Why I Left My Million Dollar Job

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Why I left my million dollar job….yes I left my job where I was making over a million dollars a year.  I know that sounds really crazy but that’s exactly what I did and here’s why.

I moved out to California to escape the brutal Minnesota winters (yes we are both Midwest folks) and after much persuasion, my husband convinced me to start selling real estate together.  We were kids in search of financial freedom and what we pictured “success” to look like.  

So Joshua and I began building our business from the lowest rung of the ladder all the way up to the very top.  We worked our tails off day in and day out. We hustled hard.  We pounded the pavement (literally) and gave our heart and souls to our business.  We invaded, shook and disrupted the marketplace. We grew our company rapidly to the point of closing over one hundred transactions each year.  That’s over twenty five times more than the average agent sells each year!  We sold hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate and were making seven figures a year.  That’s a ton of money and it sounds great, right? 

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We went seven LONG years before taking a vacation and during that first trip, even after prompting all of our clients and providing a full support team, all hell broke loose.  Clients were upset that we were gone.  How dare they take personal time off to recharge and refresh is what they expressed to our staff.    Look, selling real estate is a 24 hour – 7 days a week type job.  You can’t just clock out at the end of the day.  There was never an end to the day.  The heavy chains of work were locked on to us ALL THE TIME.   We couldn’t even get through one meal without having to deal with something.  Friends and family couldn’t believe the stories we had to tell of the daily behind the scenes drama that goes on in the industry.  It was completely insane! 

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We were young, bold, aggressive, and at the top of our game.  We smashed sales records and were awarded with every certificate, trophy, medallion and shiny object you could imagine.  We became members of the highest ranking company clubs and groups.   When I last stopped keeping track, we had already bought and sold over 20 million dollars worth of personal properties.  It’s staggering to write that figure because I can remember when we first moved to California and lived in an apartment in a not so great area, dreaming of owning our first home.  

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  As successful as we had become, deep down we were unhappy with our jobs.  Personally, I was extremely unhappy.  We were both always stressed out from work.  No matter how much we did for a client, something simple would go wrong (like escrow not closing on time) and the great relationship built would crumble into pieces within minutes. 

We were tied to our phones, emails  and computers.  Clients were demanding, impatient and in most cases, greedy.  We had many terrific clients as well, which made the job enjoyable and rewarding for those moments up until a sour client spoiled the buzz again. 

We learned exactly what professional jealousy (a.k.a. haters) looked like in a competitive business environment.  It was cutthroat.  Agents were upset about our success and would post fake reviews online trying to slander and destroy our reputation.  They would contact our clients in attempts to poach and steal.  They would file fictitious and anonymous complaints against us to the point of what seemed like every week.  

The haters wanted to knock us down from the top but we wouldn’t let them.   We sunk our teeth in and were not letting go.  We are both champions and would not tap out.  Instead, it fueled our fire and we were attracted even more success.  Napoleon Hill, who was an incredible author, once said ” strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle” and that has always resonated deeply within us.  

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The business allowed us financial freedom, but not personal freedom.  It was draining, exhausting, unhealthy and just plain toxic for our souls.  That’s what led me to start my fashion blog in the first place.  It was my outlet to de-stress. I gave my all to the real estate business but deep down something was always missing. 

Why I Left My Million Dollar Job

As I became older,  I started to realize that it wasn’t about how much money you make or how many deals you close in a year, what truly matters is how happy you are.  What’s the point of having all this money, working your a** off and fighting against constant resistance if at the end of the day you are exhausted, miserable and have no time to enjoy it?  Really, what’s the point of that?  

I’ve heard that what you do during work hours is your true passion and is what you should be doing full time.  So true!  Since online shopping doesn’t constitute as a career in most cases (lol), blogging about fashion is what made me happy.  So I bought a camera, tripod and remote control and learned self photography.  I posted content to my blog as much as I could given how little free time I had.  

Toughest Decision Ever

Last year, Joshua and I had a heart-to-heart discussion about our real estate jobs and after much reflection and prayer, we both agreed that we’d rather make less money but be energized, passionate and happy each day versus making large amounts of money yet be miserable.  After that talk, I decided to go full time with my blog (ironically, that’s the same time I became pregnant).  It was an extremely difficult decision to make and we talked about it extensively before acting upon it.  

How do we even begin to leave our multi-million dollar business, help our staff find new employment, and close the doors of our beautiful dream office locations?  Seriously, if you saw our offices, you would fall in love!  It was a nerve-wracking and scary endeavor but it had to happen and we went for it full speed ahead.

Regrets?

It’s just so crazy to look back now and think about.  In retrospect, would I have done anything different?   Absolutely not.  I don’t have any regrets.  Our business got us to where we are today…along with some gray hairs and wrinkles but heck, it was worth it.  I think of my real estate past as a stepping stone.  I’m living a much happier and healthier life now and am so grateful that I’m able to do what I love everyday.  Yes of course even in the blogging world there are still haters who post terrible things that are nasty, horrible and untrue.  Yes, publishing photos of yourself online in different outfits is guaranteed to generate judgement and criticism but as I’ve learned from the past, you have to pay no attention to the negativity and simply stay the course. If you don’t read it, it doesn’t exist!

The stress I endure is much different now.  There are still tight deadline pressures, writers block and moments where I need a creative spark.  But it’s different because I actually enjoy what I’m doing for work and am feeding my passion each day.  I’m no longer attached to outcomes, or income for that matter, and it’s so liberating!   I get to be my authentic self and express myself creatively and freely.  

I never thought I could, or would, be able to make a career out of something that I’m passionate about and love, but here I am to tell you that it IS possible!  This isn’t a post to brag or boast about my previous career accomplishments.  In fact, I don’t even like to discuss it which is why I never have.  We almost feel somewhat embarrassed about trading so many years of our lives in the pursuit of financial success. 

Accolades Mean Nothing If You’re Unhappy

Guess what Joshua did with all  fourteen years worth of those trophies, awards and medallions?  He threw them all away in the trash!  At first I was uneasy about him doing that but he made a very valid point.  He asked why are we holding on to all of these objects?  Is it so our egos feel good?  Would we rather have the recognition momentos following us everywhere and constantly reminding us of the struggles and unhappy trade we once made for them or would we prefer to get rid of them and start a fresh new chapter of our lives?  While we certainly are both appreciative of the hard work, dedication and commitment involved to earn the accolades, we simply didn’t need them anymore.  It was time to move on.

This post is to share with you more about why I left my real estate “job” for my blogging “career”.  A job is going to work to earn a paycheck while a career is working to follow your passion.  That is exactly why I left my job.  To this day, my blog is the only career I’ve ever known and had and it is allowing me the time and freedom to think bigger.  I now am able to focus and execute on my dreams of continuing my blog, growing a fashion line and many more exciting endeavors!

What does success mean to you?

I hope this post makes you stop for one minute to think about what success means to you.  Write down one thing that makes you truly happy.  One thing that excites you to think or talk about.  One thing that you like more than money. That is your passion.  It’s disguised and sometimes difficult to identify but once you discover it you are one step closer to living a much happier life!  

Ann Taylor blush pink jacinda suede platform sandals, Anthropologie lace mockneck top, ASOS PETITE Mini Prom Skirt in Stripe

Striped skirt (buy HERE) // Anthropologie lace top (old, similar HERE or HERE) // Blush wedge sandals (buy HERE) // YSL cabas chyc mini (similar HERE) // Tory Burch cat eye sunglasses (similar HERE) // Kate Spade faux pearl earrings (buy HERE) // YSL lipstick in fetish pink (buy HERE) // Pink nail polish (buy HERE) // Bow watch (buy HERE) // Faux pearl necklace (similar HERE)

I want to end this post with a genuine thank you.  Thank you for taking the time to follow my journey and supporting me by reading my posts.   Thank you for your positive comments and feedback.  It means more to me than I can express through words and I want to let you know that you are appreciated.  

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  1. Love this post, Annie. Thank you for being so open and honest. You are truly an inspiration.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I am currently finding myself in a similar situation: I started my “dream job” with my “dream salary” doing my “dream work”. All my “dreams” came true. But within the first two weeks at this new job, I missed my fiances birthday, broke promises with friends, canceled my own bachelorette party in order to work late hours to cover other people’s work. Even though I was getting accolades and bonuses left and right within my first month, I felt terrible with myself at the end of day. Less than 5 weeks after starting, I knew this wasn’t right for me. I’ve just put in my two weeks notice. I am still not 100% confident in my decision, but your blog post has gone a long way to reassure me that one’s “dream” may not be what you originally thought it would be, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find new ones.

  3. This is truly an inspirational story that took me thru several emotions not counting the repetitive goose bumps with your passions! I love your passions and that’s why I had to comment! You must tell us about your pregnancy! I am so happy after I read about another women’s journey that has the sound and innervoice like yours did.
    Thank you ever so much and please keep us updated!

  4. Such an amazing and honest story, love this post and the inspiration it provides to all. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Diana | thechicdiary.com

  5. I think this decision shows how mature you really are. As we get older, we realize that time is short and how silly it is to be unhappy for the majority of it. Of course there will always be small unhappy times, but being appreciated and doing good always outweighs the money number!!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  6. This is such a raw and honest post. Thank you so much for sharing about your experience and the rough moments you had before finding your passion. This goes to show that the dream career isn’t the one with the most money, having true inner happiness and feeling joyful everyday when going to work is irreplaceable and will keep you going even on the worst days. This is inspiring and reading this only makes me a bigger fan of you 🙂

  7. Love this post so much!! Great job! Can you advise on how you learned self photography? Do you take all your photos yourself? XO

  8. Thanks for sharing Annie! You are an inspiration – and looks like you excel in everything you put your heart in!

  9. Thank you for sharing. Your honesty is really inspiring. I’m still working on finding my career. I have a job but not my career based on what I’m passionate about. Fingers crossed that it will happen soon!

  10. so inspiring! love to read story like this! and I am so happy for you that you can do what makes you happy! sometimes running after well-paid jobs doesn’t bring us the joy and happiness we thought at first – now, I only wish I could rediscover myself and find something I enjoy doing without going bankrupt

  11. You are one of my favorite bloggers, Annie. I am interested in becoming a fashion blogger as well. I love your honesty and your drive. You have an amazing style! I wish you all the best.

  12. You are my favorite blogger I love scrolling through your IG account to figure out what to wear! You have an amazing talent and we all love you dearly! Thank you

    • Aw Iris! You just made my day! Sorry I just saw this comment now! Thank you SO much for leaving this comment! Seriously means so much to me especially when I start to doubt myself and then I see this and I feel so much better! So really I should be thanking YOU! I appreciate the support so much! XOXO

  13. Thank you for sharing your story! What does your husband do now? Your family is so wonderful especially cute Milan 🙂 Best wishes!

  14. Hello from MN! I get the whole brutal winters. BUT I am SO happy to come across your blog (was looking for fashion ideas & tips) and especially this post (wished I saw it sooner)! It is truly an inspiration and very encouraging! I struggle with the same thing (the demands, money making, haters – no such thing as MN nice!). I hope to jump back on the path to what I truly enjoy, my passion in the law. Also, I love how you separated the terms “job” and “career”, both ARE actually very different. Keep it up! I look forward to seeing more of what you have!

    • Hi Karenlin! Awww another fellow Minnesota gal! So happy you found my blog too! Yes girl, get back to what makes you happy. If your passion is law, do it. Do it now and don’t look back. Life is way too short to be tied to a job that sucks the life out of us! I hope you keep me posted because I love hearing success stories!

  15. I loved reading this post. I don’t make close to a million dollars a year, but I am planning on quitting my job this upcoming year to focus on family and blogging. You have an amazing blog! I’ve been following it for years. I always get great outfit ideas from you!

  16. You go girl! It takes a lot of courage to quit a job, but you followed your heart and are happy. We get the benefits of your blog and insta. Honestly watching Milan grow up is a bonus! Thank you for your candor.

    • Aw omg this means so much! Yeah it was by far the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve never looked back and cannot believe I waited that long to leave a toxic business. Woo hoo!

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