How to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur

I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Business Mojo and Margaritas Podcast.

Here are the show notes:

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EP037 How to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur with Amy Coats

Together, we talk about:

  • Why she left her corporate gig for the online world

  • Why her first business wasn’t quite it for her

  • The advice she would give her former corporate self

  • What you need to know before you leave your day job for your dream job

  • How her dreams of social impact fuel her day-to-day

  • Leveraging the lessons and mistakes for greater impact

Whether you’re leaving your job or playing big in your business, this conversation is meant for you.

Listen to the Podcast HERE.

Here is the TRANSCRIPT:

Suzanne:  Hi, welcome at UAA, another episode of Business Mojo and Margarita is where I get all up in your business in 20 minutes or less. I am Suzann, your host business strategist and coach for female entrepreneurs.

Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of Business Mojo and Margarita's. I am super stoked this morning to be on with somebody that I have been watching on social media and podcasts and all kinds of places lately. She is absolutely amazing and that is Amy Coats and she is, if you guys have ever seen the two week notice society out there, that is her baby. So Amy, why don't you tell the audience about yourself and what you do and how you got into this and all of that good stuff.

Amy: Sure. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be on. My business is called two week notice society, like you said in the intro, I help women leave their 9 to 5 and start their online business. And a little bit about how that started is, I was in the corporate world for 20 years and it just became kind of a boring or mundane. I really wasn't interested in what I was doing anymore. I had done it for so long, I was a financial controller. So I always say like accounting stuff doesn't change too much, you know, it's not that exciting. So I kind of stumbled upon this online or virtual world and my first business was actually taking all of the knowledge I had learned in corporate and offering it to virtual and local clients. And that scaled pretty quickly and I was able to leave my nine to five and I replaced my income pretty quickly as well. So while I was doing that, I had a lot of people asking me, how were you able to take that leap? And so I started coaching people for free basically, and then realize that, I needed to start charging people! And then I just became more passionate about it because I could see the transformation in people and that they were actually passionate about what they were doing. And that's kind of how two week notice society was created in a nutshell.

Suzanne: Awesome. So I can tell you, I know that there are a ton of people in the audience who are waiting for your chances that this topic, let's, let's face it. I mean, if you are somebody who's super driven and you've got a lot of ideas and um, you know, you've got all these passions and you're sitting in a cubicle all day doing something boring for somebody else, it sucks out a little of your soul every day. Yes. I kind of like, so, you know, you kind of talked a little bit about your, your journey already. I mean, what, you know, as you went through that, what lessons did you learn along the way that might help some of the people out there who are trying to create their own?

Amy: I mean, not to be brutally honest, it's not like rainbows and Unicorns, like people post about it on Instagram or Facebook all the time. I had some lows, you know, because it was, it was frustrating to, still have to be in this nine to five because it was providing me an income, but I was so excited and passionate about what I was created on the side and I just wanted more time to do that. Right. And so time management becomes a huge thing. You really have to put in the time in, you sometimes don't see the results that you want at the beginning and it can be a little frustrating, right? And so you just have to keep, keep going. And I think also you get into this, kind of number, these vanity numbers game and you maybe you only have a hundred followers on Instagram, but you know what, I always tell my people and what I've been told is give those 100 people everything you've got. You know, impacting a hundred people's lives is much better than having, you know, a thousand followers and no one's really caring about your message. That kind of stuff can be really kind of hard to get through when you're first starting out because it, it, it can be a bit of a slow crawl, but once you get to the place that you can, your business starts to really take off. You'll appreciate those slow times sometimes, you know, or the beginning, you know.

Suzanne: Well, and I think it's interesting that you mentioned Hannity numbers because I certainly know coaches. I've actually had clients who have really small groups, for instance, Facebook groups, they've got plenty of clients and they're getting them from those small groups. So I think that is a very good point to be made that while everybody is glamorizing, you know, massive numbers of followers, right. Don't necessarily need it.

Amy: Right. And even starting out, you know, I remember when I just had a few clients to start with just giving them every, you know, and not that I don't now, but just giving them everything you can in making such a great impact on them is so important as well. And I think people think that when, when you first start out, you have to have all, you know, a lot of clients and be bringing in all this money and it seems overwhelming, but you really just have to start taking those first steps and get those first few clients and then, you know, just give them everything that you have and make that huge impact.

Suzanne: So that's a great lead into my next question. Like, so you know, if there's somebody out there who's thinking, okay, now I'm feeling a little more encouraged about this, you know, what steps can they start to take to actually start moving in the direction of leaving that nine to five for good?

Amy: Sure. First I want to put out there that make sure that you have a business that you're passionate about. One of the things that I see people sometimes when they come to me and they've started their, their side business already, it's sometimes they, they duplicate what they see other people doing. And maybe it's not something that they're passionate about and they just think, oh, I can, I can make money doing this. So I'm going to do that. And, and it's not something that they're truly passionate about. And I warned my, the people that I work with that that's fine, but what's going to happen in a year or two is you're going to feel like you're back in your nine to five, right. Because you're, you're not motivated by that business.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Amy: The second I think is to just start sharing your, you know, once you have decided on what it is your business is, but, um, just start sharing your message. I think one of the things that I'm constantly working on is, is sharing my personal journey. And it was hard for me at first because I didn't think anyone cared about what I was going through or what I had gone through. But that's actually what people relate to is those personal stories and not just selling a program or course or product or you know, whatever it is that you are doing. So, and that can be done even before maybe you have an actual product. You can start sharing your journey and to see who's resonated with that and start to narrow down that ideal client.

Suzanne: I love that because I will tell people it's not uncommon as you know, to have somebody who's kind of in a little bit of a state of confusion and they're not really sure which direction to go yet. And I always tell those people and make sure that you at least, you know, get out there and you're trying to build those relationships while you go through this phase. So I think that's a great point.

Amy: I do have a lot of people that will say to me, I don't want my nine to five to know that I'm doing this, which was my, my situation. And I always say, well, you can, you can post in, in close Facebook groups. No one's going to know that. But just like you said, building those relationships, you don't have to vocalize that you're selling something. Just share what you know, maybe you, you've experienced what struggles you have something positive. You see people posting things like that a lot. So that's how you can start to build those relationships and, and get more eyes on you as well.

Suzanne: Oh, awesome. So I kind of cut you off there. Did you have more to say?

Amy: If we want to talk about fear, I talk about that a lot. I don't know if it's necessarily a step, but it's kind of a general topic, but I, I think we all do, but I have to deal with fear a lot myself. I, you know, like putting myself out there and getting on Facebook live, I've gotten a lot better. But that's something that I talk about a lot because my, the people that want to leave their nine to five, they're very fearful. Right. But that never really goes away and, and I think it just kind of changes for us in different ways or we learn to manage it better. But I also always say is, is fear, is the fear bigger or is it more like, is it more fearful to leave your job and to have this business that you love or is it more fearful to stay in your job and be miserable or upset or affecting relationships for the next, you know, how many years. So you sometimes have to waive those, those instances.

Suzanne: That's a great, that's a great thought. You know, a lot of times when we look at fear in different mindset things, we're always looking at it the opposite way. I think that that is a definitely a good thing to think about if fear is actually what's keeping you there.

Amy: Right, right.

Suzanne: So question for you. You know, when I left my very good paying job to have my online business, you know, I was dazzled by all the people telling me that I could make six figures in two months. And, and quite frankly, I tell the story I left too soon and I warn people to be prepared. So what is your, do you have any advice for people as far as how to know when it's time?

Amy: Sure. I actually just did a challenge in my group about this because I have become a huge advocate for people to have replaced their income before they give their two week notice. But everyone's situation is different and maybe maybe they don't need to replace their income or maybe they have different goals or something like that. But yes, I suggest that you figure out what it is or what amount it is that you need to either have saved or that you have coming in in your side business that is going to be sustainable. And there's, you know, some sort of longevity to it so that when you give your notice, it's not like, okay, I have two months worth now what, you know what I mean? Like, I'm really an in, coming from a financial background, I really like to hone in on that message of a, creating a sustainable business, but also setting yourself up for that success before you give your two week notice.

Amy: I personally, I cut back on some expenses when I was going through, having to save, you know, saving, I call it a freedom fund, but I was, I was saving for that. I cut back on, you know, Netflix and things like that. And then I made sure that I had enough clients to replace my income. And then once I secured that client that I knew that, and it was like a long term contract and that I would have for a long time. That's when I was able to give my notice. So that was, that was a big day.

Suzanne:  Oh, awesome. Yeah, no. Have you sleep, you know, through this journey, you know, before you leave the nine to five, after you leave the nine to five, there are a ton of lessons, learning opportunities, mistakes, etc. How do you leverage those to actually help you, you know, in the process, you know, leave the nine to five and have success after and, and all of that. Any thoughts?

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Amy: I think one of the biggest things that I learned when I was going through the journey is, at first I wasn't consistent in working on my business. Meaning I would spend a week working really hard on, you know, working in, in my business and, and getting things set up and, and engaging and doing things like that. And then I would take a week or two off cause I think I would just exhaust myself, you know what I mean? So it's like this constant roller coaster and I see that kind of a lot with people, because I think they get like really gun Ho and then they, like I said, burn themselves out and then they have to kind of start over again almost or, and, and so my advice is always to don't burn yourself out. Don't go like Gung Ho about it, but just be consistent. And then that way it never feels like this, um, like burden or are just like so much to do when you have to start again. You know, you're just always kind of staying consistent with what you're doing. I think that was one of my biggest mistakes in the beginning.

Suzanne: Well, I think that the universe just planted that little tip for me today. This summit that I just read. Yes, yes. Gosh, I mean seriously, I mean for the listeners, I want you guys to understand that this happens to everybody and I really do want to curl up in a ball in their court for a couple of weeks, but I'm not going to, I have more plans for, but still, yes, I do remember the time I disappeared for like a month or two. And I want to emphasize the point that Amy made is if you disappear, you do have to work harder to come back. I mean, I had a super engaged Facebook group at the time. It's actually the one I have now, but far less people and it was hard work to get that engagement back. So don't disappear.

Amy: Figure out what that sweet spot is for you, like for working and just stick, like, keep consistent with that. But yeah, I agree. It is hard.

Suzanne:  Absolutely. Question for you. So you're super passionate about this. So you know, what about what you're doing in your business? Has you super passionate and keeps you going, you know, day to day? What do you love about it?

Amy: Well I love the flexibility of it and the freedom of it. Ilove, okay, so this is, this is what I think. This is what drives me is I see that, by impacting women's lives. And I can see people in my Facebook group or when I work with them, like the light bulb almost turns on sometimes or they get super excited about something. And that motivates me. But I also feel like the more women that are happier at that can, you know, um, do things that they're, they're proud of and empowered by. I think the bigger impact in the world we can make because I feel like women can really make that change a nice, I see more people doing that online, which, you know, you're doing it. And in other people and other Facebook groups we are in, I can see people really making that ripple effect. And I feel like if women are happier, they're going to be happier with their kids, with their family. And I feel like, you know, the impact of that is going to be huge other than just having a business.

Suzanne:  Yes, I agree. Definitely a big difference because let's face it, I mean when you're, you're going to the nine to five every day for instance, again, it can be really soul crushing. Yes. And that, you know, it does, it makes you cranky and tired and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. And some people drink gallons of coffee. This is the health coach in me speaking up, you know, the freedom and the impact and everything. Definitely you could just see it makes people happier, more fulfilled, et Cetera, online.

Amy: And when I was really miserable in my nine to five, like the last year and a half, I would say, my health did. I know I wasn't prioritizing my health. I was crying on my way to work. But I also was taking that anger out on other people that didn't deserve to have that time to let, you know what I mean. It was like, like I couldn't really take it out, although I distanced myself from people that I worked with that I couldn't really take it out on them. Like I got to yell at them for things like, but I couldn't do it at home for no reason. So, I always do say that that comes out somewhere and usually to the people that don't serve it. Yeah.

Suzanne: So I always promise people that they're going to get like some juicy tidbits from my podcast. What are like one to three things that you just want to make sure, even if you've talked about them already, that you really want to hit home on for people who are going through this journey and maybe are feeling apprehensive or they have the fear, they just don't know where to start or if it's for them.

Amy: I think one thing that we haven't talked about yet is that is hard for me sometimes to even grasp is when you're in a nine to five, you go to work for eight hours, let's say, usually more and you'd get a paycheck when you're in this world, like an entrepreneur, to begin with, you could be putting in 40 hours a week and not be getting that big of a paycheck, right? Eventually you could put in eight hours a week and get an even bigger paycheck like time and money is not correlated. And I think that was really hard for me to understand. There is a time investment to begin with, but it's a much better outcome if you stay consistent and stick with it. Then if you were in a corporate job where I was just getting, you know, one to 3% raises every year, I just kind of, you know, regardless of, you know, I was putting in a lot more time, but that was always going to be my outcome. So I think it's hard for people to understand that in the entrepreneur world. Gotcha. Awesome. The second tip I would say is to just get to get visible. I think, you know, two years ago I probably was the type of person that would never think I'd be doing a podcast. You'd be doing Facebook lives. I just was very introverted when I first started doing Facebook lives. I was like reading from a script and it was really awkward. I'm terrible.

Suzanne: I have deleted all videos for my health.

Amy: Oh my gosh. It was terrible. Like I would have my boyfriend hold this piece of paper and then when record it, it was terrible. But I've gotten like, I'm not great, but I'm much better, much, much better. But just, you know, if you're not that type of person who just know that, you know, that's how we all started most likely. And just getting visible and in, the more you do it, the better. Uh, Eh, it will be. And then I just think that everything you want is, is truly on the other side of fear. And I think I'm just getting over that hump. Sometimes you just have to have to do it.

Suzanne: Yes. Take the leap, it feels like.

Amy: I know, I always say it's like the weirdest feeling when I gave my notice, it was like I was super happy I had this weight lifted off my shoulder, but yet I was like, am I really doing the right thing? You know, it's just, you just have these mixed bag of emotions. Yes.

Suzanne: Sheer terror at points. Yeah.

Amy: Yeah. But it's all worked out. It all worked. I would, I can't imagine myself being back in a 9 to 5. Yeah.

About Amy

Amy Coats is an Entrepreneur, Corporate Exit Strategist, CFO, and founder of Virtual COO Solutions & Two Week Notice Society. After 20 years in the corporate 9 to 5 world, she realized she was destined for something far more satisfying.

But it wasn't enough for her to find her happy place in the world. She created Two Week Notice Society to empower women who feel the same way she did when she left the 9 to 5 grind and started her entrepreneurial journey. She is passionate about helping corporate women get their online businesses up and running, so they can leave their 9-5 and be the woman they dream of becoming! Her strategies contain the exact steps she followed to make it to the other side and love life all over again.

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