When my husband and I decided to quit our 9-5 jobs and travel full time, we thought we had gone a little crazy. We had worked our whole adult lives in corporate America and were deeply grooved into a life of routines. The notion that we could just up and quit and start over seemed ludicrous. You can read that full story here.
But we weren’t the only ones who had gone mad (in a good way). In this post, you will get to know Liz Wilcox, an RV friend and creative collaborator, who inspires me to keep pursuing my dream of building a business. You’ll learn about how she took a different path after investing time and money into becoming a teacher. Now she runs Liz Wilcox’s, Virtual Campground. I hope she will inspire you to pursue your dreams too.
Meet Liz Wilcox
I’m a creative person. I love coming up with new ideas to solve a problem. Seeing a project come together is highly satisfying. Heck, I even like working in teams to see just how far an idea can go.
That’s why I became a teacher.
Working through my bachelor’s degree was so much fun. I loved all the late-night lesson planning and working in teams to create themed units. There was something about seeing a plan I created in my head come together and executed in the classroom. I was absolutely in love with teaching and the creativity it allowed.
But I noticed working educators felt completely different. They felt their creativity was squashed and were resorting to “best practices” that weren’t actually working for them, and especially not for the students in their classrooms. I was disgusted and afraid to enter the seemingly jaded profession.
So I pressed on and enrolled in graduate school.
I got my Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. I learned the systems, laws, and theories behind public schooling. Interning under an amazingly creative principal, I found new hope that if I (as a school leader) stayed creative and open, my teachers could too.
But I was still afraid to get a job. I had worked for myself for years and something about having an actual boss was absolutely dreadful to me, even in a profession where I was so passionate.
Then I started a family.
And told my husband “Hey, when I go back to work you’re just gonna have to deal with me not being around. Teaching is more than a full-time job.”
It came out of my mouth and for weeks I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I didn’t want to be an absent wife and mother. I really valued my time at home with my daughter and wanted to continue that as long as possible.
And there was still that fear of going into the crazy, out of control, lost profession of education.
So I discovered online entrepreneurship.
You mean to tell me I could start my own business this whole time? Why didn’t I think of that?
Oh, how excited that got me! (and irritated no one had ever said “Hey Liz. You’re creative. Ever thought of trying to create your own business somehow!?”).
For months I toyed around with online entrepreneurship. I researched how others were doing it and thought about how I could do it, too. My husband and I went back and forth on what to do. We talked about a kids Youtube channel, creating an online teachers’ shop, and even drop shipping or selling on Amazon.
And The Virtual Campground was born.
The more I brainstormed and tried things out, the more I realized the traditional 9-5 was not for me.
I finally settled after months of hard work and experimentation on a business called The Virtual Campground. Designed for the modern nomad, this is an RV Entertainment and Culture site where the focus is on creating content and products around humor, storytelling and trends in the RV space.
And while it’s still in its infancy stage, I already know I’m forever skipping the 9-5. Here are a few reasons why:
With a 9-5 job, your priorities can get jumbled.
My priorities are as follows:
I’m guessing yours are similar.
But if you’re trying to move up the ladder at your job, chances are you might have to switch priorities so that it looks more like this:
Working longer hours and putting personal things aside for the benefit of the company is commonplace. Ask just about anyone in the workforce if they’ve felt like they “had to” trade time with family (or hobbies or downtime) for time at the office.
I’m thinking we all know the answer to that question.
And while I’m learning entrepreneurship can be even more stressful than a 9-5 job, I am my own boss. I can take into heavy consideration how I’m prioritizing my life and adjust accordingly.
With a 9-5 job, creativity isn’t always welcome.
It can be hard to be creative in a work environment where things are…er, stiff.
I always thought teaching would allow for my creativity to flow freely, but I was wrong. While everyone loved my plans on paper, many said they wouldn’t work in a real classroom, or that I would get burnt out in a week from my “extravagant lessons.” I was often given the advice to just stick to the workbook.
And I know this happens in many work environments.
With a 9-5 job, traveling may not be encouraged.
I’ve always loved exploring. Travel is one of my greatest passions.
Unfortunately, working a 9-5 job makes travel limited at best. And it seems the average American is taking less time off each year.
This just blows my mind. Call me what you will, but a life without exploration seems pretty dismal to me. Skipping the 9-5, and heading straight into a business that not only allows for travel, but calls for it, is exactly what I need.
With a 9-5 job, there is an exact value to my time.
I mean, I’d get paid an hourly wage, right? And that would put an exact dollar amount on what my time is worth (Okay, maybe a salary but that means your time is even less valued).
I don’t like that.
There is nothing more valuable to me than my time. It is my greatest resource and I try very hard not to waste it, as I have no idea when it will run out.
That’s what is so appealing to me about entrepreneurship and why I’m skipping the 9-5 job altogether. I can’t stand the idea of using my time to build someone else’s dream. To spend my life trading my hours for dollars is not something I can do.
I’d rather spend the time creating my own life, bringing my own dreams to reality, and sharing all of that with my family and those close to me. Sure, it might be harder and I’m learning quickly that entrepreneurship is anything but perfect, BUT I’m learning the fruits of my labor are so much sweeter.
And above all, my time is respected because I can demand that.
Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business?
What would that look like? Drop a comment below.
Author of Tales From the Black Tank, Liz Wilcox isn’t afraid to dig deep for a story (or self-publish.) Armed with an RV obsession and a dream, she’s blazing the trail for a new kind of RV site she calls The Virtual Campground. Find out more about Liz and her fierce dedication to RVer entertainment over at lizwilcox.com/about.
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