Throughout the majority of my life, I’ve lived with an extreme level of social anxiety – like projectile-vomit-all-over-Brooks-Brother’s-suits-at-an-industry-networking-event level of anxiety.
I love meeting new people in small settings and learning about other’s life stories, but a tech conference filled with abrupt, in-yo-face “Let’s connect!”, “What’s your valuation?”, “Who’s on your client list?” makes me want to ditch the whole event agenda, hole up in my hotel room, and Wikipedia local historical sites.
It’s that bad.
I began my entrepreneurial journey in the era of boom or bust tech-based startups. The markets had crashed, national employment was in the crapper, and this thing called the internet was exploding almost overnight.
The popular business gurus hailed as the poster boys of success were the extremely extroverted, snake oil salesmen peddling “success” to all of us nearly-bankrupt professionals like a crack dealer cruising Beale Street.
I was pretty sure I’d fallen off the feminist face of the planet following my family’s move to Kansas City.
Everywhere I went, every company I interviewed at, every organization I joined appeared to be run by men. Even the local women’s networking group was led by male professionals (WTF?).
“What does your husband do?” became the most frequently asked question following my introduction.
I was even asked if my MBA was “the same as a man’s MBA” at a Chamber of Commerce event. That one literally left me speechless.
Accustomed to the more gender equal working world of the East and West Coasts, I did not take too well to (repeatedly) being the only woman in the boardroom, classroom, department, etc. Expressing my frustrations regarding the well-seated Kansas City patriarchy to the few other female professionals I encountered was typically met with a wistful, “Well, at least you get a chance to be included…” Continue Reading…
Freshman Welcome Week was really stressful. I didn’t really want to be there, I didn’t have any friends, and I had no idea what the heck I wanted to study. The expectations of what the whole college experience should be vs. what I was feeling created quite the dilemma.
The dichotomy of experience was only magnified when the Student Body President championed from the Welcome Week staged podium, “Welcome to the best years of your life!”
I recall looking around, into the faces of the cheering mostly-eighteen-year-olds, and feeling my stomach twist. I was not happy. I did not want to be here. I was pretty sure I was going to hate college.
Reflecting on my undergraduate experience, I mentally jotted off a few things I wish I’d known as an incredibly lost, quite naïve college student.
Some things are pretty straightforward, like wishing I’d joined ROTC, majored in Economics, dated my now-husband sooner, and landed a McKinsey & Co. internship.
Weston, Missouri is a charming historic town located just a few miles outside of the Kansas City metro area.
I first became acquainted with Weston when my family was stationed at FT Leavenworth. Seeking a running route that didn’t include outlines of the massive federal prison, I’d asked local for recommendations from my new neighbors. Weston – a neighboring community – was among the top recs by local yokels, followed by additional directions to Weston’s mouthwatering restaurants and winery to refuel following a long stretch.
While Weston is small, with a population of under 2,000 people, its historic downtown district, neighboring state park, u-pick orchards, and multiple breweries, distilleries, and wineries make it a definite must-see for anyone visiting the Kansas City area.
I’ve been meaning to get strategic about my money management since graduating, buying a house, getting married, starting a business, moving, moving again, moving again…and the list goes on and on.
Do you feel me?
While do-it-yourself money management has been a long-term intent of mine, it’s emerged as the ultimate back-burner project. “It’ll take too much time,” I’d convince myself. “I’ve already put it off this long – what’s another year?”
This year, I (finally) called my procrastinator self’s bluff – it’s time to get serious about some serious investments. Dancing the prelude to my Dirty Thirty, I’ve decided to put some action behind my financial well-meaning, yet previously ineffective intent, and manage my own money. Like many other millennials, I’ve got asset goals, student debt, and healthcare costs that routinely meet the catastrophic cap and have concluded there’s no time like the present to execute financial savviness.
It’s here –the day you take the leap into the wild and wooly world of entrepreneurship, leaving behind the security and stability of a “normal” job.
The leap is thrilling.
It’s also completely terrifying.
For myself, there were many nights during Year 1, Year 2, and a few in Year 3, where I laid awake wondering, “What in the @*&% did I just do?”
Looking back, there were several key actions I should have taken before quitting my job to go full-time in my business. They say hindsight is 20/20 – well, maybe a few aspiring entrepreneurs can glean some wisdom from the things I wish I’d known.
Here’s the scoop on 5 things you should do BEFORE you quit your day job and dive headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship:
You may recall from a previous blog post, my husband and I built a tiny house.
Just the two of us, with a budget of $1,000. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but it turned out to actually be doable.
And now it’s almost done – done enough for a blog tour! Everything has been installed with the exception of a modern bathroom (we do have an outdoor shower with running water), a functional kitchen (good thing I married a grill master), and AC/heat source (currently going old school on this).
While our tiny house isn’t currently HGTV standards, it’s been a really educational experience (never thought I could actually build a house), along with providing a super low cost project with awesome return (thanks to my squirrel-like salvaging skills, we currently have less than $800 in the entire tiny house build).
The house provides us both a place to “go chill” and allows us a place to catch up on some uninterrupted R&R without breaking the bank or disrupting our penny-pinching savings plan.
Oh, how I love the Kansas State Fair.
For ten days in September, the little town of Hutchison welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the Sunflower State. The roadways become packed, restaurants overflow, and “No Fair Parking” signs crop up in hastily manicured terraces. A city best known for its Cosmosphere and salt mine evolves into the state hub for pretty much everything for ten epic days of all-things-Kansan.
The Kansas State Fair is an annual festival that’s been going on for over 100 years. Thanks to a multitude of helpful volunteers and supporting organizations, the state fair provides both educational and entertainment opportunities for all ages. Some of the exhibits are predictable, like the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Fisheries mobile aquarium (super cool), while others breathe new life into the annual event, like a surprise visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales (the 2015 fair rocked).
This post is brought to you on behalf of the Forté Foundation. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Forté Foundation.
Until ten years ago, I had never actually met a professional woman – an educated female that made a living wage. Growing up in fundamentalism, I was raised in a culture that did not acknowledge gender equality and restricted women to very limited roles as wives and mothers. I had no idea what developing a career involved or even how to get started. The majority of my homeschool education had been focused on the domestic arts – childcare, cooking, cleaning, etc. – and neglected subjects like math, science, and finance (all the things you wouldn’t find in the job description for a housewife).
My junior year of college, I finally encountered a real-life professional woman – a visiting professor of biochemistry. She was confident, educated, and owned her own house. I knew I wanted to be just like her, but I had no idea how to get there.
During a workplace seminar I recently attended, a member of the audience asked the speaker, “Why do millennials want the flexible work environments?”
The speaker replied, “Because they don’t want to work! Millennials don’t want to work.”
As one of the only millennials in the crowded event space, my interest was piqued by the speaker’s response and the subsequent non-millennial audience reception. The speaker and audience conversation continued dogging millennial employees, citing Generation Y’s preference for remote working opportunities and their engagement in the gig economy as sufficient evidence for the unfounded argument that millennials are inherently “lazy”, “have immature values”, and “lack sufficient work ethic”.
As a career-minded millennial that’s built her entire career through virtual work out of necessity (I am also a full-time caregiver to my spouse who was injured serving our country in Afghanistan), I was quite troubled to hear this discourse among industry leaders regarding generational misconceptions and ill-informed consensus regarding flexible work opportunities that can lead to mass discrimination within our caregiving community.