I Took One Small Step Toward My Dream Job Everyday and it Worked

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I was so nervous to quit my “real job” and start my consulting business that I made myself physically ill.

I was driving up to Santa Barbara with my boyfriend (now husband) for a wedding and it was 3 days before I was going to be with talking to my CEO and giving him the news. I had run through all the plans, anticipated the whole conversation of giving my notice, but still I was in knots about it. And by knots, I mean that I actually thought I had food poisoning! We ended up having to turn around once we got to Santa Barbara because I had gotten so sick at a restaurant that my boyfriend said it looked like my “soul was drained from my body”. It was not a good look on me.

Although my anxiety and nerves had taken over, I was not to be deterred. I sat down with my boss that Monday and told him I was leaving. He received the news really well, and gave me an incredible opening: if you give us one more month, I’ll let you change your mind.

Deal.
In that month, I decided to do at least one thing everyday towards my new business.

I created plans, lists, and did a LOT of research. This commitment to forge through truly gave me the confidence to stick to my guns. It also gave me the space to see if I was serious about this, even on days when I thought fear of the unknown/going irreparably broke may actually kill me.

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Some of the things I did:
  • Register my domain name and get my email set up
  • Make and order business cards
  • Get a logo designed
  • Researched websites and designs
  • Made a three-tiered outreach list
  • Attempted a business plan
  • Researched competition
  • Searched trademarks
  • Read case studies
  • Created a mini marketing plan
Some of the things I felt:
  • Excited
  • Refreshed
  • Inspired
  • Creative
  • Doubtful
  • Exhausted
  • Unsure
  • Fearful
  • Overwhelmed
  • Confused

I knew I would have to be strong to make this major leap into a successful flight as opposed to a free fall, and I’m glad I had the discipline to push through. Often we are our own barriers, so setting up goals that can pull us along can really help.

This commitment to forge through truly gave me the confidence to stick to my guns. It also gave me the space to see if I was serious about this, even on days when I thought fear of the unknown/going irreparably broke may actually kill me.

At the end of the month, I had all the pieces in place to start reaching out to my network, which, for me, felt like step one. Two years later, I’m rocking and rolling! I may be ready for a new logo and site, but that is all a part of the process. My former boss is now a mentor, and whenever I feel defeated I hear my husband’s voice saying, “being able to stomach the ups and downs of entrepreneurship is the hardest part. If you can handle that, you can handle the rest of it. Keep going.”

Photos by Valerie Denise

Bailey Van Tassel

Founder at Abel Impact

Bailey is the Founder and President of Abel Impact, a social responsibility firm that helps business and families partner with charity to create meaningful do-good programming. Her background is in marketing, non-profit management, sales, and fundraising. She brings a wealth of knowledge from over eight years of studying the way the private sector interacts with the social sector, and is certified in non-profit evaluation. She has worked with companies like Google, MasterCard, Club Corp, and many others. Bailey’s passion lies in bridging the worlds of philanthropy and business, alongside her love for her family, yoga, cooking, and doing anything outside.