How To Become Financially Stable and Keep The Job You Love

How To Become Financially Stable and Keep The Job You LoveOne phrase I often hear is “Michelle, you’re just lucky. Your story doesn’t really apply to anyone else.”

Someone even tweeted me yesterday and told me that while they liked my story, that it’s just not realistic.

I even had a friend tell me the other day that she hated her job and she felt like she was having a quarter life crisis. She didn’t know what to do next – leave her stable, but stressful job, or finally pursue something she wanted to do?

One of my top tips for anyone who wants to pursue a job they want is to work towards being more financially stable.

It makes the whole process easier because you won’t have to stress about money (as much) and you can focus on other things in life. Being financially stable can make getting or keeping your dream job more possible for many people.


First, lets not confuse what I’m talking about.

The job you want to pursue doesn’t necessarily have to be your “passion” or dream job. The job you are wanting can just be something that allows you to lead a less stressful life and do what YOU want to do outside of work. That could be spending more time with family, traveling, and so on.

Not everyone wants to combine their passion and their careers, and that is completely fine.

However, I don’t think anyone should ever completely hate their lives and their jobs. There are ways around that, and if you are spending a fourth of your life at your job then I think you should at least somewhat enjoy it.


It won’t always be easy.

I say this all the time, but great things in life don’t come easy.

A goal wouldn’t be much of a goal if you could reach it with no real effort.

Before I was able to leave my day job, I was working like crazy. I worked full-time jobs while also having a full course load in high school, undergraduate school, and graduate school. It was tough, but well worth it in the end.

You might have to work long hours in the beginning, take on side jobs (more on that below), sacrifice your social life, and more. However, it’s all about that end goal!

Related article: How I’m a Work-Life Balancing Master.


Cut your budget.

If you don’t have a budget, then you need to start one now.

If you don’t feel comfortable leaving the job you hate to pursue one you want, then you might want to see if there is anything in your budget you can cut. You can even go a little crazy and create a “bare-bones” budget where you cut everything you can so that you can reach your dream life a little more quickly.

Related article: 6 Ways To Be More Frugal and Save Thousands.


Pay off your debt.

Many people say that they don’t feel comfortable leaving their “stable” job because they have debt. Well, pay it off then!

I know that’s easier said then done, but you can always start paying it off now. Create an action plan, pay off that debt, and live a debt free life sooner rather than later.


You need an emergency fund.

I am a big believer in a well-funded emergency fund. We have a large emergency fund and we always have. The peace of mind it gives is well worth it.

An emergency fund helps me feel more confident in my business because I know that if one large expense pops up, or if I have a bad business month, then I can fall back on my emergency fund without feeling like I need to give up on my dream life.

If an expense pops up, you don’t want to stress about how you are going to pay for it. You also don’t want to put a large unexpected expense on your credit card that you can’t pay for because that will just lead to debt and interest charges you can’t afford either.


Pursue income on the side.

In some cases, you may need to pursue additional income in order to live the life you want to live. This might mean starting a part-time job, creating a side hustle, or adding passive income to your income stream.

I pursued side income for many years, and it helped me pay off my debt quickly so that I could leave the job I did not like and pursue my business full-time. It was hard in the beginning, but it all paid off and I would say that it’s one of the best things I have ever done.

Related page: Extra Income.


Have insurance.

Okay, this might sound like an advertisement, but I promise it is not. Having insurance (such as for your car or home), can help you lead a more stable life.

Too many people enter rougher times and eliminate their insurance policies. This can be a disaster because when you finally need to use that insurance, you may no longer have it.

I remember hearing about families who skipped out on paying their annual fire department bill (in some cities you have to pay this separately), and when their homes caught on fire, the fire department saved the people in their homes, but let the animals and the home burn down. Whether or not you agree with that, it has happened in the past, and it can happen again. It’s best to be insured.


What are you doing to become financially stable?

Do you have the job you want? Why or why not?


How I’m a Work-Life Balancing Master

How I'm a Work-Life Balancing MasterI’ve always had a lot of things going on in my life.

In high school, I took a full course load, took college credits, volunteered, and worked full-time.

In college (both undergraduate and graduate school), I took a full course load (read about how I graduated in 2.5 years with two undergraduate degrees), volunteered, lived on my own (I moved out a few days after I turned 18 and later bought a house at the age of 20), and worked full-time.

In graduate school I did all of the above plus I started my current business.

Because of my past, I often receive questions about how I’m able to do it all. Some like to tell me that I must have no social life, I’m all about working, or ridiculous reasons for why my life must suck.

However, I am able to do it all because I have improved my life balancing skills and I know how to manage tasks efficiently and effectively.


There might be some pain in the beginning.

Okay, I won’t lie. In the beginning stages, there was definitely a lot of pain.

Managing everything all at the same time was tough, but it takes time to improve your work-life balancing skills.

There were countless days where I only received three or four hours of sleep. Actually, that happened for a few years. In the beginning stages, I was absolutely horrible at managing my life and work. I would procrastinate, forget what I was even supposed to do, engage in time sucks, and more.

However, I am much better at managing everything now, and all of my hard work paid off. If you have a major goal you want to reach, then balancing many areas of your life all at once may be needed.

Below is what I did and currently still do to make everything work and flow smoothly:


I have a schedule and to-do list.

I don’t know where I would be without my schedule and to-do list. I have a fairly bad memory, and I forget things almost immediately. Without my to-do list, I would be completely lost and I would spend way too much time trying to remember what I’m supposed to do.

My to-do list and schedule keeps me on track, and it also keeps me motivated. I also enjoy crossing items off my to-do list because I am a huge nerd.


I make sure the timing for everything works out perfectly.

When I was in college, I always made sure that the timing for all of my classes worked perfectly with my work schedule. This required some research and planning, but it was well worth it in the end.

I made sure all the classes I took ran together well. This meant no wasted time in-between classes, and just enough time for me to work my normal 8-5 job so that I could start my 5:30 p.m. classes without any wasted time after work as well.

You would be surprised if you stopped to think about how much time people waste. I know people who sign up for college classes and just take whatever they think they need without thinking about their schedule. This might mean having hour or longer breaks each day between each of their classes. I also know people who take a class, go to work, and then come back for another class (wasted driving time), and more.

I’m not in college anymore, but I do still make sure everything is timed perfectly. I guess it’s a habit of mine that will never die.


Don’t try to multi-task everything.

Some people are good at multi-tasking, whereas most are not. There is proof out there that multi-tasking can actually result in you wasting time. This is because it takes time to get yourself ready every time you stop and start a task.

I recently read something that said whenever you start and stop a task, you are wasting at least 25 minutes. That adds up over time!

Instead, choose a task and stick to it for a certain amount of time. Don’t try to do work, while talking on the phone, while watching TV, while doing dishes, while also Facebook stalking in the background all at the same exact time.


I outsource certain tasks.

Even though there are several tasks I COULD do, I outsource them. I have multiple websites, and I have staff writers and virtual assistants for a few of them.

This could also apply to household tasks. This may sound silly, but I am guilty of procrastinating by cleaning occasionally. I hate cleaning, so that really says something. If you don’t have the time to do certain household tasks, such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, cleaning your home, etc., then you may want to see if there is any value in hiring out some of these tasks.

You need to place a value on tasks and see if your time is better spent elsewhere.


I have a specific order for completing tasks.

For me, I like to order the tasks I have to do. I like to do more complicated or urgent tasks first so that I can clear my schedule and the rest of my day or week can be a little bit more carefree.

Others like to do the easier or quicker tasks first so their to-do list isn’t as long. Some days I do that as well. There is no right or wrong way of arranging your tasks.


Eliminate time sucks.

There are so many time sucks out there. I am guilty of wasting time, but I am improving.

Some time sucks you may want to eliminate or cut back in include:

  • Social media. Pretty much everyone is guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Pinterest, and/or Twitter.
  • TV. Now that I work from home, I definitely watch a little too much TV. If you are guilty of this, you might want to eliminate some  channels (maybe completely get rid of cable and switch to Netflix?), or completely get rid of your TV.


Are you a work-life balancing master? Why or why not?



Dare To Be Disappointed

Dare To Be DisappointedHello everyone! Today I have a post written by my blog friend Brent. He writes over at Enjoy!

Select all. Delete.

This was what I just did to the blog post I was working on for you.

It might have been a mistake because I was almost done writing it.

It was a gem of a post about why you need to give every dollar you make “a job” since that is the first rule of the very popular budgeting software You Need A Budget (YNAB) that I’m giving away 10 copies of. (More details at the end of this post).

But I couldn’t stop thinking about some advise I received when I had lunch today with a very successful entrepreneur and I knew I had to write about it.

By the way, when I say “I had lunch with a very successful entrepreneur,”. I actually mean: I went to a luncheon where a very successful entrepreneur who has sold three companies for a combined total of more than $680 million dollars gave a talk.

Along these same lines, I’ve also “had dinner” with Rod Stewart, “drinks” with Blake Griffin and “played tennis” with Andre Agassi. But those are stories for another day. There were three things that really stood out for me today during this talk and they all had to do with failure.

At first you might think that it’s a little weird that the three things that stood out from a talk given by a very successful entrepreneur are all about failure but stay with me.

Many times, who we are today, the successes we’ve had and the places we are going are all shaped by failure and the lessons we learn when we fail.


Understand Failure

She shared with us today how incredibly important it is to understand failure. To understand that there is a very real possibility that the idea you have in your head will crash and burn into an absolute failure.

And that, if you fail, it’s okay.

Not everything will go as planned and, for your mental state as an entrepreneur, you need to understand this before you get started.

Failure IS part of the journey to success.

Once you’ve come to understand failure you can move on to the next step.


Respect failure, don’t fear it.

If you look around you (or maybe even when you look in the mirror?) you will see people staring back at you that are absolutely scared stiff of failure. They’ll put off trying almost anything not because they aren’t passionate about their idea, but because they are scare that they are going to fail.

Our society, in almost every way shape and form, has placed such a negative emphasis on failure.

This negative bias towards failure has paralyzed you and so many others who want to chase their dreams but are too afraid to start, too afraid to fail, too afraid to let their parents down, too afraid to let their friends down and worst or all, too afraid to let themselves down.

It’s time to stop being so afraid of failure and start daring to be disappointed.


Dare to disappoint

The concept of “daring to disappoint” was her third piece of advise that I latched onto with the fabric of my being.These three points, all related to failure, compelled me to delete an “all-but-done” post and start over writing this one.

Stop “under promising” just so you can “over deliver” with what is actually a mediocre outcome but appears to be amazing because of the low expectations you set for yourself.

Stop dreaming about that one day when the timing is perfect for you to start a business, a blog, a musical instrument, a budget, a garden, a charity, a passion project, paying down your debt, something, anything.

Grab life by the horns today and dare to be disappointed that maybe, just maybe, you will fail.

But guess what?

Maybe you’ll succeed too.

There is only one way to find out. Try.


As I wrap up this article, I realize two things.

1. This is the first time I’ve ventured outside of my comfort zone with my writing.

Until now, I’ve only allowed myself to write about personal finance, making money (like the time I ran a business out of shoebox and made more than $10,000), entrepreneurship and travel hacking.

Although this post can fit into any of those categories, my true direction with this post was to inspire you and to help add fuel to the fire that’s burning inside of you.

I want you to stop going through the motions day in and day doing things that aren’t making you happier, doing things that don’t align with your ideals or your vision for yourself and the world that you live in.

You are important, you are talented and you can make a difference.

Will this first venture outside of my writing comfort zone fail? Maybe… but I’ll sleep well tonight knowing that before this post was published I understood it might fail but I wasn’t scared of failure. I’ll also go to bed with a huge smile on my face after reading your thoughtful comment and seeing all the likes, tweets, and shares. *hint, hint* ;-)


2. I did in fact write a post about budgeting.

If there’s a common theme amongst everyone I know who’s ever budgeted before, that theme is failure. They fail to stay under their budget, they fail to reach their emergency fund goal by their self-imposed deadline, they fail to eliminate eating out and so on.

Budgeting is hard, but it can also be be very liberating. It can be liberating when you finally know where the heck you’re spending your money. It can be liberating when you finally start to pay down your debt, to save more money and it can be extremely liberating to finally break that paycheck to paycheck cycle.

Countless people have been liberated from debt, lack of savings and living paycheck to paycheck after they started using, and living by the rules set out by, YNAB (You Need A Budget).

Did you know that the median net worth increase of a new YNABer is $200.00 in the first month and $3,300.00 after just nine months!?! When was the last time your net worth went up by $3,300.00 in only 9 months?

This budgeting software sells for $60.00 but, since today is your lucky day, I’m giving away 10 copies away to 10 lucky people who dare to be disappointed that they aren’t going to win. Click here and enter to win 1 of 10 copies of YNAB valued at $60.00.

I’d love to hear what you think about this post, about failure, and, if you’re brave, what idea/passion/blog/business you have wanted to start for a long time but haven’t because of your fear of failure.

Please leave me a comment below. Thanks!


Image via Flickr by Gareth Williams