In 2018, I left my $86k engineering job to start my own business.
Scary, right? It was so scary that I didn’t tell my parents until two months after I made the jump.
Let’s take it back about 20 years when I was growing up, trying to determine what path to follow. My grandparents, my parents and all of my friends’ parents told 10-years-old Melissa that:
- In order to be successful, you must go to college and get educated
- In order to be financially stable and provide for your family, you must find a “secure” 9-5 job, preferably in the engineering world
- In order to be happy, you must have the above two checked off
And guess what? I did those things. My parents pushed me in education; I was the girl in all honors classes, talented and gifted programs, years ahead in math and science, and excelled in school.
I graduated from Oregon State University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, found a job that provided for me financially and gave me an entire week of vacation each year (boy, I was living the dream). Soon, I was working 12-14+ hour work days, on call on weekends, constantly being called into work and barely having any play time. Maybe you can relate, I felt that my work was sucking the soul out of me and had a feeling that if I continued on this path, I wouldn’t be living my life until after I retired.
The trend I found in my life: as I was getting promoted, my work days grew longer, my income was barely growing, and my happiness level was shrinking. I had so many things I wanted to accomplish, but didn’t see how it could happen in my lifetime.
I was the girl, wanting to travel six months out of the year, fund charities, start my own charities and more. My dream bubble was growing bigger each minute of the day, but my 9-5 wasn’t, and I knew I had to make a change if I wanted to create a different life for myself.
AND I DID THE DARN THING! I started my first business as a side-hustle while in my 9-5, grew my business to six figures, left my 9-5 to run my business full time (as terrified as I was to leave this job, that for 20+ years I was taught was the only way to be “safe and secure” in life), and today run my own multi-six figure business as an Online Business Coach for women ready to start, build and scale their online businesses.
I get to serve my clients when working from home, on the couch in my pajamas or while traveling abroad to Bali and Italy (like I was a few months ago, sipping on some Prosecco in the Amalfi Coast).
Initially, it took me longer than I had hoped for (ahem… two years longer) and today, I want to share the five things I wish I knew before starting my business!
Surround Yourself with Role Models
We love our parents but we shouldn’t always take every piece of advice they give us. Go and find role models that have created the lifestyle, business, relationships, values, etc that you’re looking to create for yourself and get into the same room as them. Utilize them, ask them questions, ask for support and most importantly: listen. Find somebody that has already done it — so that you can get to where you want to go without making the same mistakes they did.
Invest in Yourself
When you have skin in the game, you’ll step up and get your engines going in your business. Investing in yourself will help you step up, show up and give you the fastpass track to taking your business to the next level. If you can invest $5,000 into a mentorship program that can help you reach consistent $5,000+ months in your business, why not take the fastpass to that?!
Create a Like, Know, and Trust Relationship
When you go to a search engine and type in, “how do I start a business,” you’ll typically find that all you need to do is create a product/service, put it on a website, sell it and make millions. I’ve learned that it doesn’t exactly work like a magic wand. Once you have your service/product, go and create relationships, and trust with your potential clients. People buy from companies and people that they connect with, like, know, and trust!
Collaborate over Competition
Instead of looking at others in your niche/field as competitors, look to them as potential collaborators! There will be people in their audience that connect with you more and there will be people in your audience that connect with them more, and that’s okay! The more you can collaborate, the more people you’ll reach, and the bigger the impact you can create.
Run Your Business Like a CEO, Not a COE (Chief of Everything)
As the Chief of Everything (COE) in your business, you’ll be wearing 20+ hats. My first year in business, I was a COE and the roles I played were: a coach, marketer, social media manager, content creator, sales agent, accountant, scheduler, graphic designer and so much more. I was hustling, trying to be a one woman show and unable to scale. The minute that I transitioned into a real CEO, hired and delegated to my team is when my business truly flourished. I was able to stay in my zone of genius while my team ran the behind the scenes, those other 19 hats I was wearing before! Utilizing tools, resources and mentors these past few years have helped me on my journey of building my business.
There is no one “right’ path to creating success and happiness in your life. If you’re living your life, day to day, dreading the next, and not getting closer to the life you truly want to create for yourself and your family, ask yourself what could shift you closer. Possibly a different job? Maybe a new environment?
I saw that my $86k engineering job wasn’t serving me. I was unhappy, rarely traveled, barely had time for a social life, so I did something about it and decided to choose a different path. I chose a path that, when growing up, I was taught was a “dangerous” and risky path to take. I was fearful and did it anyway. Not even two years later, I’m running my own multiple six figure business, traveling the world, funding charities and we’re just getting started!