Would You Trade Boredom for Stress to Have Your Own Business?

image of woman rock climber

I don’t have a cool life-or-death story.

I didn’t almost die from a snowboarding accident.

I wasn’t diagnosed as a toddler with an illness that was supposed to kill me.

I was a working mom with a good job. The money was good, the benefits were great, and the people were smart and nice.

I had a cute little private office and the company was doing interesting work. I had created my own department, and everything we did was based on something I had built. (For a control freak like me, this is a very pleasant.)

And I was about ready to shoot myself from boredom.

A normal person would doubtless have been able to navigate this. There are a lot of things in the world that are worse than boredom.

But I am not a normal person

For me, being bored is like being slowly boiled alive. It seems tolerable at first, but every day it gets more and more painful.

The obvious answer would have been to change jobs, but I had a strong sense that working for someone new wasn’t going to cut it.

First because we were sailing into the worst recession in decades, and companies weren’t lining up to hire anyone. The few who were hiring seemed to like specialists with neat, sensible resumes, not Janes-of-All-Trades like I was.

(It turns out I was a classic Linchpin, but Seth hadn’t written that book yet so I didn’t have a word for it.)

The second, more important reason was that I knew it would be more of the same.

In the best-case scenario, I’d work lots of hours away from my family (my beautiful little boy was just two) to build something cool, get it to work, tweak it until I thought it was just right, and then … start to die inside again every time I pulled into the downtown garage and made my way to another office.

Maybe I could try for the executive suite? That would have brought interesting new challenges.

Sadly, I lack the right instincts to climb the ladder in a big company. I say things I shouldn’t say in meetings. I challenge the wrong people. I am incapable of hiding my impatience with game playing.

These were not qualities that helped me climb the ranks in the traditional corporate world.

People asked why I didn’t go out on my own

I had a very marketable set of skills. I wasn’t just a marketing writer … I was a damned good one. (Sorry if that sounds arrogant, but it’s not because the Writing Fairy blessed me at birth … it’s just because I’ve done a hell of a lot of writing.)

But oddly enough for someone who had spent so much time in marketing departments, I didn’t really know how I was going to go out and find copywriting clients.

(This isn’t unusual. Corporate marketing is a very different creature from marketing a small solo business. For one thing, in a big-budget marketing department, you can sometimes afford to do a lot of what doesn’t work.)

But I was reading Godin and Copyblogger and Dan Kennedy. I had some ideas of my own, riffs on what those guys were doing.

I’d seen a lot of what worked and didn’t work within a talented marketing department, working with some of the best ad agencies in the business. I wanted to talk about ways to translate some of those big-gun tactics to a business that didn’t have that kind of budget.

So I started a blog. (Actually, as Brian pointed out to me when we first met face to face, I was building a shrine to Godin. I’m cool with that.)

I thought Perry Marshall was doing brilliant things with email autoresponders, so I created one, and I put my own twist on it.

I initially built my blog on the Typepad domain, which wasn’t a great idea, because when Seth did link to me a few months after I started, the link was to someone else’s property. Never mind. Live and learn.

That link did send me a lot of new readers, and the autoresponder allowed me to capture their attention for later. So it worked out after all.

When Brian Clark launched a product called Teaching Sells, I bought it within the first 10 minutes the cart opened.

That course turned on some of the lights for me. It gave me a systematic framework, a wider view of marketing and business. It got me thinking about options beyond client work.

I did all the homework. I did lots of exercises multiple times. I networked in the forums.

I applied what I was learning. Sometimes a little clumsily, but that was ok. I was learning that imperfect efforts can still bear fruit.

And I was learning that every effort is imperfect, which is a tricky for a perfectionist.

Are you seeing any rocket science here?

No magic formulas. No push-button cash machines. No foolproof money-getting systems.

And nothing I did was a spectacular burst of heroic effort. Instead, it was an accumulation of slow, steady, purposeful work.

I created the best content I could for my blog. When I finally worked up the nerve to ask Brian if he would run a post from me on Copyblogger, I began to write weekly here — showing up week after week with the very best work I knew how to create.

I wasn’t the most talented writer on Copyblogger. I wasn’t even the hardest working. But I think I was the most stubborn.

I started to get some clients

Through this little content web I had started to weave, people started to hear about me.

And they started to email me asking if I would write for them. For actual money.


Web copy. Newsletter copy. Autoresponder copy. Special reports.

Was I slammed with work within weeks of starting this journey? No. It took time, partly because I was still working hard to do a good job at my day job, and prioritizing time with my family.

There was no shock and awe. There was a lot of slow and steady.

And that’s how the clients came in … slow and steady. But it was enough.

On March 3, 2009, I traded boredom for stress


That’s the day I left my day job.

The economy was getting worse by the minute. I knew there was a strong possibility I would have been laid off from my company. Waiting for that would have been the “smart” thing to do tactically.

But I didn’t want to be pushed. I wanted to jump.

Sometimes there’s been a lot of stress. My health insurance company pulled a fast one and cancelled my COBRA for awhile. Some of my ideas worked and some of them didn’t. Sometimes the cash flow was very bumpy.

I didn’t have it all figured out. Instead, I had a list of about 10 different things I could try, and the knowledge that I could come up with a list of 10 or 20 more if I had to.

And I worked my tail off implementing them.

I think I got to #6 or #7 on my list before I found the winning combination.

But I’ll tell you the truth. There hasn’t been even one hour when I wanted to un-do that trade. I’ve never wished I had stuck with the maybe-safe boredom, even in that enviable set of circumstances.

How about you? Ever traded boredom for stress? Thinking about doing it some time in the future?

Leave a comment and let me know how it was for you.

About the Author: Sonia Simone is Senior Editor of Coypblogger and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on twitter.

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Comments

  1. Hey Sonia,

    I’ve traded boredom for stress too and I couldn’t be happier!

    I just wish I’d done it sooner. Something held me back for a while. I could see my j-o-b was going nowhere, and my IM career was growing exponentially every month without fail, so I knew it was worth perusing, but actually taking the plunge took some guts.

    Now . . . everyday is a challenge, every project filled with unexpected problems (although I prefer the phrase “mini challenge”), but everyday FEELS RIGHT!

    Great stuff.

    Jimmy

  2. I’m at the beginning stages of the journey you described, Sonia, though my job has lots of downtime during the day, and I have lots of vacation time, which allows me to stay active even while working with writing projects. So boredom I may have with my job is filled with opportunities to write, at least in short bursts.

    I have been thinking of making the jump, but I need to do as you did and have a plan. It is scary, to consider leaving a job that I’ve had for almost fourteen years, but then again, th last five I haven’t had a raise, so leaving, each year, becomes more attractive.

    Thanks for the post.

    • A plan is important, IMO. You won’t be able to plan it all out, but you can have a set of strong, proven ideas to execute against, and some good structures in place.

      Also, you can build your audience while you’re still working, as I did. That helps a lot. :)

  3. Andrew Richards :

    Hi Sonia,

    Your post really resonated with me, especially the part about the being “boiled alive” by boredom. I really like dealing directly with people and trying to help them solve their problems. The trouble is, the jobs I have had reward good people by moving them up into positions that insulate them from the very people they want to help. I’ve changed careers when I realized that working my way up meant losing touch with the aspects of my job I liked.

    I still a total newbie when it comes to blogging, IM, and all things Copyblogger but I am learning, and the idea that there is another way is exciting and a little scary.

  4. What a great post. I was born with a disease (heart problem) that was supposed to kill me, but I lived. I’ve been clinically dead twice, but I’m still here. I left my “day job” when my child was 2. Neverminding all that, what this post did for me was made me realize how nice it is to have a little peek into someone else’s experience. I don’t do enough of that, and I think I should. So thank you for that. :)

  5. I traded boredom (and frustration) for stress too. Since launching out with my own freelance writing business, I’ve been working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. It’s not all roses, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  6. The timing of this post couldn’t be better. Recently took the leap from boredom to starting my own firm. It’s challenging and quite honestly harder than I ever imagined, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone.

  7. Oh my gosh – this is so. exactly. me (except, without the finally having left my day job part yet…). I’ve never been able to deal with boredom well, and even though I love parts of my day job – including the work I get to do and the people I work with – it’s killing me. No matter how much work I do here, there’s no recognition of personal achievement and no reason for me to strive for more. If I bust my butt, I just get to move on to the next project sooner – and that next project is usually strikingly similar to something I’ve already done.

    I haven’t made my escape yet, but it’s in the works. Thanks for sharing your story and encouragement!!! :)

    • I’ve done the opposite!
      I’ve traded stress for boredom, unpredictable for predictable.
      Today is sooo like yesterday. How do I re-un-wind?

  8. Oh Sonia! This is me too…sort of. My control freak nature (and a few other things) led me first to academia where I thrived on being able to design courses to help people.

    But then academic got too controlling, and I sat down and took stock of what I loved, what I knew, and what I wanted from my work!

    And I started learning from people like you. The sad part of having been a writing teacher while you and Brian and Seth were building your online empires, is that I had no idea how much I could apply what I knew, and was teaching, about writing applied to the online world!

    I get so much from reading your posts–inspiration, validation, excitement. Thank you. Really.

  9. Sonia,
    I can completely relate to your story of trading boredom for stress. My corporate job was cushy, paid me well and I had a great work/life balance. The only problem? I was bored out of my mind. As the recession hit and work slowed down, my biggest challenge came from creating comapny-wide foosball tournaments.

    I just started working for myself in June and the stress and uncertainty is with me every day. However, I’m excited about what I’m building. I’m challenged by what I do each day. And I’m determined to keep experimenting until it works.

    Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me that I’m not crazy for trading the boring life for the stressful and challenging life. I need to be reminded when I’m not feeling so enthusiastic at times about my choice!

  10. Sonia,

    I spent the first 10 years of my life after college bored to tears. I actually hated every single job I had and I think those jobs hated me too. I was never headed for corporate stardom or corner offices. Then I gout out of business school and found myself with literally no money and no job. I moved back into my parents house and started my blog. From there it’s been a roller coaster ride, but an exciting one. I ran a travel blog (and got laid off), founded a podcast that gets 30k downloads a month, and even ended up a speaker at Blogworld. Given the amount of uncertainty and not knowing where my next $$4 are going to come from especially in the last few months, there are times when I wonder if I’m a glutton for punishment. Then I look at the fact that I’ve been able to build something and actually see the impact of my work. The value of that is priceless. So I think that if you’re willing to trade you’re boredom for stress, you’re getting a hell of a bargain even though it might not seem like when you first make the trade. Thanks for sharing.

  11. …proving once again that security and happiness are almost always at opposite ends of the teeter-totter.

    • In one way, yes. But in another, that cushy job wasn’t nearly as secure as being on my own — even before we built the additional stability by forming Copyblogger Media. I’m not going to lay myself off. :) When you work for someone else, everything that happens to you depends on someone else’s decisions, and you’re not their priority.

      • I’m reminded of a quote from Todd Henry’s book, The Accidental creative “A Lifetime of Mediocrity is a high price to pay for your safety.”

        • Now that we are quoting people, I think a quote by the comedian Chris Rock applies here beatifully.

          “You can be married and bored, Or single and lonely.”

          In the current context, you can be in a regular job and bored, or out on your own living an exciting but stressful life. lol

  12. Thanks Sonia. Great post – resonated very strongly with me. Still struggling with the fact that I have been living the “stress” side of this for many years. Love your encouragement (here and in other posts) but sometimes I can’t help but look at some of my own friends, all of whom have to deal with life/work balances and wonder what “boredom” looks like.

  13. Hi Sonia, thanks for a lovely post that makes me any many more nod with empathy. Been there, done that, packed in the stupidly high paid job.

    I’m not from US, could someone quickly explain COBRA for me? I’m the type who wants to know *everything*.

    Good luck to other readers who are nervously considering dumping their own boring jobs for a career that matches their real abilities and ambitions.

    • COBRA is the program that allows you to keep your health insurance from your regular-company job for a year after you leave. It’s usually expensive but it gives you the time to go out and find insurance on your own. In the U.S., health insurance can be tricky to navigate, so it’s a bit of a safety net.

      • Thanks for clearing that up. I was wondering too. What a strange decision to name a health insurance scheme after a deadly snake!

        (In the UK it’s the acroynm for the government committee which deals with national emergencies.)

        I traded boredom for stress so long ago it doesn’t even feel like stress any more. I vaguely remember feeling like I’d go insane if I was made to sit in the same office for more than 3 months at a time. I’m definitely not suited to life in a battery cage :-)

  14. I knew it was you at the headline. :)

    (By the way, I love your use of parentheticals. It’s nice to see a professional copywriter do what I always worry is amateur.)

    I still go back and forth on whether I should have become a small biz copywriter. I feel like I’ve learned enough blogging now that I certainly could. But teaching people how to escape their unfulfilling careers, at least right now, is more rewarding for me. So I’ll keep blogging, and shipping, and hope to help many more add their stories to yours.

    An inspiration, as always, Sonia!

  15. “Being bored is like being slowly boiled alive…”
    So true for creative types. Career path ends up being all twisty-turny.

  16. I miss the cut and thrust of corporate life but then my job wasn’t based around writing. Great story Sonia, and inspiring. Your persistence paid off :) I bit your family love the new energised Sonia – the one who loves her work compared to the one that was frustrated with it.

    I love how you had a list and was ready to extend it if you needed to, sometime I get bogged down by completing “the list” and not giving thought to extending it so that it’s never completed, just updated.

    • Yes — the list is never finished, it always evolves. :)

      I think if you try to work to one rigid plan when you run a business (unless it’s something like a franchise restaurant, perhaps), it’s very difficult to succeed. There’s a great military truism — no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Same is true for business plans, I’ve found.

  17. Oh yes, I’ve traded boredom for stress – several times. I left a well-paying job (nice people, dull work), for a lower-paying job with more of a challenge. Then, I eventually left that one (when the stress was way, way too much) and started my own business.

    I’ve even encouraged my friends to do the same thing.

    I remember one conversation with a friend who had just come back from a job interview. He was all excited about the money he’d make, not so much about the actual work (he’d done the same thing several times before). I said, “You’ll be bored.” He said, “Oh, but all that money.”

    Some weeks later, I asked him about the job. He said, “I turned it down. I’d be bored.” (Hah!)

    He ended up starting his own business instead.

  18. Great down-to-earth advice Sonia.

    As you say, ‘jumping’ is so much better than being pushed. In a weird way I think that choosing to jump rather than being pushed means you then also have the ‘fear’. Might sound negative, but the fear of being exposed as someone who made the wrong jump can be a great motivator to put the hours in and prove yourself right: :-)

    • Oh, that’s interesting! Must ponder that. I see what you mean — if I’m fired, no one can blame me, but if I quit and it doesn’t work, it’s definitely my own damned fault. :)

  19. Morning Sonia – another great post. I’ve come to expect to see your name scribed at the end of the posts that elicit at least on “amen” while I read it. Great writing, great content.

    I too have built a shrine to Seth. I tell people I read two blogs everyday – Seth Godin and Copyblogger, and your entries are my faves. Ahem. Why do i sound like I’m sucking up? weird.

    Anyway, July 1, 2009, I too jumped before I was pushed, and I’ve never been happier. The stress of having everything riding on my shoulders is nothing compared to the soul-sucking trip into the parking garage. And putting on make-up at 7 am every….single….day. Right now, I’m fully caffeinated, still in my pajamas, listening to Back in Black, and being quite productive at my coffee table thank you very much.

    It’s not for everyone. But oh is it for me.

    Glad to hear you were brave enough trust that if you jumped out on nothing, you might just land on something. Funny how that works.

    Keep on rockin’ the free world (insert AC/DC guitar solo here)

  20. I didn’t trade boredom for stress on purpose. I was forced into it. Laid off 1 month before my second would be born.

    Stress, yes. Definitely. But I won’t be trading my stress for boredom ever again. I have paid the price and pushed through The Dip (shrine to Godin). I’m not printing money here but I am comfortable and making more than I ever was working in a cubicle. It’s a good thing too, I also say the wrong things in corporate meetings.

    Thanks for writing this Sonia.

    ~Russ

    • I love it. I really loathe companies that lay people off who have babies, or babies on the way. But it happens.

      We’re more resilient than we realize, which is always a bit of a surprise and a wonderful revelation, IMO.

      • Yes, but it’s been easy to know how old my business is. It’s roughly the same age as my daughter.

        It has been interesting to watch both her and the business develop. Learning to talk, learning to walk, learning to play well with others, :)

        There is a blog post in here somewhere…. :)

  21. I traded stress for boredom for a while. Now, SLOWLY getting into trouble…and THAT is the problem. :O

  22. “imperfect efforts can still bear fruit.” Thank you and Amen to that.

    Yes, Sonia, you are a damn good marketing writer and teacher. One of the few really worth reading and whose stuff is actually worth buying.

    Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement.

  23. To me it feels like bungee-jumping from the International Space Station; beyond frightening one minute; totally amazing the next.

    I’m only 3 weeks into my new company (that would be me, my desk and my computer) and I worry every day that my slow and steady will turn out to be slow … and slower. Reading your post this morning reminded me that I know how to do this. If I’m patient and focused, the business will come.

    Thank you so much for offering the encouragement so many of us need!

    I’m going to post your post on my wall. The one with the bulletin board. At home. Next to my computer.

  24. It seems that I have traded stress for boredom! I closed a siccessful business because I was dying a slow death doing something I hated. i traded it for sitting at home writing a blog on decorating when I would rather BE decorating. I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting noticed, but it isn’t even enough for a decent list. I have four people on it including myself so I can check that the emails I send look right. I have zero money and I need super creative ways so I can show people what I can do. I AM a damn good decorator and I CAN help you create the home of your dreams even on a small budget. I do that for myself every day! Sorry to rant, I’ve been writing my blog for a year and eight months. Obviously, I don’t give up but it’s frustrating!

    • That does sound frustrating!

      First thing I’d suggest is to go sign up for notification of when Jon Morrow’s new blog will be up — you need to get some readers! You might also think about where your perfect customer is going to find you. Content marketing doesn’t always mean a blog, and often it means multiple places where you share your content — including reaching into more traditional spaces like print or direct mail.

      I’d strongly suggest you pick up a copy of Dan Kennedy’s Ultimate Marketing Plan — it’s a good overview for small service-based businesses. A bit outdated and he doesn’t know beans about blogging, but you have us for that.

      And you’re subscribed to Internet Marketing for Smart People, yes? That’s where you can get a more systematic framework from us — you may discover a step or two you’ve been missing.

  25. I had been thinking of switching boredom to stress, but it is pretty hard to leave my 9-5 job as there are commitments there that make me have to stick to it. However, I spent most of my part time on blogging and internet marketing. Sure the stress level is not comparable to leaving the 9-5 job but still some stress to deal with. But I personally think this post is a good one and would be able to motivate certain Internet Markerters-wanna-be out there to make a good move of their life

    • There can be a lot of benefits to keeping the 9-5 and having a little online business in your free time. I’m all for that. :) That’s what I did for a couple of years, and I’m glad I didn’t try to go solo earlier. You learn so much running a part-time business, without the same level of risk.

  26. I lived in the corporate world of banking, specifically bank marketing, through some interesting times when a lot of the regulations were cast aside and bank marketing became more than picking premiums and image advertising. In product development it was rarely boring working with people at all levels and and disciplines.
    Then I got a “dream job” as a marketing director and had to become more of an administrator. The boredom was killing.

    I left banking and worked for various specialized marketing companies and owned a share of one of them. When I was forced out I got a little money and started rehabbing a condo to flip which got me into real estate. I was also intrigued with online marketing and was also one of the first subscribers to Teaching Sells. Selling real estate has been a tough occupation for the last few years. The online niche that I hope will develop helping agents adapt to the new environment of a buyers’ market by shifting their focus from selling themselves to actually marketing houses.

    This is proving to be tough going because most agents are just trying to stay afloat until the market recovers not learn new skills.

    Nevertheless, life is not boring and it has become my firm conviction that economic recovery will ride on the shoulders of those willing to take a chance and create something on their own, whether it’s an individual freelancing or as a founder or partner in a small, nimble shop of some sort.

    • That’s very much supported by the evidence, as well. In the US at least, the jobs are coming out of startups — Fortune 500 are shedding jobs while their profits are soaring.

  27. I love it when I hear stories I can relate to. I can relate! Exactly Jane of all trades don’t become executives and these days, it’s hard to even get a job. But that’s okay, because we have Seth, and Copyblogger, and you. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • There are some companies that value the janes-of-all-trades — they’re mostly scrappy, smart startups. :)

      I don’t mind companies — companies can be wonderful things. I mind traditional companies that allow themselves to become dinosaurs. But if we can’t find a great small company to become part of, there is always that option of starting one.

  28. Great post Sonia – it sounds like we think along the same lines.

    I currently have a full time job in a family business. We are in property development and I run the management and development of our portfolio. I really enjoy it, we are successful, and the future looks very bright. I am very blessed to be in the position that I am in.

    However – it’s ultimately not what I want. I don’t want to administer a property portfolio. I want to administer something that is mine. Something that I have created, and something that ultimately I can control.

    So that is why I have started out on this internet marketing journey – because ultimately, I wish for it to be my career. But you alluded to, I do not expect it to happen overnight – it takes a lot of hard work and effort.

    It must be wonderful to sit back and reflect upon what you achieved and where you have got to. Well done!

    All the best,

    Tom

  29. Sonia,
    I have to be careful not to cure boredom with entertainment. It’s such a problem for me that I had to memorialize it in a blog post, just to ingrain it into my soul:

    “People who cure boredom by building things win. People who cure boredom by being entertained lose.”

    http://www.careergreenlight.com/bored-read-this/

    Also, Hugh Mcleod says:

    “The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care”

    http://gapingvoid.com/2008/09/12/good-ideas-have-lonely-childhoods/

    Now I have your post to add to my reminders.

    • What a great quote:

      “People who cure boredom by building things win. People who cure boredom by being entertained lose.”

      I love that Gaping Void comic as well, one of my faves from him. (My other favorite is “Quality is Not Job 1.”)

  30. I so identify with your story as mine is similar. I especially appreciate and relate to your self-assessment, “Sadly, I lack the right instincts to climb the ladder in a big company. I say things I shouldn’t say in meetings. I challenge the wrong people. I am incapable of hiding my impatience with game playing.”

    I left the corporate marketing world 14 1/2 years ago to become full-time mom to our seven (one is in heaven) kids. How scary and wonderful it is to be self-employed. That is how I think about being a ‘Chief Family Officer’ as Cathy calls herself at her blog by the same name.

    Fast forward to today and five of our six living children have graduated from high school but only two of six have finished their education. Even though it is the BEST investment, education is expensive! So I started one business helping families create their best beach vacation at http://www.mostloveddestinations.com. Anything I earn from this business goes directly to tuition!

    Now I am focusing on my passion. I’ve just started a blog helping people plan, organize and lead the life of their dreams. At Framework4Life.wordpress.com I will describe the process I use to create my life plan, organize everything into nine lifelong categories and continuously improve how I live through layering habits. My hope is my children, our seven grandchildren and my readers use this tool to create the life they love.

    Thanks for telling your story. It helps keep me going.

  31. Hey Sonia:

    Me too! I quit my big law firm paralegal job because of sheer boredom. I had just finished my master’s degree and had already done everything a paralegal could do in a law firm. I quit to go to a real estate firm and the boss was a total jerk, which made me physically ill, so I quit that too after eight weeks. And I started my business after that, without a business plan. I just jumped in and made it work.

    In 2009 I started writing a blog and have expanded my influence and business presence. I still go through stages of boredom with my business but those are thankfully short lived.

    Thanks for sharing this.
    Christine

  32. I could answer a loud YES to this before I even read the post. I worked for seven years as a secretary and then as an administrative assistant for a large medical firm. Every morning as I pulled in the parking lot I felt like someone was stealing the breath and life out of me. My morning commute became my solace; listening to audio books and music. I spent four of those years going to school and then when I finished school – I absolutely hated what I was doing. I went to school for landscape design and I could NOT sit and draw circles on a sheet a paper to save my life. I ended up managing a garden center and then went on to run my own garden center for a while. Luckily it got me writing and I started getting feed back on the gardening articles I was writing. After my garden center shut down I jumped into blogging and writing. Still figuring it all out. I am not the best planner. YES, I would trade boredom for stress any day. Working from home and designing your own life is hard work and it is stressful, but worth it all! Thanks for the great post and all the wonderful writing and tips you share.

  33. Wow, did I need to read this today. Thanks so much for the sober and realistic view of the steps you took. I’m just starting out with a huge mis-mosh of ideas: a brand that focuses on the personal growth that fuels entrepreneurial growth, a book idea, social media coaching business idea, a blog under development, a guest post strategy, lots of Dan Kennedy/David Neagle coaching about making money, and a small, fragmented following. OH: and a determination never to hold a job again except in my own company. Thanks for the encouragement to take this mish-mosh and make it fly.

  34. Timely and resonant. I’m just starting my blog (*Just* starting – as in I have 3 or 4 posts), but am counting on the slow-and-steady to eventually build it, my readership, and a business. Thanks for reminding me that it’s hard and scary for everyone, not just me. :)

  35. Way to hit the nail on the head Sonia!

    Reading through this post and the great comments gave me the relief of knowing I’m not the only one struggling with this. I’m still very much in the challenging period of the trade to Stress. And with a new beautiful new baby at home, the allure of crawling back to Boring in exchange for a steady paycheck is pretty strong. It’s a sacrifice I would make in a second for our new family, but I’d much rather have my cake and eat it too. My halfhearted attempts to get another soul-crushing job only distract me from what I really want to do.

    Thank you for the inspiration to soldier on. Perfect timing!

  36. So tell me….how long did it take you to cross the line from struggling blogger to successful blogger?

    • I would say maybe two years — but the first 15 months I was working for someone else, so it was fine. :)

      Steadiness is the key, IMO. You don’t have to be slow and steady, you can be fast and steady (like Derek Halpern). But you have to apply steady effort.

  37. It couldn’t be better off if we don’t overcome our comfort zone. I have also traded my boredom for stress and very glad I did. There is a feeling of fulfilment when your passion suddenly becomes a course you can trade for money. Your story is touching but has caused a limp on my faith.

    I’m glad you shared this and it’s an indication that I’m on the right track. Happy blogging and don’t forget to share to show love on your way to the top.

  38. Just traded boredom and frustration for stress. I guess I didn’t realize how much stress. I do entertain the idea of going back to boredom so that I can get health insurance, but anytime I stop working on a project and check out the job listings, my stomach recoils and I can’t physically muster up the energy to fill out an application. I guess I am trying to tell myself something.

    I love what I am doing, but have a project that is making me miserable (at my permission) and I constantly fight fear. So I guess I would say I gave up boredom and frustration for stress and fear. However, stress and fear by my own hand is far better than having it dished out to me by a boss who bores and frustrates me.

  39. Great inpiration, Sonia! Sometimes you can feel like you’re the only “odd” one in the bunch! I’ve got a long way to go, but your words have given me the kick in the pants I needed…thanks!

  40. Well, Sonia, what can I say?

    Here in Porto Alegre, south of Brazil, every morning I excitedly go to copyblogger to feed my hungry mind and soul with highly inspirational and carefully crafted posts like this one.

    Thank you!

  41. This is my life. My job is like watching paint dry everyday. I am working hard to find the right opportunity to change this paradigm.

  42. Hey Sonia!

    First, what a great post! It was like you actually were living my life! LOL I was starting to get bored with my job as an office manager, but then the economy took a nose dive and while my friends didn’t believe it was a good idea to stay, it paid the rent, which gave me a roof over my head.

    I’m now living life as a freelancer and I have to admit that I did indeed trade boredom for stress and I wish I had the boredom back. I know from the responses I read that everyone is so happy to have the stress, but – at least at this point – I’m not.

    For me, boredom = health insurance, steady paycheck, structured environment, steady paycheck, people to talk to.

    Stress = worrying how to get bills paid, uncertainty, wondering if I’m really as good as people tell me, unfocused, stressing!

    Perhaps this wasn’t the time for me to switch from real job to freelancing and while I do enjoy the freedom, I think it’s too much for me. I like being able to go to an office, sitting in a cubicle, and working for 8 hours before being released to my own devices. Mostly, however, I like getting the steady paycheck (have I mentioned that?), the health insurance, and ability to talk to people on a daily basis that’s not coming from social networking.

    I will say that next month I have an opportunity that might afford me the ability to just concentrate on work and not the “how do I pay bills next month?”, so I can then find out if freelancing is for me (which I’m finding it’s not) or if the corporate world is where I need to be.

    • Thinking of you and wishing you luck, Gina! Not everyone gets comfortable with the stress of going it on your own — you might take a look at Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Writer for some ideas on creating marketing processes that will give you a more reliable, steady stream of clients.

  43. Wow! When I started reading your story, I thought it was from my own hand. I have almost the exact same circumstances – good paying job, great benefits, a good pension coming up if I stick it out a few more years and…totally bored. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one. What is the one thing that made you say to yourself, today’s the day I change my life?

  44. Yep. I sure have.. and I wouldn’t change it either. Awesome post!

  45. I’ve worked for myself for years and fully understand exactly the stresses of doing so. In the beginning the learning curve can seem like Everest. Just like mountain climbing, self-employment isn’t for the faint of heart. More than once I questioned my own sanity when a normal work week was 80 hours and the pressure of keeping on schedule or meeting deadlines just seemed impossible.

    Dealing with demanding clients has been an ongoing series of lessons. Even now little pop quizzes on the art of diplomacy seem to appear, when least expected. Negotiation and the capacity to manage client expectations or demands are skills which seem to need periodic sharpening or refining.

    Even so, as noted by the author, I don’t see trading my home office for life within the corporate sphere anytime in my future. Boredom really is a silent killer.

  46. I wouldn’t trade my stress for boredom.

    Thankfully there are some corners of the internet where that’s considered normal. ;-)

  47. Since graduating from college, I’ve always had high-demand jobs that required a lot of hours and lots of stress. I worked at an agency and then in marketing/fundraising for a non-profit, where the job is never, ever done. As crazy as it sounds, I loved it. I love going in somewhere, working really hard to build something amazing and then turning it over to someone else to maintain. That’s partly why I’ve always moved to a new job after a couple of years – because, as you guessed it, I started to get bored.

    There are days I thought I would rather be bored than stressed…until I was in a job where I was bored to tears. It was gut-wrenching, soul-sucking misery. Sure, life was a hell of a lot easier, but it was far less rewarding. I could find another job, but I decided I would MUCH rather work for me instead of someone else.

    I officially launched my business a year ago this week. I’m still working on shedding my day job (a different one than I mentioned above) and I can’t wait until that day comes when I’m able to make the jump. Thanks for sharing your story. Based on all of the comments, there are a LOT of people who have come to the same realization that you did – working for yourself offers many rewards.

    Here’s my question – how did you decide when it was the right time to jump? I’m sure there never is a right time, but I would love to know how you arrived at that decision.

    • I didn’t jump until I felt very confident that I could replace about 150% of my income (because you do need more when you’re self employed, to cover insurance + self-employment tax) — and I knew how to execute my different ideas for doing that.

      For a very detailed roadmap on taking the road into entrepreneurship, check out Pam Slim’s book Escape from Cubicle Nation.

      • Thanks, Sonia. I’ve actually done some consulting with Pam Slim – she rocks! Strangely, I’ve yet to read her book. It’s definitely on my list.

        I think the hardest part (at least for me) is finding ways to replace your income while maintaing a demanding day job. It’s difficult to have your foot in two worlds.

        Thanks for all of the insight!

  48. After 25 years in retail sales, boredom and frustration were old friends. I can’t tell you how bad it got. Well, I can, but…anyway, I told someone I was a writer and it hit a nerve. Big time. The only experience I had was writing ad copy for one of the stores I worked at handling i-net advertising as well as sales.

    Here I am months later and that guy I mentioned is my ‘partner’ in an online marketing biz. Travel, merchants and mobile GPS service for customers. He’s the tech/programming guru who’s built everything to the last nut ‘n bolt. I’m the chief(only) copywriter and expect to be really slammed once it gets moving. The great part is I get to play, be creative in an off-kilter, irreverent way. Not typical, “Come and buy our Widgets” nonsense.

    I didn’t hold onto the day job. Should have for, at least, some kind of income, but I was so pissed at myself for being stuck in the same business I couldn’t really function as a salesperson anymore. Left in May and here I am waiting for all the pieces to come together. We’ll see happens.

    I really like your article. It’s nice to see so many others willing to take a shot at doing something they love.

    Thank Sonia!

  49. Absolutely not. There is nothing worse in life than being bored and sitting around telling everybody how bored you are. If I ever did sell my business or come in to a lot of money I’d want to be active and travel all over the world while exploring life but the thought of retirement or being bored is the worst thing we could all think about. We are all here for such a short time anyway. In terms of stress it can also be a good thing. Some of the best moments in all our lives have come after long stressful periods in a build up to something cool. Stress over boredom any day of the week!

  50. This is a great article! It is motivating me more to pursue my home-based business. It be really easy to not do anything…eventually you’ll get bored. So what if there’s stress… I’d take stress over boredom any day!!!

  51. Me too, Sonia! I’ve been “unemployable” for decades: don’t want to play office politics (which just seems like the big person’s equivalent to the nonsense that goes on in the school playground); won’t suffer fools; hate being told what to do. I guess it all comes down to values. I value freedom and independence above all else. Yes, I have to work darned hard for the money I make (which makes it all the more appreciated), and some weeks the angel on my right shoulder needs to whisper more loudly that all will be well, than the devil on the left who’s always banging on about mortgage payments and debt :-) That’s when the stress kicks in.

    But in addition to doing work that I love, having lots of variety, and experiencing life as an adventure not a frickin’ corporate nightmare, I have so much choice as to how to allocate my talents. I bet those of us who have chosen courage over security will get to the end of our lives and have a darned good laugh about all the high jinks that went on as we traveled the “hero’s journey” of life. I wonder what everyone else will reflect on?

  52. OHMIGOSH, I finally get it – I. Am. Not. Normal.

    How cool is that?

    Way cool.

    And just for the record – boredom is stressful. What everyone else calls stress is a roller coaster ride! I love roller coasters!

    I remember reading Zig Ziglar a long time ago and he said that everyone is self-employed. No matter who signs the check, you are You, Inc. That helped me make the mental leap from employee to unemployable.

    And I have never looked back.

    Sonia, thanks for holding up the mirror, I like what I see!

  53. Great Post Sonia.

    I have traded boredom for stress too. I spend a lot of time promoting my own freelance business, writing white papers, novels and stories. But I prefer being stressed to being bored. – Mitt

  54. Loved this! I really appreciate that you took the risk and left your “safe” job to venture into the unknown instead of remaining complacent. The story was relatable on so many levels. I’ve stuck with boring jobs just because I got comfortable and was too fearful of entering unknown territory to make any kind of switch. I’m definitely stubborn, too, and that didn’t help matters much. I also love to write and have been respected in my jobs, but reached positions that made me “stuck.” The fact that you mention that, despite the stress, you wouldn’t undo the trade gives me a lot of hope that I’ll one day be able to do the same and be happy/comfortable with that decision!

  55. I totall agree with you on a number of things, some people aren’t born natural writers but with practice you become better.
    For myself throughout university my writing style was highly picked at.. at one stage my lecture told me one report was 1st year university standard (I was in 3rd year). Dispite this I continued to write for enjoyment and as a markteing avenue for my small nutrition buisness. My articles now get published in hard copy magazines! I finally learnt how to write!

    Persistance is the key to everything :)

  56. Sonia

    When the email came to my inbox I saved it in special folder reserved for everything I get from copyblogger and you. But this one was special. So much of it relates to what I have experienced especially –

    I say things I shouldn’t say in meetings. I challenge the wrong people. I am incapable of hiding my impatience with game playing.These were not qualities that helped me climb the ranks in the traditional corporate world.

    Frustrating to be in a role no matter how much you are getting paid not to be able to make a difference. To change this world , make it better. It’s our purpose. Its reason we are alive to help others.

    And when you climb that ladder and can’t do it, and realize you have to trade off what you believe, feel and what drives your whole existence. None of it matters. It is like it was all for nothing. It suffocates and sucks all the passion and purpose from our lives.

    I have lost out financially, personally, professionally but in the end I have to follow my instincts, intuition and beliefs. The worst thing of all is trading the boredom for stress. In my case it was the contradictions that brought the stress. The conflict of values and constant hypocrisy. I worked with some wonderful people, they taught me a lot. At times I loved my job and believed it made a difference. But the boredom, the settling for less, the feeling of being in corner was too much to bear.

    Thank you for reminding me what it is like to be truly alive, focused, passionate, and to trade boredom for stress.

    Peace.

  57. For someone like myself… boredom is a form of slow death. I don’t mind good stress, but not the kind that companies put on you when they keep taking more and more for nothing in return.

    Your post resonates with me and I can definitely identify with many of your feeling and thoughts on this subject.

  58. My peeps! yes! It’s good to find your tribe. Tomorrow is my last official day at a job I took as a way to avoid the stress of the down economy. I had been a teeny biz owner for nearly 4 years and then one of my biggest clients made me an offer I thought was really stupid to refuse. They took over my office lease. They bought all my equipment. And I got health insurance and the promise of generous bonuses if I met certain goals. And then. Not just boredom. But jealousy. Feeling absolutely squashed. And 18 months later, I had to give my notice so I could go back to the sanity of my own making. Some of us just aren’t made for the predictable life. Our families and friends may shake their heads and roll their eyes. But we know the true bliss of cooking up something totally new and wonderful. Every day.

    Thank you, Sonia for sharing y/our story.

  59. Ouch, Sonia, you hit my nail on the head. That kind of hurt. :)

    I can really relate with the part about boredom. My biggest problem with working for someone else is not being told what to do, it’s getting bored with the work after a while. It’s just ends up not being that challenging. I’d definitely trade stress for boredom.

    Thanks for the post. It totally rocked, and you’re story is inspiring. :)

  60. Hey Sonia, so ggod to read this! I’m actually starting this way. I still got may day job but the first customers for copy are coming in. your words just encourage me that I’m on the right track Thanks.

  61. Hi Sonia,

    Thanks for recounting your inspirational story with us.

    The ultimate? Trading boredom for the life of your dreams, and releasing stress while you encounter the inevitable peaks and valleys – equally as scary, at times – as you progress. I was a security guard 5 years back. I got downsized, so the trading was done for me. I had the chance to work for another shipping terminal but I knew it was time to let go and grow.

    Truthfully, the stress becomes easier to deal with, as you learn how to release on outcomes. Make things like daily meditation an absolute must. Work on your mental tools. Stressful situations will come and go, as you learn to release on these situations.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    RB

  62. This is very timely for me too as today is the first day out of the day job and into creative work. (This is my scheduled lunch break – I am working, honest!)
    I have been working towards this for 4 years and although I have been building a business and writing career on the side, this suddenly feels a lot more serious. I used to fit everything around the day job and now I need to reorganize my time completely. It’s a challenging time but I have put the groundwork in, done the maths on the finances and now it’s time to leap.
    It’s great to get this positive message on day 1. Thanks Sonia.

    From a happy IT escapee :)

  63. Great post! Some parts of it remind me of Jon Acuff’s book, Quitter.

    Last week was my first week working for myself after making the big switch and so far, I’m loving every minute of it. The stress hasn’t hit yet because we’ve got a great team in place and nice recurring revenue model. I think stress comes from the expectations we put on ourselves and that’s something we can learn to control with experience.

  64. Thanks, Sonia.

    Fir me, boredom was only one symptom of my “disease.”

    I’ve written that, “I was sick of working for a bunch of idiots” in the past.

    But, it was it was even more than that. I wanted more control.

    I have it now. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m getting there.

    Slowly. Steadily.

    You’ve helped. Thanks. (Glad we finally met.)

    The Franchise King®

  65. this is one of the best posts i have read in a long time. i felt like i was reading all about myself in the initial half of the post. i was in a very comfortable management position with a fortune 100 company making a very healthy six figure income. i gave it all up to pursue my passion online. not a day of regret!

  66. Excellent! Haven’t seen this so well verbalized (written) before. Our ‘take’ was that I simply had a 3 year attention span. No matter what I did (and I felt like I did it all), it was about a year of challenge, a year of mastery and a year of ‘how do I escape?’

    That’s not a flaw (as we’ve all been taught) – that is entrepreneurial wiring! Thanks for shouting it and giving such a realistic view of the mastery and slow climb (and cash flow challenges!)

    Carrie

    PS I got preg 4 weeks after hubby quit his corporate job to work with me. Cobra promptly doubled to $1600 per month during my pregnancy. The baby I had 4 years later (and paid cash for) was cheaper than my ‘health insurance’ baby. Never a dull moment!!

  67. You nailed it – and it’s actually quite scary to realize how much your thought process before the transition mirrors my own.

    I’ve known (not necessarily acted) for some time that I’m not a 9-5, safety net, grab your lunch sack and go type of gentleman … I live for the peripheral, the new way of approaching the creative process, etc.

    I’ve tried a few “out on my own” ventures, and experienced the lovely harmony of failure and success.

    A writer, absolutely.

    An office jockey, hell no.

    Thanks for sharing Sonia. It’s stories like these that poke the edges of that comfortable box I find more and more restrictive as the days pass.

  68. Great post Sonia. I used to be a deputy editor of a travel magazine but I couldn’t wait to come home every day, because I was bored out of my brains most of the time. It’s difficult to be truly excited and motivated, or to REALLY care about what you’re doing, when it’s someone else’s business. I started up my own company last year and I’ve never been so stressed-out in my whole life! But it’s great, because it’s my baby, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    P.S. I love the quote from Gregory C – “An entrepreneur is a self-employed person working 16 hours a day to avoid working 8 hours a day for someone else.” Hadn’t heard that before and it made me chuckle. Because it’s oh so true!

  69. Thanks for sharing your story!! We share a very similar story..there were days I would pull up to work and all I could do was pray my way out of the car..it was taking a toll on me..I hadn’t been there as long as you, but I knew I was called to something greater, better, and more fulfilling. So 2 months ago, I took that leap of faith and resigned from my stable, corporate job with great benefits! Yes, sometimes I wonder what the heck did I do, but when God says move , you have to obey regardless of what it looks like or what people say!! I’m excited and the pay isn’t steady or even close to steady, but I believe in taking a small step backwards to take a huge leap forward!!! Woohoo to entrepreneurs:) Dare to dream!!!

    Kadesha

  70. Thanks for sharing this part of your story, Sonia. I left my day job without a plan and have slowly worked my way towards one. I definitely felt the need to jump and not be pushed off the cliff too…there is something powerful in making sure this is your own decision.

    Although I wasn’t bored yet, the job I was in didn’t suit me and it was changing me negatively in small bits every day. It was time to jump. So this quote in particular resonated with me.

    “Sadly, I lack the right instincts to climb the ladder in a big company. I say things I shouldn’t say in meetings. I challenge the wrong people. I am incapable of hiding my impatience with game playing.”

    Except I was trying just a bit to play the game…and I must say that was worse than not playing it at all!

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. I’ve sent it along to friends and family who I think are still baffled about what I’m doing and why. :-)

  71. Re boredom/ stress…. Our minds are self organizing systems. As such they thrive at the threshold of chaos; too stressful they become chaotic and fall apart, too stable they stagnate. I look for the cusp of the chaotic. I love it!

  72. I’ve recently thought of trading my stress for boredom, actually… but after testing the waters and seeing what is out there… I think I’ll take the stress of doing it on my own.

  73. Thank you, Sonia. Great post.

    I was laughing with a friend this morning about the difference in our lives as we are both out of the bore and into the stress. We agreed that the funniest part is when you tell your spouse, “I had a really good year.” He/She responds with “How will we pay the taxes?” And when you tell your spouse, “I had a poor year.” He/She responds with, “How will we pay the taxes.” :-)

  74. Me too! Me too! Boredom is like being boiled alive for me too! So many of my friends and family don’t understand that! I think almost any job would be interesting to me for about a week, maybe a month if it really made me think. But after I’ve learned everything I can from a job, I start getting in trouble looking for ways to entertain myself! I thought about wrecking the van I had to drive for work once- on purpose- just to make my day more interesting!

    I started thinking about starting my own business, and started blogging, in May of this year. If my blog could make me a full-time income I would be in heaven! It allows me to be creative, work when I have the energy, teach people about a subject I love, and a lot more!

    Thanks for pointing out that my abnormalities can help me make my life exactly what I want it to be! :)

  75. Your post came on the best day. I jumped from boredom to stress 6 weeks ago and am in the plugging away mode—still very much transitioning. I get lots of encouragement from my network of peers, because like you I am good at what I do and others recognize it. Don’t know why today seems extra stressful–so much so–my hubby commented on my mood. His answer is to take a vacation. My response is to put my nose to the grind and work it! Work it! Work it!

    On a side note, drama is highly overrated. I have had 2 near death experiences and other crazy, unbelievable stories which are better suited for NPR’s MOTH. Working and loving what you do is far more fulfilling!

    Thanks much for the honest post.

  76. Great post as always Sonia!
    I can relate to your story, sometimes we just need a push.
    Be awesome,
    AJ

  77. Boy has your article struck a chord! As I read your post I too realised we had a little more in common than just our name. I’m currently in a research and preparation phase to ready myself before taking a leap and increasing my stress levels!

    I’m the mother of two beautiful boys (1 & 3) and the primary salary earner, so there’s a bit riding on me getting it right. I would like to do an online copywriting course to refresh and sharpen my skills before I do anything else.

    Are there any that you would recommend, or even better, one in particular that would be an absolute must for someone wanting to use their time wisely?

    Thanks, Sonia

  78. Thanks for this. I was losing patience with my blog, I’ll be releasing a new article everyday but it seems to be not paying off. But I’m not quitting though. Not after I read your article, what a huge inspiration. Thanks again.

  79. Oh you nailed it about the “slow and steady”.

    I think people tend to forget that in this web IPO & internet millionaires environment, it actually takes time , hard work and “blood from your eyes” in order to do something meaningful.

    I guess when people ask you “how did you do this?” you should say ” I started years ago. And I started WORKING!!!”

    Love this post. Thanks!

  80. How to build the perfect corporate straight jacket complete with golden handcuffs.

    Strap one:
    Believe as I did that success was about learning to do exceedingly well what you may not want to do at all.

    Strap two:
    People pay you to do what they want done not what you want to do.

    The cuffs: 401k, Bonus. The illusion of power. Nice automobile. Bonus. Did I mention the trappings of power? Country Club Membership. The hollow “P” word again. Bonus.

    The cost: The same as all Faustian trades. Your soul.

    I got mine back thank you.

    Sense of loss? None

    Stress? Only when I choose to torment myself.

  81. I did the jump recently (1st of September) and it feels so good. And I really can’t feel the stress.

    Actually, if I think again, I am feeling less stressful now.

  82. I’m just a 22-years-old beginning brazillian copywriter, bur your post really was an inspiration for me. Every time I think about stuff like that, I realize I wouldn’t have the guts to take a decision that serious. But another part from me just want to… grow. And people like you help me understand the real implications of talent allied to hard work. Thanks and congratulation.

  83. The photo is certainly dramatic — you can almost feel the adrenaline rush of the model hanging by her fingertips — I would want to call attention that reaching for or jumping to the next handhold in such a manner that your only contact with the rock face is your fingertips is exceeding bad form & should not be held as an example, regardless of whether one is free climbing, top-roping, or a model in a photo-shoot.

    Also, while many might find being in a similar situation of hanging by fingertips stressful, adrenaline junkies might not. Stress & exhilaration are not necessarily synonyms and more than boredom is either’s antonym.

  84. Amazing post, Sonia – thank you! I need to stop putting off reading Godin – we sound like we have a lot of things in common so I’m very curious now to learn about linchpin.

    I’m right at the beginning of thinking about a transition like this, and I really appreciate others who have gone before sharing their experiences (and lack of regrets!)

  85. Great post Sonia… as always! I got a chuckle from your comment about not have the ‘turn around event’ that so many people need to break their mold. For many of us, we have a parallel journey to yours… working in a boring environment, dreaming of a better place and somehow taking those many steps to move there permanently. There’s no magic bullet for most of us…. in spite of the plethora of ‘shiny objects’ being foisted upon the masses. And… it’s not hard work that gets you there — although that’s part of the formula — but the really ingredient is working smarter. And boy does that take a while to really sink in!!

  86. Oh, my! This is one of the most sensitive subjects for me. I had a 9 to 5 job with a good paycheck for 13 years.
    I quit, never looked back. Found my love and passion and sticking to it.
    I am trying to make less U turns in the name of my weird, difficult but amazing family. I feel a strong pull that splits me in half all the time. Its like an invisible string that is inserted in my whole being that does not let go. Ever. I have two loves, and who says that we should have one, anyway?

  87. Awesome post! I did something very similar about a year ago when I left my regular job to dedicate myself exclusively to the company I started and my experience has been very similar. It’s been a bumpy, stressful ride but I could not be happier.

  88. This was very exciting for me to read. I am holding a job/career still, but I’m writing more and more. I just started dabbling in freelance web writing for a little extra money. I just put ads up on my blog. I still have bigger dreams for my writing – novel and memoir – but I am already excited to be taking steps here and there closer to a dream I’ve always had.

  89. Yes! I lept (instead of being pushed) from my last “real” job in 2003 and have never looked back! I made tons of mistakes but learned from every one of them and have never been happier. No Monday blues. No asking permission to take time off. Life is good. Congrats to you!

  90. Wow, it is like you wrote this article for me. I am bored to tears & frustrated in my cubicle every day. My reward for hard work is more work. Two years ago I started my own craft business. It is stressful, but I love every minute of it and I hope someday soon I will able to do it full-time. I just have to figure out how :)

  91. Thanks, Sonia. Comforting, and sobering for those of us engaged in a “rebranding” process. More like feeling my way to the kitchen in a dark room. This from your post, a gem: “I was learning that imperfect efforts can still bear fruit.”

  92. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s always enlightening to hear what others go through when making a huge life decision. For me, it’s not about boredom — it’s about wanting out of insanity. It’s about wanting out of that 8 to 6 box (yeah — it’s a corner office … but still … a stylish, roomy coffin is still a coffin). I keep hearing a voice saying “jump” — and not in a happy Van Halen sort of way. I’ve always wondered what it took for other people to take a big leap of faith. For me there’s no safety net –no back-up revenue anywhere. To quote Homer Simpson ‘du-oh.” Guess I need more time to figure out how to play this hand.

  93. I traded my corporate job 15 years ago for my own writing business. My family thought I was dying of cancer. Really! It’s been a very rocky road, but I have a thousand stories to tell.

  94. As a children’s performer, I often get asked what my real job is. I tell them that it’s the paperwork for what they see me doing now.

    I love this article, Sonya, and I’m a big fan of copyblogger. You’ve really helped me with my writing. I know the next step is to work on consistency as you describe in this article.

    Whenever I’m tempted to slack off on marketing or any of the thousand other things I need to do to make my business work, I threaten myself with a job. Best. Motivation. Ever.

  95. I was not as brave as you were Sonia. I left my last but one job because I was bored, but the last one left me because of last-in first-out cutbacks. So I went on my own because I had to, but I could not work for anyone else now. I feel more in control of my destiny and will never be bored. I have re-invented myself.

    Writing is part of my work, but mainly a means to an end. It is a very enjoyable part of course.

    It has not been easy “getting on my bike” as we say in UK but I am not getting off now. I am in a way out there by accident whereas you are by choice. You have made a great success of it, which is what we must all strive to do.

  96. So much of this depends on your personality (risk taker vs security, sense of adventure, etc), financial resources and your personal situation. Someone with a family to support is in a vastly different space than someone a few yrs out of college with little “baggage” (hard to move back home if you’re 35 w/ 2 kids and a dog). I’ve been making this “trade” since leaving my interesting but boring journalism (BusinessWeek) job in the early 90s, jumping back & forth from corp. manager jobs at co’s like Intel, HP, Cisco into marketing consulting. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility,but being a “free electron” has ample risks, and not for everyone. You spend half your waking hours selling and marketing, and you even seemingly solid projects/jobs can vaporize overnight. You said you had great writing skills but most corporations see you as just another writing “asset” or vendor. You’re competing with big agencies with armies of writers, and often they’re already entrenched in the company. I’ve read (and seen) Seth Godin and other business cheerleading books and respect their work, but the risks are often higher, the reality more brutal .. Bottom line: Look before you leap.

    • Mark, I think your experience, as well as balanced realism speaks for itself. It rings true based on everything I’ve heard and seen myself from people who take the leap. The reality today is that it’s incredibly difficult to get a “job.” Many people have no choice. The crowd of people who cheerlead (and that word is apt) rarely point out the downside. There is no simple answer but his would make a very interesting survey.

      • All good points-“jobs” are very hard to come by, and even if you can one, it may be a bad fit. I’m only arguing to go into this with your eyes wide open and prepared- for instance, securing a contract, if possible, before you jump…or partnering with someone already running their own business.

  97. Georgianna Oliver :

    Sometimes boredom is necessary for healing from life’s disruptions whether personal or professional. Once healed, an ambitious person will find their way again.

  98. Sonia pretty much everything you just said reflects my own life and personality. Now I understand why I love reading your articles so much! Thanks!

  99. Hey Sonia, I left the rat race on May 26, 2011 (a day I won’t soon forget) and started my own copywriting and consulting business. I also had a very good job. I was an agent with the top insurance company in the nation. Good benefits, 3 weeks paid vacation and paid a salary + bonuses.

    But I wasn’t excited about my work, for some reason it’s just hard to get excited about insurance, weird I know.

    People think it’s crazy to leave your job (where you only have one customer) in this “economy” to start your own business (where you have multiple customers) but the fear of being labeled crazy isn’t as great as my desire to be free and do work I love.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  100. Hi dear Sonia, what a courageous journey. I did not know all of this about your background and I have SO enjoyed learning it. It is not easy to do what you did but I did the same on April 15th of this year, 2011. I traded a lucrative job at a Fortune 100 company, a job I did from home a few hours a day (if that) in the privacy of my own house, and a job that was easy, so easy it was mind-numbing, for the uncertainty that enveloped all my passions and talents. It’s been a tough road. I am learning and doing new things all the time. I am as stubborn as well and not for a minute would I wish I were back at that job. In fact, it fuels my enthusiasm because success is the best response in the end. Moments of terror, doubt, and fear still visit, despite being unwelcome, but alas, such is life, and without this feeling, our true potential would never have a chance! Thanks so much for sharing your story so openly.

    • Farnoosh:

      Will you share more information about the company you worked for that allowed you to work at home?

  101. Sonia,

    I made the trade to work for myself years ago…was almost forced into it with the economy and young children at home.

    Now I’m into internet marketing and love it. What a journey it’s turning out to be. It’s like a regular career on caffeine.

    Thanks for telling your story. It shows that there’s no journey without bumps and detours on the way. You have to makes some wrongs to learn and stride forward towards your goal. Keep at it, make it work and you’ll succeed.

    Louise

  102. Sonia, what a great piece… I have been struggling with making the jump for months trying to determine what I would really offer out on my own… I am easily bored creatively and otherwise, been a jack of all trades riding a line between technology and the web for over 12 years…but am starting the path forward… Thank you for the insight and the honesty

    • I would say before you strike out on your own, discover what it is that you have a true passion for and find a way to do something related to that. It will keep you going when the inevitable crazy days happen. There are some days when everything goes wrong, I’m thinking about quitting, and I’m telling myself I never should have tried this anyway. Those are the days when I have to hang on to my higher vision for what I’m trying to accomplish. If I didn’t have that, I would have stopped a long time ago and retreated back to the boring job which would have led to unhappiness and lack of fulfillment in the long run.

      Having the passion foremost in my mind helps me make the hard lifestyle choices I sometimes need to make during leaner times in the business. Give up cable TV? No problem. Give up eating out? A little harder. Not buy the new electronic toy I’ve been craving? Ok, now that hurts. But in the end? Worth it.

  103. You had me transfixed! I read the blog from start to finish, and now I’m posting a comment – not something I normally do. Thanks for a wonderfully refreshing perspective. I’m a fan!

  104. Thank you – I am not alone!

    What a great post – I have been waiting, waiting for something, I think for my head to explode to prove I am not insane – and your post has reassured me that I am more than this ‘corporate’ job. I am looking forward to my getting back my own inspiration and finding a way to jump!

    thanks again.

  105. Inspiring post I was bowled over by the statement “No magic formulas. No push-button cash machines. No foolproof money-getting systems. And nothing I did was a spectacular burst of heroic effort. Instead, it was an accumulation of slow, steady, purposeful work.” As they say “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration” and Rome was not built in a day.
    Great one. I shall also look forward to when I can trade my boredom for stress :-)

  106. Excellent post!! when I read you article it was a reflection of my life since 1 March 2009. That is when I left my boring Corporate job and started my own Human Resources Outsourcing company in Cape Town. I had, and still have a lot of Human Resources skills however the new challenges of marketing, meeting potential clients and closing the deals were and are a lot more daunting than negotiating with trade unions or implementing Performance Management Systems.

    Thank you again for your honest reflection. If we want a change we need to insist on it.

  107. Great story. I’m happy things are working out for you. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that wish they had made the trade sooner. This terrible economy has caused a lot of people to get pushed out of a bored job, because it was supposed to be safe and secure. Now that reality has hit them, they are without a plan or direction. Instead of doing something with their life, they are letting life do something to them. I’m glad I made the trade.

  108. Great article, Sonia…I love the “boiled alive” analogy! I’m currently trying to work my way from boredom into stress, but right now I have a bunch of both. Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your story.

  109. Hi Sonia,

    It happened. After a year and a half of learning from Copylogger (you being my strongest inspiration) I finally posted a half good content, the post took me 30 minutes and the comments exploded as a result. I credit this to you. I am still dreaming to be able to fully focus on writing and marketing to get it to the right point. But it will never happen because my profession is my true and crazy passion and writing is a tool. Favorite tool but a tool. I love you people so much! You are my heroes.

    On a different note, I just cannot focus on backend technicalities of my two blogs. can anyone just help me please? I do not have the time to figure out with tutorials. Please help because I feel that I screwed up there big time.

    • Neat! Keep it running!

      It sounds like you’re in a good place — a profession that you love, and you’re enjoying the writing & marketing that supports that success.

      I know Johnny B. Truant does some work along those lines (tech help with blogs), you might check his services out.

      • Thank you, Sonia. I just listened to their webinar on guest blogging. Bless you! I cannot believe how quickly you replied. Your next post should be something about friendship and how your old friends take you for granted and strangers become sooo much more helpful. (LOL)

  110. Hey Sonia, another comment on my blog post: Comment:
    “Can I just say what a aid to find somebody who truly is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know the best way to convey a problem to mild and make it important. More people need to learn this and understand this facet of the story. I cant consider youre not more widespread because you definitely have the gift.”
    Just wanted to share so that you know that you make so much of a difference in the world.

  111. I am a naive ninja. It looks like my post got spam comments. How does that hurt me. And what do they do? I mean the “bad guys?” What’s the scoop?

  112. Yes. I resonate completely with what you just said, especially about boredom being akin to being boiled alive. Left my corporate job in June of this year. Doing photography and blogging for photographers and loving every minute. Hoping to keep paying the bills through winter, though. ;)

    Thanks for this. It’s good. I hope my path ends up as fruitful as yours is. :)

  113. I’d prefer a mix of both though. Life’s never balanced when the scale is tipped over to one side.

  114. Wonderful post! Delighted to have found it. Indeed, I’ve been living a diet of stress for other reasons and am in the process of trading it in for a real life. Thanks for sharing your story! Resonates with me despite having had way too many days of “going to die today” spread over many years and reasons.

    Thanking you –

    blessings,
    Cynthia