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Do you want to quit your job and start your own business? Here’s how.

by Ana Lopez
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In the throes of pandemic life, I told my husband that I wanted to start an online media training course. The next day ads from Amy Porterfield started popping up on Instagram. That’s how I ended up in Porterfield’s mighty job – joining millions of followers who turn to her for her business advice and products. Countless courses, newsletter emails, podcast episodes and clubhouse sessions later, I had a folder full of her workbooks, worksheets and downloads and launched my course a year later.

Porterfield has been transforming the lives of entrepreneurs and business owners for over a decade. For the past 14 years, the online marketing expert has provided valuable insights, strategies and guidance through her engaging and informative content. Now she’s taking her expertise to the next level with the release of her highly anticipated book, Two weeks notice: find the courage to quit your job, make more money, work where you want and change the world.

In each chapter, Porterfield provides readers with practical tools and actionable steps to help them build a business from scratch. Yes, that may mean creating an online course later, but for now, Porterfield is focusing on helping people who dream of quitting their jobs, walking out the company door, and achieving financial freedom. She joined me from her home in Nashville to talk about her eight-figure business, how to go from employee to businessroundups.org, and what she does for fun. Click on the video above to watch the full interview.

Jessica Abo: Amy, you quit your own nine-to-five job over 10 years ago and started an $85 million business. Take us back to when you were getting ready to give your notice.

At my very last nine-to-five job, I worked with top performance coach Tony Robbins. One day he did a focus group and brought in some online business owners. I was the director of content, but I was brought in that day to take notes. So here I was sitting at a side table listening to all these guys around a big oak table talk about the companies they built. They talked about working when they wanted, where they wanted, how they wanted. They talked about living life on their terms. They talked about making a lot of money and having a lot of impact. At that point I thought, “I don’t even know who these guys are or what they do, but I want a piece of it.”

It was the first time in my life that I realized that I had never been free. I was not in control. I was not my own boss. I didn’t work when I wanted, where I wanted or how I wanted. So at that point I was like, “I want a piece of this, and I’m going to figure it out.”

How long did it take from the time you attended that meeting until you actually canceled?

It took me about a year from that point to the day I drove out of those San Diego offices in my little white car with all the boxes in the back, and I drove off to start my own business.

But in that year I created a catwalk, like how am I going to quit this job with dignity and integrity, but also start my own business and figure all that out?

What did that runway look like? What are some of the steps people should take to build their own airstrip?

There are very specific things I did and I described them in my book Two weeks notice period. The first was that I had to get clear on why. Because if you have a good reason to leave your job and start your own business, why will help you when your worries are dragging you down.

Mine Why was that I didn’t want a boss. I wanted freedom. I wanted to break through that glass ceiling. I wanted to be the boss. Once I had a clear why, I had to choose my departure date. I wrote my due date on a Post-it note and looked at it every day and asked myself, “What should I do today to get closer to that date? Should I grab a book? Should I go to a certain podcast? Should I ask for advice? Should I get support?” Every day I worked towards that date and started building my ideas for the company I wanted to create. That exit date is everything, because you don’t quit if you don’t have a plan.

The next thing I did was I got my finances very clear. I had to look at my finances and say, “How much do I really need to make each month to make ends meet?”

Then I started a part-time job. This way I was able to bring in some extra cash by working on it mornings, evenings and weekends. I started a part-time job to gather some courage and in the meantime bring in some extra money. My side business was very important because it was a starter idea that gave me momentum.

I ended up telling three people: my husband, my mom, and my best friend. In my book, I encourage you to do that only tell three people. Most people will not understand your dream of quitting your job and starting your own business. Most people, including your co-workers, will tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t. Be careful who you tell.

What roadblocks did you encounter in the beginning?

I really struggled with imposter syndrome. From the day I left my job to go out on my own, the thought was, “Who am I to do this? I’m not smart enough.” I couldn’t even use the word businessroundups.org. It was too fancy and too big for someone who had always had a nine-to-five job.

But every time it occurred to me, I kept going back to my why. Why do I want this? I want freedom. I want to be the boss. I want to build something great. I want to make a lot more money. So on the days when my worries and doubts brought me down, my why would pick me up again.

Let’s talk about the person who is unhappy in their job. How do they have the courage to give up and how do they determine when it’s time to leave?

This is really turning inward and asking yourself, “What do I want?” If you look around your job and think, “Okay, I’m underpaid and undervalued,” or sometimes people say, “I just feel ignored here. People don’t even take my ideas seriously,” or if you just look around and you think “I don’t want my boss’s job. I have a desire to do greater things in my life,” then you need to listen to those thoughts. The question you want to ask yourself is, “Okay, if I’m not happy here, if I want something bigger, what am I waiting for?”

So it takes courage, but also know that there are steps you can take. Two weeks notice period is your guide to making a plan together.

What are the steps people should take so that they know they are building a strong foundation for the next chapter?

We’re going to start scrappy. We won’t have all the answers. You just continue with your starter idea. So whatever that may be, here are a few things you’ll want to think about.

In Two weeks notice period, I’m going to teach you how to build an offer based on your starter idea, show you how much to ask for and how many customers you need to reach your goals. We’re going to break down the tools you need, like your website. There are so many resources these days that you can set up a website in a day or two. I provide a lot of resources in the book, especially if you’re on a budget.

Of course you’re going to use social media to build that business and I’ll show you how to do it on your terms.

We’re also going to talk about growing an email list, your messages, how to show up on video with confidence, and how to really commit yourself to finding your ideal client.

Amy, give us an overview of your business today. You have 20 employees and a list of products.

14 years later, my business looks very different from the days when I was doing social media for small businesses. That is the point. Your business will evolve.

But today I built a team that I’m so proud of and this is the funny thing. I teach people how to quit their jobs and start their own business. A question I often get is, “How do you retain employees if you teach people how to do that?” I’ve built a business where it doesn’t feel like a business, and that’s so important to me. Any of you looking right now and wanting to build a business, I’m sure you don’t want your business to feel like your nine-to-five job.

So we’re doing a four-day work week, which is so incredibly powerful. We work from Monday to Thursday, eight hours a day. We take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. I want people to have balance in their lives and I want them to enjoy their time outside of work, so I make it a point to set up a business that way. They also have unlimited free. I have benefits in my company that make it feel very different from a nine to five job.

We also do great projects and build really cool stuff, but we also make sure we have fun doing the job. We do in-person retreats because we work virtually, just to make sure we have time in each other’s presence. The culture in my team is just as important as the students I mentor.

What do you think young Amy Porterfield would say or think about everything you’ve created?

She would say, “This is definitely not our life!” Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would have such a successful company or get a team that is great as they are, or get to work with the people I work with. My life is beyond my wildest dreams, and that’s why I do what I do.

I know I’m not special. I want to help other people leave their nine-to-five jobs, start their own businesses, and one day tell me, “Amy, my life is beyond my wildest dreams.” There’s a whole different world waiting for you beyond the nine-to-five and I want to help more people realize this.

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