Did you ever fall in love with a city? I did. Austin, TX in 1997.

Today, April 1st, 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of my big move to Austin! It’s been quite a ride, and I’m so glad I took a chance, made the move, and followed my dream.

Back in 1997, the dream was just to be free of my 8:00 – 5:00 work life. I had a demanding, stimulating, and creative job as a Training Manager, but I wanted my OWN business. I wanted to create something new on my own terms, and become something different.

So, I quit a great job, put my house on the market, packed up the car, and stepped into my future. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Yes!

austin skyline2

If you have a dream like this, I believe some of my experience might help you. Here are some lessons I learned about work, business, and myself.

  1. Understand your behavior style, accept it, and build your life around it. I am gregarious, talkative, and outgoing to the max. When I started my business, I felt isolated and alone. Networking pulled me out into the world. I met hundreds of people the first year I was in Austin. Many of those “first contacts” I still call friends. If you are more introverted, you can be successful working alone, at home, with your computer. You might like being on a team, or being a soloist. It’s good either way or anything in between. Just know what works for you.
  2. Find people to support you. When I moved to Austin, I knew 3 people here—two nieces and a nephew. During that first year I was networking, I attended up to FOUR networking events, every single week! I collected business cards, and transferred them, by hand, into my Outlook database. I started seeing the same people; I got to know them. I’ve found that the best advice comes from people, not the internet. Some people you meet will become friends; others will be contractors or vendors. Every person you add to your network can be helpful in some way – if you just take the time to get to know them.
  3. Keep learning, even when it’s frustrating. Successful adults are constantly learning – new business models, new internet marketing ideas, new software tools. Even when the learning curve feels like a curse, keep going.
  4. Invest in things that help you work faster and smarter. There are lots of bright, shiny objects to command your attention—and your dollars—when you are starting a business. Never skimp on your work tools. However, consider whether each one will complicate, or hopefully, simplify your life.
  5. Let your business and your work evolve. When I started my practice, my idea was to train presentation skills training for business teams and individuals. My own career change made me a magnet for people seeking career changes. Over time, I let my professional speaking and training business evolve into Career Coaching. Over time, I realized that this was my calling.
  6. Don’t work for a bad boss. What do you mean? If you are self-employed, aren’t you acting as your own boss? Well, yes, you are. But how do you treat yourself? Do you set impossible goals, and then feel bad when you don’t reach them? Do you take Friday afternoons off? Do you ever take a sick day? Do you work late into the night, and then can’t sleep? Do you drive yourself constantly? Treat yourself with fairness; be loving and gentle toward YOU.

These ideas apply to almost any life change. Are you new to Austin? Are you working through a job change? Call on me. I just might be able to steer you in the right direction.

On your side,

Catherine Jewell
The Career Passion® Coach

PS: Since the Great Resignation, many people are realizing they need help with networking skills. I have a new book, Empowered Networking.  You can have it for free if you are willing to give me a 2- or 3-sentence review. Apply here to be a reviewer.

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