In case you haven’t heard – my husband, Jonathan, quit his job! He is joining the entrepreneur bandwagon and is officially self-employed. I sat down to do an interview with my husband to hear all about how he quit his job, his future plans, and everything in between!
An Interview with my husband | He quit his job!
Want to listen to the podcast version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
If you’re out there and want to quit your job, this might be helpful for you. Jonathan NEVER wanted to quit his job until the last few years, so I think he has a really interesting perspective.
(side note so things don’t get confusing: the italics will be when I’m talking, and the normal text will be a paraphrased version of Jonathan’s response! If you want to hear the whole thing, feel free to give the podcast a lesson.)
What was your corporate job?
Jonathan: I have been a building inspector for our county for 13 years. The last 2.5 years, I’ve also been a fire inspector.
First and foremost, it’s a wonderful place to work. I loved the people and the atmosphere. I wouldn’t trade my 13 years at the county for anything. And I have learned more than I ever thought I would! They invested a lot in me.
Jessica: Jonathan has a bachelor’s degree in construction and has a LOT of knowledge in that arena.
Jonathan: That job was, at times, intense. I started in 2008 so the housing market was booming and I was very overwhelmed. I had to take a lot of classes and tests – some of them I passed, some of them I had to take again. But I really learned a lot working there, and I’m grateful for it.
What made you decide to quit your job?
Jessica: Some backstory here – he is definitely the person in our relationship who craves security and never even thought about quitting his job. Until the last few years, that wasn’t even on the table. As someone who had a 401k, insurance, retirement… all the things, what made you decide to quit?
Jonathan: A lot of responsibility falls on you when you’re involved in every job in the county. I’m all for responsibility – everybody needs it, and everybody needs accountability, especially in a government job. Believe me, it’s there.
Anyway, I stopped enjoying my job. I guess I felt like I was trapped. I had to deal with a lot of complaints, and it started to weigh on me. You also have an overwhelming amount of people who want something for nothing – which isn’t possible. And those people want inspectors to always be on their side, which also isn't possible. I had to try to please everyone and I couldn’t, so I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place.
Jessica: I thought you were going to say, “I wanted to farm.”
Jonathan: Well, that’s part of it! But that’s not why I wanted to quit.
Jessica: In case you don’t know, we live on a farm. Jonathan has farmed his entire life. We farm animals, and in the last few years, he’s really been focused on farming cattle. It’s always had to be a part-time situation for Jonathan for various reasons, and he doesn’t have the time to focus on the farm. But the farm needed time to focus on it to grow.
It got to the point where “I want to farm full-time” was outweighing how much he liked his job. It’s been a conversation over the last few years (definitely pre-COVID), and he finally decided to take the leap.
That being said – he is not at a place right now where farming full-time is an option. We’re a few years off from matching his income from his previous job with income from farming.
Jonathan: Absolutely. And I didn’t want to put us in a hard spot.
Jessica: I think this is the step a lot of people miss when they become entrepreneurs. They want to quit their job to do X, but X isn’t going to make them that much money from the get-go. You need time and capital to do X, so you just stay at the job you don’t like forever because you don’t have the time and capital.
I like to call this idea BRIDGE INCOME. Bridge income is doing something to literally “bridge the gap” between working in corporate and starting your own business. That way, you have enough resources to stay secure while you start doing what you want to do. If what you want to do seems far off, quit your job and do something else that will get you the money and the freedom to do the thing you REALLY want to do.
What are you doing now for your bridge income between your job and full-time farming?
Jonathan: Let me say this: I don’t go and jump off the deep end without a plan. So don’t look at your situation exactly like ours, because it probably isn’t like ours.
As Jessica and I have grown over the years, we have become big believers in personal responsibility. So I know that if I want to do something, I have to find a way to do it.
Some folks might say that she talked me into quitting my job – and yeah, you’re probably right.
Jessica: Well, I do talk about this on the Internet all the time. But I never came to you and said “you need to quit.”
Jonathan: No, never. In the early stages when I told you I thought I could quit, something would happen and I’d have a good week at work afterward. And then you’d tell me “oh, you should stay!”
Don’t discredit someone who chooses to go to work every day – especially to a job they don’t like – because that takes just as strong a person to do.
We talked about it and talked about it. And one day, I made the decision, walked in and put in my notice. I’m a pretty spiritual person. I had to have a lot of faith to make that decision.
Once I quit, I thought about doing all SORTS of things. Lots of random odd jobs – I even wanted to mow yards or make mugs at one point.
Jessica: I told him that he couldn’t just plan to do a bunch of little things. That can be a great way to make some money, but the riches are in the niches. So you need an ACTUAL business that makes sense. When you just do one thing, you can become known for doing that thing and grow your business much faster. You can specialize in it, charge premium prices, and all the things.
Jonathan: My experience in college and from my previous job has made me really familiar with how a house is put together. I don’t want to be a contractor, but I do like the project management side of it.
I’m going to be doing project management for construction! I’ll be subbing out to contractors and helping them through the building process, so I’ll take care of the things they would rather not do.
Jessica: You’re only four days out of corporate and you’ve already made money doing that, which is exciting! I took his picture with his first check.
We discount our experience when we’re thinking of becoming entrepreneurs, too. You had a LOT of building and construction knowledge. To discount that and not use it to build a business would be insane.
Jonathan: I do want to eventually farm full-time, but I love project management and I don’t want to quit doing it. I’d still pick up a job here or there even when I’m farming.
I haven’t exactly figured out what my days look like yet, but I have enjoyed them so far. I used to have to build up vacation or comp time and use that to farm, or always farm after 5:00. Now, my schedule is much more flexible, which is great for farming. I’m excited not to have to put hay in the barn at midnight anymore.
I can already tell that my time will be spent differently. Yesterday, I got up and spent 3-4 hours on project management. Then, I took a couple of hours to do farm work. By 3:00 I was back to looking at some plans, and then by 5:00 I was DONE for the day. The freedom of it is great.
If somebody is listening to this and is at a job they don’t want to be at anymore and is looking to be self-employed, what advice would you give them?
Jonathan: I have 2 pieces of advice.
First: What can you take from what you’re doing now and specialize in for yourself?
Jessica: That’s SUCH a good one! One of my very first coaching clients had just been laid off from her job. I told her that she could absolutely do what she was doing in corporate for a small business or entrepreneurs. She kept saying “I don’t know if there’s a market for that…” But 6 years later, she is still massively successful doing it.
We discount what skills we use in corporate that we can take out into the world! You can’t forget what you know.
In my case, I knew I had skills from college. And I used those skills to build a business for myself.
Jonathan: My other piece of advice, more so than anything, is to be at a point in your life where you can honest-to-God consult the big man upstairs.
Jessica: He’s a preacher too, by the way.
Jonathan: We wouldn’t have anything we have in this life without Jesus Christ. A big part of me quitting was saying, “Okay, God, I’m doing this.”
Jessica: I was absolutely miserable in my job before I quit – but the things that happened to me had to happen so that it would push me to quit. I definitely see that as a God thing.
Jonathan: Be sure you’re ready to make the decision. Don’t put yourself or your family in a really difficult financial place where you aren’t prepared. If you feel so scared that you’re doubting yourself every single day, you probably shouldn’t be making that call yet. I know I made the right call because I haven’t felt any remorse and I’m more excited than scared.
Jessica: Believe what you want religiously, but I always say that God would not give you a nagging dream that you are not meant to do. Find a way to do it.
Jonathan couldn’t just quit and farm because of money. But he found a way to make it work.
Jonathan: Timing is SO important. The timing was right for me, and the timing needs to be right for you. Consult with people who you trust, who will be honest with you, and consult with the big man upstairs.
Be able to take a leap and feel good about it.