5 strategies a former pharmaceutical sales rep used to quit her full-time job and start a successful business
- After paying off $50,000 of debt, Ja'Net Adams wanted to leave her full-time job.
- She stuck to a two-year plan to quit her job while keeping living expenses down.
- Her business has been going strong for 11 years, and Adams hasn't looked back since.
In 2010, entrepreneur and mom of two Ja'Net Adams (pronounced juh-nay) quit her job in pharmaceutical sales to start her own business, Debt Sucks University.
Before starting her
They would say, "We're making all this money, hundreds of thousands, and just barely getting by," says Adams. "So I started walking people through the process. As I kept doing that, people said, 'Wow, you really have a gift, Ja'Net, this is something you should be doing."
Eventually, Adams unlocked a deep passion for teaching people how to manage their finances. She started getting booked for speaking gigs across the country, though she was scared of leaving her secure full-time job right away.
Here are five simple strategies that helped her leave her full-time job with as little anxiety as possible.
1. She made a 2-year timeline for quitting her job
In the present time of The Great Resignation, people are quitting their jobs without anything lined up, or simply "quitting in place," coasting and doing the bare minimum instead of trying to exceed their employer's expectations.
The key to Adams' stress-free transition from her day job to
Because she knew she could achieve a big goal like becoming debt-free in two years, she also knew she could plan for entrepreneurship with realistic goalposts each quarter, leading up to paying herself at least $65,000 per year, which is what she was making at her day job.
2. She and her family didn't take vacations for two years
Adams tells Insider, "I had a 1-year-old when I was in debt. Then I got out of debt, got pregnant again, and my second baby was 1 when I walked away from working full-time."
While starting a business with two young children certainly seems stressful, Adams took advantage of this time by not taking any vacations. Instead of putting thousands of dollars into a vacation, she took the opportunity to pad her savings and get closer to her two-year goal of quitting her job for good.
She also used her paid vacation days strategically to book speaking engagements at colleges. Adams says, "When I had two weeks of vacation, I would just use every one of those really strategically to fly in early in the morning, then fly back home the next morning to go to work."
3. She had a mentor
Adams needed to surround herself with people who were encouraging her to keep pursuing her business, especially when, at the time, many people around her were close-minded about leaving a stable job for entrepreneurship.
She says, "To have a mentor that was actually in pharmaceutical sales before me, and he walked away, he was doing it, setting an example." Being around someone who had achieved exactly what Adams had set out to do motivated her to keep going.
Adams adds, "The best thing my mentor told me was, 'Ja'Net, if it goes wrong, what's the worst that could happen? You go back and get another job.' But I never looked back since. That support around me was really helpful."
4. She avoided lifestyle creep
Adams' debt payoff journey started when she was laid off from a different pharmaceutical sales job in 2008. During that time, she mapped out every single penny that her family spent and cut down as much excess as possible, including downgrading their homeowners insurance among many other budget cuts.
Once Adams started working full-time again, she kept the same minimal family budget so that she could allocate more of her salary to debt repayment.
Now that she was planning to leave her day job and start her own business, Adams avoided lifestyle creep — the common pattern of spending more money as you earn more, getting used to higher levels of luxury and convenience. She says, "We didn't go on vacation for two years. We didn't go out to eat for two years. Nobody got gifts for two years. So it wasn't anything new to us. It was just like, head down until I could meet my goal."
5. She created a daily schedule tailored to her long-term goals
Long before you could simply block off time in your Google Calendar, Adams learned how to properly manage her time in alignment with her long-term goals.
She says, "I learned how to do this from my mentor. I would wake up at four o'clock in the morning, work three hours on my business. Wake my toddler up at seven, take him to daycare, work from eight to five, be a mother and a wife, then I'd work nine to 12 on my business. Then I'd do it all over again for two straight years. I built my business that way, and we're going on 11 years now."
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