3 years running business

Celebrating 3 Years Without a Steady Paycheck

On August 31 I hit a pretty significant milestone as an entrepreneur…3 years without a steady paycheck. The last day of August in 2017 was my last day at my last salaried job. I’ve been self-employed ever since.

Like many celebrations, anniversaries, birthdays, and miscellaneous special occasions in 2020, this milestone was completely overlooked because of the insanity of this year. I only noticed it when somebody else helped me notice it.

On Love Your Enthusiasm, I was chatting with the founder of FemCity, Violette de Ayala, about balancing business and life. We were discussing why so many people feel stuck in their lives, doing work they just aren’t passionate about. I told my story about taking the plunge, leaving my comfortable salary and embracing discomfort by starting a business.

Casually, I mentioned that it had been three years since I left my full-time job. The business itself launched in February of 2017, so we are approaching the four-year anniversary of Superneat in early 2021.

Violette casually mentioned that I was in a “super successful place” now that I had four years under my belt. And, it totally threw me off.

Me? In a super successful place?

It was one of the coolest and hardest things I’ve ever had to hear. Because these past few years have been the coolest and the hardest years I’ve ever lived.

A few things I didn’t expect during my first years of running a business:

  • I earned a dual Master’s degree, one in business and one in life, without going back to school.
  • I experienced an unparalleled sense of freedom when I was unleashed from the type of work I wasn’t truly passionate about.
  • I felt lighter because I wasn’t weighed down anymore.
  • I learned to think ahead and think on my feet.
  • I found an open door as soon as another door shut in my face.
  • I figured out that fear and anxiety never go away, but you do figure out how to manage both.
  • I understood that having meaningful goals was way more important than having lots of goals.
  • I realized that no human can be “on” all the time and I needed to emphasize downtime more than “get shit done” time.
  • I understood that I couldn’t do it all—I needed to release control and delegate to preserve my sanity.
  • I felt fucking fantastic waking up in the morning, knowing that I was doing things I wanted to do…the way I wanted to do them…even if I didn’t always know what I was doing. 🙂

When you’re running a business, there’s nobody handing out gold stars. Most days you’re in hustle mode. But you’re hustling for yourself—working and living on your terms. It’s easy to forget to pause and celebrate the wins.

When you’re working and living on your terms? All the more reason to celebrate when that is the life you wanted all along.

Whether you’re running a business or not, I think this is a good reminder. This year life’s beautiful moments continued on and we were often too distracted to give those moments the attention they deserved.

Rather than waiting for someone else to help you notice those celebratory moments, take a moment to celebrate them yourself. Bake a cake, pat yourself on the back, or just smile big (like I did).

love your enthusiasm violette de ayala

Recently Violette de Ayala, the founder of FemCity, joined me on Love Your Enthusiasm. Violette has her finger on the pulse with women in business, so it was interesting to hear her perspective after everything that has happened this year.

“I understand now when they say, ‘There are no failures’ because it’s always connected to future success. We were not designed to live life stressed or in chaos or doing things that we hate to do. We have the opportunity to create the life we want.”

In this episode, Violette shares many incredible takeaways about life as an entrepreneur and the importance of taking baby steps, building a supportive community, and understanding what no longer serves you so you can design a balanced life. Please enjoy…

Listen Now

14 thoughts on “Celebrating 3 Years Without a Steady Paycheck

  1. I am also thinking that I will switch to a more ‘unpredictable’ career option once I am done with my current work and this post has been a nice, relatable read. Thank you!

  2. Congrats and thanks for being inspiring! I’m coming close to two years without earning a paycheck too, and while I haven’t been super successful on the ‘earning my own income’ part, at least I’ve written a few novels and gotten one of them accepted for publication! Wishing you all the best, fellow work-for-selfer!

  3. Another particularly interesting podcast episode and such a great moment to “be there” when Violette made you realize that you were in a very successful place right now! Congratulations on everything accomplished in the past 3 years, and everything still on your list 😉

    Make it happen!

  4. Congratulations Britt. I was self employed a few times over the years. I always found it stressful, even when doing work I loved, and I’m so glad I don’t have to work at all any more in terms of having to make a living at it. It sounds as if you’ve figured out so many of the answers that eluded me. You definitely are living your best life. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Alison. There are plenty of highs and lows, believe me. I’m always learning and improving. Running a business has made me a better, stronger person overall. It’s certainly no walk in the park though, so I get where you’re coming from.

  5. Congratulations Britt, a courageous move which has paid off for you. My ‘hussle’ days post-retirement don’t have a real edge of necessity as I’m cushioned by savings and a part-time gig, but it’s proving to be fun.

    1. Thank you, Roy! I’m glad you’re enjoying a side hustle these days. That’s the best way to go about it, versus going all in like I did. A bit stressful during that first year, for sure. Still here somehow. I won’t lie…some days I shock the hell out of myself. 🙂

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