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How I Quit My Corporate Nightmare (2 Years Later)

So, after a final 5 pride-swallowing, ulcer-inducing years in corporate America, I finally called it quits a little over 2 years ago.

So, I wanted to make a quick video describing the process that allowed me to join the ranks of “the great resignation” before it was actually a thing and hopefully give you some insights to help you do some version of what I did without worrying about becoming discouraged or feeling weird or even hopeless in the process.

So, if you ARE someone who’s debating leaving their 9-5, I want to offer you the 3 major levers I pulled that allowed me to escape my corporate nightmare in brief, then I’ll unpack each one in more detail and show you how you apply them to your specific situation.

So here they are: 

  • I Paid Off $174,000 In Debt 
  • I Discovered The FIRE Movement 
  • I Started An Online Business  

Now to set some realistic expectations for you, let me say that if you’re a career burnout like I was and you’re desperate to get out of your current situation your options may look like one of the following:

  1. It may be time for you to quit altogether. 
  2. It may be time for you to just “jump” to another opportunity right now as a short term fix while you’re trying to get some other things lined up.. 
  3. OR, maybe it’s something else completely. 

Whatever the case, I just want to encourage you to hang in there as long as you can AND to reach out for help and encouragement when you need it in our private FB group and I’ll leave a link below for that. https://www.zerodebtcoach.com/community.

Okay, now let’s jump into the juicy details:

 

I Paid Off $174,000 In Debt 

Now, let me start by saying that, because I used to be so bad with money,  THIS was actually the hardest part of my journey. 

If you’ve followed my story for any length of time, you’ll know that by 2004 (which was the first time I left corporate America), I had made a total train wreck of my financial life.

At that point, I owned $43,000 in consumer debt and a $131,000 condo in downtown Atlanta that was WAY out of my price range. I NEVER should have bought it.

To add insult to injury, I also leased a car that was NOT within the boundaries of my THEN non-existent budget.

And it all came crashing down when late one blustery winter afternoon I logged into my bank account and saw a balance of just a few hundred dollars and no income to cover my incoming expenses.

Now, they used to call it a “nervous breakdown”. Whatever you call it it was terrifying BUT, it was precisely the wake up call I needed.

BECAUSE it triggered me to go searching for the principles and process that I needed to internalize to get control of my money and get out of debt.

All of that took me about 2.5 years to learn, master and ultimately to pay off my debt, but it was TOTALLY worth it!

This whole new thought and behavior pattern about money taught me the foundations of personal finance I had never learned in school or at home like how to do important and adult things like:

  1. Develop a growth mindset
  2. Define my “why” for wanting to TRULY change.
  3. Organize my finances
  4. Get on a solid monthly zero-based budget
  5. Learn how to track and reconcile expenses
  6. And get on a solid and aggressive debt-repayment plan

And stroking that last check for $10k to my second mortgage company on the day I sold my condo and got 100% out of debt was one of THE happiest days of my life and marked the end of an incredibly important chapter.

AND, as I was nearing the end of that particular chapter…

 

I Discovered The FIRE Movement

And the two HUGE skills I learned in tackling that material were how to

1)  increase my savings rate AND

2) how to invest.

And let me unpack those a little more.

 

Increasing Savings Rate

I took everything I learned in my debt-elimination process (financial organization, budgeting, tracking, planning) and poured gasoline on it.

During this phase, I exploded both my understanding and inspiration to reach financial independence by reading books like: 

Your Money Or Your Life: https://amzn.to/3KnZFld

Early Retirement Extreme: https://amzn.to/3IbyubM

The Millionaire Next Door: https://amzn.to/360dcAN

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: https://amzn.to/3MtPWMe

Playing With FIRE: https://amzn.to/3vLJr1b

My wife and I used those skills we learned in the debt-elimination phase to increase our savings rate to above 50% of my overall income.

We actually optimized this by elevating our savings rate up to 70-80% during my last 5 years in corporate America. We became EXCELLENT at playing what Thomas Stanley calls “economic defense” using our budget as a tool for that.

AND additionally, by utilizing the added skills of minimalism and REASONABLE frugality (we DID NOT live on rice and beans), we were able to save and invest over $500k during that last 5 years of my own particular little corporate nightmare.

Now, the second thing we learned during this phase…

 

Investing

I started studying both traditional investing and simultaneously cryptocurrency investing.

I learned the index fund investing that is so often coveted in the FIRE movement. Now, because of overall market conditions, I’ve since dramatically changed my investment strategy for these markets, but that’s too much to go into in this video. 

Also, in a more meta-sense, I started learning about the fractional reserve banking system and how the Federal Reserve system works. This led me to diversify some of my portfolio into precious metals.

Simultaneously, I discovered Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investing and, more importantly, how I learned how to do it without getting REKT which I teach in my FREE “Basics of Bitcoin” guide. Link in the description below. 

So much more to say about ALL of that, but suffice it to say I’ll be covering MUCH more about investing in future content including my very basic framework that helps me keep my investing very simple. 

So make sure to smash subscribe and tickle that notification bell to make sure you see that content.

 

I Started An Online Business

ALSO as part of the FI inspiration of earning extra money to throw at your savings rate and into your investments, I started dipping my toes into side-hustling which lead me to:

  1. Trying a bunch of different short-term side-hustles.
  2. Becoming a locally-based personal financial coach, which ultimately led to…
  3. Starting and growing an online business.

Trying different side-hustles led me to driving for Uber, Lyft, filling out surveys, taking part in market research focus groups, pet sitting AND led me to a little side hustle that became one of my online businesses.

Helping people with their money was something I had actually been doing since I started my own journey WAY back in 2004. Once I knew the process of budgeting and debt elimination, I set off to help as many people as I could.

This led me to get some formal training as a coach so that I could help people in my immediate community.

But, after a couple of years of beating my head against the wall trying to “market” myself at local networking events, I quickly realized that moving my business to an online-centric, content marketing-based operation was going to be much more effective both for me and for my students.

Now I will say, I’m not one of those explosive rags-to-riches online success stories where a creator “discovers their passion” and miraculously turns it into a multi 7-figure business overnight (I’m actually personally pretty skeptical about most of those stories).

Nope. My story is far less exciting. In fact, it’s much slower, much more methodical and I would argue 100% repeatable for anyone to follow and replicate for their own situation.

I can honestly say that in my third year as an online entrepreneur, I was actually able to quadruple my revenue and this coming year is looking even more promising.

Much more to come about how to start and grow an online business, so again make sure to smash subscribe.

So tell me, which one of these stages do you see yourself in on your journey to being a part of the “great resignation”. Leave a comment below and let’s continue the conversation.

  

Struggling Or Feeling Alone?

Join Our Private FB Group: Zero Debt Tribe

Now, if this decision process is something you struggle with and you constantly feel isolated about, I’ve got some great news for you and it’s free.

Our private Facebook group, ZeroDebtTribe. It’s a group of like minded people that are all somewhere along this P2P/debt-elimination/on their way to FI continuum. So click the image above and apply to join us. :)

  

How can ZeroDebtCoach help you? 4 ways...

 

1. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the notifications bell to make sure you get our new videos every week. 

 

2. Download one of our free personal finance guides. You’ll learn some of the exact strategies I teach my private coaching students on how to organize and optimize their finances, obliterate debt and move on to financial independence by starting and growing online businesses.

 

3. If you’re looking for a community of motivated and like-minded people, go ahead and get on the waitlist to join our private financial coaching community. We only open it for new students a couple of times a year, so make sure to get on the waitlist.

 

 

4. If you need some help right now because you’ve got a burning issue, you need a problem solved, you want to talk through a complex situation, click on the button below.

 

 

All that said, let's keep on building your financial acumen and make this your best year yet!

Thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you in the next video post!

 

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