This is how bad my life plan was 3 years ago

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In the spring of 2011, I was 6 months into my first desk job. For a 22-year-old recent grad, I had it made: Decent salary, my own office (with windows!), respectable work hours in a stable industry (banking), relatively short commute, and co-workers that were pleasant enough to be around.

But dear lord, was I bored.

Not just day-to-day, though the job itself was definitely not thrilling or intellectually challenging, but existentially bored, too. After only 6 months, I was already starting to have thoughts like, “This can’t be all there is,” and “How am I going to keep doing this for the rest of my career?”

So, I started dreaming of something more fulfilling. Back then, that “something” was a book that Kristen and I planned to co-author together (yes, we were basically business partners before we ever made it “official”). Since we were fresh out of college, it was going to be a dating and relationship how-to (and how-not-to) for girls in college.

When neither of us had anything to do at work, we’d email drafts of this book back and forth throughout the day, G-chatting excitedly about our progress and edits. Obviously, we’d somehow find a book agent, get our manuscript published, and end up #1 on the New York Times non-fiction Bestseller list.

The plan for getting there looked like this:

  1. Start a blog, or maybe an advice column website. Because that way, we’d have a following! And publishers love authors with built-in fans.
  2. Get people to come to that blog, and build credibility, by submitting articles to popular websites for young women. Obviously, women would like our articles so much that they would be inclined to follow us over to our blog.

And that was it. That was the plan. That was how far we’d thought out the monumental leap from desk job to New York Times bestselling authors. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, even now.

What Kristen and I did possess back then was the raw material for success outside of the 9-to-5 grind: Confidence, energy, motivation, and a desire to make something happen. It was clear that we craved freedom, flexibility, and the ability to provide for ourselves financially outside of the “trading hours for dollars” model.

What we completely and utterly lacked was a way to translate all of our passion, energy, and talent into a viable escape plan. We had no structure. There was no conversation of how to turn passion into real, sustainable, freedom-inducing profit.

Basically, we had a book-writing hobby.

Hobbies are great and all, but that didn’t offer a real vehicle that would fund our freedom. And while we still plan to write a book one day, I wish I’d known back then that writing that book wasn’t the real root of my passion, nor was it the best way for me to create financial freedom for myself.

In hindsight, I look back and half-cringe, half-smile at how naïve I was. It’s taken the greater part of the last 3 years to troubleshoot the process of turning passion into freedom. It’s been chock full of a lot of trial and error and so many (again, in hindsight) avoidable mistakes.

If I’d had someone back then to ask me the right questions, to help me craft a well thought-out plan that I could trust, I could have saved myself years of struggle and anxiety. I could have maximized my time, saved a lot more money, and had a much more fun and easy-going transition from full-time job to self-employed.

It’s for that reason, more than anything else, that Kristen and I have been working on a new coaching program. While we’re not quite ready to announce all of the details, what we can tell you now is that it’s going to be all about creating a real “escape plan,” to help people (like we used to be) get from boring desk job to living free in a way that’s authentic, sustainable, and fun.

So, back to you: Have you ever thought how your life could have been much easier, looking back, if you’d known how to plan for it? Or have you had a passion that was actually more of a hobby than a real means of escape? Leave a comment below to let us know!

Much Love,

Rachel (& Kristen)

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