- Ellen Lichtenstein, 38, quit her six-figure job because she was tired of “corporate BS”.
- She now works 12 hour days at her two businesses and a full-time opportunity.
- But she says she has never been happier and plans to retire at the age of 55.
In March 2020, 38-year-old Ellen Lichtenstein felt “burnt out” in her six-figure content marketing job at a software technology provider, which she said was “very micromanaged and demoralizing.”
“I reached my breaking point with the corporate BS and didn’t really feel like I was going anywhere,” she said. “People loved my job, but I was just stuck in whatever role they wanted me to play – I didn’t really have any autonomy.”
On a whim, she decided, “You know what, I’m done.” I am leaving.
She took time off – thinking it might help – but never came back. Today she has two businesses, a full-time opportunity, works 12 hour days, makes more money – and says she’s never been happier. In addition, she thinks she can retire at 55.
Lichtenstein says she wouldn’t recommend this lifestyle to anyone unless they’re “in love with what they do” — she “works almost all the time,” bouncing between multiple computers and Slack channels.
“If I didn’t have some kind of light at the end of the tunnel to say, ‘Okay, if I do this, I can retire earlier,’ I wouldn’t be so motivated to do all these different things and to work really hard,” she says.
Lichtenstein is one of many Americans who have experienced burnout in recent years. According to Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workplace Report, 50% of 1,000 American workers surveyed said they felt stressed on a daily basis. While some of these workers have embraced the “silent quit,” which describes the idea of drawing boundaries between work and personal life while collecting a paycheck, others continue to join the “big quit.” and stop.
While many Americans have sought out freelancing opportunities, millions, like Lichtenstein, have decided to start their own businesses. American workers filed more than 5 million new business applications in 2021, the most since 2005. While this path is not without its challenges, many of these entrepreneurs have never been happier.
An offer “too good to refuse”
In June 2020, Lichtenstein launched a digital marketing company – Just Add Communications. The company has generated more than $400,000 in revenue since its inception, and Lichtenstein has personally pocketed an average of about $40,000 a year after paying two employees and covering other expenses, according to documents seen by Insider.
That same summer, she founded a second company – Leg Up Learning Solutions – through which she offers riding lessons and horse-facilitated learning on her Colorado property.
Last March, one of his biggest Just Add clients made him a job offer “too good to turn down”. For about 80% of her old salary, she could continue to provide the same services but as an “in-house” employee. And especially for Lichtenstein, she would be allowed to continue running Just Add if she agreed to limit the number of new customers she accepted.
“It was important to me to keep the business running because I never want to be dependent on an employer again and be like, ‘I can’t quit, I have no other options'” she says.
Lichtenstein credits much of her success to the 15 years of relationships she has forged across different industries during her career in television, grocery store, call center and communications.
“As soon as I was available and said, ‘Hey, I’m here. I have a business. I work,” people knocked on my door saying, “I need you for this or that,” she added. said.
Lichtenstein’s business provides digital and content marketing for clients ranging from individual insurance agencies to large universities or technology companies. Her services range from writing articles for business executives to video production — “anything to do with creating content that generates leads,” she says.
“It’s much better suited to the life I want to live.”
Between her three sources of income, Lichtenstein says she now makes “a little more” money than with her old job which she “hated”.
Since her digital marketing company lost a big client when she took the full-time job, she’s not sure she’ll be able to make more than $25,000 in salary this year. And although she earns around $500 a month from Leg Up, that doesn’t cover the cost of maintaining her horses.
That said, she says there is no comparison when it comes to her quality of life.
“It’s better suited to the life I want to live. I’m more fulfilled, I’m happier and I have a lot more control over what I’m doing and that’s really important to me,” he said. she declared.
Lichtenstein says that if possible, aspiring entrepreneurs should consider starting their business while they remain fully employed — “testing the waters” to see if there is a market for their product before quitting. But at some point, she says, you have to take the leap.
“You have to get to a point where you just say, ‘I’m not 100% sure if this business is viable, but I’m going to throw it all in there for a while and see,'” she said. “Because I don’t think you can really throw it if you have one foot in and one foot out.”
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