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What I've Learned From Living Without A Regular Paycheck From An Office Job

What I've Learned From Living Without A Regular Paycheck From An Office Job

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal, I'm talking about what I've learned the past two years living without a regular paycheck from an office job. One of the biggest blockages to opening a business is money and one of the biggest worries is living without a consistent paycheck. And if you don't plan ahead, you'll be stressing so much about money that you won't even be able to focus on building a good business. So what is it really like to live without regular, consistent pay every two weeks? It's been interesting in surprising ways. It's taught me so much about money, about what truly fulfills me, and it's actually given me a greater sense of joy.

When I quit my lawyer job in February 2017, I had a good nest egg saved up so I planned to live off that while my business got off the ground. But unlike weekend mimosas, no savings account is bottomless! And I would say my living expenses are higher than the average joe because I still pay a large sum towards my law school loans each month. When I first quit my job and started working full-time on grace + hudson, I didn't change my lifestyle all that much to be honest. I didn't want to make any drastic changes like moving into a less expensive apartment -- what if I wanted (or needed) to go back to an office job in a couple months? In other words, I wanted a little transition time. A little breathing room. I highly recommend this. You might think you want to run your own business, but three or four months in, you might feel differently. You might not like it! (Yes, this happens!!) You might run into unforeseen expenses. You might encounter an unforeseen life change (like illness, divorce, or pregnancy). There are a hundred other reasons why you might want to "go back" to your office job after just a few months, so I recommend you wait before making any huge life changes. 

Once I made it past this transition phase, I started to notice something. I was spending money differently. In particular, I noticed that I wasn't buying as many clothes from J.Crew. Sure, I didn't need to be in a law office wearing spiffy new clothes anymore but I realized something more significant than that underneath the surface. I realized just how much I spent money to make myself feel better when I was a lawyer. After a long day or a long week, I would often treat myself to a new outfit, or something from Sephora, or new shoes from the Nordstrom Rack I passed on the way home. I didn't need to do this anymore. My job no longer created a figurative "hole" inside me that I needed to fill up with things like new clothes. I was now getting daily fulfillment from my work instead. At the end of a work day, I often feel satisfied, accomplished, and excited about what I am working on. I never felt this way in my attorney job. In short, I have a greater sense of joy as a result of doing work I enjoy.

The other major shift I experienced is respect for money. When the regular lawyer paychecks ended and I started to make money from my business instead, I respected each cent. It was amazing to me that I could earn money doing something I truly enjoy. This was a very foreign concept to me as I hated every second of my 11-year lawyer career. I was so grateful for every dollar, which in turn caused me to spend money more wisely. When you respect money, I feel like more money comes your way. You know that phrase, "what you appreciate appreciates"? It's true. 

I never fail to include some "real talk" in my journal entries, so I'll conclude with this. I'll be honest, when you first open your business, you'll be looking at job listings a lot more frequently than you anticipated. You'll have a bad day and say to yourself "it's time to get a 'real' job." This is normal. In fact, I did this the first two years of business! As time goes on, you'll look at job listings less and less but it still happens now and then! Having your own business is hard. Supporting yourself with your own money is hard. It is not for the faint of heart. Here's the reality - you can always "go back" to your office job or one just like it. And maybe you will. Or maybe you'll decide to get a part-time job on the side to help make ends meet. Either way, you'll figure it out. I'm confident that if you're reading this post, you have enough smarts about you that you'll never be without the ability to pay your bills. 

Cheers to starting your own business!






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