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It's been a bumpy 20+ year journey, but I'm here!!


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May 12, 2018
Hey everyone!

Newbie to the forum, but not newbie to this entrepreneurial/side hustle lifestyle.

Glad to find a home to discuss this stuff passionately, with like-minded people, without being pitched.

Here's my ~20 year journey in a short story:

Raised by hard working parents who encouraged the standard: Study hard, get good grades, get a good job with benefits, buy a house, settle down, etc etc etc.

Introduced to Robert Kiyosaki in 1998 after growing up in an 'employee-minded household'.

It blew my 'raised to be a good employee' mindset to pieces and I started down the path of trying to figure out something I could create and sell and get residuals on, so I could build that fortuitous cycle.

Disconnected from TV and the news, and most of the information about "the world" at large, and voraciously consumed business and personal success materials.

Went down the affiliate path. Went down the pay-per-lead path early in FB ads days. Ran my own social media coaching and consulting company. Set up funnels and webinars and played with every beta SaaS software I could get into (including Salesforce before it was Salesforce), practiced discovery calls and got enough clients to pay the bills.

All the intellectual things were grand, but one thing I didn't account for was the emotional toll it would all take on me - especially while I was putting pressure on myself to do this stuff full time and have it be my primary income.

I got very very intensely lonely, even though I was part of a large and active social group - eventually realizing I couldn't be part of just any group and hope to really connect with people and make deep friendships. I wanted to talk about one thing (leading-edge business), they wanted to talk about another (shoes, dresses, what they feed their husbands), and neither of us was truly interested in each other beyond the one social activity we shared together.

I moved back to be closer to family supports, and continued to work on my business... but without a supportive social group, I ran out of steam.

At one point, I just kind of gave up. Got a part time job in retail, closed down all my entrepreneurial efforts. Continued to struggle financially. Got a full time position in the same place. At least I could begin to breathe again.

Got targeted by a well-tenured bully, and setting healthy boundaries only exacerbated the situation because management and HR had no idea how to handle workplace bullies.

18 months into the FT job being bullied, had a review, where management sent a shot across my bow about how I need to "get along better" or my job's at stake...

"Oh yeah! That's why being an employee for a publically traded retail corporation sucks! I mean, nevermind the bullying crap but we don't get paid very well, 'raises' are laughable and we're all expected to do the work of 5 people, on slow computer systems that have NEVER had any UI or UX testing, while customers yell at us and we tell them how sorry we are they're upset!"

My soul was definitely being crushed and to survive (and continue to pay my bills), I had to behave in ways that I don't want to practice and reinforce.

I was looking for opportunities, but didn't want to jump into another pit of snakes.

Then one Thursday night, when I had the next 2 days off, I opened my email and was introduced to an opportunity that had my name written all over it.

I didn't sleep much the next 2 days.

I did some fancy dancing so I'd stand out a bit, and I applied to a job that was not actively advertised as something being hired for.

Got an interview days later. Had an offer the week after. Gave my notice less than two weeks after the review telling me to "get along better" with the local bully.

Started the new job, it's 180 degree change and I'm back with a private company that invests in its systems and its people instead of worrying about "shareholder value". I'm back with smart people who want to do excellent work with an excellent product, with other excellent people.

Kept a PT position at the old place for a bit of extra income (more distant from the bully), 10-12 hours a week and significantly less responsibility but not much less pay.

The very best thing out of all of this is that the new place encourages side hustles, because what we learn and experience there actually helps in our main jobs.

So now I'm back to trying to figure out a good side hustle, but THIS TIME I've got a solid foundation of a job that doesn't crush my soul, and that encourages entrepreneurial spirit.

And I'm glad I've found this board, so I can cheer other people on, and find answers to my questions as I move forward in my journey, too!

- V
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