Sometimes, it all comes down to taking that first step.

Quitting my cushy, full-time job to work for myself was one of the scariest decisions I’ve made. But it has easily been one of the most rewarding – and in ways I had never even considered before making the leap.

Chasing the Story

When I decided to pursue a career in writing, I definitely romanticized what this would look like. I pictured myself working from cafes in foreign countries. At first, when I got into journalism, I thought I wanted to be a reporter, working and travelling across world. But I quickly learned I wasn’t enough of a news junkie for that. I preferred writing feature stories, digging into the details of people’s lives and writing about these experiences so that others could learn from them.

I wanted to inspire people. I wanted to push them to live their best life, in whatever form that may be. I really think there’s so much we can learn from one another just by opening ourselves up and sharing our stories with the world.

Of course, this requires a certain level of vulnerability. People don’t just want to know about where you are now, they’re interested in learning how you got there – especially if they’re considering following a similar path. These stories cannot be filtered to look their best. They have to be raw. They have to be honest.

Establishing Roots

Since building my career in journalism, I’ve discovered these types of stories are all around me. I still feel as though I am living the romanticized version of my career – I’m just doing it from the suburbs north of Toronto.

I should mention, I didn’t “plan” on making my roots here; six years ago, I probably didn’t even know where Newmarket was. But one thing led to another, and here I am. It’s where I live. It’s where I write. It’s where I am meant to be.

Settling In

Although I’ve been working from home for quite a while now – my last full-time job also provided this flexibility – everything changed when I started working for myself.

One of my greatest concerns with becoming a “solopreneur” was the solo part. I thrive when working as part of a team. I love interacting with co-workers on a regular basis. And while we have the tools to communicate from afar, there’s something about the connections you build in-person that just aren’t the same when limited to virtual boundaries.

But the truth is, I really don’t feel like I’m working alone at all. I meet regularly with colleagues, writers and solopreneurs. And I am constantly feeling inspired by these people. There’s something about being surrounded by people who love what they do; it just solidifies the direction I’ve been striving for all along. There’s so much more to life than commuting to a job you don’t like everyday, punching the clock, then heading home to prepare yourself to do it all over again.

A New Career; A New Life

Taking that first step to becoming a solopreneur changed my life in ways far beyond a different career path.

I’m healthier. My best days start with a fresh smoothie and a run on the trail with my dog. They end with some final creative bursts at my laptop, snuggling up with the ones I love, and a solid night’s sleep.

I feel challenged every day. I am always learning, and meeting someone new. I am full of stories to share. I am happier than I have ever been.

I am building the kind of life I dreamed of (even though it doesn’t exist halfway across the world).

My work is my life. It’s not the only part of my life, but it is certainly a significant piece. I want to make sure I am using it wisely. For me, this meant building my own career and taking a leap to an unknown environment. Upon doing so, I’ve also discovered a whole other world of possibility. And it all started with a that first step.

Are you thinking about making a career change? What’s holding you back? If you’ve already made the leap to a different path, what lessons can you share? Let me know in the comments below.