Corporate to coaching: how I moved countries and built a 6-figure business
Posted on November 08, 2022 by Lauren Morrison, One of Thousands of Leadership Coaches on Noomii.
Detailing the step-by-step thought process and actions I took in order to take the biggest risk of my life...while dragging my family along.
Step 1: Getting curious
We spend so much time thinking about how we want more from our lives. And when we reach a place where we can articulate what “more” actually looks like, many of us enter a state of paralysis which keeps us from acting on our goals. Our dreams tempt us to gamble our futures, uproot families, and start from scratch to pursue a fantasy. But when the exact things we envisioned and prayed for start to surface, fear runs its boney fingers down our spine and whispers in our ear, “what if you’re not good at this? What if you don’t like it? Then what’s left?”
I tell all my clients who voice this fear the same thing; follow your curiosity. All you’re required to do for yourself is to move the needle one thing at a time and adjust your path as necessary. You’re allowed to try things out, realize they don’t align with your core values or realize they do. As shitty as it is, you only know once you try.
In my own life, I knew I wanted a role with what I dubbed as my perfect trifecta; leadership, operations, and creativity. I thought I would finally be happy if I got to exercise all three of those traits. I knew I was good at the first two but had no proof of the third. So my “perfect trifecta” was really only a theory.
I took an interest in life coaching about two years ago. It felt right, and it felt good. I took it on as a side hustle and got to apply those three traits while working my full-time job. It was satisfying for a bit, but then I got an itch for more. And it only grew with a trip I took to California.
My sister invited me to stay with her family in LA, and I thought it would be a perfect chance to connect with family. But I got more from that trip than expected– I felt more at home in the sunny state than I ever had in Canada. The only thing missing was my husband and kids.
I knew I needed to figure out a way to convince my family of four to move to Los Angeles. I couldn’t guarantee it would work, but I needed to try. Because otherwise, I would live with regret for the rest of my life.
And if I know anything, it’s how we’ll always regret inaction more than any action we take.
Step 2: Take the leap
I had it all. In addition to an amazing family, I worked as an executive at a Fortune 500 company, had a full pension, benefits, shares, a six-figure salary plus a yearly bonus, and corporate respect. I’d cracked the code–I’d figured out the secret to the perfect suburban life.
And I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Sure, my corporate job allowed my family to live with a movie theater in our basement, high-end cars, a pool, and good spending money. But little cracks would shine through my corporate prison, tempting me to leave it all behind. And my trip to California only emphasized that.
But packing up and moving to another country would be crazy…wouldn’t it? I’d listened to podcasts and read articles about people leaving their safety net but, my mind always fell back to the same speech, “They’re lucky. They could pack up and leave, but I can’t. I’d sink my family and ruin our lives over a dream.”
It got to a point where I almost wished I was making less than half of my salary because then replacing it with a passion gig would seem more achievable. My job had strict rules prohibiting employees from working outside the country, so I knew I’d be out of a job if we moved. How do you uproot your entire family and move them to another country without a job?
I’d voiced this to my husband one evening, but he didn’t shut the question down. Instead, we decided to play a fun, hypothetical, completely made-up game where we pretended to actually answer the question, what would it take to uproot our entire family and move them to another country?
Husband’s job transfer
Sell Toronto home
Buying a California home
Visa application approval
And I’d need a new job
When we said it out loud, the move suddenly didn’t seem so crazy. If we turned the bullet points into checkboxes, we’d have a legitimate blueprint to follow. We discussed it more and thought it would take about 18 months to get everything in order, but we could do it if we tried hard.
So we got started.
But instead of the dozens of barriers we expected, we saw green light after green light. Things were moving faster than I could have anticipated. But what happens when things align just as you hoped but you’d never really thought they would? You freeze.
And sometimes, the best way to unfreeze is to throw yourself into the deep end; leap before you’re ready. No one is ever really prepared for big changes in their life. You can and should acknowledge that it’s scary, but push through. Starting imperfectly is the only way to start anything.
And when I say I wasn’t ready, I really wasn’t ready. Sure, things were moving quickly but there was one key piece missing: I had no income replacement. I wanted to start a coaching business but I only had [insert] clients. We’d need to live off savings and my husband’s salary in a new country.
Step 3: Starting from scratch…?
How do you start a new business in a new country? How do you start from scratch? What I’ve noticed in my coaching sessions is that we rarely start from ground zero. Most of us have structures and networks in place and we only need to shift our perspective slightly to see it as such.
I was starting two career journeys at once: coaching and leadership facilitation. I began by looking at my resources; who did I know, and how could I leverage them?
I looked at who was in my network and who inspired my journey. I identified people I could contact and asked if there was an opportunity to work with them. I was fortunate that the spaces I occupied were full of influencers. I got on their podcasts, sometimes not even to talk about my businesses, and clients found me through there. I was also tapping into corporate contacts across the border who were excited to work with me.
I had people in my corner. I just need to go to them.
That’s a lot of zeros
It took me eight months from when I launched to reach six figures. I exceeded the corporate salary I was so afraid to walk away from in under a year. It felt too good to be true. I wasn’t working as much or as hard as at my corporate job. But my brain wasn’t computing. I had more time and made more money? My goal was always to make more money with fewer hours, but to see the numbers was a shock to my system, going against everything I’d always learned.
Even so, I embrace it. I get to spend more time with my husband and kids and enjoy life.
STEP 4: It’s your turn
I can’t say I’ve cracked the universal code to living out your wildest dreams because everyone’s situation is different. But there is a common thread among all of us; we want to live better, more fulfilled lives. And I can help you do that.
If you take anything from this article, let it be these two things: Follow your curiosity and leap before you’re ready.
And if you want some help getting personalized, actionable steps in place to reach your dreams, get in touch with me here!