- Elaine Lichtenstein, 38, quit her six-person job because she was tired of her “bachelor’s degree in the company.”
- She now works 12 hours a day at her two companies and one opportunity full time.
- But she says she has never been happier and plans to retire by age 55.
In March of 2020, 38-year-old Elaine Liechtenstein was feeling “overwhelmed” at her six-figure content marketing job at the software technology provider, which she says was a “very meticulous and frustrating management”.
“I hit my breaking point with my bachelor’s degree in the company and didn’t really feel like I was getting anywhere,” she said. “People loved my work product, but I was stuck in the role they wanted me to be – I had no independence.”
On a whim, I decided, “You know what, I’m done. I’m out here.”
She took time off – thought it might help – but she never came back. Today, she has two companies, one full-time opportunity, works 12 hours a day, makes more money — and she said she’s never been happier. Additionally, she believes that she can retire at the age of 55.
Lichtenstein says she wouldn’t recommend this lifestyle to someone unless they “love what they do” — they “work a lot all the time,” switching between multiple computers and Slack channels.
“If I didn’t have some kind of light at the end of the tunnel to say, ‘Well, if I did this, I could retire early,’ I wouldn’t be driven to do all these different things and really work,” she said.
Liechtenstein is among the many Americans who have experienced burnout over the past few years. The State of the Global Workplace Per Gallup for 2022 Report, 50% of 1,000 American workers surveyed said they felt stressed on a daily basis. While some of these workers embracedQuit smoking quiet,” which describes the idea of creating a boundary between work and life while still being paid, others continue to join the ‘Big Resignation’ and It’s called ending.
While many Americans have Seeking freelancing opportunitiesMillions, like Liechtenstein, decided to start their own business. American workers gave more 5 million New business applications in 2021, the most since 2005. While this path is not without challenges, many of these entrepreneurs face it. Never been happier.
Offer “too good to refuse”
In June 2020, Lichtenstein started a digital marketing business – Just add contacts. The company has generated more than $400,000 in revenue since its inception, and Liechtenstein personally earned an average of roughly $40,000 a year after paying employees and covering other expenses, according to documents seen by the insider.
That same summer, I founded a second company – Leg Up Learning Solutions – Through which she offers riding lessons and facilitated equestrian education on her property in Colorado.
Back in March, one of her biggest clients at Just Add made her a “too good to refuse” job offer. For nearly 80% of her previous salary, she could have continued to provide the same services but as an “inside” employee. More importantly for Liechtenstein, it will be allowed to continue operating Just Add on the side if it agrees to limit the number of new clients it receives.
“It was important to me to keep the work going, because I never want to go back to relying on my employer and feeling like, ‘I can’t quit, I don’t have any other options,'” she said.
Liechtenstein attributes much of its success to the 15 years of connections it built across various industries during her career working in television, grocery store, call center, and telecommunications.
“Once I’m available and say, ‘Hey, I’m here. I have work. I’m working,” people were knocking on my door like, “I need you for this or that,” he said.
Lichtenstein’s business provides digital and content marketing to clients ranging from individual insurance agencies to large universities or technology companies. Her services range from subtly writing articles for corporate executives to video production — “anything that has to do with creating content that drives potential sales,” she says.
“It’s a way better suited to the life I want to live.”
Of her three sources of income, Liechtenstein says she now earns “a little more” than she did from her old job that she “hated”.
Since her digital marketing business lost a major client when she accepted the full-time job, she’s not sure she’ll be able to make more than $25,000 in salary this year. And while she makes roughly $500 a month from Leg Up, that doesn’t cover the cost of caring for her horses.
However, she says there is no comparison when it comes to her quality of life.
“It’s a way better suited to the life I want to live,” she said. “I’m happier, I’m happier and I have a lot more control over what I do and that’s really important to me.”
If possible, Liechtenstein says, aspiring entrepreneurs should consider starting their businesses while remaining fully operational — a “situation test” to see if there is a market for their product before they leave. But she says that at some point, one has to take the leap.
“You have to get to a point where you just say, ‘I’m not 100% sure if this business is viable, but I’m going to put everything in it for a while and see,'” she said. ‘Because I don’t think you’d really be able to launch it if you had One foot inside and one foot outside.”