AMY PORTERFIELD: “Choosing your exit date while still being fully immersed in your current situation is a tricky thing to navigate, both physically and mentally. You'll likely want to leave immediately, but you'll also know it's not yet time. So you have to live in this very uncomfortable place of having a foot in two worlds. But you can do it. I know you can.
“The way to stay productive and sane is to make a plan, and then schedule it to make it real. Once I knew I wanted to start my own business, I began to think more strategically. Due to shifts in the company, there was an opportunity for me to make a lateral move from the content department to the marketing department. And I jumped at it. I marched myself into my boss's office and asked if I could switch departments. To my surprise, she said yes. I spent the next six months actively participating in marketing projects, learning everything I could about digital courses, content messaging, and how to sell online.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: Now, if you would have told me that one day on my own podcast I would be reading a chapter from my very own book, I would say there is no way. There's no way that I have a podcast that has lasted this many years, and there's no way that I wrote a book. Well, both of those are true. And so here I am today, reminding you that just because you might not be able to visualize it just yet, just because you don't know how good it can get, keep going, my friend, because it can get really, really, really good as long as you stay in the game.
So today I feel like it's an extra-special day because for the first time ever, I'm going to publicly read a chapter from my upcoming book called Two Weeks Notice. And this book is all about finding the courage to leave behind what you no longer want and move toward what you do want, and specifically, leaving behind thinking you need other people to help you get to where you want to go, and stepping in to becoming your own boss and building a beautiful online business.
And I'm going to read a portion of chapter two, which is called “Unbossing.” And this chapter is important to me, and why I wanted to share it with you here is that I think we all need to examine where we are holding on to different elements of bosses in our lives. You know, the most traditional form of a boss is you have a nine-to-five job, and you have a boss. But there's other bosses that show up in our lives that we feel like we need to hold on to because we can't do it alone. Sometimes it’s a spouse. Sometimes it's a parent, when we're younger. There’s just all these different elements of feeling as though we don't trust ourselves to go at it alone. And I want to examine that.
This term “unbossing” came up when Gabby Bernstein and I were having a conversation. She's been so instrumental in helping me get this book out into the world. And we almost called the book Unbossing. That's how important this chapter means to me, or how important it is to me. But we decided that people would get a little bit confused. So instead of making it the title of the book, I made it a chapter, and it's one of my most favorites. And I think there's a lot of lessons to be learned in this chapter, and that's why I chose it for today.
Now, my book doesn't come out until February 21, so in a while. However, it means everything to an author if their communities will preorder the book. It allows the resellers to pay attention, to stock the book, to promote the book for us. And if you would be so kind to preorder Two Weeks Notice, I would be forever grateful. And I've included tons of incredible bonuses if you preorder. Bonuses go away when the book comes out. So if you go to twoweeksnoticebook.com, so just twoweeksnoticebook.com, you can preorder the book and see all the bonuses that come along with it. So I would be forever grateful, and thank you in advance.
Okay. So sit back, relax, and let's dive into chapter two. I'm not going to read the whole chapter, but I am going to start at the beginning. So are you ready? Okay, let's do this.
Chapter two, “Unbossing: How to Give Your Notice.”
When my student, Carolyn, was in the process of leaving her job to go out on her own, she found herself in a constant freeze response. Even though she'd known she wanted to quit for over a year, she just couldn't bring herself to take concrete steps forward. Every time she started to think about planning her new business—setting up a website or designing her offer—fear rose up like a tsunami. Her main concern: losing the financial security she'd enjoyed at this company for the last six years. There wasn't much that was steady or stable in her life growing up, and the thought of upsetting the applecart when it came to her finances was survival-level terrifying. So even though she felt unappreciated and knew she was underpaid, she would talk herself into staying “at least a few more days.” But soon enough, the end of the weekend would come, and she'd once again be faced with the Sunday Scaries, dreading the upcoming workweek so much it made her queasy.
Then, the company announced they were downsizing. And just like that, she was unemployed. She was also completely unprepared. Fast forward two years, and today Carolyn is thankful for the successful business she's built. Her only regret is not having prepared herself to leave a year earlier so that she could have given notice on her own terms, with the kind of runway that would have supported her goals.
The moral of this story: don't be like Carolyn.
Now that you've officially decided to unboss yourself, or, in other words, become your own boss, there are four important steps I want you to take, starting today, so you can hit the ground running when the time comes.
First, you have to choose the date you're going to quit and start your new life. Second, you have to start taking action to build your runway. Third, you'll need to tell supportive friends and families so they can help hold the vision for you. And lastly, if you haven't done so already, you have to give notice. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Choose your exit date. I live by the adage that it's not real until it's scheduled. What I mean is that if it's not on my calendar, it's likely not going to happen. All the good intentions in the world don't matter if there is not a date and time assigned. When I need to work on a new podcast episode, the time to record is in my calendar. When I want to plan out a new marketing campaign, you can bet the time to do so is added to my calendar well in advance.
One of the most critical skills of a business owner is to take action when action is needed. Things are not going to get done only because you have good intentions. The act of planning, scheduling, and showing up to do the work are even more important than any good intentions you might have.
This is twice as true when we're talking about your departure date. Setting the date makes the whole thing real. It also avoids having one foot in and one foot out, which only causes more pain, something you may already be experiencing.
When you just have a vague idea of when you might leave, you start swimming in a soup of discontent, postponement, and at times crushing doubt. I want more for you than that. This is your future we are talking about, your freedom, your happiness, your hopes and dreams. This future deserves an actual concrete line in the sand, “This is happening no matter how scared I am,” date. Trust me on this one. Your future self will thank you for this incredibly bold, courageous decision.
I know this works because I did it myself. About three months after that aha moment in the conference room, where I realized I was not free but really, really wanted to be, I was in my pajamas, sitting cross-legged on a beat-up leather couch in my little condo in Carlsbad, California. It was nine o’clock on a week night, and suddenly, I was overcome with the need to make my desire real. It wasn't enough to just think about it or dream about it anymore. I needed to take a tangible step to bring this dream to life. I made the decision I would quit my job on June 19, 2009. My hands were shaking as I wrote the date on a sticky note with a Sharpie and posted it on my bathroom mirror, where I could look at it every single day while I brushed my teeth and got ready for work. It was exactly the reminder I needed that this was happening. I was finally, truly, and irrevocably leaving my job and becoming my own boss.
If something in you freezes at the idea of getting that specific, you're not alone. Choosing a date can be anxiety producing because, well, then, you're actually leaving your job. There's no more hemming and hawing. The future has already begun.
But I want to let you in on a little secret that should ease your mind. When you choose a date, you're putting the universe on high alert. Doors will start to open. Opportunities will start to show up right in front of you. All the preparations that need to happen will start to fall into place. And on an accelerated timeline. The universe is on your side, and choosing your date and making it known is giving the signal for the miracles to enter stage left. You’ll have to trust me on this one.
I'm going to take a quick little side note from reading my book to tell all of you who are listening right now who have already quit your job, ask yourself, what are you still holding on to that you also need to quit? What is it that might be holding you down, keeping you stuck, keeping you small? There's something else in your life that you likely need to let go of, and I think you need to notice that.
Okay. Let’s go back to the book.
If you're still freaking out a little bit, I want you to close your eyes and think about the future you. Picture her. The woman who is independent, confident, scared but determined, calling the shots, making things happen, and building the business of her dreams. That version of you is ready and waiting. See her in your mind's eye. What is she wearing? What is she feeling? Where is she? What is it like for her to be free of her employer's expectations and requirements? Picture her there, creating the life and business of her dreams. Now step into her, become her, because she is you.
The biggest obstacle between where you are now and this future you is one tiny little decision: on what date will you leave your current situation? Whether you've been in a nine-to-five job, a period of unemployment, or a stretch of years as a full-time mom, you wouldn't be reading this book if you weren't ready to launch a new venture that's yours and yours alone. So take a deep breath, look at the calendar, and choose a date. Choose the month, day, and year when you will officially exit the old situation you're in and become your own boss. Will it be three months from now? six months? nine months? a year from now? When will it be? Choose your date.
Even if you plan to start a side hustle and spend your nights and weekends creating the business that will eventually become your full-time gig, you still need to choose an exit date when you will eventually go all in with your business, if that's what your goal is. I've seen too many people hold on to their full-time job while desperately wanting to take their side hustle to the next level. At some point, to fully realize your dreams, you need to go all in. Let's plan to make that happen.
To help you choose your date, here are a few questions to ponder. If you were your bravest self and trusted that you indeed could make this work, what date would you choose? If you have a time frame for your exit in mind, ask yourself if you are allowing too much time to pass before you take the leap because you are afraid of the unknown. If so, what would you need to believe about yourself and your situation to courageously choose a shorter time frame? If fear were not a factor, what date would you choose? Think about your why and then ask yourself, “How much time am I willing to let pass before I go after what I truly want?”
Now grab a sticky note and Sharpie. Write the date on the sticky note, and put it somewhere where you will see it every single day. I want you to remind yourself daily that you have declared your date and that your exit is happening no matter what.
One final note. The date you choose is not as important as the act of choosing a date and sticking to it. It might be one year from now or maybe even a little longer, but it's happening.
Finally, look around. Notice where you're sitting. Notice the time of day, the day of the week, what season it is outside. Look down and notice what you're wearing, and look inside and notice what you're feeling. If you want, take a selfie right now, holding that sticky note. Even if you've got a terrified look on your face, I never want you to forget this moment, because this is the moment your entire life is changing. I want this moment to be etched into your memory so that when the future you, who is living out her dreams, looks back, she easily remembers the moment her new life began.
Build your runway. Once you've chosen your exit date, it's time to create a runway that will help you move into your new reality. Your runway will consist of the specific steps you choose to take before you take the leap and make your exit. It does not need to be elaborate. In fact, the simpler it is, the better. In a moment, I will give you a plan in the form of a checklist that you can tweak and make your own. The goal is for you to complete each action item in the plan so that you are intentionally moving toward leaving behind what you no longer want and moving toward what you do.
Now, speaking of your plan, I'd like to say that once you've chosen your date, everything will be smooth sailing. Ha. I think we both know that's not reality. When I chose my exit date, I chose a date six months out so I could be more prepared. I wanted to take some time to figure out what type of business I was going to create and to gain insight and knowhow in areas I knew would come in handy.
But that meant six months of working at a job after I decided to leave. Super tough. It wasn't that the job was terrible, but once I'd officially made up my mind to go, I was ready to go. I tell you this because choosing your exit date while still being fully immersed in your current situation is a tricky thing to navigate, both physically and mentally. You'll likely want to leave immediately, but you'll also know it's not yet time. So you have to live in this very uncomfortable place of having a foot in two worlds. But you can do it. I know you can.
The way to stay productive and sane is to make a plan, and then schedule it to make it real. Once I knew I wanted to start my own business, I began to think more strategically. Due to shifts in the company, there was an opportunity for me to make a lateral move from the content department to the marketing department. And I jumped at it. I marched myself into my boss's office and asked if I could switch departments. To my surprise, she said yes. I spent the next six months actively participating in marketing projects, learning everything I could about digital courses, content messaging, and how to sell online.
When my exit date came around, I was still completely uncertain about how I was going to make it all work. In fact, I was terrified. But I did it anyway because that's what future bosses do. Wink, wink. It's important to know that you have options. Unless you threw caution to the wind and you are leaving tomorrow—if so, congratulations—you can figure out the baby steps you need to take to strategically build your momentum toward making your dream a reality.
Here's a list of the things to do and not do as you create your own runway toward your exit date. Do define your starter idea. Remember, you don't need to have everything figured out before you begin to create your online business. No one ever does. However, you at least want to have a rough idea of what your product or service is going to be so that you can start working in that direction. As you begin to take action, your momentum will lead to more clarity, which may lead you to change things up or move in a new direction. It's all part of the runway, and the only thing you need to do now is trust the process. And don’t worry, I’ll go over this in more detail in chapter four.
Do create a financial plan. I've already shared with you that you do not need to save up a bunch of money before you begin creating your business. Because the overhead of an online business is low, you can get started right away. No savings required. However, if you need to make money from the get-go, you will want to create a temporary moneymaking plan as you get things up and running to support your financial goals.
For me, that looked like taking on a few paying clients and helping them with their social media as I worked on my first digital course, even though, ultimately, I wasn't interested in a service-based business where I worked with clients one on one. If you aren't yet sure what your options are, hang tight. We'll be going over my favorite business models in chapters eleven and twelve.
Do be willing to put yourself out there. One of the most important steps you can take as you begin to build your business is to start creating original content. You have many options to do so, including social-media posts, a blog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel. And don't worry about figuring this all out on your own. I go into it in chapter seven. The important thing for now is to make a conscious effort to create content so that you can get into the habit of talking about your business idea and showing up for the people you eventually plan to serve.
Do create your new workspace. This one is fun. Most of us just starting out will be working from home. If that's the case for you, too, it's important that you find a quiet spot in your house where you can be alone and concentrate. In the beginning, you might find yourself crammed into a corner somewhere, stationed at the end of the kitchen table or tucked away in the basement. Don't worry if you look around your makeshift office and think, “This is not what I envisioned when I dreamed about working from home.” It won't always be this way.
When I was getting started, my office was the closet. Today I have two spacious rooms in my Nashville house: an office designed with a coastal feel to remind me of my California roots, and a video and podcasting studio with every piece of equipment I need to create magic. Back in my closet days, I couldn't have imagined my home workspace would ever look like this. But that's what's exciting about this journey. You never know what's in store for you. Keep going.
Do tell a few supportive family and friends. In order to keep yourself accountable, I encourage you to share your new business idea with a few specific family members or friends. If you are not sure who you want to share your news with, I'll give you some guidance a little later in the chapter.
Don't bother creating a traditional business plan. If I'm being totally honest, I am not sure what a traditional business plan even looks like. I'll bet most of my entrepreneurial peers would say the same. Heck, one of my friends, who is now wildly successful, literally wrote some bullet points on the back of a napkin in a moment of inspiration late one night at a Denny's. True story. Unless you're looking for investment capital, you don't need a fancy slide deck or anything resembling a conventional business plan. All you need to do is follow a proven step-by-step guide, which you happen to be reading right now. And you want to commit to the plan you create.
Don't waste time on business cards. Oh, business cards, the first-time entrepreneurs’ rabbit hole of wasted time and energy. It's a rookie move to put so much focus on the look and feel of these little darlings. And yet, for some reason, we just want to.
I spent hours and hours dreaming up the design of my first business card and a lot of money getting them printed. No boring rectangle for me. I was going with a unique square shape. Moreover, I would use metallic ink to really cement the upscale look. I thought I had cracked the code. But when I opened the box, I discovered my business cards had the exact look and feel of condom wrappers. To this day I cringe at what people must have thought when I handed them out at networking events.
So no matter how much fun it sounds to design them, ditch the idea of business cards. They're just procrastination in the guise of doing business. Instead, focus on creating content, a strategy we’ll discuss in depth in the future chapters that follow.
Don't wait until you have a website. Websites are key components of all sorts of businesses nowadays. But do not let the idea that you don't have a website keep you from making progress. The thought, “But I need to create a website before I do anything else,” is another very convincing excuse that keeps too many would-be business owners in their unsatisfying day jobs. You could make your exit and begin working with customers while also simultaneously working on building your website. It will all come together over time, and I'm going to help you create a simple and effective one in chapter six. Patience, grasshopper.
Don't allow yourself to overthink it. It's normal to go over every single “what if?” and “what about?” a million times before you finally make the leap into entrepreneurship. But if you're letting these questions stall your progress, you're going to regret it. You've already made the decision. You've chosen your exit date. Heck, you've even put the date on a sticky note where you can see it daily. You are doing this, so get into action. Mountains get moved one small step at a time. You just have to get the ball rolling.
Tell trusted family and friends. Now that you've created your runway, it's time to tell a few supportive family members or friends. Did your heart just stop? Did your stomach flip? I know it's scary, but something important happens when you tell people about your plan: you start to own it. I want you to stand in your decision, with courage and power. I want you to make it real by telling just a few people in your life, those you know for sure will support you on this journey and keep you accountable.
Once the date was set, I told three people and only three people. First, I told my husband, Hobie, who was incredibly supportive and wanted it to happen even sooner. I had to remind him that I needed to work out a few things first, a.k.a. implement my runway, and that I wanted to have a little extra money in the bank before I left. Spoiler alert: I did not end up having extra money in the bank when I left, and it still worked out.
Next, I told my mom. While not all moms are as supportive as mine, I knew my dream was safe with her. I could tell my mom I wanted to switch careers and become the first astronaut to land on an unidentified planet, and she would say, “Go for it.”
And finally, I told my dear friend Gigi. I knew she believed in me with all her heart, even when I did not believe in myself. And true to form, she held space for me when things got scary leading up to my exit.
Only three people knew my plan, and that was enough to keep me accountable. Especially as the date got nearer, and I started having moments of doubt, I'd ask Hobie, “Do I really need to quit my job? Maybe I could have a side hustle indefinitely and do both.” Then he'd gently remind me that I could do whatever I wanted, but that I wasn't happy in my current situation and that my dream was to be my own boss. These moments of doubt will happen for you, too, so make sure you find your people and ask them to keep you accountable to what you want most.
If I encourage you to share your new plans with just three people, who would these people be? Do you already know? If so, wonderful. Have the conversation with each of these people in the next forty-eight hours to ensure you keep moving forward.
If the thought of sharing your new plans for your future with someone in particular, let's say your partner, is stirring up something inside you, let's play a little game. Take a minute and think about what is holding you back from sharing. What do you think they are going to say to you? Do you think they're going to tell you it's a bad idea, that you've lost your mind? Will they point out all the stops and starts you've had in your past as evidence that this is just another wild idea that's going to die out soon enough? Will they say you are not ready? Will they tell you all the reasons why you should not do it? Will they tell you you're being reckless?
More often than not, what we fear will happen is far worse than what ultimately happens. We might be afraid to have a hard conversation, but when we finally muster up the courage to do it, we walk away thinking, “Wow, that was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I wish I had done it sooner.” When our expectations are outlandishly worse than reality, it's usually because we are unknowingly projecting our own fears outward, anticipating a lack of support because we don't want to fully own the decision ourselves.
Before we move forward, I want you to pause and make sure that you own this decision to leave your job and become your own boss, whether or not others in your life understand or support you. I know that's a bold request, but it's an incredibly empowering one. The truth is that people in your life may not support your decision. They may question you at every turn. They may say you are being irresponsible, reckless, irrational. And you have to be ready for it. You have to build up your armor so that the only opinion that matters is yours.
Now, you might say, “Whoa, Amy, that's not true. I have a spouse, and their opinion matters.” It actually doesn't. I know that might sting, but stay with me here. Right now, I want you to focus on what you need and want. If you do, you'll create something that will not only bring you joy and fulfillment, but will inevitably have a positive impact for those you deeply care about as well. Your loved ones are already part of the equation, whether they support you or not.
And to help you navigate potentially difficult conversations with loved ones, I've created a script that you can use to help you find the words that will best express your new plan and why it's important to you. The truth is many people just won't get it, and that is fine. You don't have to wait for anyone to get it. Plus, other people's opinions on this matter won't pay the bills. Keep moving forward with your plans, even if you don't have the support you think you need. If you're looking for permission to make your dreams happen, consider this your permission. Let's keep going. You're doing great.
We've talked about who you should tell, but let's talk about who you will not be telling just yet. Let's not tell anyone who will say you're not thinking clearly. Let's not tell anyone who is always negative, who we know will recite all the reasons your plans won't work. I call these people your naysayers, and for now they don't get to know your plans. Instead, you're only telling those people who will celebrate with you, who will support you and be your biggest cheerleaders along the way.
Of course, there will be people in your life that will eventually need to know, such as a spouse. If they happen to be a naysayer, hold off from sharing your plan until you're further along in developing it. That way, when the time is right, you will be sharing your plans from a more competent, grounded place.
Also, some people who you choose not to tell may hear about your plans or start to question some of the changes they see you making. To ensure you stay in your power and operate like the total boss that you are, I created a second script to address these well-meaning buzz kills, which you can tweak and make your own. It's designed to help you communicate with the naysayers in a way that protects your dreams and your heart while staying true to yourself and respecting your own boundaries.
Give notice. When I dialed Tony's number to give notice, my stomach was in my throat, and my hands were shaky. I wasn't afraid to tell Tony as much as I was afraid that telling him meant I had to actually go through with it. “What the heck am I doing?” was the question that played on a never-ending loop in my mind. What got me through that experience was…
So that's where I'm going to end reading this chapter. The story I just started to tell is a good one, but I want to save it for when you read the book. So I hope you get your hands on this. I hope you enjoyed hearing me read this portion of the chapter.
And again, whether you've already quit your job or you plan to quit, this book is for you because it's really about finding the courage to step into entrepreneurship and really go after what you absolutely want and making sure that you're setting a strong foundation for your online business so that you can grow this business quickly, make good money quickly, and really make the impact you know you are meant to make. So whether you've quit your nine-to-five job or not, if you want to be your own boss and if you want to build a thriving online business, this book is absolutely for you.
I hope that you will preorder the book. As I mentioned, it means a lot for authors when people are buying their book before that pub date, so that resellers know that this book is in demand, that people actually want to read it, and they start to pay attention. This is the tricky part: it’s the hard copy that resellers are paying attention to. So if you would be so kind to preorder the hard copy, it would go a long way. My goal is that my book doesn't just show up online, but it shows up in stores like Target. And for that to happen, pre-sales are everything. So I hope you'll get a copy now. Go to twoweeksnoticebook.com, and you can get some really cool bonuses that I've created just for pre-ordering the book.
Thanks so much for coming on this journey with me. I hope you enjoyed it. And I cannot wait to talk to you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.