As I type part II from one of the many overcrowded coffee shops in Nashville on a random Wednesday morning, I’m feeling all the feels. If you didn’t catch part one of my life update, you should probably give it a read.
If you’re lazy and just want the cliff notes-I basically recounted the last several months where I almost quit my job to become a professional farmer, became scared and decided to keep my corporate (life sucking) job, and then received the unexpected, yet glorious news my department was being eliminated.
Most normal, responsible 30 something year old adults-with a mortgage payment and nearing their highest earning potential years in the workforce-would probably NOT consider this glorious news. The key word here is normal, which obviously by now you know I’m anything but.
Losing a job is a paralyzing experience, especially when you’re made to feel like just another figure impeding the bottom-line. I won’t pretend that I didn’t have a few days of self-loathing and binge watching Bob Ross on Amazon Prime. But that’s just not my style (except I DO love some Bob Ross).
I said in my first post that I wasn’t worried, because God had other plans and He ALWAYS provides.
I don’t on the contrary think He sits around with a magic want granting just anyone’s wishes (or else we’d all have everything our heart desires), but instead meets us where we are and rewards our hard work and obedience.
We weren’t worried when the devastating news came that 1/2 of our household income was disappearing, because luckily, we had been unknowingly preparing for YEARS, even before we were married.
I still get tons of questions and crazy side eyes when people find out I’m not actively looking for another job, so let me explain how I’ve been able to avoid re-entering the corporate world.
EXPERIENCES OVER THINGS
I’ve long practiced the minimalist mindset of ‘experiences over things.’ I grew up on a farm with no access to Nickelodeon, Mickie Mouse club, MTV, or the pleasure of dining out at a local Outback Steakhouse anytime I pleased.
Side note-I was probably 15 years old before I inhaled my first greasy, cheese and bacon covered Alice Springs Chicken from such a fancy establishment. I was with a childhood friend and her family and I’m certain they must have thought my parents starved me.
Instead I grew up building forts, playing hide-and-go-seek, and constructing Gladiator obstacle courses around the house with my brother. My stay-at-home mom always had a hot meal on the table, most of which came straight from our massive garden.
I wrote short stories on a type writer that I ecstatically received for Christmas in ’93 about family vacations and make-believe road trips with friends to see the Atlanta Braves play.
Twenty years have passed and I still don’t have cable, I’d rather count the number of passport stamps I’ve collected than how many bedrooms are in my house, and I prefer a farm to table meal over Outback ANY DAY! And I’ve also since upgraded the typewriter.
The whole point of that is to say minimalism isn’t some present day, elitist movement, as it’s sometimes referred. Somehow on a blue-collar, single income my parents built a home and paid for multiple cars and college tuitions with cash.
Luckily Patrick and I have adopted those same positive financial habits over time and it’s aided us tremendously so far.
I read a recent article on CNBC that claimed only 39% of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. Scary stuff.
Thanks to Dave and Financial Peace University (FPU), we were able to fully fund our emergency savings last year and having over 6 months of expenses in the bank provided peace of mind knowing I’d soon be jobless. Also-it felt good not having to jump at the first job offered out of desperation, but instead would allow time to pursue my passions and seek out the right fit.
What really helped launch us toward financial success was not going into debt for an elaborate wedding. I asked that whatever funding my parents had planned to gift us be put toward a down payment for our home.
And trust it was nowhere near the average cost of a wedding these days-over $30,000, according to Business Insider. Nope, nope, nope. Our randomly planned elopement in Key West was stress free perfection and only costs us around $3,500.
Bottom line-if you don’t have an emergency savings, start building today because eventually a job loss, lay off, or position elimination is inevitable in today’s market.
Side hustles are my double-edged sword. Frankly, I find it disheartening that most Americans need to have some form of side hustle in addition to an at least 40 hr work week to supplement stagnant incomes and maintain our unparalleled consumerism.
On the other hand, I’m thankful to have a few that help pay the bills. I didn’t start my blog 3 years ago thinking it would ever become a means to an end, but 2017 was the first time I actually made a bit of affiliate income and had a few paid opportunities come along. Wooooooo baby steps, but I have SO much more to learn.
Next I need to actually invest more time and money to bring my blogging vision and income streams to life. I’m putting it out there in the universe for accountability, so hold me to it internet friends!!! Most people still wonder how the heck it’s even possible to make money with a blog. I’ll get to that in a bit.
A side hustle only truly works when it’s something you already enjoy doing (IMHO). One of my favorite odd ways to earn money is upselling thrifted clothing items online. I recently sold a pair of thrifted cashmere Athleta joggers for 12 times what I paid. It’s not covering any mortgages, but I’m making extra cash just by doing what I already love.
Lastly, the most pivotal tool in my box has been networking. You never know where, how or what connection will provide your next source of income. Some people HATE the thought of networking, but it’s probably one of my favorite things of all time.
That’s coming from a closeted introvert that was nominated ‘Most Quiet’ my sophomore year of high school, mind you. Ha!
As much as I LOVE networking, I despise surface level small talk and hearing ‘what you do.’ I get the whole elevator speech thing (and can turn it on when I have to), but tell me what your passions are, what you live for, and what you love. Chances are, that will be completely different from what you do for a living.
If accidental and authentic networking is a thing, I’m pretty certain I’m the queen of it. Some of the coolest opportunities I’ve had this year (and in life) have come from genuine, chance encounters.
I’ve written a few freelance articles for an editor I met at a nutrition conference networking event, but I didn’t sell myself to her; I just rambled on about how passionate I was for creating travel capsule wardrobes and how I forced my conference roommates to photograph me all around Boston! haha.
Last month, I appeared on my first live TV segment by way of connecting with a local store via social media. I was able to represent Goodwill and talk about my passion for ‘living with less’ on Today in Nashville. I didn’t tell ANYONE the date or time it was airing just in case I flopped (sorry mom), but I happened to kill it, so HERE’S THE REPLAY.
And the most amazing opportunity yet-working behind the scenes for Bobby of Millennial Money Man and his business partner, Mike. I mentioned in Part I that he’s my favorite financial blogger, but in reality-he’s more like one my favorite All-TIME bloggers.
I literally only subscribe to 3 blogs, and Bobby’s is one of them. The other two are sustainable fashion blogs. (Maybe they will hire me next???) It’s safe to say that it pays (pun intended) to have a variety of interests and network outside of our work life bubbles.
Since I love talking finance and saving money, his M$M Facebook group is one I’ve regularly indulged in for over a year. We can openly share our money wins and losses or ask for advice without being judged. OR just nerd out about driving cars until they surpass 200,000+ miles.
I for one, don’t really talk money with my close friends or family because it’s usually not a comfortable conversation. But random internet strangers??? All day! Haha. My husband finds this concept super weird, and the fact that I sometimes meet my internet ‘friends’ in real life is an anomaly to him.
A day after I found out the news of my position being eliminated, before I even told my closest friends and relatives-I went to my beloved M$M FB safe space of complete, financially minded strangers and posted this:
Then the stars aligned, and somehow I found my way onto Bobby’s growing team and I couldn’t be more thankful. Bobby and his business partner, Mike were launching a course on how to create, implement and manage FB ads for small businesses and it’s been fun to see it literally blow up (in a good way!).
I fan girl on the daily working for them.
Also if anyone ever questioned how someone can make a legitimate income from blogging, check out Bobby’s income reports. This year alone they’ve scaled nearly 500k.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for humoring me and I honestly didn’t aim to become this long winded, nor did I want to seemingly toot my own horn. Ayyyyy sometimes you have to put it out there, right?
Lets recap-I almost quit my job, but instead my position was eliminated (yay severance packages!!!!), but thanks to having a fully funded emergency savings, practicing minimalism, accidental networking and putting myself out there-I’m doing well and not looking back!
So what’s next for me? I’m currently content with floating in the space between, even though most would suggest I keep riding the wave of momentum I’ve been swept up in.
And I will……eventually, but right now I’m savoring the freedom, counting my blessings and preparing for whatever the NEXT chapter holds.