Elaine Rau from Ladyboss Blogger decided to share her money story and I had to share. If you ever took a leap of faith (including taking a pay cut like she did), then you’ll definitely relate to her story. Take it away Elaine!
I was given the nickname “the job collector” because I worked for so many companies with all kinds of positions. I usually worked about two to three jobs at once before I would move on. Even though people told me it wasn’t a good idea to job hop that often, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. Each job taught me something different.
I started to see a trend. The jobs I liked were all somehow involved with events, fashion, blogging and the wedding industry. I finally settled on a job as a wedding sales representative for a large photo and video company in Chicago. I loved working there. Once I passed the 3 month mark, I knew I had found a keeper. I started focusing all my energy on that company and rose through the ranks swiftly. In two short years I had become the national wedding sales manager and went from making $20,000 to $70,000 a year.
During that time, my boyfriend of three years had finished college. His visa was running out so if he didn’t get another one soon, he would have to move back to Central America. I didn’t know how visas worked, and before we knew it, he got a call telling him he had a month to pack up and leave America. I was devastated! The day I sent him of, I decided to move from the suburbs to the heart of Chicago so that I could drown my sorrows and make new friends.
Chicago was a blast. I decided to join some social communities and became very involved with the Taiwanese American Professional Association. I was on their social committee and helped plan networking parties and galas all around the city. I made a ton of new friends and was out almost every day, eating, drinking, and partying. I didn’t cook a single meal all year. I never once checked my bank account to see how I was doing financially because I thought I always had enough.
My Wake Up Call
It wasn’t until tax season came along that I started assessing my spending habits and realized that I was spending just as much as I was making.
That was a huge wake up call! I thought about all the random trips I would take to Vegas, LA, and Miami and knew that I had to focus on my future. As I thought about my future, I thought about my boyfriend and how it had already been a year since he had moved away. I knew that I wanted a future with him and since I knew I needed a change in lifestyle, I quit my job (hence taking a pay cut) and moved down to Honduras to be with him.
My spontaneous decision wasn’t the most calculated or well thought out. It was not only a huge shift in culture, language and lifestyle but also I had zero friends, no means of traveling around, and no way of communicating with other people. Also, the jobs that were available to me as a foreigner were in one category: teaching. So I signed a contract to be the full time substitute at a bilingual school that paid about $600 a month – a very good Honduran salary.
It was pretty miserable. I wasn’t able to use my talents there. Everything was about rules and hallways and feeling trapped. Being a creative person, I needed an outlet and something that gave me purpose so I wouldn’t go crazy. So I started blogging. I decided to blog about who I wanted to be: a female entrepreneur. I had no idea how to become that but what I did know was that other people have gotten there before and that I needed to learn from them. So I set up my blog to interview female entrepreneurs, which served two purposes, to learn from them and in return to highlight their businesses online – a win-win situation.
While all this was happening, I got engaged to my boyfriend and had a civil wedding shortly thereafter. With marriage came other financial responsibilities, which included paying for his niece’s education so that she could go to a better school and a whole bunch of other family related finances. Of course, add to that the cost of planning a wedding ceremony and reception for our friends and family. I knew that taking a pay cut from $70,000 per year to $600 a month wasn’t going to cut it and had to start figuring how to monetize my blog in order to make things work.
Taking a Pay Cut Turned Out to Be a Good Decision After All
I decided to create a sales packet, send it to some connections I had made online and to sell interview spots on my blog. Responses started flooding my inbox from ladies asking to be interviewed on my site. Why everyone was interested was because of the traction my interviews were getting online. The majority of my interviews were hitting 100 shares on Facebook, not including the shares and likes from my other social media channels. The same afternoon I sent out my sales packet was also the day I made my first $5.
It’s been seven months and I’ve made about $3500 so far. It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but in Honduras it isn’t too shabby.
My plan for the next few months before we move back to Chicago in August is to make at least $3000 a month so that we can comfortably live in America. Yes, that’s still taking a pay cut, but if it means that I can work from home instead of having to take on another job, I’m all for it.
Looking back, I can’t believe how far I have come. It was so hard at first and I deeply regretted moving initially. However, the moment I decided to push forward was when so many more opportunities opened up to me. Now I can officially and proudly say that I have accomplished my dream of becoming a female entrepreneur, and is just the beginning.