I’m a planner, always have been. I like to create plans, make lists and then check them off. So a year and 1/2 ago when my husband and I quit our jobs, packed up the family and moved across states, then both started new businesses… well, it might have seemed a little out of character for me.
I’m not sure what’s in the air, the water, or whatever…but lately I’ve had a lot of people randomly tell me that they could never do what I did, that it was so brave or such a risk, etc. They wished they could have the courage to break out and do it themselves. To be honest, I never thought we were being brave or courageous at the time, but now that I look back on it, I guess we did flip our lives sideways and take a lot of risks!
The point I want to make though, is that while, on the outside, it seemed like we were flying by the seat of our pants, it was only due to two years of careful planning that we were actually able to jump off the cliff!
My hope is that by telling my story it will encourage others to follow their dreams and maybe, just maybe, do a little cliff jumping of their own.
My husband Glenn and I and our two daughters, Teagan and Mackenzie, were living in Los Angeles. Glenn and I were growing tired of the crowds, overpriced homes and poor school systems. We knew we had to make a change so we had two options 1) jump ship and move to another state that is more affordable and “family friendly” or 2) move a little further outside of the city and we could stretch to afford a house (we were currently living in a VERY small condo by the beach) and the school systems were better further out. Either option was going to uproot our family and both were going to require some cashola!!
We went back and forth a lot, not knowing which option to do. Lots of pros and cons on both sides, but what we knew for sure was that we had better start saving our pennies. If we moved outside of L.A. we could keep our jobs, but we were going to be putting down some bucks for a house, if we left the state we were going to be job hunting…in the middle of a recession….
Well, we saved and saved for 2 years! Yup, that’s how long it took us to be able to feel comfortable to make a move. The only problem was…where? Long story short, about two months before we actually made the move we decided “let’s blow this popsicle stand!” We turned in our notices and two months later were packed up with the two of us, two kids and two cats driving to Colorado!
The reason why we could make such a “quick” decision was because we had be researching and working on it for so long. When it came time to make the decision of staying local or jumping ship we were ready and we never looked back. It was awesome. I can’t tell you how exciting that dreadful 16 hour drive was! It was so much fun. We had no place to live, no jobs and no prospects but we weren’t worried because we had a plan…and savings!!
We found a little house to rent within a week and I started job hunting. My husband is a photographer (http://www.glenncratty.com, if you’re curious) so we knew he would be rebuilding his business. I was supposed to get the job… Well, I got to thinking, when am I ever going to have this opportunity again where I don’t HAVE to work for a while? We knew it would be tough to find a job during the recession so I planned for it to take about 8 months in our budget. It hit me, I’ve always wanted to start my own business, why spend this precious time looking for a job that I don’t care about when I can build a business that I love. So that’s just what I did.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not without it’s challenges. Building a business is a slow process and we have had to make big sacrifices to follow our dream, for example we’ve kissed buying a house goodbye….for now… EVERYTHING we do, eat and drink is checked against the budget, gone are the days of buying good wine, we drink the cheap stuff now!!
Is it worth it though? You bet. I’m in love with my business, I get to be with my kids SO much more and I wake up feeling thankful for the lives we live – Ok, truth be told, I need a cup of coffee to function first, and THEN I’m so thankful for the lives we live… It doesn’t get much better than that.
So if you’ve ever had a dream or a passion that you wish you could pursue, whether it’s on a small or large scale – don’t feel stuck. Start planning. It may take several years before you can actually act on it and it may take several more years before it can sustain you solely, but with careful planning and a belief in yourself you can take that jump and be glad that you did!