5 Tips for Leaving Corporate and Living Creative
When I was a kid, I had a little pink diary that was filled with my hopes and dreams. Each night before going to bed, I wrote about my day and about the grand future I had planned. I took the little gold lock, slipped in through the latch, and locked it up tight. Not only did my diary have my hopes and dreams, but it also contained the secrets of a 10-year-old girl. I hid my book of dreams under my mattress until the next night.
Those days were just the beginning of my writing journey. A journey God would take me on for the next thirty or so years. Looking back on the dreams I had then, I can tell you the reality I am in now is completely different that I imagined. Through puberty, marriages, kids, work, hardship, and blessings I have held on to one dream that never died—writing.
My husband, Patrick, asked me a few years ago what I wanted to do with my life? I was a little taken aback by his question. I mean, I had a very successful career in the mortgage industry at the time. We had a nice home, nice cars, and nice stress that went along with having the nice things.
I woke from sleep each morning before the sun rose, readied myself for an hour-long commute to the office, and spent the day in the throws of a high-stress job. That was my career. That was how I intended to spend the rest of my life.
He had other plans for my life. He used Patrick to plant the thought in my mind and from that moment it didn’t leave. Fast forward two years and I left my corporate job so I could finally pursue my dreams. I have not looked back since. Enter the fairy-tale soundtrack here, please.
Okay, I am going to get real. It was not easy for me to just walk into a job I held for 13 years and let them know I was walking away. I was walking away from the responsibility, the income, and the prestige as an upper management figure-head. It was a process to come to this decision. A process I would do again if the need arises in the future.
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Buckle up, I’m going to take you on my journey from corporate to creative!
1. Be Prayerful
Okay, here's the deal. It's important before making any life changing decision, you are prayerful about it. Not only that, though, you MUST listen to what God is saying. Maybe you had a brilliant idea for some fresh, new, creative business. That is awesome! But... what does God have to say? If God is saying "hold on just a minute" that is OKAY!
The last thing you want to do is prepare yourself to leave your corporate job and actually do it, but find out quickly that it wasn't really in God's timing. Don't force it. Have patience and make certain God is leading the way.
For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
it testifies about the end and will not lie.
Though it delays, wait for it,
since it will certainly come and not be late.
2. Save Your Pennies
Now you have been prayerful and that you that you God is leading you in the plan to escape the corporate world. It's time to begin your preparation. No, you are not going to decide one day to leave your job and the next day just do it. Not unless you've received a grand inheritance from an aunt you didn't know you had, that is.
You simply MUST save your pennies! Start now and save at least one year's worth of income. I know that sounds like a daunting task, but you really don't want to skip this. If you are married and your spouse can carry the household, then move on to the next one. Otherwise, heed my advice on this one!
The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit,
but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.
3. Know Your Why
Why are you considering leaving your certain 9-5 job for the uncertainty of your dream job? Is it so you don't have to answer to anyone but you? Maybe it is to start a ministry to help others. It could be simply to have more margin in your life and less stress. Whatever your reason, make sure you fully understand these important things:
It's harder working for yourself than it is for someone else. It’s so easy to sleep in and let things go when you don’t have anyone to “answer” to, but keep in mind you have your readers or your customers to answer to. If you slack, your new endeavour will show it. Be structured.
The only certainty about working for yourself is you will certainly not be paid - at least not initially. This is especially true if God is calling you to be in ministry. Having a safety net financially can make or break you in the beginning of realizing your dream or calling. Be prepared.
Ministry is rewarding, but it also takes dedication, long hours, and hard work. A ministry is service at the core. Serving others with our words through a Bible study or a devotional blog is really a dedication to God’s work. Be ready.
Your newly created margin (once you leave your job) will quickly fill up. It’s so easy to be swept up in the “I have to be everything to everyone” mindset or think if you miss a day on social media you will be forgotten. While it is important, especially in the beginning of your endeavour to get your name out there, don’t get sucked into the online abyss and lose your purpose. Be cautious of your yeses!
4. Don’t Get Emotional
Emotions can run really high once you've made the prayerful decision, have a financial plan, and understand why you are leaving the corporate world to pursue your dream. Take a minute, an hour, a day, or any block of time that suits you and . Just be still. Don't let your excitement take over. Put down your pom-poms and sit down. Almost as important as praying. In fact, . Ask God to calm your nerves, apprehensions, and butterflies. Ask Him to replace them with peace, calm, and in your decision.
And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.
5. Have a Plan
Please, please, please, don't take another step until you have a plan in place. Yes, God is the ultimate planner. I mean, He does know every move we will make before we make it, BUT if we have a prayerful connection with Him, our plans are His plans. Map out on paper what you think the first year is going to look like. Be deliberate in what you intend to do, look for any educational opportunities to learn about what you are doing, and make sure you have the full support of your husband (if you are married) and your family. Make sure they all know the ride could get a little bumpy. Going into anything without a plan is like going into an unfamiliar room with a blindfold on.
A person’s heart plans his way,but the Lord determines his steps.
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Please hear me when I say this: going from corporate to creative is NOT going to solve all of your life’s problems, but if God has been tugging at your heart to start something and trust Him in that, start praying, saving, understanding, trusting, and planning. It is an individual choice that is guided by God. Who knows maybe your new thing could be just what the world has been waiting for.
Talk it over!
Have you already left corporate for creative? I’d love to hear your advice, too! Do me a favor, would you? Send me a quick email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. Better yet, let’s collaborate and I can add your tips to this list!
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