PLANNING YOUR EXIT STRATEGY
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to have my own business. I was the queen of “Side Hustle” growing up! And this was before it was a cool phrase people used. I dabbled in so many different industries and always had multiple jobs at once. I am very creative and always thinking of my next “idea”. After saying “I want to have my own business” enough times, I finally made it happen!
I was strategic with planning my exit out of the corporate grind. It was my goal to start creating my business. I learned all I could about building a website, branding, business, accounting, and more. The search began for a freelance, sales rep position, anything I could do independently (to not go into an office). How was I going to supplement a portion of the income I was making at the time so I could leave?
I ended up getting hired on with two brands to sell/represent their lines and was able to make the move. The next day, I went to my boss and told him my plan and GUESS WHAT? He turned out to be one of my clients. Everything was falling into place perfectly; I couldn’t believe how easy it was to transition. Since I made the leap, I’ve met so many others that share similar stories. I love sharing my story and others in hopes it will inspire another. I interviewed two of my friends; one new and one I’ve known for many years. Both women, I admire very much, and I know you will too.
BRAND AND BUSINESS STRATEGIST- KRISTINA CELIN
Kristina Celin is the founder of a digital creative agency, Designing Gig. She helps business owners take command of their brand to attract a steady stream of ideal buyers and position themselves as the authority in their space. Ten years ago, at the age of 24, Kristina left her 9 to 5 and opened a freelance design business. While she loved the company she worked for, she felt deep down that being 100% in control of her time and earning potential was non-negotiable. Fast forward 10 years, Kristina is running her company with her husband and they have the freedom to travel, and work from anywhere in the world (that has an internet connection).
Kristina and I connected on where else, Instagram! We’ve had a few video calls, and I love connecting with her. Although different industries, we have so much in common when it comes down to what we are both trying to achieve- helping boss babes turn their magic into passion to make a profit! Thank you for always supporting my journey. Excited for what the second half of 2019 holds for us both!
INTERVIEW Q & A
Valerie: When did you know you wanted to go into business for yourself?
Kristina: I was a couple years into my 9-to-5 and while I loved the company I worked for and the people I worked with, I felt it deep down that I needed to be 100% in control of my time and my earning potential. If I had to identity a specific “ah-ha!” moment, I guess it was the one time I wanted to travel to Europe for 3 weeks — but I had to ask my boss for clearance/permission first. Even though I had already accumulated 3 weeks of vacation since the time I had started working for the company. They were very cool about it and ultimately let me take the time off in the end — but not without having to jump through some hoops first, understandably.
Valerie: What steps did you take to be able to leave your full-time job?
Kristina: I decided to start a freelance design business on the side, and I invested all my spare time in building it up. I scheduled client calls and meetings during lunch hours. I took design and website classes for my certifications at a local college every evening after work. I completed client work in the evenings and over the weekend while everyone else was out partying (I was only 24 years old the year I opened my biz). Today, I run a 10-year old digital creative agency with my husband.
Valerie: For anyone leaving a comfortable full-time steady salary, it can be scary AF! What motivated you to keep going in the tough times?
Kristina: Living a freedom lifestyle, being in charge of my own success (and failure… it’s a double-edged sword) — while simultaneously doing something I loved and was good at… running a business!
Valerie: Was there a moment in your business when you felt like “I made it”?
Kristina: Definitely not. I’d say I’m still working towards that moment to this very day, 10 years later 🙂 But when I look back, I can say I see the huge climb I’ve completed so far and can smile down at it with contentment and pride.
Valerie: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs on the verge of leaving their FT jobs to pursue their dreams?
Kristina: Don’t jump in blindly if you don’t have to. Put in your due diligence — invest the time and funds to define your niche and your brand, know what makes you different from the rest, build a business model and strategy, and if at all possible, on board a handful of clients who are already working with you.
For business and branding tips, follow Kristina:
Website: Designing Gig
Website: Kristina Celin
TRANSFORMATIONAL LIFE COACH- KERA ASBERRY FORD
Kera Asberry Ford is a transformational life coach. She coaches individuals on setting goals, breaking them down to attainable goals and creating an action plan on how to accomplish. Kera coaches on life, marriage, business, career, and health/wellness. She is motivated by her husband and from all the teachers that have came into her life. Her purpose is to help as many people as possible get their lives back on track to live the life they want.
Kera and I have been friends for 13 years. We met at a trade show in Las Vegas (way before I lived here). We had the best time and just clicked. I am incredibly grateful to have her by side and thankful for all her support throughout the years. Kera put a date on when she will leave her 9-to-5. I am so proud and excited for her to make the leap because I know she is going to help change so many lives!
INTERVIEW Q & A
Valerie: What are your plans when you leave your 9-5?
Kera: I plan to expand on my coaching business by building a marketing plan and rebuild my brand. I will predominately spend most of my time expanding my business in building my brand. I will also be working side hustles to sustain my income.
Valerie: What made you take a leap of faith and put a date on when you will leave your corporate job?
Kera: I know I am deserving of more and I am finally realizing that there is no job that will pay you what you are worth. I would rather spend 16 hours a day building my own business instead of 8 hours a day building someone else’s future. I also felt it was time. I am strong believer in God, and I am going to start listening when he is trying to show me the path that I am meant to take.
Valerie: What are you most looking forward to as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey?
Kera: I am looking forward to becoming stronger. While being on your own will be challenging at times but once I get through the obstacles, it will be the most rewarding. So, I am excited for the good and bad. Experience is the best teacher.
Valerie: Do you have the support from family and friends?
Kera: My husband and my parents have been the most supportive. I have some business minded friends that are also supportive on this journey. My friends who are not business minded; I have kept quiet about it because they do not understand the entrepreneurial mindset.
Valerie: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs like yourself that are planning their exit strategy?
Kera: I would suggest that they create a strong game plan. I think they should figure out what vehicle they plan to replace their daily income and take a couple of days off and do a few practice runs. Of course, not everything will go to plan but if you have a strong exit strategy, it will allow your mind to become creative. Also make sure you are mentally prepared for this new step. We have been programmed to believe that we can only make a living when we are working a job. You must reprogram your mind to think differently than what you were taught.
For motivation and inspiration, follow Kera:
I hope you guys enjoyed this post. Drop me a comment below and let me know what you think. Till next time….