Many dream of it and I did it! Quit a high-paying job and went out on my own!
After 17 years I did it! I got the dream job I always wanted as an executive with the Fortune 100 company I had spent my entire adult life with. This career took me from my native New York to Boston. I met my wife (who worked for me - whole other story 😁), introduced me to amazing people, allowed me to travel and see the country on the company dime.
Now my little family was moving to Michigan! That's where the position, the equity grants, the big bonus and the nice base salary were. Plus - our buying power increased in Michigan compared to Boston!!
We sold our house in Massachusetts for over asking, the company paid all the closing costs on both ends and we were rolling!!!
Except I wasn't. Outwardly, I had it all. The job, the house on a cul de sac in an amazing Pleasantville-like neighborhood, our second son was on the way. But inwardly something broke. Almost immediately. It was the physical and emotional manifestation of the 'be careful what you wish for' concept. I was empty, misaligned, depressed.
To boot, my boss was ALL over me almost from the jump. Stylistically, we clashed. She was a very low key, analytical, compliant-type midwesterner. Never left this bubble.
I was (am) a ready AIM fire, gregarious, ask questions later move forward former east-coaster with multiple locations and roles in my 17 years. I was risk, she was safe. I was go, she was wait. I was 'let's disrupt', she was 'let's follow the process'. What I later learned was that part of my feeling of being disconnected was she was probably a better representation of the company line. I need to have creative space and the company grew to a size where compliance was king. That doesn't work for me.
Back to my miserable experience...
The department I was hired to take over was failing before I got there. Hence the open position! As a control freak, I did what I thought was prudent. I pushed...hard! I stayed up late, got up early, consolidated departments to report directly to me, fired, demoted, hired, promoted. Push, push, push. The result got worse!!
I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Everything I was doing worked before. It truly wasn't until I put the right people in place, gave them my vision, allowed them to operate and supported whatever they needed that things truly turned around. I was managing at a different level than I had before. My organization was larger and more diverse. It wasn't the same as all the positions I had previously. Key lesson: What got me here, wasn't going to get me there!
So all good with the job after a grueling 18 initial months in the role - except it wasn't. By this time, I had started buying some real estate. That led to building a networking group around real estate. The creativity itch was being scratched, and I would make some money here and there on the side!
Eventually, I decided I would like to eventually become an entrepreneur full time. But now a new set of challenges.
- My wife is a stay-at-home mom
- I have 3 mouths to feed (5 if you include the dogs)
- I have a mortgage
- My W2 allows me to get loans and lines of credit to buy real estate
- What about health insurance??
Sharing my ambitions with my closest friends at work wasn't helping assuage my 'fear list' above. 'You have a good gig - why would you throw away equity?'. 'You can't just quit and support a family, you're 40 with responsibilities, it's over'.
It was clear I needed a new community. So I paid for one!!
I joined a 'mastermind group' called Gobundance - a high net worth mens entrepreneur tribe. At first, the term mastermind made me wonder if I was joining the Illuminati. Were we to smear lambs blood on our foreheads for initiation? But after getting past the imposter syndrome of being the W2 guy amongst a sea of successful driven entrepreneurs, I was starting to see a new normal.
'It's just equity - think of what you could earn on your own!'. 'You're limited by your companies idea of your value - you add much more value in the world and your earning potential is unlimited'. 'Health insurance is not as expensive as everyone says - that's a cop out'.
These were new conversations with new people indicating I was capable of something more. I was starting to believe it!
The incredibly successful men that founded Gobundance were looking for someone to create a program/community for future millionaires. Those that may not qualify to join Gobundance but want proximity and connection to the tribe. I had advised earlier that I was looking to contribute more so they asked if I'd be willing to do it!
I had NEVER created a community, online course, mastermind, or anything like that before. But this was my
'say yes' moment and I seized it. I created a goal setting course called 'Emerge' and sold 30 people a seat in my beta test ... and then I created the course! I found a course designer, hired her. I found a virtual assistant, hired her. I found a Facebook ad manager, hired him. I wrote down the course outline, found a videographer, hired him. I flew to Austin and recorded for two days. The initial capital from the beta test funded the entire thing. I had a business!!
That beta test group and I perfected, tweaked and structured the most valuable version we could think of for Emerge. It was a 12 week course that allowed people to get around like-minded peers all driving toward a better life - a bigger life! It was what I had in Gobundance without the minimum qualification.
Three months later, the results started coming in. People were seeing a change. They talked about transformation in their lives. They were seeing results.
That empty, hollow, disconnected feeling I had with my day job was filled. This was what I wanted to do!
80 people enrolled for our hard launch in January 2021.
In February, I went to south Florida with my family for a month.
On the trip down, I got clear on where my life was going - what I wanted to do - and how I wanted to do it.
It was time to quit!
Did I have stacks of cash and a steady passive income stream to replace my $350k+ in compensation? Absolutely not. What I did have was about a year of savings, some passive income, and the potential to build a business that could be fulfilling for me and those I get the privilege to serve. That was enough for me to make the leap., And so I did!
After announcing I was quitting, a funny thing happened. By being around the right kind of people, opportunities started popping up.
- Want to help with enrollment in Gobundance? Sure!
- I'd love for you to join my team as a partner to help market my real estate deals! No problem!
- I'm working on an affiliate project and you're amazing with marketing - wanna partner? Let's talk about it! - I can build systems and you should just continue to build your brand - maybe we can collaborate! Maybe!
By being intentional with WHO I surrounded myself with AND seeking to be of service to all of them, when it came time for me to quit my job, all of that time and money spent paid off. That's not why I joined a community like Gobundance, but it's what happened.
Today, I'm over a year out of the day job. I actually made MORE money in my first year out than I did my last year in the company. My family travels a lot - over 75 days together last year. I've been able to launch a speaking business, expand Emerge, open up Ascend (a long term high ticket mastermind), close on 6 multifamily deals with Quantum Capital (I'm a general partner with them) and now ... my family is moving to the Dominican Republic.
Day-to-day, there are ridiculous highs and severe lows. I can't simulate the sleepless nights of worry and stress when things don't seem to be going right and now paycheck is coming in. But I also can't explain the ridiculous adrenaline rush of being paid just to be me .. authentically me! I have amazing partners in all of my businesses, I have the ability to break things, screw them up, rebuild and grow. I am leaning fully into my insatiable need to be creative!!
I don't have balance - there's no way! I'm building, and I do my best - but I'm disproporiaitopely focused on my business and brand.
My objective now is to grow and share. Tell my story. Be authentic. Continue to lean into creativity. I've accepted my purpose in life and am going to put the petal to the metal on living it.
"I was made to inspire and motivate others to live their best lives"
Thanks for following my journey - and I hope my purpose becomes your reality!!!