Leaving My Corporate Job to Start My Own Business

Jan 23, 2021

The thought of leaving my corporate job was scary, especially because it’s all I knew.

Can you relate to the thought of leaving your comfort zone? For me, I spent much of my marketing career in male-dominated industries, paving the way for other go-getter trailblazers who knew that authenticity was the key strategy for knocking it out of the park for small and large brands. I felt like I was on the cutting edge of what was going to flip everything people knew about marketing on its head. I was traveling often, working my way up the corporate ladder, leaving no stone unturned, but then, I started to have this nagging feeling I was missing something.

My decision to climb the corporate ladder 

I was married young at 22 and divorced young by 24. I never wanted children. Part of that was because we were very poor growing up and my mother struggled for a while as a single mom to two children. The other part was that I saw how corporate jobs frowned upon mothers who required new flexibilities and I knew how much it already took to be taken seriously in corporate circles. I worked so hard to get to where I was and being newly divorced, I was in no place to consider children, but that nagging feeling…it never left.

    Was I missing out on something? 

    By my late 20s, I was seeing more and more working mothers leaving corporate jobs, and I could see why. I started feeling that tug at my heart that I, too, felt like not having children would leave me missing out on an experience that deep down, I think I always wanted. I wanted to feel fulfilled in the way I saw other moms I knew finding fulfillment. I could have never imagined leaving my Corporate job, but motherhood undoubtedly produced a strong bond if these sacrifices were so willingly and often made, right?

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    I took the leap into motherhood

    I ended up getting remarried to an old high school friend, and we were on the same page about starting a family. There I was, swollen feet and a little round belly making a big commute for a job I loved SO much. Vowing to keep enjoying traveling. Vowing to continue working at the same pace. Vowing to keep living life at the same pace. If you’re a mom, I know I’m not fooling you.

    Who was I kidding?! Life would never be the same after having kids.  

    A few months later when that little baby with a head full of dark black hair arrived, you can pretty much say I melted into a big pile of mush. Aha, THIS was the thing that all the new moms talked about! In that moment and in the months to come, my priorities completely changed. My daughter had a lot of early challenges outside of the typical care that a newborn needs. She was small at birth, had a milk allergy, reflux that led to colic, and her first bout of RSV during an Ohio winter. It was an ongoing joke/not really a joke that I would have lived in a cardboard box to avoid leaving my baby, but I had to. Nine short weeks later, it was time to go back to work.

      The juggle started when I went back to my corporate job

      To say that I thought about leaving my corporate job more than ever would be an understatement. I worked our finances seven ways to Sunday to find out how to be home with her more. It just wasn’t possible. She eventually became a five day per week daycare baby and she was sick ALL THE TIME. Do you know how gut-wrenching it is to get the phone call that your baby is ill and you’re an hour away? Gut-wrenching.

      I felt that pull that I know all moms feel between work and life. Some days work won, and other days, life won, but at that time, life just needed to win more often. I had this tiny baby who needed me, and I wanted to be with her. I was frustrated, feeling unseen, feeling unfulfilled, feeling lost, feeling stuck. All these thoughts were racing in my head.

      “…but I make a great salary. But I carry the insurance. But we have bills. But I like the way I’m living. But what will we do if I leave Corporate America? How will our family continue to thrive?”

      The joy of becoming a business owner 

      I was in a highly technical role and truthfully, I was missing the more light-hearted pieces of marketing. The impactful magic I knew was possible if I just took a risk in starting my own business and faced the possibility of leaving the corporate world behind! I started to get a small taste of what life could look like if I were my own boss.

      When I started pursuing my business, sure I was working harder, but my soul was on fire. The thought of getting to spend more time with my family pushed me to pursue my dreams. My side hustle was igniting a passion inside of me that I hadn’t felt in a while. I knew I was doing my heart’s work.

      The internal fight began in leaving my corporate job

      On the other hand, my corporate job seemed to be in a downward spiral. In some ways, I was upset with myself for not adjusting to motherhood better. In other ways, I was mad at myself for caring too much, for not foreseeing the real demand that would come along with being a working mom. I also resented the time I missed with my family. I also resented my corporate job for being inflexible. I also resented the other women for the unkindness I 

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      was shown when they tightened deadlines or turned our time in the office into some sort of fierce competition. I didn’t want to compete. I wanted to do a great job and go home to my baby.

      Ultimately, I ended up leaving my corporate job involuntarily. I thought, “this was not how this was supposed to be.” I was hurt, betrayed, shocked, angry, and felt defeated. I felt like my work wasn’t good enough.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough, but at the same time I was ready to rise from the ashes like a phoenix with big, beautiful wings that you can only see after a total transformation and self-discovery.

      World Economic Forum says that millions of women will quit their jobs due to lack of support. Here is a blog that you can read about it and what we can do about it, as well as why 50% of multicultural women are thinking about leaving corporate jobs today and in the next 2 years. 

      Leaving my corporate job was all worth it in the end 

      I’m not going to sit here and pretend this journey to entrepreneurship was an overnight success, that I hit six figures in my first year, that I haven’t shed some tears along the way. But when I say that leaving my corporate job was the best blessing in disguise I could have asked for, that is the whole-hearted truth!

      That fire I told you about? I went all-in on my dream. I didn’t hide the fact that I was fired from my corporate job. I didn’t hide the fact that I can be an F-bomb dropping mom sometimes, and I didn’t shy away from the fact that I was a mom first. I didn’t let the shame I felt defeat me. It has taken a lot of intentionally, choosing this life-by-design every single day, The best part? It’s mixed in with cuddles, belly laughs, and picnics with my daughter.

      I guess you could say my mess is now my message. I am passionate about the business I have created, and most of all, I’m passionate about helping women leave corporate jobs who have that spark go all-in on their passions, too. I’m passionate about helping them to get vulnerable in the pursuit of their dream life and goals. I help them find the confidence that I didn’t have earlier. I help them embrace who they are and love themselves enough to tell their story, too. I help them transform from corporate woman to fearless entrepreneur!

      Are you inspired by Tiffany’s Story? Read ‘Women to Watch in 2021‘ blog featuring more incredible women in business. 

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      Tiffany N. Lewis
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      Tiffany N. Lewis

      Tiffany is the owner of More Meaningful Marketing is a mother and an avid coffee drinker, with a wit and true passion for helping entrepreneurs find their authenticity to use attraction marketing to propel their business forward in more meaningful ways.

      Tiffany believes that the story you tell others about your brand becomes the cornerstone of why your clients do business and continue doing business with you. Therefore, she’s passionate about merging personal and professional branding to create an authentic, unforgettable marketing experience. Follow Tiffany on Instagram on Social Media channels below.

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