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What to Do Before You Quit the High-Pay & Benefits of Corporate World

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast
56 min read
What to Do Before You Quit the High-Pay & Benefits of Corporate World

Before you quit your job, you will need to prepare yourself not just financially, but mentally. If you’re thinking of leaving your W2, and you’re not at retirement age just yet, odds are you have a side hustle or even an entire small business. As the side hustle begins to grow, you may be torn between spending time at your job and putting in the hours to scale your business.

This is doubly true if you’re like Daniella Flores from I Like to Dabble, who is at a high-paying, fully-remote job with a solid share of benefits. Before she decided to scale down her full-time work, she had to come up with an action plan that would allow her to slowly slip away from corporate life, so she can avoid the instant shock of being an overnight entrepreneur.

Daniella has some helpful tips for anyone who thinks their time at a job is close to the end. She has spent the last year or so planning for the departure, so when she leaves her job, she doesn’t need to search for a new one! Now, she can spend more of her time writing, designing, and building something that will truly set her up for long-term financial (and time) freedom.

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Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Mindy:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, show number 305, where we interview Daniella Flores from iliketodabble.com, and talk about the things you need to consider before quitting your job to go full-time self-employed.

Daniella Flores:
I got into therapy last year. And that was the one thing that helped me a lot. We were talking about this, because I was like, “I’m not sure if this was the right move,” because my job has all these amazing benefits. But I really want to do this. I really want to do this full-time because I feel like I’m wasting all this time, not wasting, but you use your energy throughout your workday doing these tasks and the energy to build up for the stuff you want to work on. So then after that, I’m like, “There’s all these things I want to do. And I feel like I’m losing this time to something else that my heart isn’t into.” I don’t see a future. And we talked about it, and she’s like, “I see the way you talk about your blog.” And she’s like, “I don’t see your face light up like that when you talk about your work.” That’s all you need to know. She’s like, “It sounds like you know what to do.” That’s right. I do, I guess.

Mindy:
Hello, hello. Hello. My name is Mindy Jensen. And joining me today is David Pere, from the Military Millionaire group. David, what’s going on?

David Pere:
I’m not finding the unmute button. That’s what’s going on.

Mindy:
Hey, that’s my job.

David Pere:
Apparently, you can use the spacebar to unmute, which means that I leave myself muted. So, there’s less noise. But apparently, if you drag the Google Doc over to type and then hit the spacebar, you just make a big gap in a sentence, which is what I just did instead of talking. So, that’s what’s going on in my life. And we had an appraisal come back really high today. So, that was cool.

Mindy:
Well, nice for you, we had the exact opposite. So, I wish your appraiser lived over here. David and I are here to make financial independence less scary. That’s just for somebody else to introduce you to every Money Story. Because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone, no matter when or where you’re starting.

David Pere:
Whether you want to retire early, and travel the world, go on to make big-time investments and assets like real estate, or start your own business, we’ll help you reach your financial goals and get money out of the way, so that you can launch yourself towards your dreams.

Mindy:
A few months ago, Daniella posted on Twitter that they were thinking about quitting their job, but there was a lot more to it than they originally thought. And if you’re struggling with it, you’re not alone. I know this firsthand, because my own husband… Hi, Carl, struggled with this too before he finally took the plunge. So, I feel qualified to talk about this both with Daniella and to give advice to people who are listening as well. David, you’re also successfully unemployed, right?

David Pere:
Yes, ma’am. Have been since October.

Mindy:
Now, is that official? Do you have a job? Do you do any sort of work at all, or you just sit around on the beach all day and eat bonbons?

David Pere:
Technically, still in the reserves for the Marine Corps, though I have not actually gone and done anything for the reserves in the last five months. So, we’ll see how long that lasts. I have not received a paycheck from anything outside of my LLCs since October 10th.

Mindy:
So then, I would call you unemployed. Because if nobody’s paying you, then you shouldn’t be doing any work for them. So, Daniella is here today to talk about both the circumstances leading up to their potential retirement or separation from employment, and what they’re going to do once they get there. One of the things I like most about Daniella is that they don’t like to hustle. They like to dabble. Their blog is called iliketodabble.com. And they do not promote the grind it all costs mentality that really makes life kind of suck.

Mindy:
To quote Daniella, “Stop this. You have to hate your life to become successful rhetoric. Hustle culture doesn’t work. You can do meaningful work in moderation, and be happy.” Daniella has taken these dabblings, combined them with their full-time job in IT and their low expenses, to get them to the precipice of retirement, which is where we join them today. Daniella Flores from iliketodabble.com, Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast.

Daniella Flores:
Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited. I love this podcast, and I can’t wait to get into it.

Mindy:
I can’t wait to jump into your story. So, let’s get a little bit of a background from your money journey. Where did you start? And right up to about now where you are considering leaving full-time employment.

Daniella Flores:
Yes, so I guess I’ll start my story back when I started side hustling. So, when I started my first like go it side hustling was when I was in high school. I didn’t really think of it as side hustling at the time. I had a problem with spending money because I wasn’t familiar with how I was kind of triggered by money. So, I would basically spend my… at that time, I worked to the movie theater. So, it’s been like the whole paycheck on things that didn’t matter like food, clothes. These were things that I didn’t necessarily need at that time.

Daniella Flores:
I wanted them, but they really didn’t matter. And through all of that, by the time I had my bills come, I would need money for those because I was paying for my car. I was paying for my cell phone. I was still in high school, so I didn’t have rent stuff. But I would go and sell my clothes as well, as go to thrift stores and buy stuff and resell those at online. So, at the time, I was using Craigslist for this stuff because this is back in the day. And I was trying to basically remake the money back that I blew.

Daniella Flores:
I had the education of how to have a good financial. Hear me resay this. So, I had the education to have a good financial foundation for my parents, but I was somebody that would never listen to any of that. I thought that, “I have it covered. I’ll do it. This works for me.” And it did not work for me for a very long time. And I went on that way for about a couple of years until I got into college. I had to be a little bit more serious. I stopped side hustling per se. I had basically… they were jobs. They weren’t like these little one-off things I was doing. I was working three jobs through college, trying to graduate.

Daniella Flores:
At the time, working at my mom’s surgery center. I was doing health insurance verification, and I hated the tediousness of it. I was like, “I can’t wait to go to college or work in tech. My life is going to be so easy. I can’t wait to do all these things, have control my life. It’s going to be great.” And I got into school. I took an unpaid internship. I was making $0 for those first couple of weeks. I got hired on eventually at $30,000 salary. I thought that was a lot. I was not making much after taxes or anything. It was maybe $1500 a month after taxes, health insurance, stuff for life insurance, 401(k), the benefits that cost money at the place I was working at.

Daniella Flores:
From there, I actually had my first real experience in IT. I was a web engineer. But at this startup, the environment that the way it was was everybody was around my age, right out of college. We were all working 80-hour weeks. They would have alcohol in the office, all this food for you. They’d have parties and go to concerts for free, all these things so they could keep you in this environment. So, you’re always working. And I burned out hard. And I burned out very quickly. It took me 10 months, and I’ve burned out so bad. I just stopped going to work. And I was actually fired for my first job out of college.

Daniella Flores:
And that was when I started my first legit freelance kind of side hustle. I got a job waitressing. And then I got a freelance gig with one of the former clients that worked with me at that startup. I didn’t sign an NDA or anything. So, I was totally fine, just by the way. So, working with that freelance relationship, doing like a freelance… basically what I was doing at that startup as a freelancer, and they asked me like, “What would you like to get paid? We can pay you $100 an hour.” That blew my mind. It was crazy because they really valued my work. At the time, I was completely clueless about what I should ask. They’re like, “How about $100 an hour? It was only for 10 hours a week.” So, I was like, “That’s perfect. I can do that.” And so, I did that for a while. And I worked as a waitress.

Daniella Flores:
And then, I still had this pressure, though, for my family to get a real job. “You need to get back into a real job. What are you doing? You’re not going anywhere.” So, with this mindset my whole life, is like, you go to you go to college. You get a job. That’s what you do. And then, eventually, you retire. There’s no really stuff in between these, think about too much. Because you’re thinking about all the time. It’s like, I got to work. I got to make this money. I got to live, I guess.

Daniella Flores:
And at that time, I was trying so hard to get another job. So, I eventually got another job. And then from there, I kind of moved up these different positions. I did a lot of lateral moves throughout my career in tech. I did a lot of job hopping because I felt I was just stuck a lot at the other salary ranges I was in, who these jobs I was taking. So, I had to kind of job hop to get my salary to kind of bump up as I went. And I never really got any my money stuff, though, together during any of that. I was still spending like I’ve always been spending. And it wasn’t until about 2017 where we finally had to start getting our stuff together. I was having student loan. The student loan office’s calling me all the time about student loan payments that needed to be made. We had credit card debt that we had to pay. And we had car debt that we had to pay.

Daniella Flores:
At the time, my wife was also paying for her house. When we met, it was her house. That was in her name. So, I was like, “We need to get our stuff together.” And that’s what actually propelled us to basically get our money stuff together. So, it’s a long-winded answer. I went through a lot of all of these weird events in my life that were kind of telling me like, “Hey, you need to get your stuff together.” And just got it together eventually.

Mindy:
Yay! Better late than never.

Daniella Flores:
Yes.

Mindy:
So, I have a few things I want to unpack from this. First, you said, “I can’t wait to get out of college. So, my real life can begin.” And that is going to be the callback for later when you talk about your retirement because I hear you see, “Everything’s going to be great once I can quit my mom’s job or quit this job with my mom where I’m verifying insurance benefits,” which has to be just a horrible job. And then, I can get this great job.

Mindy:
And I hear that mentality from people who want to retire, “Once I retire, everything’s going to be great.” And then you went on to talk about the life that you had. And it was not great because it wasn’t the life that you wanted. And the retirement… and I know this firsthand from my husband’s experience. I’m going to call David to get his firsthand experience, is that, if you don’t plan your retirement, it’s not great. It’s kind of sucky. Your life gets pulled, and your attention gets pulled. And your time gets pulled in all these different directions because you have no plan.

Mindy:
And I’m really excited to talk about the next phase of your life because I want to see what you’re planning. Because I can see so many good things. You have learned from the time that you were in college that, “I can’t wait to get my real life planned.” And I know. I follow you on Twitter. I read your blog. I know you’ve got plans. And your retirement is going to be great. Because you’re not just jumping into it with both feet, and “Hey, whatever happens, happens.” You have to plan things in life, or life will happen to you. So, I just wanted to get that out there.

Mindy:
You also had this pressure from your family to get a real job. Everybody listening, stop pressuring people to get a real job. Whatever they want to do, if it’s covering their bills, if they’re not asking you for money, don’t bother them. And then, in one of your blog posts, you say, “I am an advocate for job hopping to increase your salary within reason.” I want to dive into that a little bit because I’m old. And I come from an era where you don’t job hop because you look flaky. And I can remember how many times my parents told me, “Well, you don’t like this job, but you can’t leave because you’ll just look like a job hopper, and nobody will ever want to hire you.” I have applied for so many jobs that I have gotten or been offered because I’m a good interviewer. They’re not going to care. But apparently, they do. And now, they don’t within reason. So, what does within reason mean to you?

Daniella Flores:
So, within reason, for me, I think that’s more of an open thing. Hey, if you’re job hopping every couple of months, like two months, three months, so that’s all your resume looks like. I’m not going to say that that’s a good idea. That’s what I mean by it, within reason. So, job hopping for me, if the job isn’t working out for you, whatever it is, however long you’re there, though, leave. Find whatever way you can to leave that job, and find a better job. But if you’re doing job hopping to just raise your salary, don’t do that. Like “Here, I’m going to job hop 10 different jobs and get a 500k salary.” What are your goals, though, with that?

Mindy:
So, let’s get to where we are today. You are considering leaving your job, but there’s a lot of things to consider. Not just, “I quit. Bye. I’m done.” And I liked your most recent article on acorns.com. Is it acorns.com or grow.acorns.com?

Daniella Flores:
I think it’s grow, grow.acorns.com. It’s the CNBC acorns, I guess, publication partnership that they have.

Mindy:
It was hack your job to earn more money. And step number one, you negotiated for full-time remote work. I love this tip from you. During the pandemic, I made sure to negotiate for this because I knew we would be asked to come back to the office eventually. And we wanted to move to another state. So, you negotiated before anybody else was asking to stay home full-time. You’re there right at the beginning of the pandemic. Talk about that. Let’s talk about how you negotiated this because this is not just “Hey, I want to work for remote forever.”

Daniella Flores:
Right, absolutely. So, I first want to say like a preface here. So, as somebody who works in tech, it is a lot easier for me to negotiate remote work than it is for somebody who is like a teacher, per se. I just want to say that for anybody listening. So, negotiating remote work for me was something that I had a lot of actual experience with. So, with the kind of positions I’ve had throughout my career, I’ve always worked remote in some capacity. It’s either been a hybrid remote relationship where it’s at least like one day remote to as much as being full-time remote.

Daniella Flores:
The last three jobs that I’ve had, I’ve been a full-time remote worker. So, I kind of knew already what they were looking for in a full-time remote worker when it came up to… we were all sent home during the pandemic. I was like, “Yes! Back into full-time remote role again.” I want to stay here. So, where I work currently, when I was originally hired, they had told me that I would eventually have the chance to become full-time remote. But at the time, their policy was hybrid. So, I was actually going into the office before the pandemic about two days a week.

Daniella Flores:
So, once we were home full-time, we wanted to make our move happen. Because with the way everything was at that time, we thought it’s like, “It’s either now or never. We got to move now. We just got to make it happen.” So, my wife was looking for jobs in the area we wanted to move to. And I was doing kind of the data analysis on my side with my job, looking around at the different programs. Because there were already people that worked full-time remote in other locations that have always been doing it that way. Because they had like little jobs, not little jobs, but they had positions that were open as remote only. Because it was a global company, this company has offices all over the world. So, they already had groups that were working remote. They had people that were working remote.

Daniella Flores:
And so, I looked around first to look at that… the climate of the company is like, “How are they going to receive it, if I ask it?” So, I did that. And then I use our ticketing system. So, the way that we do our work, everything’s tracked in tickets. And there’s all these different types of tickets. So, I can actually pull my own metrics of how I work and how much I get done, which is the same stuff that I use every year in our reviews. And I going to go through all the stuff that I do. And then, I showed them all the extra stuff I was able to do by working full-time remote since the pandemic.

Daniella Flores:
And I also showed that it was like this push of… they kind of made it that way though, anyway. They send everybody home. The expectations increased like crazy. If anyone’s listening, and they work in tech, they probably understand what I’m talking about. Because now, there are things in tech that weren’t there before. There are like measurements, that they measure how you’re working. They measure the tickets that you’re doing. They measure the data that’s in your tickets. They have these KPIs now that are set up to actually have people lose their jobs, which is kind of a whole other conversation.

Daniella Flores:
But I presented all this to them. And I was like, “Look, the job is already basically demanding me to be remote.” My wife and I are preparing to move to Washington State. And then I kind of presented all the information. I talked to my manager, and he was like, “I’m okay with it. We just have to go to legal and maybe, sign some stuff.” That also personal relationship I have with my manager. And he said I was always present. I wasn’t somebody he had to try to chase down. He said I always did my work. He never had a doubt of me being full-time remote if anything would change. He’s like, “You’ve kind of been hybrid remote, anyway. I know how you work remote. I don’t think anything’s going to change. We just have to see how the company can legally do that.”

Mindy:
I think there’s a lot of people out there who hate their job, and “If I could just work from home, it’d be great.” But if you go to work, and you hate your job, it oozes out of you that you hate your job. It oozes out of you that you’re a miserable person. And then you’re like, “Hey, I want to work remote.” And your boss is like, “Why would I let you work remote? You don’t get anything done at the office. Why would I let you go home and do even less at home?” You presented yourself as “I’m very good at working remote because here’s my past work experience. I’m already getting more stuff done because I’m already working remote. Look at how great I am already.” It should be very easy for you to allow me to work remote.

Mindy:
And being a good employee is going to get you the most benefits from your job. And if it’s not, then that’s a different conversation. You do need to quit your job if your company isn’t appreciating you. But you have to be somebody that the company wants to keep. They’re not going to bend over backwards to keep a crappy employee. So, I love this tip that you… like, “I went through the tickets.” I don’t want to offend you and call you a big data nerd.

Daniella Flores:
Well, I am a data nerd.

Mindy:
Good. That’s a term of endearment on this show. I bet you have spreadsheets too.

Daniella Flores:
Yes, I love spreadsheets.

David Pere:
Tim Ferriss kind of talks about this in The 4-Hour Workweek, right? The idea of being able to show that you are more… like test out a day at home and then show you are more productive that day and whatever. Where was the company physically located at before you went remote?

Daniella Flores:
So, the IT headquarters in our specific region was in St. Louis, Missouri.

David Pere:
Well, I can’t even talk smack about you leaving because I’m in Springfield.

Daniella Flores:
Springfield. I went to college in Springfield actually.

David Pere:
MSU?

Daniella Flores:
Yes, Missouri State University for my first year.

David Pere:
Cool. Cool. Cool. Good area. That’s where I do most of my investing. So, what I was going to say though, is that one’s kind of odd actually, because I was going to ask if they gave you a slight pay cut. So, I have a friend Daniel who lived in Carlsbad, California. And he moved to a much more affordable market to work remote full-time during the pandemic. And they gave him like a little bit of a pay reduction for the move. However, if you look at cost of living to pay, it was like a pay raise, essentially, to move. But I guess if you’re moving from St. Louis to Washington, you probably went to a higher cost of living area. So, probably didn’t give you a pay cut for that.

Daniella Flores:
For my employer, they have offices all over the world. So, in every big financial market country, they have an IT headquarters. So, with that said, there are tons of employees that work remote. So, they have actual location markers that they could put my name to. And I had the same salary that I was getting before that. So, they didn’t change my salary at all. And it’s actually shortly after that, that I job hopped within the company to a higher salary. But I still was able to stay remote.

Mindy:
Let’s talk about that.

Daniella Flores:
Yes. So, this was actually a little less than one year ago. It was about May. So, my former team… if anyone’s listening, I hope they’re not. Everybody on the team is great. There’s just a couple of people that made it a very toxic environment even though I was working virtually. And I know a lot of people say that, like, the toxic environments, there’s an extra boundary there with remote. And yes, that is true. But at the time, think about like this time last year during the pandemic, people’s attitudes, there was like that tension everywhere with work and everywhere you went. And it came out in team meetings. And I was getting on these 5:00 A.M. calls. I’m trying to run these calls efficiently to make sure that we’re on target for certain efforts that we’re doing in our iterations.

Daniella Flores:
And so, I got on these calls, and I would just get screamed at for over the smallest things, like a link that they don’t want to click to view a thing on a screen. The things that these people get upset about, I was like, “This seems not working out for me. I can’t deal with this every single day where I’m on the verge of tears after just a couple of morning calls.”

Daniella Flores:
So, I started looking around internally at the company. They have an internal career portal. Everything gets listed there first before it gets listed to their external portal. But I also looked into their mentorship program. So, I reached out to a mentor. And we started meeting on a monthly basis. And then, she gave me some tricks to look at the internal portal to kind of be like, “Hey, this hiring manager, I know that that position is for this specific thing.” Because it wouldn’t be really in the job description. Everything’s so vague in all the descriptions. She was able to kind of give me more of a lowdown of the certain jobs. So, I was actually starting to apply to a couple things internally. It didn’t get anything and not really much traction was happening.

Daniella Flores:
And then luckily enough, somebody else who was in my network at the job, they were just somebody else on like another team. They weren’t on my team. But we had talked because we worked on various projects together. And she said, “Hey, I have word that there’s a new organization being spun up. And they’re looking for a leader liability and an engineer for this team. They reached out to me, but I’m taking a manager position. So, I gave them your name.” And I was like, “Oh my God. Thank you.” And they reached out to me the next week for an interview. We interviewed. They said, “It’s fine. You can stay remote.” And they said the words, “I don’t see us ever returning back to the office.” But now they’re all there. And I feel horrible about it, but anyway.

Daniella Flores:
Anyway, I found this new team. I did a move. I was a senior software engineer then. And I’m now a lead reliability engineer. So, I got a pay bump with that, and I got a bonus bump with that. And that was a huge save for me. And I kind of got lucky on it because I was applying to other things. And I even got an email back from one of the offices. It was one that was listed San Francisco/ remote. And I was like, “Cool. It’s remote.” That would probably stay remote. So, I applied to that one. And they actually were trying to set up an interview with me, but they said, “We are remote now. But once we go back, we need you to move to San Francisco.” And I was like, “San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live. No, absolutely not.” Like, no. I work remote now for the same company. I don’t know why you would require me to be there. So, that one actually… they passed on me because they said that, “If you’re not going to move here to eventually work in the office, then it won’t work.” and I was like, “Okay.” And then, that next week, that came through with my friend on the other team. So, that was pretty cool.

Mindy:
That reminds me of a job interview I had once where the interviewer said, “And if you’re here after six o’clock at night, the company will buy you dinner.” And I’m thinking to myself, “I don’t want to be here at six o’clock. Why are you acting all excited? I can make my own dinner at home. I don’t want to work till six o’clock at night.” And they would also buy you a cab home, and like, “The train’s $1.50, I’ll just take the train. Thank you.” Because I don’t want to be there so late. They make it sound like it’s so great. Well, we’re remote now. What do you mean you don’t want to come into the office and move to San Francisco? And like, I told them to take my name out of consideration. It sounds like they passed on me. That’s a good thing. That’s a great thing.

Daniella Flores:
Absolutely. Because I was looking at houses in San Francisco, and I’m like, “Pretty sure we can’t get one under $2 million.” So, that’s a no. It’s a hard pass

Mindy:
And that’s a shack that needs a lot of work, and broken foundation, no plumbing. electric is sparking, so they’ve turned it off.

Daniella Flores:
Right. There’s no floors.

Mindy:
Who needs floors? Why are you so picky, Daniella?

Daniella Flores:
I know right.

Mindy:
So, you just mentioned 5:00 A.M. calls when you were talking to your team in Missouri.

Daniella Flores:
Yes.

Mindy:
That’s not cool.

Daniella Flores:
No, it’s not cool. So, the nature of that team at the time, since we were an external customer facing application, so these are people using like rewards on their credit cards. We were an external facing application. But we worked with various teams in different regions, which a lot of the teams at that company are structured that way where you have a program, which is like your group of teams. And in that program, you have all the regions. And you all have to find a way to connect when time zones never match. I was the one who got the not the best end of the stick on that one.

Daniella Flores:
It also was a team of… it was a very male dominated, well, I was the only woman. I was only like female present. At the time, I identified as a woman. To people I’m female presenting, as you look at me, you think of female. But at my team, the only person who was a woman was a… she was part-time. And she was very good to work with. I wonder if any women in tech or listening to me right now. But they might often feel like they’re being stuffed into secretary tasks or administrative tasks as someone in tech. And that often happens on teams like that. And I was someone who is often shoved in these things to run meetings like, “Hey, Daniella. You want to run this morning meeting? They like to work with you. You’ll be great for it.” And I was like, “Well, sure.” I should have said no. And I say no, now. Now, I say no.

David Pere:
So, here’s the question. Did 5:00 A.M. call equate to two hour earlier being done? Or was it like, in addition to your normal work hours, you’re going to be on the phone at 5:00?

Daniella Flores:
Well, I was able to get off earlier, as long as nobody sent me an instant message on Slack right at last minute that they need me to fix some life shattering issue. That slash is there in evening.

David Pere:
I’m the weirdo who would love that. Like, “You mean I can wake up early, but I get to be off at three in the afternoon every day?” So old.

Daniella Flores:
That is a good thing. I do get off earlier. So, now, I don’t start that early. I start at 6:00, and I get off at 2:00, which is perfect.

Mindy:
But still, 5:00 A.M. I’m assuming, and maybe, I’m just being too American, but I’m assuming that you’re working with people in America on your team. So, I mean, even if it’s Pacific and Eastern Time, there’s a large chunk of time that you can still find in the middle of the day to not have to get up at five o’clock in the morning for some stupid meeting that probably could have been an email.

Daniella Flores:
I should clarify that when I say regions, I mean global regions. So, morning calls are usually with India. So, Pune, our Pune team. So, that’s a big part of all the teams, those teams over in the Asia Pacific region.

Mindy:
Okay, okay. Maybe, that’s just me being American. Everything centers around us.

Daniella Flores:
I know right. I’m always thinking that my time zone is the one.

Mindy:
It is. Except it’s my time zone that is the one.

Daniella Flores:
Yes.

Mindy:
Mountain. And I’ll even send emails to people that I know we’re in different time zones, like, “Can you do this at 10:00?” Then, they call me at 10:00 their time, they’re like, “Hey, where are you?” Like, “It’s 8:00. What are you talking about?”

David Pere:
I know. And the funny thing though… and it would almost make it easier if you always spoke in your time zone. But Mindy’s actually pretty good about remembering what time zone you’re in and sending it in your time zone every now and then. So, it throws me for a loop when she doesn’t. And I’m totally lost. I’m like, “Oh my goodness. Now I’m super confused.”

Mindy:
I try to put it in all caps to bring it up. This is mountain time zone. But sometimes I forget, like, “I feel bad.”

Daniella Flores:
That was a good one. I know that one. It’s only an hour after me.

Mindy:
Let’s talk about this next tip you have, “I made sure to prioritize my time.” I love these next two pieces that you have, “I stopped saying yes to everything. I started denying meetings that would be emails.” If only we all had that power, and especially, “denying all meetings outside of my working hours.”

Daniella Flores:
Yes. When I first started in tech, and even up until a couple of years ago, I would say yes to everything because I was anxious that if I didn’t say yes, I wouldn’t be seen as somebody who is performing well. Because there’s expectations that they set, but always you feel like you have to go above those to feel like you’re even being adequate. Obviously, that’s not true. But I figured out that me wanting to be available for everything and wanting to do everything was only hurting me, not helping me. So, I stopped saying yes. I started saying no. And I found out it was like, it’s not that bad to say no people really don’t care. It’s okay. So, that was nice.

Daniella Flores:
I mean, sometimes occasionally you get that person who they really, really want to have that meeting. It’s really necessary. And all you have to do is… I mean, what I did a lot of times is like, “What are your questions that you want to address on this email?” And then, they’ll send me the questions, and I’ll send them their answers, or send them the resources that they need. It’s like, “There you go.” That’s all you needed to do.

Daniella Flores:
But now, the number one thing that’s helping me the most is, because people will load up my calendar with meetings if they see slots because that’s how everybody schedules meetings, I guess, through slack, is that they want to see what your open slots are. They don’t really ask anymore. So, I’ve been time blocking the things that I need to do throughout the week at work. So, I make sure that those are actually taken up too.

Daniella Flores:
Because like, all right, I know I have a bunch of reports. I have to run for a month end kind of data stuff. So, I have to block this many hours on this day to do this. And so, if I do that, that makes sure that I don’t have all these meetings coming in and taking up my time. So, then I have to push this work to whatever else that can get done. Because I don’t want to do it on off hours. That’s a no, not going to be working on off hours. And I want to get my time done, when I want to get it done. I mean, my work done when I want to get it done.

Mindy:
Yes, during work hours.

Daniella Flores:
Yes.

Mindy:
Especially as a working at home person. I quit at 5:00, but now it’s 6:30. And I’m still sitting in front of my computer, because I just have one more thing to do. I mean, in IT, in tech, in almost everything, there’s always something else you can do. I am very fortunate that when I started at BiggerPockets, I think Brandon sat me down and said, Josh will always give you 150 more hours of work that you can do, and he knows it. So, do what you can and then stop at the end of the day, and start the next day. There’s always more work than you can do. It was like week one that he said that. And I’m so glad that he did because I would have felt overwhelmed with all the work.

Mindy:
It’s an online website where there’s people who can come in and talk any day. And I was in charge of the forums. So, anytime day or night, there’s somebody posting there. So, I could have literally been online all day every day. And never slept and never ate and never saw my family and just trying to keep up and frantically. And, of course, that’s not sustainable. And I would have to sleep and eat and whatever. But you can work 18 hours a day if you want. Don’t want that because that’s not a fun life.

Daniella Flores:
No, not fun at all. I guess a lot of people, for the folks that had the experience of going home to work remote, you might have realized that there is like an influx of meetings. I feel like when I went home remote, it was like, all my days are just people are trying to create all these meetings. And my dad works in tech too. And we were talking about this because like, “I feel like all I’m doing all day is meetings. I can’t do my work.” We like to kind of complain back and forth about our jobs because we have very similar jobs. So, we’re talking, is like, “Just all these people.” He’s like, “They’re just managers or things that they don’t know what they’re managing. And they’re just sending me meetings so they look like they’re busy.” We talked about, it’s like, “All right. Stop accepting them. And start filling up your calendar with the things that you know you need to get done. And make sure that you’re not completely sabotaging yourself at work.”

Mindy:
Exactly. Well, let’s move into your next life.

Daniella Flores:
My next life, yes.

Mindy:
What does your next life look like?

Daniella Flores:
My next life looks like a little bit like my life now. So, I’ve been working on my brand and my blog iliketodabble.com. I’ve been working on that since 2017 on and off. So, those first couple years, I stepped away from it a lot because I was getting burnt out with the content generation, kind of roller coaster that you’re on as you’re generating content. So, I burned out here and there. And I stepped away from it, and then I would come back.

Daniella Flores:
And then the last few years, I really went hit the ground running, got more serious about it. And as I started to hone in on ways to help people like me, people in the LGBTQ community, creatives, and people looking to increase their income if they don’t feel comfortable negotiating or comfortable looking for those opportunities. I tried to hone in on the things that I felt strongly about, and I was like, “I feel really passionate about this.” And a long time, I’ve had a problem with the word passion because you could have so many passions in your life. There’s not just one. So, I was like, “This is something I really want to do.”

Daniella Flores:
So, I got into therapy last year, and that was the one thing that helped me a lot. We were talking about this because I was like I’m not sure if this is the right move because my job has all these amazing benefits, but I really want to do this. I really want to do this full-time because I feel like I’m wasting all this time, not wasting, but you use your energy throughout your workday doing these tasks, the energy to build up for the stuff you want to work on. So then, after that, I’m like, “There’s all these things I want to do. And I feel like I’m losing this time to something else that my heart isn’t into. I don’t see a future in.” And we talked about, and she’s like, “I see the way you talk about your blog.” And she’s like, “I don’t see your face light up like that when you talk about your work.” That’s all you need to know. It sounds like you know what to do. And I was like, “That’s right. I do, I guess.”

Mindy:
So, I have a firsthand experience with this, from your wife’s point of view. My husband said the same thing, “I don’t want to work here anymore. I want to do other things. But I make all this money. I have these amazing benefits. Who am I to leave this great paying job to go pursue my passions, my dreams? Why would I leave this? It seems so selfish.” And it took him a year to come to terms with this. And even then, he asked his boss, “Could I just go three days a week?” And even that was like, “I should ask him, but I don’t want to. And what if he says no?” And then, he finally asked his boss like, “I don’t care.”

Mindy:
It feels like this huge decision because it’s so life altering to you. But it’s not such a huge deal to your boss because then they still got him. He had proprietary knowledge of… he wrote blood bank software for the VA hospital, David. So, if you need blood, if you got blood in 2010 to 2015, 2008 to 2015, he made sure you didn’t die. So, you’re welcome.

David Pere:
I can’t imagine that being a super high stress job. I mean, the VA does everything super slow and inefficiently. So, they probably don’t care when you get anything done.

Mindy:
Except it could kill you. If it gives you the wrong blood.

David Pere:
Not me. I’m AB positive. Anything you got, I’m good. I’m the one that can take everything.

Mindy:
Well, good for you. I don’t know anything about blood. Carl knows it all. But it was really stressful. So, he stepped down, and the boss is like, “Sure, no problem.” And then, when he finally quit, he’s like, “Wow, I should have done this years ago.” And I think that that’s going to be the same too. You mentioned just a few moments ago that somebody at work works part-time. Have you considered stepping back work instead of quitting cold turkey to test it out?

Daniella Flores:
So, this is something I’ve been thinking about. And I haven’t tackled it. This is another one of those fears, I guess, where it’s like, “I’m back at this thing,” where I want to ask this thing. I want to ask for a part-time work. And I’ve looked into it, and I asked HR portal, and I asked like, “Hey, are we still eligible for benefits if I were to move part-time?” And they said, “Yes.” So, I haven’t asked my manager yet, though. I just asked HR for informational. They didn’t say, “Yes, you can do it.” It was just informational of, “Yes, you can still get benefits at the same rate you do now if you’re part-time.”

Daniella Flores:
So, I can try to ask my manager that. But I tried to take stock of the current situation I’m in. Unfortunately, they just started going back to the office a couple of weeks ago. So, I’m on calls. And all of my team is required to be in the office. Two days a week, I think, is what they’re doing now. Some of them do like three or four. That depends on the person, like their style. But I can tell that there’s like a… I don’t know for sure if it’s there or not, but there’s like, “We all know Daniella gets to work from home all the time.” And they even have these benefits.

Daniella Flores:
So, the job has actually added new benefits to their benefit package called Work From Anywhere Weeks. But they have entire teams and people that work remote full-time that always worked from anywhere. And they were talking and they’re calling other day like, “I’m picking up my Work From Anywhere Weeks and stuff.” And I was like, “No comment.” I can’t say anything. So, if I bring this up to my boss, like, “Hey, can I move to part-time?” I don’t know what she will respond to that like. And I haven’t tackled it yet. But it’s an option I’ve been thinking about. Yes. But I’m also trying to think about the timing for it. Because it’s right, everyone just went back. And I feel like I’m the odd one out, and they don’t like it.

David Pere:
Just punch your own ticket in the IT system, and make it look like you worked the full week.

Daniella Flores:
There you go.

David Pere:
You run the system that catches people so you’re good.

Daniella Flores:
There you go.

David Pere:
Legal disclaimer, I’m not an attorney.

Daniella Flores:
Exactly. So, I’ve thought about moving to part-time. Maybe it’s something I should ask before I try to quit. So, that’s great that you brought that up.

David Pere:
So, your blog is all about side hustles, right? And dabbling and freelancing, and a lot of those things are not passive or recurring income. So, when you say retire, are you taking the money that you’re making from there and reinvesting in something that is going to be able to give you like cash flow or passive income? Or is your idea of retirement like mine? Where I’m retired, and it’s my office. Therefore, it’s me doing whatever I want. And you’re going to continue to push the blog forward and freelance and everything. But you’re viewing it as retire just because it’s on your own terms.

David Pere:
Just got curious the financial position there because usually when people… not like I’m an expert. But usually, when people make the transition from employed to successfully unemployed, there’s the finance question. And then, once you check that box, you’re like, “I’m good.” Then, it becomes like, “Now, what do I do?” And those are two totally different problems. But they both arise when you leave the employment world.

Daniella Flores:
Right. So, I’m leaving my employment world, but I’m not retiring and living off of investments. So, we are still actively investing, but we won’t be withdrawing from those investments during this. The only one we have is like our brokerage account, which that is like 10 years in the future kind of thing. So, we could use that money if we needed to. But we also have emergency savings that we’ve saved up. I’ve been saving up for months.

Daniella Flores:
I actually originally wanted to quit last year. And I just keep extending it because of all of my own doubts about yada, yada, yada. So, I’m not retiring from all work ever. I’m just retiring from like a W2 employee to being a self-employed person. So, what my plan is is to run the blog, but also do my freelance projects that I do, do the consulting and the coaching that I do, work with the several different publications that I do. And some of those do have like passive income streams. Like the blog brings in add income every month. We have affiliate income, some digital products that planned around those launches will have passive income come in. And we’re also trying to work to build up systems to make sure that I can automate a little bit more of that, and guarantee a little bit more of recurring income as we continue to save more and prepare for me to make the switch.

David Pere:
Does your job offer decent vacation benefits? Or is it possible to do a sabbatical? Because, like in the military, you could take 30 days paid vacation. And you could take a full month off, and at the end of the month, you’re like, “Wow! Yup, I’m ready.”

Daniella Flores:
[inaudible 00:42:30]. That’s perfect.

David Pere:
All right. I’ll give it a little bit longer. So, if that’s an option, I would definitely recommend doing that.

Daniella Flores:
Sabbatical. I don’t know if they have sabbatical as a benefit. I haven’t seen that on their benefits, but we have 30 days of vacation. I’ve already been using vacation this year like crazy because I know that I want to use them all up. We still get paid out though, for any that we don’t use. But I’ve been using them way more this year, like in the beginning of the year. Because usually, I have it from the summer offloaded to like the end of the year. This year, everything’s been offloaded to the beginning of the year because I want to leave. But I’ve been taking a little bit too much vacation lately, which actually, there is no such thing as too much vacation.

David Pere:
No, I mean, that was exactly what I was going to suggest is take as much as you have. Like, if you have 30 days on the book, take 30 days. And don’t think about work at all, and pretend you’re retired. And then by the end of that time period, you’ll probably know if you’re actually ready or not.

Daniella Flores:
So, I did that kind of a month. My mom and I went to Napa, California. I haven’t talked to her about it. Because my parents were the number one, not the number one, but one of those people in the back of my head being like, “Real bad. Can’t leave it. What about your 401(k) match, blah, blah, blah.” So, we even talked about it. Because I was showing her this product I was working on with another publication. And she was like, “This is really cool.”

Daniella Flores:
And she was really engaged. And she’s never been engaged in the stuff that I do. Because it’s tech, and she was in nursing and administration, hospital administration for a while. So, she’s doesn’t really vibe with all the tech stuff. So, I was talking about it. She’s like, “You excited when you talk about this stuff. I’ve never seen you talk about your work like that.” And I keep hearing this from other people. And I was like, “Yes, I love it.” And I want to do this full-time. She’s like, “Right away? You want to quit or you want to quit like down the road?” And I was like, “Well, I kind of want to quit like this year.” And she’s like, “Well, I mean, you enjoy it.” So, I was like, “Well, I didn’t expect you to say that.” My dad is the one that you have to convince, though. But either way, I don’t need to convince them anymore. It’s not like I live with them.

David Pere:
You just got to convince yourself.

Daniella Flores:
I know right. That’s the real one I have to convince.

David Pere:
I’m not saying that you have to convince yourself to make the leap. I’m just saying that’s the hardest part of the decision is coming to terms with, “I feel like this is the right move now. And I wrestled with it for like six months.”

Daniella Flores:
I’ve been wrestling with it now for about a year. I’m wrestling with mostly because of just the way I was raised and the way work is in my family. My dad was an immigrant from Venezuela. So, when he came over here, he worked several different jobs. He got into IT. And he worked up from Help Desk to a lead architect position. He’s a union worker. And he’s very much like work, work, this is the way to work in America. This is how you become successful and get what you want.

Daniella Flores:
And when I was a kid, he’s like, “America is the greatest country in the world.” Where he came from, and the tradition over there was to send the males to America to get an education. If you were in a well-off, not a well-off family, but a family that was able to do that for their male children. I don’t know why that’s a tradition per se. They weren’t really technically well-off. My grandma was a teacher. I think they actually had eight kids. But he was, eventually, able to come to America.

Daniella Flores:
And that was ingrained in my head as a kid, of like that culture of work is… this is what you’re going to do. And I don’t want to go for tech for school, originally, but I was good at it. And I was interested in it. And I knew it made money. Really wanted to go for fine art, but I did not have the money to pay for a fine art degree. I wanted to take out loans, but I didn’t want to take that many loans out. And my parents wouldn’t help me pay if I did fine art. So, I had to meet somewhere in the middle. So, I kind of did both. I did tech and graphic design.

Mindy:
So, you can take your tech salary. And now, you can finance your fine art love, and do whatever you want because you have set yourself up to be in this position. And I’m kind of glad your parents didn’t let you take fine art because my parents did. And for a long time, I stayed at that $30,000 level that you started out at. I didn’t get up to $200,000 because I was working in… what can you do with a fine arts degree? Would you like fries with that? I studied fashion design. David’s laughing at me because I’m not a fashion person at all. So, it was a stupid thing for me to study. It’s not my passion. I really don’t even know why I did it. I would have been better off studying business or I don’t know. The tech is my friend. When I was in college, it really wasn’t a thing. And I’m glad that you were on that path. Now, you can continue making money in tech things. Can you freelance in your tech job? Are there freelance opportunities or contract work?

Daniella Flores:
So, I started out in my tech role. After that startup, I worked as a freelancer for a while. And even after I got a “real job” like my parents would say, I stayed on with that freelance client for a while doing one-off work for them because it was a nice extra income. So, I can freelance. But I did freelance web development for a long time on the side of my job. And basically, attributed to me burning out with tech in the long run. I would never actually work freelance in coding or programming or anything like that again. It’s just like I’ve been in tech for 11 years now. So, I’ve rode this wave for a while. And I’ve tried a lot of different things. And I’m just ready to move on.

Mindy:
I’m just trying to gather up some ideas before I give you advice. I love David’s idea for a sabbatical.

Daniella Flores:
Sabbatical? Yes. That’s great if it’s available.

Mindy:
If it’s available.

Daniella Flores:
Right. But I mean, I’ve been building up the income with my business for a while now. That I’ve gotten it to, at least, to match my pre-tax income to my job. However, I have expenses. Everything that makes the blog run, I have people to pay that helped me with the blog. I have to pay taxes with that money. I have to pay my own health insurance with that money. I won’t be able to get a match anymore. All those things go into this whole decision. That’s what’s really holding me back is because these expenses are going to increase a lot.

Mindy:
So, can you get health insurance through your wife?

Daniella Flores:
Yes, health insurance through my wife is more than our mortgage.

Mindy:
Awesome. Welcome to America, the greatest country in the world. We have amazing health insurance.

Daniella Flores:
Right.

Mindy:
So, then maybe not that one.

Daniella Flores:
We’re a family that… we use our health insurance a lot. There are certain health care needs that we have to see a doctor every month. And there’s a lot of prescriptions that we get. So, we have to opt for her private healthcare that’s through her employer because there’s nothing on the marketplace that meets our needs. We don’t want to buy health insurance. That’s not going to cover anything.

Mindy:
Right.

Daniella Flores:
This is the only option that we have. People have gone back and forth trying to give me all these options for health insurance. And I was like, “Can someone give me an option that makes sense. Geez!”

Mindy:
Move to another country.

Daniella Flores:
Exactly. Right.

David Pere:
It’s part of why I stayed in the reserves was because six months, I still get TRICARE. And then after that, after this month, I guess, I go to paying for TRICARE out of pocket. But on the reserve side is like $270 for the family. And when I was looking at health insurance, I wouldn’t say that we have any kind of crazy medical stuff. I mean, I’m crazy. But you know otherwise.

David Pere:
I mean, there was a comma in there. And I was like, “Are you kidding me?” We live in Missouri. And we believe in like, “Butterfly Stitch? That’ll do.” I’m on a farm, “What do you mean I need to pay this much money?” So, it was definitely eye opening for me to see that. So, that was that was one of my biggest concerns getting out was that expense. And I ultimately… I had an option that I took, but I get that one.

Daniella Flores:
It was one that I did not see coming because the cost for was last year was different. It was still high, but it wasn’t that high. And we went back and looked at it again during open enrollment period for them. I was like, “This is the time. I’m ready to do this. Let’s see what their insurance is.” We brought it up. And we call the lady from like… because we looked at the form, and we’re like, “That can’t be right.” So, we call them. They’re like, “Yes. That’s right.” And we’re like, “Okay, never mind.”

Mindy:
So, does your company provide you with good health insurance?

Daniella Flores:
Yes. So, currently, we pay about a little under $300 a month for both of us. It is pretty good insurance. It’s still high deductible, like $3,000 deductible, but it’s 80-20 after that, which is about the same as this insurance that’s under her but with a way larger price tag on the premiums.

Mindy:
So, looking at your options, this is more of like a research opportunity for you, but what is your job? What do you excel at your job, like your day-to-day job? You mentioned tickets, and you’re doing it stuff. And I know already that’s way over my head, you could tell me exactly what your job is. I’d be like, that’s not my job. What do you do better than anyone else? What do you enjoy doing about your job? What would you spend your part-time doing?

Mindy:
So, just like you went to your boss and said, “Here’s all of the data about how I used to be a remote person. And this is all the stuff I did.” How can you present to your boss a good pitch for allowing you to be part-time? Look, I do all the stuff that everybody else hates. Or look at all the stuff that I’m so good at that nobody else knows how to do or whatever it is that you’re doing. How can you pitch it that it’s in their best interest to let you stay on part-time with these amazing benefits, so that you can work on your side stuff, but you still have the benefits?

Mindy:
So, you take that equation out that like, what am I going to do for health care equation out for a while, while still being able to do the stuff that you enjoy doing at work. Because you don’t want to be like, “Hey, I’ll take all the garbage work that everybody hates.” And then you’re working their 20 hours a week that really suck, 20 sucky hours. Can you load up to 40-hour weeks and then two weeks off? Or a part-time is whatever you make it, they just have to say yes. You can like cobble together whatever it is that you can do. What is it that you’re great at that you can solve a problem for them? Do you know what I mean?

Daniella Flores:
Yes. No, this is a great… this is an angle I’ve never thought of before with asking for part-time. I thought originally, if I was going to pitch this to my manager is, “Okay. I do this currently. If I take X, Y, and Z out of this equation, I could still do all of this currently at 20 hours a week, rather than 40 hours a week.” So, I originally was thinking of ways. We spent a lot of time hand-holding people that are higher up at the company through like… so our team supports this reporting counsel and stuff that they used to retrieval, other data metrics that they use for their things. And we have trainings for all this. And all this stuff is out there like Automate where they can go and grab that training themselves and all these things that we spend a lot of time hand-holding them for things that they don’t really want to take that extra step to go find it themselves. I mean, I take a lot of time every week to do this.

Daniella Flores:
And I was thinking about kind of pitching that angle a little bit where it’s like, “All right, here’s all this work that I’m doing that isn’t really valuable, that is already actually out there and available for people to actually retrieve themselves.” It’s just a lot of manual work that isn’t necessary. I can still do my job in 20 hours a week, maybe give up one project that I could… I don’t know what to do with that yet, but give up on project. And then also, we can try to, I guess, increase communications about the resources that are out there. So, our time isn’t wasted.

Mindy:
Just because you’re asking for part-time doesn’t mean I want to start part-time tomorrow. “Hey, I’d like to start part-time in June,” and see what happens. Or “I’d like to start part-time and test it for six months and see how it goes.” And here’s the suggestions that I’m going to make and leading up to that, June is a great time because that’s summer. So, leading up to June, any one of these hand-holding requests that comes in, instead, send them to me. And I’m going to say, “Here’s that resource. You can just click right here and find that information.”

Mindy:
And then, when they come back and say, “Can you show me how to do this?” It’s right here. And then, train them to do this. I am very guilty of that. Because my thought is, “Why should I go have to figure this out? Daniella knows how to do it. I’ll just ask her.” Now, if I asked Daniella, “How do I do this?” And “Hey, it’s right here.” “Okay, I’ll go get that link.” And you will become very familiar with all those links and where they are. And then, they will become familiar with where those links are as well. A lot of times, they don’t know where to look. Probably they do know where to look, and they’re unwilling to look, they would rather you just tell them, “Click here. Click there, whatever.” But if you continually push them over there, I’m hopeful that they will actually continue to go over there. But you can start to train them into that once they stop getting their hand held. Maybe they’ll take the initiative.

Daniella Flores:
Right. And that’s kind of already been in place. Those little practices that we put in place to reiterate things to people. We’ve been doing that for a while. But, I mean, that’s a great point that you put to maybe look at part-time and ways that I could talk to my manager about ways that we could do that, which I need to put more thought into figuring how that would look like.

Mindy:
And what’s her big pain point? Does she have? Does she have a big pain point? What problem can you solve for her? Does nobody ever do tickets on Friday afternoons? Then, you can make sure you’re working on Friday afternoons.

Daniella Flores:
Everyone’s always doing tickets, unfortunately. The worst thing about working at a global company is that there’s no nine to five office hours. It’s 24/7.

Mindy:
Well, that’s not a helpful hint, then.

Daniella Flores:
But it does highlight a pain point of hers is that she doesn’t want to be available on the other time zones. Neither do I really, though. The only one that I would maybe be available for is Australia, which is right now, would probably be when they’re getting online. But I could probably think of stuff like that. Where like, “What are her pair of pain points with our partner teams that we work with? Maybe I can take off some of that from her plate.” But I don’t know how to structure that with the work that I’m already doing. How would she receive it like, “If you want to move to part-time, what things you need to move off your plate? And I can’t give that to anyone else. Would I have to hire somebody else?” So, I don’t know how that part of the conversation would go.

Mindy:
If you’re not holding somebody’s hand, you can do your 20 hours and still get it all done. Then, she takes the hand-holding off of your plate, who’s going to do that? That could be more evenly distributed throughout the team.

Daniella Flores:
Yes, it could be. Right now, the way that they resource stuff, wherever they can is like trying to not hire anybody new. They try to maximize productivity, I guess, a lot of companies do, obviously. But there are things that I do. There’s projects that I could be doing, but I can’t do because I don’t have room for them on my plate. And I’ve said like, “I can’t do that. I don’t have the capacity for that.” So, there’s actually products out there that I can’t do because I’m already doing too much, though. So, I don’t know how I can transfer that to 20 hours and have her be like, “That’s a good idea.”

Mindy:
So, research opportunity.

Daniella Flores:
I can definitely. I’m going to research it, though. And see how maybe other people have approached this conversation and in a similar environment. So, that gives me a good idea.

Mindy:
And then if she says, “No, you can’t go part-time at all.” You would leave. Would that change her mind? Sometimes that changes minds when you’re like, “Hey, I would really like to go part-time.” “No.” “Well, here’s what I’m proposing.” “No.” “Well, here’s my two-week notice.” “Wait, let’s talk.” But sometimes that doesn’t happen. And sometimes, here’s my two-week notice, “Well, we’ll miss you.”

Mindy:
I worked at one place, and this girl said, “I can’t work here anymore. I have to quit.” And then the boss was like, “No, no, no. Let’s keep you. Tell me what’s going on.” And then a couple of weeks later, she was having a bad day. She’s like, “I can’t work here anymore. I have to quit.” And they’re like, “Okay, bye.” And you could tell she was really ready to quit the first time. And she was really not ready to quit the second time, and was like, “Well, I guess I’m going to leave then.”

Daniella Flores:
Well, I mean, that that could happen to, which I’ve already thought about. I’m good to go. If this health insurance wrench did not come up, I’d be gone already. I already had the meeting setup. And I had to cancel it. And I was like, “Is everything okay?” Like, it’s totally fine. Everything’s fine.

David Pere:
I would say if you’re that close, the one thing you… I don’t know, maybe you are factoring this in. But how much additional revenue can you bring through your platform by being full-time because I would be willing to bet that whatever that health insurance costs, you’ll cover that gap very quickly. So, I’m not going to tell you to make the leap because that is for you to decide. But I will tell you that I am paying more in salary right now than I was earning when I left a year ago. And it has grown very quickly with me being able to make those decisions and have all that time.

Daniella Flores:
Right. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, is that I’ve only been working on this platform like 10 hours a week. If I had 40 hours a week to dedicate to this. And even with the income I’m bringing, we would be able to do the health insurance costs still. We wouldn’t feel comfortable about it, the scrimp and stuff. That’s doable, of course. But it’s like, this is the income now, though, with how much I can work on it. If I can work on it four times as much, what would it be? That’s huge, then. And I don’t know what that looks like yet. But I know it looks better than it does now. So, that’s a great point, too.

David Pere:
And as you think about things from the marketing standpoint, of the brand standpoint, or whatever, right? The tagline of “I’m side hustling to earn extra income and leave my job” is one thing. The tagline of, “I left my job because of this, and I will never have to work again.” That will also help drive your… again, I’m not going to predict the future and tell you what to do. But I’m just saying, you will be surprised when you do make the leap whenever that is. You will be surprised, hopefully pleasantly, by what happens with the revenue at your side hustle when you’re able to focus on a full-time, not have things thrown off your creative flow and distractions. You’re able to use that tagline.

David Pere:
One of my buddies has a Ferrari, right. And he sells coaching programs. And one of the things he said when he was looking at weighing the cost of the car was one of his coaches was like, “Well, do you think if people see that you have a Ferrari, they’re going to buy into your course more?” Well, tangibly he’s paid for the Ferrari in course sales. And that’s something people don’t often think about. I think that even just being able to say, “Hey, I’ve already made it, and here’s why,” will help everything grow that much quicker.

Daniella Flores:
I’ve thought about that as well. Part of my brand though is always been like, “You don’t have to quit your job. You can use your job to help you. Then, build your side hustles and all the stuff to eventually move away from it.” That’s tracked until I got to this point now where it’s like I don’t see myself still going in this direction. And I know how it actually would look if I do. It’s so funny because I can actually visualize all of it. I’m ready for it. But my own limiting belief’s obviously still blocking me. But now, I finally figured out like all these things that I thought were roadblocks. Now, I get to plan around them. Now, I won’t have any more surprises.

Mindy:
You said that your side hustle, your blog is bringing in the same pre-tax income as your W2, but then, you have all these expenses to pay. What is your blog income after all of your expenses in terms of your spending?

Daniella Flores:
For like our family spending?

Mindy:
Mm-hmm.

Daniella Flores:
So, that would be fine. Looking at the numbers now. Like right now, after tax for my paychecks, and after all the other stuff, I get about a little bit above $5,000 a month. There’s a lot of stuff that gets taken out my paycheck but about $5,000 a month. With my blog, of course, it fluctuates once a month depending on projects and launches that are going on and seasonality. It’s been fluctuating this year before tax and before expenses like 6, 8, 10 the last three months. It’s kind of all over the place, still. But after all that, though, I still think I can put in after tax, at least three a month, with my wife’s, we just won’t be able to contribute as much to retirement, which it’s fine. For a while it took me to get around that because of my retirement benefits at my work. I’ll be missing out on that 10% match, which is like, that’s fine. I won’t be able to contribute that much more extra outside of my 401(k). And it’s like, that’s fine. It’s going to be fine.

Mindy:
Right now?

Daniella Flores:
Right now, yes, exactly. Right now.

Mindy:
You won’t be able to. When you are self-employed, and you have no full-time employees other than your spouse. And you have a self-directed solo 401(k), you get a 25% company match.

Daniella Flores:
What do you mean I have a 25% company match?

Mindy:
When you’re self-employed, if you open up a self-directed solo 401(k), your company can match up to 25% of your salary into your 401(k). So, up to 52 or $54,000, contributing to your 401(k).

David Pere:
It might actually be 56 now.

Mindy:
56?

Daniella Flores:
How does that work if I’m the company, like I’m an LLC?

Mindy:
That’s a self-directed, solo 401(k) is for self-employed people.

Daniella Flores:
Yes.

Mindy:
You open up your 401(k). You personally can contribute this year. It’s $20,500. And your company can match your salary, as contributions to your 401(k), up to 25% of your salary. So, your personal LLC can match in there. And I’m not a CPA. I’m just telling you this is another research opportunity. My company matches. So, first $20,500 automatically goes into my 401(k). And then 25% of that is $5,000. So, now, I have $25,000 in my 401(k), all legally because that are $26,000. And then, I’ll be over 50 this year. So, I’ll get the over 50 bonus. And then, any money that I make, my company matches 25% of my salary. So, right now, you have a 10% match. And, of course, you have bills to pay and all of that. But once you get over that, where you are making a lot of money, then your company can throw 25% of your salary in up to a total of $54,000 or $56,000. So instead of your measly, little $20,000 a year in your 401(k), you could be getting up to $54,000 in your 401(k).

Daniella Flores:
But where does that money come from? Is it expenses over my business, then?

Mindy:
No, it’s the income for your business. Let’s say your business makes $100,000 this year, and you pay yourself $50,000. Your company can match your salary up to 25%. So, 25% of 50,000 can go into your 401(k).

Daniella Flores:
I understand that. I understand how it works when I work for a company, they match it. I thought it comes out of their pocket, but it’s my company that I have. And it’s my LLC, and I’m [inaudible 01:08:14] this solo 401(k).

Mindy:
It’s like an expense for the company.

Daniella Flores:
So, that’s what I was asking. So, that’s an expense?

Mindy:
Yes.

David Pere:
It would basically be like you paying yourself $50,000 to take a salary from your company, and then paying your solo 401(k), $12,500 as the 25% match. And then the company, the LLC, that $12,500 is not income because it’s whatever or however that all plays out. You’re basically paying yourself an extra $12,500. It’s just going into the 401(k) instead of your pocket.

Daniella Flores:
Yes. I did kind of know this. I just never looked into how that would match. But now, I get it. I get it. So, it’s never going to be income because it’s going into that solo 401(k).

Mindy:
Yes, so definitely talk to a CPA. Neither of us are CPAs.

Daniella Flores:
Obviously, yes. I’ll talk to my CPA.

Mindy:
Talk to somebody who knows what they’re talking about. But there are ways for self-employed people to save for retirement. You’re just not able to save for retirement right this minute, like as soon as you quit your job. But as soon as you quit your job, you can dabble a little bit more in these side hustles that you enjoy and make money and bring you more joy.

Daniella Flores:
And have the time to look into these things to set up a solid 401(k), and talk to my accountant about how to do that because that actually changes my mindset a little bit about around all of this.

Mindy:
I think the bottom line is you don’t have to make a decision right now. What are you going to do? You can take the time. You have a job that you like. It sounds like you enjoy what you’re doing. You’re just ready for the next step. So, take the time to really explore the options that you’re going to go to, the options that you have and the choices that you have, and really choose the right adventure for you. Talk to your wife. Look at what she’s got. Look at what you’ve got. Her insurance is terrible. Does she want to quit her job?

Daniella Flores:
No. No, she doesn’t want to quit her job. She has a really good job. That’s a good job, and she enjoys it.

Mindy:
I don’t like the word stable. But that’s a stable position that can help support you while you are doing this side job, which can be the reason, the stability that you need to take the leap. And what’s the worst that can happen?

Daniella Flores:
I mean, there’s nothing really that bad that could happen. At first, when I was like, “I’m going to quit my job,” is like, quit your job. I never thought when you get your job, you can always go back and do something else if you want to. It’s not like you’re stuck doing this thing. I could do whatever I want with my life. I’m not tied to this job.

Mindy:
Yes, you’ve been in tech for 11 years.

David Pere:
Given that you’re in the IT field, going back and saying, “Well, hey, it’s not that I’ve been unemployed. I’ve just been working on this project.”

Daniella Flores:
Right.

Mindy:
“I was employed at this company. And now, I’m going to this company.”

Daniella Flores:
And there wouldn’t be a gap on my resume anyway, because I include my business on my resume.

Mindy:
There you go. Perfect.

David Pere:
If I ever create a resume, I’ll do that. That’s cool. I never thought of that. I don’t think I’ll ever have a resume.

Daniella Flores:
You don’t need one, but if you ever do create one.

Mindy:
Hopefully, you will never need one either.

David Pere:
You’ll be fine, Daniella.

Daniella Flores:
I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. I mean, we had a good plan. We still have a good plan. I’m not on anyone else’s timeline but my own, sometimes I feel the pressure where it’s like, who’s making me? Who was urging me to do this stuff so quickly? Nobody, just me and my head. I could take some time.

Mindy:
But your head can be so… it’s such a bad place to be because you just get these thoughts. And they cycle back and forth. And you’re like, “I can’t see outside of this.” I get it. I hear you. Daniella, is there anything else you want to share with our listeners before we let you go today?

Daniella Flores:
Nothing, besides don’t let anyone tell you your job isn’t a real job.

Mindy:
Yes! Yes, yes. yes! If it makes you money, it’s a real job. If you enjoy it… what is that? If you enjoy it, you’ll never work a day in your life, whatever get paid to. She is Daniella from iliketodabble.com. Daniella, where can people find out more about you?

Daniella Flores:
You can find out more about me on my website iliketodabble.com. You can take the free side hustle quiz or anywhere online on social media as I like to dabble, and I like to double blog on Instagram.

Mindy:
Awesome. Thank you so much for your time today, Daniella. And we’ll talk to you soon.

Daniella Flores:
Thank you. Talk to you soon.

Mindy:
All right, David. That was Daniella from I Like To dabble. What’d you think of the show today?

David Pere:
That was good. I think they’re absolutely prepped to leave the corporate world. And, eventually, when they realize that it’s all going to work out for them.

Mindy:
I really liked your suggestion of the sabbatical. I liked some of the ideas we had for maybe stepping down to part-time, or maybe, cobbling together something that could really work out. I really liked the idea that you had that once you separate from full-time employment, you are going to see your side job, your side hustle, your dabble money increase because you have more time to focus on it. You have more time to, to spend on it. And what did you say? Your creative flow isn’t broken up halfway through the day, and “I got to go fix this ticket.” So, I’m super excited for everything in Daniella’s future. And I really know that they’re going to just crush it.

David Pere:
Absolutely. Going to be totally successful. It’s not a comfortable leap, but if you’re financially ready, which it feels like they are, then once you make the leap, it’s just a matter of overcoming that fear, that doubt, the imposter syndrome, and making it happen.

Mindy:
I completely agree. And I have first-hand experience with that. And it’s absolutely right. Now, my husband’s like, “I have too much stuff to do. I can’t believe I ever had time to work.” And he’s happier than he ever was working. So, I’m very excited for Daniella’s possibilities. And the future is wide open. Okay, David, should we get out of here?

David Pere:
Absolutely.

Mindy:
From episode 305 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, he is David Pere, and I am Mindy Jensen saying, can’t say blue jay.

 

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In This Episode We Cover

  • The importance of having a side hustle (especially when you’ve been working for a while)
  • Job hopping and negotiating more than just salary at your new or current job
  • Prioritizing yourself in your company and the downside of saying “yes” too often
  • Building a stable reserve fund so you can quit with confidence
  • Self-Directed 401k and other retirement options that self-employed individuals have
  • Self-employed health insurance and how to keep your benefits as you step away from full-time work
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.