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This is a guest post from Ashley at AfterNineToFive.net

How I Knew I Needed To Find It

I knew since before I even graduated high school that I wanted to be my own boss. I was independent and free-spirited. I liked to follow my own directions and use instructions only as a last resort.

I was hard-headed and my imagination ran wild, leaving endless ideas just waiting for me to take the reins. But at that time, the process was illogical to me.

I had no idea what I wanted to do and college wasn’t appealing at the time. So I stepped into an endless sea of cubicles that would consume five years of my life. I tried retail twice, and didn’t care for the hours.

cubicles21

I tried insurance twice, and hated every minute. I tried assistant work, and loathed being the bottom of the barrel. I tried customer service, and found myself near tears more often than not.

Through all of this I learned what I didn’t want, but never what I did want.

When I Started Looking To Find It

So last October, I made the decision to quit my job without having a clue what I truly wanted. I just knew that the life I was living wasn’t it and another desk job in another office wasn’t going to cut it.

This was by far the hardest, yet easiest, decision I had ever made.

I told my boss, trained my replacement, and lied to my co-workers, saying I was “going to focus on school for a while” and “plan our wedding.”

These things were both true – I’m currently in college and about to get married. But they were far from the reason for quitting. And even farther from my intent after leaving my job.

I was nervous, embarrassed, and terrified of what everyone would say if I told them the truth. If I told them I hated my job and never wanted to be there, even after only being there 6 months. And even more so if I told them that I had every intention of becoming an entrepreneur.

Within a month, I had ideas swirling in my head, but none of them were panning out. I found the courage to at least express my wishes to more than just my fiancé.

I spoke to family, and while they tried to play the supportive shoulder role, deep down they thought I was crazy. Always talking about new things, never settling and sounding more lost than I was before I quit corporate America.

Within two months, I was losing hope at a rapid pace.

Where I Finally Found It

About the time that I quit, I had started blogging again. I had done so in the past, only to give it up because life got in the way. I launched my blog After Nine To Five as a way to talk about my life after leaving the daily grind.

My heart and soul found their way into each post, leading me to a challenge in January: Post every day for the month. It was simple, but incredibly difficult for someone that was content with posting twice a week prior to this challenge.

The challenge was completed with ease. Time was on my side and I needed a hobby. But a few days before the challenge officially ended, I made two moves that now define me.

I went to a local craft store with no purpose other than to browse. Walking out of there, I had enough supplies to make necklaces for a month.

Inspired and happy with a newfound hobby, I went home to blog about it. When browsing my stats, I realized that in less than a month, my viewership had doubled in size.

It didn’t take long before I realized that I had two hobbies that I loved that could very easily be a source of income for me with the right amount of time and effort. A month later, I’ve made income from them both and am constantly growing.

My blog After Nine To Five once again doubled in views and already has paid sponsorships. My jewelry already has sales on Etsy at After Nine To Five Designs and will be sold locally this summer.

Although it is currently truly a very part-time income, I could not be happier. I cannot put a price on my happiness.

 

Ashley Wagner is the creator behind After Nine To Five – a lifestyle blog dedicated to sharing her knowledge of marketing, blogging, and truly living life to its fullest.

She recently launched a co-authored blog called Love Without Training Wheels for those who want to talk about relationships while skipping the baby talk. In Spring, she will be launching a program for those who miss the good ol’ fashioned art of bartering.

You can find her blog at afterninetofive.net or on twitter at afterninetofive.

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