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Ditch Your Day Job

Lesson 1 of 24

How I did It

Michelle Ward

Ditch Your Day Job

Michelle Ward

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Lesson Info

1. How I did It

Lesson Info

How I did It

So we're gonna get in very soon to talking about just the brass tacks of diction, your day job and what we're gonna cover here today. But first, before we get into that, I want to share a little bit more about my story and how I've come to be the when I grow up Coach and my own dick your day job story, because I I think I teach this so often and so well because I've done it myself. So you all know me as the when I grow up, coach. But I wasn't always. I used to be a musical theater performer. This is me and my cruise ship A tire on That was really my life and my passion. For 20 years until my mentally twenties 2006 ish, I finally was able to look in the mirror and say, This isn't what I want to do when I grow up anymore. And it was really, really devastating for me. But the thing that stuck out the most was that I had spent my whole life chasing a career that I was really passionate about. And when I thought about the next 40 years of my working life until I'd be able to retire. It just...

became unacceptable for me to have a job that I didn't love. Um and so I set out to try to find a grown up job, a k a stable one that I could be passionate about. And I took tests and I did exercises and classes, and I found life coaching thing hippy dippy, especially back in 2000 and seven. This, like, hippy dippy, airy fairy career that would not come with a stable paycheck or 401 K or health insurance, all these mythical things that as an actor, I knew that I needed as a grown up, but I never really had before. Eso I wanted to reject it, but it became very clear that I was passionate about essentially being the coach that I needed at the time that I couldn't find, I wanted to help creative people through their career transitions, and I also couldn't deny the fact that being an entrepreneur fit in so well to what I wanted for myself. And so when I figured out those two key things, I just wasn't willing to turn my back on something that's set my passions in my skill set, my lifestyle goals and my values as well as being the the when I grow up. Coach dead. So the first thing I did Teoh get on track to be a full a woman of the world, as I like to say, a full time entrepreneur and life coach, of all things I still roll my eyes at. It was actually leave the day job that I was in. So at that point in my head, I was still pursuing acting. But I wasn't because I had. I had my first grown up job as an account manager and on paper this job should have been the best like it was in SoHo in this really cool neighborhood. And let's see young people and some of them go to work in their pajamas. And it had this start up this feel and it really relied on my communication skills in my relationship building skills, which were really important to me. But I had a verbally abusive boss, um, and he made me psychosomatic, and my breaking point came about a year into that job when I was on the subway and I was making my way to work and a stop before my stop at Union Square, which, for anyone that knows New York City, knows that it's one of the busiest subway stations in New York. In the middle of rush hour, I ran off the train to dry heave into the waste basket, totally humiliating with thousands of people rushing to work around me. And I realized, OK, I must really be sick. And this goes to show the hold this job had on me because my first thought wasn't I better get myself home. How am I gonna get myself home and get into bed? My first thought was, Well, I better go to where I'd better walk the 20 blocks to the office and get my laptop and tell my colleagues that I'm working from home and and do that today instead. And so I did that, and the second that I left the building, I felt fine, and that, to me, was my enormous wake up call that I couldn't continue down this path anymore and working for someone that made me feel psychosomatic on and left me with a pit in my stomach every morning and every Sunday Really, like six days out of the week. We're pretty miserable was not acceptable. So I want to hear your breaking point stories we want to hear from you guys at home. But first I want to hear from our lovely audience members and get to know you guys, too. Oh, and it's also were saying, almost forgot that for those of you that have already purchased the class, you could write your breaking point story. There's room on pages five and six in your workbook to do that. But if you haven't, then that's OK and you just write it down on a sheet of paper. No big deal. So let's start with you. Tell us who you are and why you're here. And we want to hear your breaking point story to, uh, my names. Liz, As you said, And, um, I am a G. I s analyst and I've been fortunate. Tohave GS analyst is ah, geographic information systems. I work with maps and creating maps for use with environmental management and analysis with for environmental management, and I've been fortunate to have a career that I love, but I've been in it for 20 years and I had, um I had an experience that kind of shook my world recently, and I'm just It was a wake up call of just like, you know, it's time to do something. I've been wanting to start a craft business for a very long time for years and years, and I'm like, If I don't do it now, when will I do it? So, uh oh, I'm so glad you're here. And it's hard sometimes. Sometimes we have very things that happened to us. You're gonna hear tomorrow from a former client of mine, Stephanie Hausmann. I'm gonna be interviewing her on state. And she had a have bringing surgery on. That was a big turning point for her because she came to me thinking she wanted to be a speaker and a consultant. She had a career and nonprofit management. And once she got that diagnosis, she turned that into a company called Old Town Suds, which, at the point at that point focused on, um, lot laundry detergent and other cleaning products that weren't toxic. She could put in her home and that were good for her skin on all of a sudden, Her goals changed. I myself am a breast cancer survivor. And I was already the when I grow up, Coach, when I got that diagnosis, but nothing solidifying its four to me that I need to wake up happy and looking forward to what I'm doing every day, then something like that happening to you. So I'm I'm so glad Teoh here that you're on that path toe your craft business, and I can't wait to just get to know you more. We have a lovely, intimate class, and so we're gonna hear loses story and other story. And we're gonna hear kind of story, too on from you guys in the chat room also. So please don't be shy. We're gonna be bouncing back and forth from the chat room stories as well. So, Heather, you are up next. Tell us all about you and your breaking point story. Well, um gosh, I A few years ago, I had a motel that I ran and I loved it, and my family was there, and it was really great. I had loved it because there was lots of different ah, variety of things that I got to do. I got to be involved in the community and, um, with people coming to my motel. And then we had a family tragedy that resulted in divorce, bankruptcy, and my kids and I being homeless for nine months. So a couple years later, here I am. I am in a job that, um, shrinks my soul every day as I drive to work. And I am ready to just be an entrepreneur again. Um, you know, I'm back on my feet and I'm like, I need to do this. You know, my my youngest is in high school. She's getting ready to go away for school. My youngest is in high school. My kids, I have six kids I got. And, um, my oldest is 24 then have a year old who's married and has a baby grandson and then 20 to 21 16 and 15. So, yeah, so, um, so my youngest is the last one at home with me, and she is getting ready to go overseas for a year for her junior year, and it's gonna just be me, e o that. But if I'm gonna just if it's just gonna be me, I want to be doing something that I love and that's making a difference. And that is fulfilling to me, Not my soul sucking jobs that I have right now. Yeah, and I'm so glad you're here. I'm so glad you both here, Uh, but this is what I talk about with my climate all the time. I feel like this simplification of my work, everything that I worked on with my clients to help them discover what it is they want to do when they grow up to actually helping them achieve that. It boils down to just knowing that when they wake up in the morning and they open their eyes and they think this is what I have to do today they're looking forward to the vast majority of it. That's it. You're happy with who you're seeing and spending time with your happy with the things that you were working on your happy with. You know, he might not be happy I have to do the laundry or go food shopping or do those grown up things. But for the most part Oh, I get to go to that exercise class that I love. I get to go meet my friend for lunch. I get to work with that client that I'm really excited to work with. That's it. That's a simplification of everything, just getting up and enjoying our day today. So this is why I feel like it's important to be diction your day job. No matter kind of where it is in the soul sucking ometer, even if it's not. And I have kind to come to me the go. My job isn't that bad and they feel guilty for complaining because, you know, they like what they do. They have nice colleagues, but it's not that bad. I shouldn't feel like this. I should. And and it's still valid if they're still just something that you're not feeling passionate about. That you're feeling isn't meaningful for you. That you're feeling just isn't aligned with what you want to be working on in um, and your own lifestyle goals and skill set. Then it's time to make a change. A man in Halloween and canned I'm putting you on the spot because I know you have a breaking point story also to share you, and I'm really excited to see so many that are coming in um, let me let me start with some of these because what's so cool is when you're in that place, you feel alone. At least I did. You feel so alone, like I'm the only one who's miserable and feeling this way, and this goes to show their so money that we're not alone and there's no way to know. So a lot of people are tuning in from their jobs, their mission. I got my review back, and I got all positive reviews. I asked for a different position due to the successes of my reviews, but my bosses said, Not right now open this email this morning, showing another a different person getting a promotion. I am at my breaking point in this very moment. Um, we have G g, a musician who works part time at a charity. Don't pay the bills. My breaking point with the day job was when I was kept so late at the office that I didn't I didn't get to show up at my musical engagement. I was so embarrassed. It was expensive from the money that I had to refund free services that I had to offer. I knew I needed to get another job. Dave T. And I think this is a lot of people out there. I started noticing physiological changes. I made myself sick and then worked unpaid on sick leave between panic attacks and dry heaves. And I was there. And there's so many war stories. Oh, this one, Jenny. And my breaking point was when I got a huge promotion, but I wasn't excited about there's holy things that you think you're supposed to do. And when you start on a particular path, I went and got my MBA and marketing and went and started work for big companies. Um, and I thought that was the thing. That was what I was supposed to dio and I was miserable, and I went from three different jobs in two years or something on, and I kept saying, Oh, it's this company. Oh, it's this company. Until I realized, No, it's me. This is not a fit for me, and that's OK. But mine waas so much anxiety crying in the morning, the feeling like you're gonna that you're gonna be sick. Panic attacks all of that. And you look at people around you and you're like Well, why? They're okay. Um, everyone's OK on the outside, right? Yeah. So, um yeah, definitely breaking points and family tragedy as well. Um, lost an aunt to breast cancer and sat there as she passed away. And you're like, Wait a minute, What is life? I mean, life is short, right? And that's and that's it also. And I think everyone that's here needs to get a gold star because I think the vast majority of people are very complacent to just be complainers on. That is probably my biggest pet peeve. When I was, I'm gonna talk about this in a second, but when I was at my last a job before, I was able to leave it and become the When I grow up coach full time. I was an executive assistant for a finance company, and I have a one colleague in particular. She would just and I would say, like me being me, I was like, Let me I want to help you, like, what else can you do or what would make your life better? And what? And it was, always know there's nothing else out there. I can't find anything to cut my commute, I won't be able to make any money. It was one excuse after another, and and she never took action. And so I just want everyone at home to know that if you are here, it means that you are taking action and you're ready to take action. So that's something to really be commended because I think we've been brainwashed, especially in America, that, you know we're supposed to work is called work because it's not play and and it's not supposed to be fun and you're not supposed to like it. You're just supposed to go and do it and make your paycheck. But it's really sad when you finally get to retirement age on, you know, you get hit with some horrible disease or something tragic happens to you and and all of a sudden that's all taken away. You've worked your whole life to retirement, and then it's all gone. And that's the thing at one theme I'm already seeing in here and which is which is awesome, because this is what you're going to be teaching us is is that I just feel really trapped because I'm afraid to leave because of money issues. please help. And this is exactly were Here is exactly why we're here. So I love this because my wake up call really led me to ask some big time questions, Right? My breaking point question Waas one. How could I do this and not be a bum? A k How could I be a hippy dippy life coach of all stupid things in 2000 and seven on and still pay the more gigs, right? I was so scared about money and not being a grown up by being this hippy dippy life coach Nowhere to how could I set myself up so I don't fall flat on my face? When I was still pursuing acting, I got my real estate license and that was a condition only job and I killed it. You guys, I killed it my first year there at the agency that I worked at, I was the number one agent for five months out of 12. I made more money back then than I've ever seen in my life. And I got really burned out and I left the agency and went to another one, and I switched from New York City rentals to sales, which is a whole different beast. And I fell flat on my face. The horrible transition I racked up over, I think, $20,000 in credit card debt, which I paid down years ago, thank you very much and was eating pizza for lunch every day because it was $2 very filling. It was it was a really low point. So I had that very fresh in my mind, and I didn't want to repeat that mistake again. And I asked myself, How can I feel proud of my decision and not like some big time idiot who up to study well, paying job to be a freakin life coach, for Pete's sake? Right? So I knew the easiest way for me to fall flat on my face was to realize I want to be a life coach and then quit my job and say, I'm gonna go be a life coach tomorrow. I know training. I'm no way for clients to find me. I didn't even know how to talk about what I wanted to dio. So how to really take a step back and say if I know that my current job isn't the right one for me. Then where could I go? That'll allow me to collect a paycheck, keep my weekends and nights free to get certified to work with clients and build my business and not have a boss who's a big, fat bully. So what I did first with just awfully resume and I realized that the best paying work for my qualifications on my resume, with possibly the least amount of overtime would probably be an executive assistant. So the first thing I did in realizing my life coaching dream was to go meet with recruiters and have them help me rearrange my resume to go on interviews as an executive assistant. And thankfully, I got hired pretty quickly by, of all places, fine company, because, thankfully, the manager there used to be an actress, and she brought in us actresses on gave us the shot. So it wound up as you could imagine me in a finance company like not doesn't make any sense. But what worried that really well was that I got paid $10,000 more than the job with a verbally abusive boss. Overtime was paid for, which means they didn't want you to take it. You were supposed to have a long shower every day, and you were supposed to be done with work at six o'clock. And if you were at your desk at 6 10 they were asking you why. That, to me, was perfect. There was no BlackBerry. I was not on call 24 7 like I was in my last stupid job and there was no travel involved. I had a lot of what I deemed unnecessary travel in my last job. And so all of a sudden it was very clear that great, I'm going to make more money. This is a function punch out. Leave my bringing out the door sort of job. So I took it when I started there in August of 2000 and seven, and the very same day that I started that job, I did my very first life cooking class at the International Coach Academy, which is a wonderful program. If anyone is interested on it really became the perfect transition. Teoh. Conserve my time and energy so that I could get certified and build my business. It took me two years and seven months to quit. I know that sounds like a long time, but in that time I figured out what I needed to feel comfortable and confident. And you're gonna hear that phrase from a comfortable and confident I'm gonna say it over and over and over and over again because that's what we're all aiming for here, right? What I needed to feel comfortable and confident in giving my notice Number one for me. Personally. I needed my certification on, and that took me almost two years to complete. I got engaged and married at that time. It was create, you know, good, good, crazy, but crazy andan. Once I graduated in June 2000 and nine, I really put the pedal to the metal with marketing myself and finding my clients. I knew I was shifting gears, but even before then, I put up a very basic version of my website was so basic it was not professionally. Anything had flowers in the header That said, When I grow up, it was It worked. It worked. It was very basic, but it worked and I started a blogger and I started tweeting. I could started telling people what I was doing. Uh and then once I graduated, I really I really hit the gas on that. The next thing I needed was a savings account. I essentially wanted to give myself a severance. Eso. The money that I made from coaching since 2008 went into a separate account, and I knew by seeing that savings account thankfully grow and grow and grow and grow. I knew that I didn't have to dip into my family's tucking account. I didn't need to, you know, cash in on a 401 k I didn't need to do anything super extreme to make this work financially and just give myself a cushion in those first few months of being a full time women of the world. I wanted a professionally designed website. So by the time I quit, I I wanted something that I could just feel really proud of. And I think that was connected. Teoh, my own personal fear that people would think life coaching like wasn't a riel. Things on that I was this hippie dippy person. And like, you know, I want to make sure that when it comes time to leave and I'm doing this full time that I feel really proud about what I'm putting out there when I give someone my card or I say to them, Go to when I grow up coach dot com that they're gonna go and say, Oh, this is a real thing This woman knows what she's doing s so that was really important to me. And number four was people knowing that I existed. I'm kind of embarrassed about this as as a coach, because this should have been a much they all should have been, like, much more measurable goal. Not just like I just want the feeling that people know that I exist, which to me meant like, I just want to know that their constitution calls coming in and I'm getting clients pretty regularly. I wish. I said instead, I want to be getting to consultation calls and when you client every month, something like that. But this is just the feeling, you know, that I had so, you know, two years and seven months was a long time while I was going through it. But in hindsight, five years and three months later, I look at that time and go Oh, that's all I had to do to be here like that's all I had to do to be able to set myself up so well that I never had a poll, my plan B trigger or come even close to it. And I get to be here with you guys. Teaching this stuff like that to me is just a drop in the bucket and so worthwhile. So I felt really golden when I gave my notice in March of 2010 because I had five months severance, right? I gave it to myself. The job didn't give me anything. I had more clients than I had time. That was a big wake up call to So I could only work with, you know, two or three clients a week, and at that point I got more and I was putting people on a wait list because I was still at my full time job and I couldn't I didn't have any more time to give them, so that was That was a piece of people knowing that I existed, a website that made me proud. I hired a professional designer, and in January of 2010 we launched my new website and my coaching certification So I had all of these things and it made me feel comfortable and confident. It was still a scary day. Theme day. To give notice is not a day, no matter how you set yourself up, it's still gonna be a scary nervous day, but also really exciting day, where you're able to go in there and give your notice. And now I see not only making more money as the when I grow up coaches I did in that finance job on and more opportunities for myself and more promotions. And I don't have to wait for someone else to give me or not give me. But just that that meaning and fulfillment. I could have stayed in that job and just felt like I was wasting all my time and skill set by by sticking there. So it was so worth while to do and the fact that I set things up so that I never had that moment of panic when I was, you know, worried about pulling that Plan B emergency lever and saying I better go back to corporate America. I better go get a bartending job or what not. The first month was lean my first month as a woman of the world. I definitely dipped into that account. But after that, I didn't have Teoh. I made enough money to keep things afloat. So it is worth taking baby steps every day on building your business to what makes you comfortable and confident. It's worth the time and energy, and I know it's easier said than done. But please take your time. I'd be really surprised if anyone would be able Teoh, you know, take this class. And tomorrow afternoon when we're all wrapped up, say I'm ready to go. Quit now. I'm gonna tell my manager toe. Shove it. Uh, but it could happen in the next few months. It could happen even in the next couple of years, and it wouldn't be too bad. So you won't be building a very solid foundation for what you want to do successfully. If you don't take all the steps to get there, If you don't level the ground and pour the cement and wait for it to dry and then seal it and whatever else you do toe make a driveway, I have no I name myself the When I grow up coach for two reasons. Right, cause I not only help creatives discover and achieve what they want to be when they grow up, but because as grown ups we have different values and priorities than we did as teenagers or newly graduated college graduates. Uh, when we know who, we don't want to live with six roommates anymore. We don't want to eat nothing but ramen noodles for weeks at a time. We have more used to pay and six kids to feed or less than that, things things change on. As an annoyingly optimistic life coach, I believe it's not a matter of if you could leave the golden handcuffs behind, but how and when. And I have to have to say, hopefully a bit humbly, but I'll pat myself on the back a bit for this. I've worked with hundreds of people personally on on these types of career transitions and shifts, and I've never, ever had anyone discover their what and say What I want to do was a photographer, and then we come up blank on how it's gonna fit into the semblance of their life. It's never happened, and you're not the exception. There's always a way to make it work. One of the most important things that I do with my clients to make their creative business dreams come true is to work with them on this plan to diction your soul sucking day job. And I can't wait to make sure that you feel comfortable and confident in taking that leap to be a creative entrepreneur, a k A. You're setting yourself up to not fall flat on your face and to not eat ramen noodles every day for the rest of your life. And that's what we're gonna do together to Dick. Our day Dubbed her a so yes, really, really a ton of people who are feeling connected and this is resonating with. So that's huge. But Drew, as folks in here, what do you need to feel comfortable in common. And so we have a lot of coming good, and hopefully that's going to match up with what we're gonna cover. This is what If you don't know the answer to that, this is why you're here. So no pressure with my mission yet. Let me know, But let me read off some of them. A lot of them are financial security getting off on disability. Sandra says so. Work insurance. How, you know, how do I get out with having insurance Feel comfortable enough to be able to pay my bills? There's a lot around money, a lot around being able to support my family. Um, and I know we're gonna be talking about that. Yeah. We're gonna be doing the money stuff today. We're doing the scary stuff. Hey, I figured we might as well rip the band Aid off right away.

Class Description

You don’t have to commit your life to a soul-sucking day job. In fact, you can drum up the job of your dreams if you have the right mindset and an action plan to back it up. In Ditch Your Day Job, career coach Michelle Ward will show you what it takes to go from bored-at-work to satisfied and self-employed.

There was a time when Michelle was wasting her days working in finance. She was miserable at work and needed a change. Over the course of two years she cooked up her escape plan and has been perfecting her approach by helping others for the last five years. In this class, she’ll show you how to prepare to leave your day job for a career you love. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create a simple plan for getting your business started
  • Establish an emergency fund
  • Identify your existing sources of help and support

Michelle will take the mystery out of starting your own small business and help you zero in on the details that will make it happen. You’ll develop a savings plan that will give you a good buffer before making the leap and get tips on exactly what it takes to make your new endeavor profitable.

If you are done with counting down the minutes at your day job and want to launch your own creative business, Michelle is ready to give you all the inspiration and insights you need to set yourself up with a life and job you love.

As a bonus when you purchase this class, you'll get:

  •  1 Year Membership Free to Bidsketch
  • 2 Free Hours on Breather, to apply towards booking one of their beautifully designed workspaces.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials


Bidsketch Discount.pdf

Bonus Materials

Amazing Discount Codes.pdf

Ditch Your Day Job Workbook.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

Fantastic course! I highly recommend it. Michelle is a wonderful teacher: energetic, passionate, funny, and encouraging. Kenna is also a great facilitator; the most natural and genuine host I've seen so far on Creative Live! Great job both of you. And a well-deserved shout-out to the in-class participants, who were engaged and candid about their own situations. Best of luck to both of you with ditching your day jobs. This class has given me the structure and several practical tools to facilitate my own transition to creative entrepreneurship and out of a soul-sucking job. Michelle shared many supportive messages that made me look more confidently at my "uniquity" and its value in the creative marketplace; as a result, I am now eager to take the action towards building my art business. I will use my S.N.A.P. to comfortably and confidently get to where I want to be, so that I don't snap at my day job in the process ;-)

Becky Pennington Arce

This course is truly AMAZING! I've been in hyper - forward motion since the first day! Thank you Michelle! This course was honestly different then any other! It gave actionable items, where to find support, and tons of yummy resources (which if very time consuming and somewhat impossible when you have a DAY JOB!) My Day Job is actually "ditching" me but by having a plan (which Michelle gives step by step details how to do), I'm totally comfortable and even EXCITED to be DITCHED! Several items that she shared I've already been able to implement into my creative business plan AND my personal life! Double whammy! I ended up buying the course to make sure I didn't miss anything! Super excited to continue and wish everyone luck on their own creative journey! ~Enjoy!

Heather Young

I was one of the fortunate studio members of this class. Wow! So much great information, step by step instructions, enthusiastic encouragement and fun! Michelle takes you through the baby steps needed to form a solid foundation to get ready to ditch your day job and do it with a plan, a safety net and a support network. A common sense guide to doing something uncommon and (to some) seemingly nonsensical. The videos will teach, inspire and encourage, the workbook will make it real for your own situation and the resources that are provided will be invaluable as you prepare to ditch your day job. You will be so glad you purchased this class!