I have a little secret.
I fell into finance.
I didn’t start out my career intending on being a CFO, an entrepreneur, or a number cruncher. I actually wanted to be a lawyer since I was 12 years old, and I lined up a legal assistant position at a huge law firm in New York City the minute I graduated college. It took me less than a year to realize that I couldn’t stand legal jargon and reading through massive reams of paper, but I felt totally lost as to what I did want to do. I kept pushing, though, and spent an entire summer studying for and taking the LSAT.
Just before law school applications were due, fate handed me an “operations” role at a nonprofit. My nonprofit leader friends chuckle because they know that “operations” means wearing every single hat and doing everything from post office runs and designing event brochures to grant reporting and board management, actually quite similar to entrepreneurship.
Guess what was also one of those things?
I learned everything on the job, from budgeting and accounting to audits and tax forms. I did it the hard way. At first, I Googled my way through it all. I spent a lot more time than I had to on finance because I had nowhere else to turn.
Throughout the process, I happened to fall in love with all things financial management, so I supplemented my on the job experience with a Master’s in Public Administration, focusing on nonprofit finance, from New York University. I quickly moved my way up to the CFO of a global nonprofit organization before I turned 30 years old. I worked directly with the CEO and Board of Directors, I was leading a team of a dozen people around the globe, using the knowledge I gained from my Master’s Degree, and feeling incredibly fulfilled in my career. I was constantly learning, being handed more challenging tasks and increasing responsibilities, and truly thriving.
In between jetting off to Nepal, Haiti, and dozens of places in between, I had gotten married and my husband and I were trying to grow our family. After a year with no hint of a pregnancy, we visited a handful of doctors around the country, tried dozens of procedures, including multiple rounds of IVF with no success. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) there was nothing wrong with either one of us; we had “unexplained infertility”.
I eventually decided to leave the job I loved so much. The amount of travel and stress I endured each month was surely not helping our struggle to have a baby, and in fact, it was probably holding us back. It was an incredibly difficult decision and I felt wildly torn between two identities as a potential mom and career woman.
I got another job at a local university. It was…fine. The people were nice and the job was easy, but I was unfulfilled, unchallenged, endured a daily two hour commute, and took a massive pay cut.
But just a few months after I changed jobs and significantly reduced my stress levels…I got pregnant! As my pregnancy progressed, I kept imagining what my life would look like after the baby arrived. The thought of bundling my precious little baby up in the cold, dark mornings, dropping her off at daycare, making a grueling commute in traffic to a dreary office where I spent half the day surfing the internet until 5pm because I’d already finished all my work, made me feel sick. Nothing about balancing career and motherhood seemed to make sense.
As I got closer and closer to my due date, I started to brainstorm how I might be able to use my decade of experience to do consulting work, so I could stay home with my little baby but also continue to earn money and do work I enjoyed.
I spent hours Googling how to start a business while I was at my day job but felt lost as ever and decided to hire a coach who’d been there, done that. Together we defined the type of work I could offer, who my ideal clients were, and how I could get them to hire me. During the last three months of my pregnancy, I worked double-time. I came home after my day job and sent dozens of emails to potential clients, refined my website portfolio, and eventually landed not one, not two, but three clients.
Knowing that I had three ongoing clients, I had the confidence to leave my current job and cruise into maternity leave with the knowledge that I never had to go back after six or eight weeks like many of my friends.
Since then, I’ve chosen to build my business, grow to multiple six figures in revenue, bring on more clients, and hire a team to help manage them, all while having childcare for my now 2.5 year old daughter just three days a week.
- Are you on the list? In our next email, I’m pulling back the curtain to share how I’ve achieved the elusive work-life balance. Click here to make sure you receive the next installment to your inbox!
- Want to hear the story live? I shared tons more in several recent guest podcast episodes. Check them out!
- Influential Motherhood
- 6 Figure Mompreneur
- The Inspired Entrepreneur
- TL;DR? I’m launching something awesome, starting in early August 2019. Find out everything here!