Why I Quit Being an Entrepreneur

I'm trying to think how long it's been since I sat down to write an update just about “me.” (Looks like the “Emotional Entrepreneur” piece I wrote in January is the last time I really, truly laid stuff bare for my readers, in which case, this post is really long overdue.) Especially since there's something I wanted to update you about personally: in June I quit being an entrepreneur and went back to work full time. 

 

Yes, I'm back in the 9-5 world, and no, I don't really think it's any of your business.

 

But I'm going to elaborate anyway, since I've basically spent the better part of two years writing and dispensing advice about  working for yourself and blogging as an income. I felt I owed….not necessarily an explanation…but an update on the choices I've made and what led me to make them. Maybe someone else will get something out of it.

 

If you're a long time reader, you've probably guessed that I've been struggling for awhile.

Since the Fall of  2016, it feels like I've struggled in almost every way imaginable: with working from home, with maintaining consistent revenue in my business, with growing readership on this blog. I struggled with the rebrand at the end of last year. I struggled in my personal life, with my family, struggled with weight gain, and with legitimate depression.

The depression wasn't unfamiliar –  I've been dealing with off and on since I was 19.  No matter what kind of “blues” or “moodiness” came and went, I was always able to go to work, school, whatever and still function, but in April of this year I had the worst bout I've ever had and my productivity (and profitability) tanked.

It's very scary when your entire business depends on you being you – you putting sentences together in your voice, you being happy and upbeat on social media, you running the teams that make it all come together.

I didn't want to write, see friends, or promote myself online. The only thing I wanted to do was sleep…and watch mindless T.V.

Statistically – being self-employed leads to higher levels of stress and a higher risk of depression, and this is can be due to a variety of reasons like the ones I mentioned above: stress, isolation, lack of work-life balance. Being predisposed to the condition from a young age, did I ever really have a chance of being a happy, healthy solopreneur?

 

Coming to Grips with Going Back to Work

The depth of my depression this year really baffled me because 2017 (objectively speaking) has been one of the best of my life.

Great man, rock steady relationship, great travels, great milestones and accomplishments and great people to share them with. Seriously, I've been blessed in 2017 beyond measure.  But despite all that goodness, I found myself spinning out and I wanted relief.

I did consult my GP, and we did decide on the best course of treatment.

And the more I thought about it, the more going back to work made sense. I missed the close relationships I had in my previous office jobs and being a part of a large creative team. (Loved setting my own schedule and sleeping without an alarm though… I do miss that.)

Really, the only thing holding me back from trying it was my own internal guilt, of selling a lifestyle that wasn't really working…even for me.

But I was tired of living my life like I was “supposed to be” something: this blogger, this expert, this person who has it all together, this boss bitch, this…whatever. I wanted to just be myself for a minute. So, I decided to do what I felt like was best for me, and gave myself permission to start looking for an in-house position.

 

A New Job…and then (Another) New Job

Once I began to look for work, I happily found myself in a multiple offer scenario. While this experience did wonders for my confidence and allowed me to learn about negotiating (which I'd never really had the opportunity to do before), the pressure and timeline of it led me to a company I ultimately ended up not being happy with. At the beginning of June I started out with one job, and then six weeks in realized it was not a great fit and put in my notice.

(Which I could easily do because I have a side hustle and multiple streams of income, btw.)

But – that's not the end of the story.

At the risk of making your eyes roll, a big thing that's helped (in addition to medication) is a new-found spirituality.

After reading Gabrielle Bernstein's, The Universe Has Your Back, I've been doing more to channel positive energy (like I try to do with vision boards) and maintain a positive outlook. Have a spiritual practice has not only made me happier, calmer, and saner, but it's helped infuse a lot of much-needed perspective back into my life.

Anyway, after reading the book, I started to reinforce my own thinking that all of the events in my life are adding up to something good.

It's easier said than done, and miles from where I used to be (incredibly negative) but I've done the hard work and notice a profound difference.

AND GUESS WHAT? Two days after I put in notice at my new job, one of my all-time favorite freelance clients posted an opening for an in-house position for a Content Manager. So I applied, called my contact to tell him I had applied, instantly received an interview invitation, got the job, and I've been at my new-new job about a month.

It's the kind of work I've always wanted to do, and I truly feel like all the experiences of the last few years led me here.

But – a small part of me felt like taking a job, and “announcing to the internet” that I took a job, meant I was a failure.

Or, at least, that people would view me as a failure.

When this happens, I have to remind myself that I didn't have to go back to work, I chose this path and I'm really grateful to be on it. Even though I didn't like the previous job, my life has been dramatically different (in a good way) this summer now that I'm in a new and different routine. I can't explain it, but for me things have become immensely more manageable…both internally and externally.

 

Let's remember that going back to work doesn't mean your entrepreneurial spirit vanishes.

I'm working on an app and writing fiction and doing all kinds of weird sh*t I don't share here. Who knows what the next 5, 10 years will bring in terms of opportunities and growth? Just because I don't work for myself NOW, doesn't mean it'll always be that way. I've done it, it's always there, and ready for me to go back to it if/when I want or need to. Maybe I'll have kids one day and working from home for myself will be the best thing to ever happen to me.

I have options, and really, that's one of the biggest things I've wanted for myself.

But for right now, for me, in this moment, and in my circumstances …this is what my “best life” looks like:

  • I L-O-V-E my new job. No faking. I do. And it helps that I can work from home some too.
  • I'm still, (happily) running this (lucrative) blog and catering to a handful of really special freelance clients on the side.
  • My blog side hustle that turned into a full-time job is now a side hustle again, and weirdly, I feel more creatively charged by the blog now than before. Perhaps this is because there's less stress to produce and have this blog make a six-figure income.
  • I also moved in with my boyfriend, and that's going really well too. <3
  • Roo has gained some weight and we put him on a weight management plan, but he doesn't like to talk about it.

Thanks for all your support – it's definitely been a wild two years, but I'm looking forward to what the next chapter holds.

 

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  • Jim at MyCareerReboot.com
    November 2, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Hey Lauren! Just found your blog on bloglovin and pushed through to this post. I say “Good for you!” Your topic touches on a lot of things that I’ve been struggling with that lead me to Finance/Early Retirement blogging. I’ve spent almost 2 years spinning my wheels and on the fence of whether or not to actively go back to the workforce. Being 50 now, is my biggest downside. My wife has a job that she loves, but it has been elusive to me, but I’ve made many positive changes in the past 5 years that has lead me to this choice (for now). Thank you for sharing honestly and do what is best for you…always. I look forward to following along!

  • Matt Justice
    October 7, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    I vote bring back LBee&TheMoneyTree and give’r hell again! I was searching that site name for something I read a while back before I started…

  • Bailey from Becoming Bailey
    September 17, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! I think a lot of people forget you can still do the 9-5 thing and “hustle on the side” if you wish; that it doesn’t have to be “solopreneur or nothing”. I love my full-time day job working as an Admin Assistant at a college, but I also love running my blog on the side. It’s the best of both worlds for me and I get to engage in two totally different career paths!

  • Christine CR
    September 16, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Good for you Lauren! No matter what you do, you should always pursue what makes you happy and keeps you healthy. Like you said, who knows what will be 5 or 10 years from now. You may just go back to working for yourself in the future and that would be great too. I love having a day job and not having to worry about hustling all the time to make enough money; it allows me to experiment and get creative with my biz, and it keeps stress levels down.

    Congratulations on the new job! Thank you for sharing your story, I found it inspiring. 🙂

  • Oliver @ Appreneurinvestor.com
    September 14, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Different strokes for different folks…Some are happier with day jobs, and some are better as freelancers. You get to keep both your day job and side hustle and that’s awesome!

  • Angela
    September 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Lauren, congrats on the new job AND kudos for your bravery in putting it all out there on the Web. Hope you have received nothing but love and good wishes back, because you deserve them. I look forward to continuing to read the blog (and whatever else you might come up with!).

    Hugs!

  • Lauren
    September 11, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Thank you for writing this. I really identified with the depression part of owning your own business. I tried to start my own online business, and while I know I COULD have done it, because as a type-A person and high achiever, I know I could have gotten it done, but I was miserable the entire time. Part of me feels that failure but the other part says who cares, I lost some money, but at least I tried. Sometimes it’s hard to let ourselves be happy. Who knows what could happen in the next 5-30 years, I’m happy that you are self aware enough to know what you need!.

  • Francesca - From Pennies to Pounds
    September 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    When it all comes down to it, the best thing to do is the thing that makes you the most happy 🙂

  • jade
    September 8, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    What a thoughtful and wonderfully layed out post.

  • Dani
    September 8, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    It’s a fallacy to think we can only do one thing. I took a “job” as a full-time volunteer for Americorps VISTA serving my home city of Hartford, CT. I am also a wedding dress designer.
    today, I realized, I’m tired of wedding dress design, specifically custom wedding dresses. I love design and fashion but I LOVE marketing way more. It allows me to write, design graphics and communicate with people. Design is PRODUCE PRODUCE PRODUCE. And hope people love what you make. And compete. And hope for the next big customer.
    Marketing is keeping trying til you get it right. I have done quite a few campaigns for my city and other non-profit organizations. I’m tired of going after clients. I would prefer to do that as a “hobby” on the side with benefits and a 401K and regular income plus building a network through a job.
    I don’t care what anyone says.
    When I finish my year here, I am doing like you Lauren, and getting a job as a Social Media Marketer for Fashion, Nonprofits, etc. and blogging. That’s it.

  • Vinnie
    September 7, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    This is a great peice of writing and testimonial…..of life….if being courageous.

    You put in writing things I have been feeling in my soul, because similarly to yourself the emotional turmoil of depression and of working alone / doing everything alone has been ‘real’ and overwhelming.

    I have thought about going back to work but if I am honest I truly dont want to so I have slowly pushed on whilst focusing on srlf-live and compassion. In doing that, space was was opened up for an ex to come into my life and now it looks like we will be getting married.

    So yes, it is still tough and this year has been super tough -particularly emotionally – it has also been one full of lessons and blessings.

    All the best to you!

    Lx

  • Kim
    September 7, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! There are so many things about being an entrepreneur that is awesome but their are some harsh realities too. I honestly hate when people tell other people to quit their job for this promise of freedom. It is freedom but boy oh boy it’s a hustle. Good for you for doing what’s best for you!!

  • Dividend Growth Investor
    September 7, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Lauren,

    Congrats on making a decision that is consistent with your internal happiness! This is the thing that ultimately matters in life!

    Best of luck in your journey!

    DGI

  • Akili
    September 7, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I am so glad you shared this. I feel like entrepreneurs are constantly feeling guilty about their desires to return to work as if it’s letting everyone down there proving that they are not strong enough to hack it. I am too in the process of going back to work. I’ve had a “side hustle” since 2005. Multiple side hustles since 2005. This year I decided to just jump off the proverbial cliff and go all in with my passion. It hasn’t proven to be a lucrative decision, but I know I need to give it more time. Financially and mentally I just don’t have more time. So, I’m putting it on the back burner and going back to corporate America. During this process I have learned to redefine success. Now I do you success as doing what I want, when I want, with whom I want, as much as I want to. I am not sure that running a business allows me to have this type of success; and that is ok.

    Good luck with all things. On the road to entrepreneurship is not a straight line and we need to be good with that!

  • Matthew Allen
    September 6, 2017 at 9:52 am

    The thing is… once you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug – you’re infected forever. Even if you’re happy in your new ‘day job’ – you’ll always wonder how well you could be doing, or what kind of difference you could be making with your own gig.

    I’m in a similar boat. I love my day job and have no plans or desires to quit. But I also have dreams and aspirations of hitting it big with my side hustle entrepreneurial efforts. Albeit.. I don’t have depression issues – so it’s totally different.

    Keep hustling! Never give up – even though this post declares that you’ve given up. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jessi Fearon
    September 6, 2017 at 5:48 am

    Oh I love your heart Lauren! I keep falling in the “gotta make six-figures” trap too and so I really needed this encouragement. The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that it’s always there, it’s not a one and done thing. Thank you again Lauren for that reminder! 😘

  • Leigh
    September 5, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Oh my gosh thank you for saying that you gave your notice at a job after only six weeks! I’ve had a few times where I really should have done that and I didn’t. So thanks for saying it’s okay! And as an internet stranger, I’m really proud of you for realizing it wasn’t working and giving your notice instead of giving into the feeling that you have to stay there since you accepted the job offer. I was laid off last year from a job that wasn’t a good fit and I really should have left long before that point. I’m hopeful that I’ll be better at that with my next job(s). We did, after all, also just fire our wedding photographer who wasn’t a good fit with less than a month to go. Congrats too on your boyfriend moving in and I’m glad that’s going great – it is so huge when that does!!

    • Lauren Bowling
      September 5, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      My boyfriend and I (honestly) argued a lot about the “quitting of the job” thing. He strongly advised against it, but at the end of the day, I have to do what’s right for me and I just knew – in my gut – .it wasn’t right. And I’m trying to get better about listening to that when it’s telling me something. Hard work.

  • Money Beagle
    September 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve been a long time reader and I sensed a change when you went away from L Bee and rebranded, and that’s that it seemed like a lot of the fun and personal voice went away, and I am not sure you were prepared for that or knew that it would be such a big thing. I’m not saying that you lost all your fun or that there was no sense of who you were, but back in the L Bee days, you could just write what you wanted, and the great thing was that it resonated and was helpful. After you rebranded, it seemed like you felt obligated to write more serious and crafted articles, which were also great, but it might not have been as much ‘YOU’ as you’d gotten used to.

    I think what you’re doing will let you rebalance again, and it sounds like you’re really happy.

  • Michelle Schroeder-Gardner
    September 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I love this Lauren! The same path isn’t for everyone – life would be boring if that were true. You have to do what’s right for you 🙂

  • J. Money
    September 5, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Love it! Good for you!

    I always say I’d go back to a 9-5 too if it made me happier 🙂 why not, if the whole point is to be happy? I’d scoop up dog poo if that did the trick! haha…

    Here’s a quote for you I literally just read 3 minutes ago – I think it sums it up well:

    “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    Congrats on being harmonious!

    • Lauren Bowling
      September 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      I love the idea of this – that unhappiness is being out of sync with your truest self. And of course, your heart always knows what your true self wants. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment J! Can’t wait to see you in October!!

  • Hillery
    September 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I apologize for this long-a** reply.

    I needed to read this.

    As an entrepreneur of a fledgling business I sometimes feel trapped and miss my old days of “actually clocking out,” turning off my brain, having a “weekend,” and the structure of working for a company. My business has given me so many gifts, both personally and professionally,but sometimes that’s not enough motivation. I went through a tough heart break and divorce just eight months after I took the plunge to follow my dreams full time. My body shut down, no matter how much I wanted to, not matter how much the responsibility pulled me, it was so hard to pick up the pieces and move forward with what I had built. I did (after two ridiculously hard and down months). And this year has been a huge struggle to stay afloat, despite all these new amazing things that have happened. A new relationship, two new team mates who believe in me and my dream, and countless new opportunities with potential growth for the business. They all seem real, but also imaginary because I’m the “only one” involved. Reading about your personal journey gives me a piece of mind. I don’t plan on going back to the 9-5 world anytime soon, but the only thing my ex said at the end of our relationship that really stuck with me (and your post reminded me of today was, “If at the end of this, whenever that may be, you’ll have built a resume that’s expansive and in depth, and a reflection of your versatility and skill. Any company would kill to have an employee with that kind of drive.” For me there is nothing in this is defined failure. There are only the steps, and mishaps that lead to further growth of ourselves. This is to say, you made the right choice and it’s a perfect choice for you. Congratulations on your new position. Looking forward to seeing your continued success.

    And again, sorry for the novel. Your story rang so true, I felt compelled.

    • Lauren Bowling
      September 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      No. THANK YOU. Write me novels all the time. It’s what makes stuff like this worthwhile to share, no matter the fact that I’ve been chewing my fingernails over it. I really do miss how much blogging used to be just about community and sharing and this comment really reminds me of that. Congrats to you on continuing to build your business while dealing with emotionally complex situations – it’s HARD work and only people in it, get it.

  • Amanda Page
    September 5, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I’m so glad to read this. Because I think with the choice, you are living your financial best life. That doesn’t always mean self-employment, no matter the pressures the internet puts on financial writers.

  • LaTisha
    September 5, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I know it took some courage for you to lay all of this out and I’ve always admired your vulnerability.
    Taking a 9-5 doing something you love is not a failure by any means. And I can definitely relate to the creativity drop that comes when the stress of earning goes up.
    So kudos to you.
    P.S. Can’t wait to see you in Oct!

    • Lauren Bowling
      September 5, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      I can’t wait to see YOU in October. I had to delete my old voicemails from my phone yesterday and I had saved the one you left me after FinCon last year…you were so kind and made me feel so special after a really difficult ordeal. <3 I appreciated it so much and I'm not sure if I ever told you.

  • Aja McClanahan
    September 5, 2017 at 11:31 am

    There are seasons of entrepreneurship- that includes employment. There’s no failure in that. There are cycles to life that preserve us. Congrats for chosing YOU!

  • Mrs. Adventure Rich
    September 5, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Honestly, this makes complete sense and I am impressed you took the opportunity to make the change in life that was best for you. I work full time and have a blog on the side, but I can’t imagine taking the plunge to entrepreneurship right now. I already work full time remotely (home office) and despite having phone calls and interactions with my team and coworkers throughout the day, I still crave more social interaction.

    Best of luck with the new job! It sounds like a great set up 🙂

  • giulia
    September 5, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Thank you to share your feelings with us…well this is not a failure, honestly a person must to be something that make her/him happy and seems that this new job helped your soul and this is been more productive for your blog…honestly I admire who live with blog’s income but at the same time I know that it can be only a side hustle for me:D Congrats for move in and sorry for Roo’s diet::P
    Big hug

    • Lauren Bowling
      September 5, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Roo thanks you for your concern 🙂 We’re still figuring out the best plan of attack for our chubby little pup.

  • caren
    September 5, 2017 at 12:29 am

    I’ve been there, done that and got the back-to-full-time-employment-t-shirt. Let me say, there’s no shame in that game and sometimes being employed full time can be the fastest path to freedom. It’s hard to be creative when you’re battling demons (emotional and financial). It’s so much more liberating to know there’s a paycheck coming and you have all this other discretionary time to work on personal projects.

    Happy for you!

    • Lauren Bowling
      September 5, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      EXACTLY. And I do consider myself a creative person and I do pride myself on being able to think and creatively problem solve. Having that so zapped by the administrata of running a business, etc. was especially sad for me.

  • Alexa
    September 4, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you for being so vulnerable with all of us collectively known as “the internet”. I’m a solo-preneur and I can definitely relate to the struggles of running your own business, and mental health is an issue that should be discussed openly. Again, I appreciate your vulnerability and looking forward to reading more about this next chapter in your journey — oh an CONGRATS on the new job!

    • Lauren Bowling
      September 4, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      I took a shower, and was second guessing myself during it, and then came to get online and saw your wonderful comment. Thank you for being so sweet!

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