At the end of last year, I may just have lost my mind. 27 years old, with a solid position inside a growing company. Plenty of opportunity for travel, a cruisey work environment and a great network of people I'd built up in and around the business.
and I left......
I left the security of money going into my bank each week, a whole bunch of benefits and the fact this position involved the biggest celebrity on the planet (clue: "I'll be back" and "Asta-La-Vista...Baby").
Am I crazy?
I hope not....but I understand why you would think that...
So why did I do it?
Over the past 6....wait 27 years (I'm currently 27 at the time of writing this), I have followed the norm.
- Go to school....check
- Finish High School....check
- Go To University....check
- Get a corporate job...check
- Get a job in your 'passion'...check
Yet I still wasn't happy.
At University, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do...but I liked 'business' so I studied that.
After completing the degree, and finding out unless you had experience, the job market's MINIMUM requirements required my degree...which is fine, but it also meant it was no longer a selling point. I ended up landing a job...but the company's graduate program lacked direction. They took me on because they wanted a graduate and had big plans, but there were no structures in place.
Me being me, I still worked hard, but it was a 600cc motorbike being restricted to 50cc....there just wasn't enough work to keep my mind occupied.
I wanted out of the 9-5 corporate world and into the 'fitness' industry.
I remember spending the train trip to work, my lunch break and then my after work hours researching the industry and trying to find an 'in'. I had a couple of connections but nothing major.
Then out of the blue, I started tweeting with what was going to be my new boss. He said he liked some of the content I was putting out (note: it was a video I had poorly edited of me eating a burger & fries in 6:44 minutes while wearing a t-shirt showing his brand by the way). He asked me to come in for an interview and we went from there.
2 years passed and we did some great things. I built a few websites, created a few eBooks and learned A LOT about the fitness industry. A terrific apprenticeship up until that point.
But I wanted more. I got paid by a friend to do a private website (my first 'outside' job) and enjoyed the additional income from utilising skills I had developed.
By this time I had also become a huge fan of Pat Flynn's podcast, 'Smart Passive Income'. It had me hooked. I would literally listen 3-4 hours a day to his entire episode library about how to make more money and grow your online following.
This lead to me deciding I would start a podcast....I loved asking questions, so what did I have to lose?
And that's when it all started. My 'entrepreneurial' journey.
[drop_cap]The Double Life[/drop_cap]
For the next 2 years I would live a double life.
In the mornings, I would get up at 5am, write a blog post or two, learn about internet marketing and listen to some audio books.
Then I would work my 8, 9 or sometimes 10 hour days, then come home to continue building, learning and growing my online following.
To be honest, I loved seeing the growth. It was exciting (and still is...)
On top of this, I was getting more and more website clients. Initially I had to hustle and 'create' demand for websites....but before long, I had crafted a (small) name for myself in the fitness industry, at least within my local area, as the go to guy for fitness websites. Trainers and coaches would call me and tell me they wanted websites. I priced them up and completed the work in my spare time. Of which was very quickly disappearing.
But it wasn't enough.
A full time job, website design, podcasting, internet marketing courses...but still, I wanted more! So I took on more projects and couldn't stop. If you're anything like me, your mind seems like a crazy idea generation machine at times....creating all of these ideas with a distorted view of what it takes to fully embrace them (something I've had to learn to deal with).
It was like a switch was flicked and my brain was in a hyper-active, hyper-responsive learning mode. Anything I would see, I instantly needed to learn how to do it.
Internet copywriting? No problem. Crafting an email...Yep can do that too. Making sales pages and learning new software...CAN DO.
However, certain things were suffering.
I had zero work/life balance.
I was literally working 5am-8am, commuting to work (while listening to audio books), working my day job, then returning home to work from 6pm-11pm or 12am at night.
Rinse and repeat.
This was not sustainable. And it paid it's toll on areas of my life.
A perfectly good relationship started to break away from me, which would eventually lead to us going separate ways.
My insatiable hunger for 'more' was eating away at me. When was enough, enough? It wasn't a money thing. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to have dual incomes, but at what price?
Sacrificing workouts (one of my BIG passions) and feeding myself with unhealthy food was destroying me.
[drop_cap]The Year of 2015[/drop_cap]
Moving on, 2015 was a massive year. We were very busy at work and by this stage not only were we running the gyms, but my boss had taken on the opportunity to work with Arnold Schwazenegger. This meant his core team of himself, myself and 3 others, worked their asses off to put on this event.
As if having 3 side businesses (website design, a bootcamp business me and a friend decided to start, and by this stage, a coaching/consulting business off the back of my PT Prophet podcast) wasn't enough....we were also putting together the monumental task of delivering a monster sports and fitness festival.
How big? To give you an idea, on Day 2 we had to shut down the Exhibition Centre (in Melbourne) due to reaching capacity - a feat achieved only once before in the venue's history. Literally insane.
But we pushed on and although there were some crazy hours (16-18 hour days) towards the last couple of weeks, we produced it. We all stepped up and made history happen.
To be honest, it's probably one of the most proud moments in my entire life.
Not the fact that I got to meet Arnie, I mean that was pretty cool, but the fact that we had done it.
From an idea in my boss' head, to fruition. And we had all made it happen. My biggest passion is seeing ideas come to life so it was inspiring to see the whole thing complete.
Once the event was over, we all got some time off, and even went to Brasil as a team to have a look at the equivalent event over in Rio. This trip of a lifetime given to us as a bonus for doing such a great job.
Yet as the year went by I couldn't help but think there was something else out there for me.
I had all of these skills, and once again I felt throttled (my own doing). I wanted to achieve so much, but with 100% respect for the business, their goals and mine were in different places.
Some days I would love it, others I wanted to just do my own thing. So for the best for both parties, I put in a letter of resignation.
To be the best person I could be, I need some time to 'find myself' and create my own path.
I needed to give this thing a go....
This 'entrepreneur' business. Which brings us to here.
My current state where I am officially 'un-employed'!
[drop_cap]So here we are[/drop_cap]
I am now 5 weeks into my full time solo gig and if I'm 100% truthful, the novelty is slowly wearing off.
Don't get me wrong. The freedom is amazing, and I am enjoying working from where-ever I feel like, but there is a certain transition period I think all entrepreneurs and self employed individuals need to go through to properly find themselves.
I am adhering to some great practices such as a consistent wake up time, getting work done early in the morning, a solid exercise schedule and building my network....but you cannot help to feel lost at times after having 27 years of direction.
But hey, life begins at the end of your comfort zone....right?
Well I can tell you, I know I'm about to embark on a damn bumpy ride....
Lucky I've got a damn good helmet!
Until next time, Hayden
P.S. if you're thinking about leaving your job, I HIGHLY recommend picking up the book 'So Good They Can't Ignore You' by Cal Newport.
It basically argues that most people should not quit their job and 'follow your passion' UNLESS they have skills in said passion. The author, Cal Newport, makes some extremely valid points and is a must read for anyone in the situation of wanting to leave their current career for what they think is their passion.