WHY I GAVE UP BENEFITS AND A PENSION TO RUN MY OWN BUSINESS
You read that right, I gave up state benefits and retirement to start my own business.
I was a teacher for 7 years before I started my business. I graduated college with honors, got married, and started teaching – all in a matter of months. It was fantastic. Life couldn’t have been better.
Fast forward a few years, I had been teaching for 3 years and we were expecting our first baby. Education had been through many changes in the short three years I had been teaching. I SHOULD have been settled in and well established at that point in my career. I had been at the same school, teaching the same grade the entire time.
But as many of you know, education is ever-changing in this day and age. An increase in testing and a decrease in teacher appreciation and satisfaction made this career increasing difficult.
Things were different, I was always bringing work home. My colleagues were working long hours and still stressed. I was determined to keep my family my top priority, but it was taking a toll on my classroom – papers ungraded, fewer hands on projects, and little time for planning.
With all the mandatory meetings, parent phone calls due to the increase in behavior issues, analyzing data from the weekly tests, the list could go on and on and on… there was NO time to plan lesson, grade papers, or anything that impacts my student’s learning without staying at school until dinner or taking work home every night.
This was NOT the life I wanted. Summers, weekends, and holidays were great – but it was negatively impacting my health and my family.
Fast forward another few years and we welcomed our second daughter to this world. At that point I was maxed out. I was miserable. Totally burned out.
I had tried teaching at another school, in another district. I told my husband I was done. I would get a job to make ends meet and continue my education so I could teach at the local college – which was a dream of mine anyway.
It was September – I had a class of violent students *THIRD GRADERS*.
I put in my notice and was told I had to stay until they found a replacement. I started applying for jobs – anything that wouldn’t keep me away all night and weekends.
NOTHING worked out. Not a SINGLE job. An insurance agency job did work out – making less than it would cost to put two kids in daycare for me to work. I toured the “best” daycare and left crying. I COULDN’T do it.
There had to be another option.
I wanted freedom.
I wanted to set an example for my girls.
I wanted to still help people, but in a different way.
This is where Jena Liat came from. It was not a plan, so to speak.
I didn’t set aside money or start it as a side-gig and grow it until it would support my family.
Many people thought I was crazy. Others didn’t understand my vision. Still others were angry I was giving up on teaching.
But I had a vision for my life and it didn’t include a “regular job”.
I “gave up” security. I gained freedom.
I “gave up” normal. I gained the satisfaction of setting an example for my girls.
I “gave up” making a difference in the lives of children. I gained the opportunity to help female entrepreneurs have more time for their families and grow their businesses.
A leap of faith was taken and it has been an amazing adventure!
Tell me, when is the last time you took a leap of faith?
"You are my greatest adventure!"