top of page

Self-Employment: How I Tried And Failed

Leap, and the net will appear. [John Burroughs]

I’m not even sure where to start with this post… So let me just show you what happened.

[from my journal] Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Driving from work at 10pm, I finally pull into my parking spot. I’ve been up since six. Today I wrote, I taught yoga, I had a coaching appointment, I ran, I drove to another city to teach psychology, I did grocery shopping, and a dozen of other things that I already forgot doing.

My feet hurt so bad that I actually seriously consider taking off my shoes, and walking to the elevator barefoot.

As I open the door, and drop my bag on the floor. I warm up late dinner, opening the microwave before the timer is up – the food is lukewarm. I shrug and dig in. Then I drop on the bed face first. Friday, November 15, 2013

“I am not happy.” I startled myself, as those words escaped my lips today.

It became especially scary when I realized that the words were true.

I’m tired and stressed. My shoulders are killing me. I’ve had a tension headache for days. All I want is to crawl under my bed, and never come out. Never. I’m so very tired.

I don’t want to go to work on Monday. Gah! I haven’t had THAT feeling for a very long time.

And this is not me. I’m not that person. I’m not the person who dreads going to work. I’m Tigger.

This guy: Wheeee!

“Bouncing is what Tiggers do best.” And I just haven’t been feeling very… bouncy lately.

I know what I want to do. I want to coach and I want to write. And I can’t, because I’m so freaking exhausted doing everything else. Saturday, November 16, 2013

That feeling – the feeling of “there’s nowhere else I’d rather be” is a good feeling to pursue, to follow, to know.

I don’t want to teach nights. I don’t want to start my workday at 6am and finish at 10pm, sometimes, speaking nine hours a day. Saturday, November 23, 2013

I am leaving my job. I am no longer a college professor. I’m a health coach. November 27, 2013 [from an email]

“Dear XXXX, I am writing to let you know that I will not be teaching at the college in the winter semester.” Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

I have now told my closest friends.

Telling others is how you make shit happen. It’s how you go from wondering and thinking to actually doing. Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

2013. The end of the year. My last leap of trust. Based on nothing. But I’m counting on the net appearing in the thin air. Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Dear diary, I have a job.


I’ve talked about my “word of the year” idea previously. The word for 2013 was “trust”. And so, over 5 weeks ago, I made my last leap of trust.

Scared shitless. As usual.

I left my job as a college professor.

I know, I know. All this after my recent post on the surreal happy feeling I get when I teach.

And I do love teaching. But lately, I’ve started questioning myself whether what I’m currently doing is indeed the best application of my knowledge, experience and talents.

Life is about choices. And sometimes, we have to make difficult choices.

It is not difficult to make a choice when you are choosing between eating cake with friends and eating shit alone.

However, usually the life choices are much more difficult. Would I rather eat cake alone or eat shit with friends? (Two Gorucks and one SERE later, I keep choosing the latter).

We also have to choose between two good things. Or two bad things.

In psychology, they are called approach-approach, approach-avoidance, and avoidance-avoidance conflicts.

1. Approach-approach

Choosing between two desirable alternatives. We sometimes say that this is a good problem to have. But it does not make the choice any easier.

How do you choose between two lucrative jobs? Two seemingly similar cars? Two equally hot lovers?

2. Avoidance-avoidance

Choosing the lesser of two evils. Both alternatives suck, so you pick the one that sucks less. This is like picking between being punched in the teeth or being punched in the stomach. Truth be told, you’d rather not pick at all.

3. Approach-avoidance

The goal or event has both negative and positive aspects to it, and is therefore, both appealing and unappealing at the same time. For example, you love the Subaru Impreza STI, but you hate the insurance rates that it comes with. (Hint: very high.) You see… I’ve never had a full time job. Ever.

Starting at age of 15, I’ve had contract work, part-time work, partial load work. I’ve worked for government, education, and private sectors. I’ve worked over 80 hours a week.

But I’ve never had a full time job. The commitment phobe in me was actually perfectly happy. I took off to India for 8 months, and then came back to teach. I don’t know too many individuals who work full-time who would be able to do that.

And to be completely honest… I didn’t want a full-time job. Just talking to someone about the cubicle culture, hauling ass to the same place five days a week gave me hives.

I had a little preview of what that would be like, working in very structured environments for few months at a time. Formal wear, 1.5 hour commute. Waking up at 6.30am in the morning, my first thought was: “Kill me”.

Not exactly the headspace to flourish and grow.

And while the instability of being constantly on a contract got to me (three times a year, at the end of each semester, to be exact), I couldn’t imagine exchanging stability for routine. For rigidity of a traditional workplace.

Throughout the years (I love saying that. It sounds absolutely ridiculous when you are 20), I also realized that I would not work for just any company.

If Coca-Cola came knocking on my door with a lucrative opportunity, I would have to say no. It just wouldn’t jive.

Ironically, this was exactly how Steve Jobs lured away one of the Pepsi’s executives to Apple in the 1980s. “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

I definitely did not want to sell sugared water.

In my case, the one company that I’d be happy to work for, swooped in, and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

May I introduce… – Kate Solovieva – aka Solo – aka Coach Kate at Precision Nutrition

So did I fail at self-employment?


But you gotta admit that “How I decided to try self-employment, but ended up with a full-time job instead” would make a significantly less effective title.

Leap, and the net will appear. It may not be the net you expected. In fact, it may not be a net at all. It could be a tarp, a parachute, a hot air balloon. But first you must trust.

Operation Change The World has been initiated.

Bounce, bounce!

Signing off, Solo


bottom of page