5 Year Anniversary of Walking Away From Corporate America
Five years today I walked away from Corporate America to start our home-based health and wellness business, Cougars & Cowboys, Nutrition, LLC. without a single customer. Though a lot has happened since this day, few events instantly transport my mind back to that pivotal week at ICU at Buffalo Children’s Hospital with our firstborn daughter. Had that not happened, I doubt you’d be seeing this article. Looking back, it was the most life-altering week of my life, and one for which I credit God’s timing and intervention. (Thank you, God!) It planted a laser focus in my mind of what’s important.
I was a new Mom and this was the first time our then 6-month-old daughter was actually ‘sick’. We were snowed in with blizzard-like conditions that weekend and I remember her not feeling good at all and sleeping on me most of the weekend. By Monday morning when the roads cleared and I was able to get her to the doctor, they instantly redirected me to the hospital. By the time we got to the hospital she was instantly admitted and within about 10 minutes was laying in the ER with all kinds of doctors and nurses prodding her. It was scary to watch, I had no idea what to expect.
She sat on my lap for a few hours before we were admitted to the ICU. She was so tired and listless. We spent 3 nights in the ICU while Hannah slowly recovered from what doctors determined to be Human Metapneumovirus (HMV) – described to me by doctors as a cousin to RSV. It was a scary time as I sat by her side watching her oxygen levels slowly come back up. She was in rough shape. She did turn around and was moved to the recovery floors.
On the Friday before this, I had just accepted a demotion to an internship with the same company that just relocated my position. After 10 years in Corporate America, it certainly felt like a slap in the face. But when they held my pay, and kept my benefits, I didn’t have much choice but to accept it. the company was gracious enough to allow me to be with my daughter during that time. It truly was a time to reflect.
I read the book “Business of the 21st Century” by Robert Kyosaki and began to feel a ‘fire in my gut’ for entrepreneurship and to start my own business. I was drawn to the appeal of residual income.
By the 5th day in the hospital, Hannah was released. My Mom was out at the time to help watch Hannah so I could return to my first day on the job of my demotion. I went to the new job, after this mind-altering week, and after about 1 hour into the workday, knew I couldn’t continue. I got up from my desk, went to my new boss and told him I was done. It was a HIGHLY out of character move for me. I don’t have a history of being a quitter.
When I told my boss I was done, and told him I was leaving to start my own health and wellness business, he laughed. “But you don’t even have any customers!” he warned. To which I responded. “Not yet. But trust me, I will.” I walked out of that building about 10 feet tall and bulletproof. On a mission to NEVER AGAIN BE AT THE MERCY OF CORPORATE POLITICS. That week in the hospital witnessing my daughter fight so hard showed me that I didn’t want to give the best years of my life stuck in a cubicle, crunching numbers on a spreadsheet making someone else rich only to have my daughter raised by someone else.
They say you can build a successful business from one of two things – inspiration or desperation. Mine was the latter. We would never have a lot of options if we were at the mercy of my husband Adam’s fixed arm salary. And I knew that I would be able to set my own hours to build this business. So I made the decision to get to work. And as much as it might look like an “overnight success” that couldn’t be further from the truth. In another post, we can share about the doubts and wall kicking moments along the way.
I was fortunate that when I told Adam I was quitting my job, he didn’t laugh at me. Truth, he had no say in my decision (liberated woman). Instead of questioning me, he looked closer at the opportunity i was about to pursue and he too saw the bigger vision. I’m grateful for Adam’s help. We certainly balance each others’ strengths/weaknesses.