. I worked out and ran with my dog every day, we spent a lot time each day at the dog park too. It was as much social time for him as it was for me to meet new people.
September rolled around and all my friends went back to school, and I had nothing on the horizon except more pool time, another book and yet another podcast. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Maybe, but I’m not built that way. I can do nothing, contribute nothing, produce nothing and help no one for only so long.
I decided to become a consultant with a skincare company whose products I loved, but I didn’t really do anything with the business part. I enjoyed the skincare and kept looking for something to actually do. I rewrote my resume, updated my references and cover letters. I applied to around fifty positions in HR, educational consultants, sales, marketing, insurance, you name it, I put my resume in for it. Many companies sent me polite letters, stating that they were looking for someone with more experience or less experience or different experience.
The first interview in over a decade was for a principal position at a private pre K-1st grade school. My second interview for that position went well, and then I was called back to meet with the president of the private school company. She was more than happy to welcome me on board, and the salary was to be less than half of what I was making as a teacher in Oregon. Gracefully, I turned that job down, as I did for all of the subsequent jobs that were offered to me. Nothing felt right, I felt like I was just desperately casting out and several took my bait, but none were keepers.
Frustration became part of who I was, I was angry that I couldn’t find the right job, and I was disappointed that I didn’t feel I could go back to the career I had had for so long. I couldn’t define what the right fit job was, I just knew that nothing had fit yet.
I kept writing little articles for my new blog and in October I wrote an article that would change my life. That sounds so dramatic, but that article and the events after that changed my path. The article was entitled, “The One Reason I Quit Teaching.” It was shared almost 900,000 times, and hundreds of people commented their opinions and their stories. A startup website, Heartbeings.com, contacted me to become a contributing writer for their site. And just like that, I saw an opening to a career that fed my creativity and productivity!
Several articles and paychecks later, I began to see more options. I began writing for a second website, Texashillcountry.com. I knew that I wanted to keep my writing as a side gig, and I was now open to more opportunities that I could create for myself. I didn’t have to take a job that someone else designed, I could design my own that actually fit my life and this new no-holds-barred Texan version of myself.
At this point, I took another look at the skincare business I was involved in. I had jumped in as a consultant, without really knowing what to do. I contacted my business partner, participated in several trainings, and just began sharing about these skin treatments that I loved. As I got more involved and learned more about Rodan + Fields, I loved the business model of a macro-entrepreneur even more and felt incredibly supported by the inspiring women with whom I was in business. I became more excited to be a small business owner and as my confidence and knowledge grew, so did my paycheck for this side gig.
Writing and my skincare business kept me pretty busy, but I was missing teaching. Missing actually working with the kids, helping them to learn, and seeing them grow. I again took to my computer and applied for a few private tutoring jobs through online tutoring sites. I now work with several families on a weekly basis, and absolutely love working with the kids and their families. Boom, another side gig!
These three side businesses now make up a full time career, and I couldn’t be happier. I still have time to do my photography, as well as other hobbies and take care of our home. Weekends are now free to spend time with my family. I didn’t realize how much of our lives was dictated by my career. The amount of time that teaching took is unfathomable to me now. We truly worked so we could go on a small vacation once every other year or so. We now live much more like we’re on vacation. Every day when my husband gets home, we have time to spend together, and I’m not crazy stressed about meal prepping, and doing paperwork for my administrator, and advocating for teachers with our union. Do not mistake me, I wouldn’t take a second of it back. For thirteen years, I taught every day with my full heart and worked my ass off and loved it. However, with our move to Texas, an opportunity presented itself. To not just pay bills and die. To change our routine. We allowed ourselves to take on adventure, and through that, I made another career that I don’t feel like is work.
My friends and family have helped to make this all possible, without their listening to information on new skin treatments, without their sharing my articles, without their support of my tutoring business, I would not be able to do what I now do. My amazing husband needs to have an entire publication devoted to how supportive and terrific he is; he truly admires me and he pushes me because he believes in me.
I did not think this kind of life was even possible, and now I wish I had started sooner! When I was teaching full time, I did not think I had an extra five minutes, never mind be able to start another business. However, it is completely doable with just minutes or hours a week. It’s a long game we’re playing here folks, we have to look past Sunday night and Wednesday afternoon. We are not meant to live the same day for 85 years and call it a life.