Why Annie Sorensen Quit Her Corporate Job And Thinks You Could Too

by Tim Jahn on August 17, 2010

I met Annie Sorensen at Big Omaha (which is an AMAZING entrepreneur conference happening in Omaha every May that I hope to see YOU at next year).  We chatted briefly but I wasn’t clear as to what it was she did for a living exactly.  She seemed really cool though and I had a hunch she had an interesting story to tell.  I kept running into her during Big Omaha and she was always laughing and smiling (it’s only a 500 person conference, but in my eyes, that’s one of the best parts).

After Big Omaha, I started following Annie on Twitter, but I still wasn’t entirely sure what her deal was.  So, I convinced her to let me interview her and find out.  As I suspected, her story is pretty interesting.

Annie worked in a corporate job for the better part of a decade.  She actually only left that corporate job about 6 months ago.  But she knew all along that was going to happen.  And it definitely wasn’t something that happened overnight.

So why did she quit?  And why does she think that you can too?  Watch my video interview above with Annie to find out!

Transcript

Annie Sorensen:  My name is Annie Sorensen Sorenson from Annie Sorensensorensen.com.
Tim Jahn:  I feel like a lot of creative entrepreneurs I talk with, usually have one, well one business at a time.  But, usually have one thing they’re working, it’s a product, it’s a service or whatever.  But I feel like you dabble a lot like I do.  So –
Annie Sorensen:  My story in regards to what I work on is just like what you said.  I’m very much a dabbler.  I left my corporate job in January, at the end of January.  and had just kind of in the evenings and the weekends for years prior to leave my corporate job just amongst my corporate cubicle life, I worked on just a bunch of different little projects; kind of things that would catch my eye, things that I thought were exciting, things that I thought were a great investment, worth my time; things like that.
So I think when I quit, I went full time entrepreneur in January/February of this year; it really was just the same thing.  Just dabbling on whatever projects I wanted to work on that day, whatever projects I wanted to focus on that day.  And instead of having to do them just in the evenings and the weekends, I was now able to do them all day long.  And so, I am very much a student of the lifestyle design of Tim Ferris; a lot of Tim Ferris.  And that’s really what I love to focus on.  I’ll wake up in the morning and say, “What projects today will make me the happiest?  Which ones do I truly want to work on?  Which ones fit with my passion?”  And that’s what I’ll focus on for the day.
So, I am, yes, to answer your question, I am a dabbler.  So I have a bunch of things.  I have a network marketing business with a company called Veema, which is kind of one of my main financial backings at the moment.  I also have my blog, Annie Sorensensorensen.com and recently launched a podcast on there about a month or so ago, so I’m looking for some sponsors in that area.  It’s all about books and my love of reading and my geekiness in that subject matter.  I do a little bit of consulting for social media really just for small businesses and like individual brands who really want some help just learning the very basics of social media; there’s such a need there.  So I do little bit of consulting.  I do a tiny bit of like success coaching I suppose you could call it.  So just helping folks whether they’re launching a business or just wanting to improve their lives in some way, shape, or form; coaching them a little bit.  So I dabble in those two areas as well.
Tim Jahn:  You had it planned out the whole time in terms of you realized you reached your goals, you’re okay, you know,  your family situations okay, you’re financially ready and then you just did it.  So it was more of, like you said, from the beginning you knew you were going to leave but how did – I mean I imagine there were years before where you met your goals or you felt good.  What made you all of a sudden – and that’s the thing, I don’t feel like for you it was all of a sudden.  What made you leave then?
Annie Sorensen:  You know, I think probably a year, a year and a half or so ago.  I mean, the goal of going full time entrepreneur and leaving my corporate job was always something I wanted to do and was always something my husband and I knew I wanted to do.  But I think it became a little more real a year, maybe a year and a half, maybe two years ago at the most when just some of our side entrepreneur projects really became a lot more successful from a financial standpoint.  And then it became kind of a lot more real of, man, we could actually do this now.  This might actually be a real possibility.
And so I think it was at that point, a year or two ago where we sat down and made real specific, actual plans.  Instead of it being a far out some day, we might be able to retire, and go full time entrepreneur.  When you have a couple of projects on the side that became financially supportive, it becomes a lot more real.  And so I think it was at that point that we really set in stone, okay, here are our plans.  If we get this, and if we get that done and we do this and we do that, then we’ll do it.  And so I think it was that point that really kind of pushed us over the edge to moving it from a someday dream to a foreseeable future goal.
Tim Jahn:  Do you have any one piece of advice for someone in a similar situation?
Annie Sorensen:  Work hard.  You know, there’s so many people in the corporate world and even out that when I said, “I’m leaving my job” they said, “Oh, that must be nice or oh, you’re so lucky.”  And I didn’t really respond because there’s no point.  But, for the most part, it was just overwhelming of if you’d worked practically every evening from six p.m. until ten p.m., and practically every weekend from eight a.m. to four or five p.m. for four, five, six years on outside ventures, maybe you too at this time would be able to quit your full time job and be totally comfortable and okay with it.
And so that was my overwhelming thing of, you can play World of Warcraft every night for five years, but I was working.  And that was what I chose to do.  That was completely my own decision.  But that’s just the message for people.  You can have anything you want, and this goes along with my passion.  You can accomplish anything you truly want if you just decide to, if you put one foot in front of the other and you simply decide to.  And that’s kind of what part of my passion is, is just inspiring people.  Its not luck – you know, there’s always a little luck in business I guess.  But, overwhelmingly, its not luck, its not, oh, it must be nice to be you.  We created this situation for ourselves because we decided to take action and put the plan to place.
Tim Jahn:  Yeah.  I’m very much of that same mindset.  The only thing I, the question I have is, I guess this is for Gary Vaynerchuck since this is where the idea comes from – I know you’re a big fan.  But, the idea of if you’re working a corporate job, come home and work all night on whatever you need working on.  What if you have a family?
Annie Sorensen:  Yeah.  Yeah.  And I, I think its – everyone’s situation is different.  I think if you have a family, I think you could still put in two hours some evenings.  You could still put in ten to 15 hours a week here and there throughout your day whether its for half an hour in the morning, whether its for 20 minutes over lunch, whether its for an hour in the evening or maybe just two hours on the weekends.  I think you could still put in time every week to move forward towards your goals.
And I think that’s the main point whether – and I didn’t work every single night from five p.m. to ten p.m., I still had a life.  I still valued my lifestyle in that regard.  But I think the point of it is, everyone if they decide to, can prioritize sometime throughout the week whether its just a few hours or whether it’s a several dozen hours to moving towards their goals.  And I think that no one regardless of their situation has any excuse for why they couldn’t put at least a few minutes every week towards those goals.  So you can just fit it in amongst your day to day.
Tim Jahn:  That makes perfect sense.  What keeps you going everyday?  I mean, what drives to you wake up and choose projects to work on?  Like what specifically?
Annie Sorensen:  Oh man.  That’s a really good question Tim.  Two things.  When I see people that didn’t think that they could have more in their life, so that maybe they didn’t think they could be healthier or maybe they didn’t think they could be a little more financial well off.  Maybe they didn’t think they could ever quit their job.  When I see people do that because of something that I helped them accomplish, that’s huge.  So just following my passion is what really keeps me going.
The other thing too is just I have such a strong desire for that lifestyle freedom, that the time and financial freedom that I’ve always, always wanted ever since I was 18 or 19 years old.  I want, you know, my husband and I don’t have kids but we want a family someday.  I want to be able to stay home with them, have both of us be able to be flexible with them.  It drives me to think of my husband and I taking our young kids on a trip around Europe for a few weeks in whatever time we want just because we decided to go and it would be educational.  Or it drives me to be able to think of volunteering for 20 hours a week simply because I want to, I found a charity that struck my heart or you know, things like that.
I think, I always dream in real specific, little scenarios of what my time freedom and financial freedom in the future will continue to give me.  So I’m a big, I have a lot of philanthropicals so those types of things.  I obviously am very family oriented so those goals.  And those are really what drive me day in and day out is dreaming about and imagining those lifestyle pieces as time goes on.

Annie Sorensen:  My name is Annie Sorenson from AnnieSorensen.com.

Tim Jahn: I feel like a lot of creative entrepreneurs I talk with, usually have one, well one business at a time.  But, usually have one thing they’re working, it’s a product, it’s a service or whatever.  But I feel like you dabble a lot like I do.

Annie Sorensen: My story in regards to what I work on is just like what you said.  I’m very much a dabbler.  I left my corporate job in January, at the end of January.  and had just kind of in the evenings and the weekends for years prior to leave my corporate job just amongst my corporate cubicle life, I worked on just a bunch of different little projects; kind of things that would catch my eye, things that I thought were exciting, things that I thought were a great investment, worth my time; things like that.

So I think when I quit, I went full time entrepreneur in January/February of this year; it really was just the same thing.  Just dabbling on whatever projects I wanted to work on that day, whatever projects I wanted to focus on that day.  And instead of having to do them just in the evenings and the weekends, I was now able to do them all day long.

And so, I am very much a student of the lifestyle design of Tim Ferriss; a lot of Tim Ferriss.  And that’s really what I love to focus on.  I’ll wake up in the morning and say, “What projects today will make me the happiest?  Which ones do I truly want to work on?  Which ones fit with my passion?”  And that’s what I’ll focus on for the day.

So, I am, yes, to answer your question, I am a dabbler.  So I have a bunch of things.  I have a network marketing business with a company called Vemma, which is kind of one of my main financial backings at the moment.  I also have my blog, AnnieSorensen.com and recently launched a podcast on there about a month or so ago, so I’m looking for some sponsors in that area.  It’s all about books and my love of reading and my geekiness in that subject matter.

I do a little bit of consulting for social media really just for small businesses and like individual brands who really want some help just learning the very basics of social media; there’s such a need there.  So I do little bit of consulting.  I do a tiny bit of like success coaching I suppose you could call it.  So just helping folks whether they’re launching a business or just wanting to improve their lives in some way, shape, or form; coaching them a little bit.  So I dabble in those two areas as well.

Tim Jahn: You had it planned out the whole time in terms of you realized you reached your goals, you’re okay, you know,  your family situations okay, you’re financially ready and then you just did it.  So it was more of, like you said, from the beginning you knew you were going to leave but how did – I mean I imagine there were years before where you met your goals or you felt good.  What made you all of a sudden – and that’s the thing, I don’t feel like for you it was all of a sudden.  What made you leave then?

Annie Sorensen: You know, I think probably a year, a year and a half or so ago.  I mean, the goal of going full time entrepreneur and leaving my corporate job was always something I wanted to do and was always something my husband and I knew I wanted to do.  But I think it became a little more real a year, maybe a year and a half, maybe two years ago at the most when just some of our side entrepreneur projects really became a lot more successful from a financial standpoint.  And then it became kind of a lot more real of, man, we could actually do this now.  This might actually be a real possibility.

And so I think it was at that point, a year or two ago where we sat down and made real specific, actual plans.  Instead of it being a far out some day, we might be able to retire, and go full time entrepreneur. When you have a couple of projects on the side that became financially supportive, it becomes a lot more real.

And so I think it was at that point that we really set in stone, okay, here are our plans.  If we get this, and if we get that done and we do this and we do that, then we’ll do it.  And so I think it was that point that really kind of pushed us over the edge to moving it from a someday dream to a foreseeable future goal.

Tim Jahn: Do you have any one piece of advice for someone in a similar situation?

Annie Sorensen:  Work hard.  You know, there’s so many people in the corporate world and even out that when I said, “I’m leaving my job” they said, “Oh, that must be nice or oh, you’re so lucky.”  And I didn’t really respond because there’s no point.

But, for the most part, it was just overwhelming of if you’d worked practically every evening from six p.m. until ten p.m., and practically every weekend from eight a.m. to four or five p.m. for four, five, six years on outside ventures, maybe you too at this time would be able to quit your full time job and be totally comfortable and okay with it.

And so that was my overwhelming thing of, you can play World of Warcraft every night for five years, but I was working.  And that was what I chose to do.  That was completely my own decision.  But that’s just the message for people.  You can have anything you want, and this goes along with my passion.  You can accomplish anything you truly want if you just decide to, if you put one foot in front of the other and you simply decide to.

And that’s kind of what part of my passion is, is just inspiring people.  Its not luck – you know, there’s always a little luck in business I guess.  But, overwhelmingly, its not luck, its not, oh, it must be nice to be you.  We created this situation for ourselves because we decided to take action and put the plan to place.

Tim Jahn: Yeah.  I’m very much of that same mindset.  The only thing I, the question I have is, I guess this is for Gary Vaynerchuck since this is where the idea comes from – I know you’re a big fan.  But, the idea of if you’re working a corporate job, come home and work all night on whatever you need working on.  What if you have a family?

Annie Sorensen:  Yeah.  Yeah.  And I, I think its – everyone’s situation is different.  I think if you have a family, I think you could still put in two hours some evenings.  You could still put in ten to 15 hours a week here and there throughout your day whether its for half an hour in the morning, whether its for 20 minutes over lunch, whether its for an hour in the evening or maybe just two hours on the weekends.  I think you could still put in time every week to move forward towards your goals.

And I think that’s the main point whether – and I didn’t work every single night from five p.m. to ten p.m., I still had a life.  I still valued my lifestyle in that regard.  But I think the point of it is, everyone if they decide to, can prioritize sometime throughout the week whether its just a few hours or whether it’s a several dozen hours to moving towards their goals.

And I think that no one regardless of their situation has any excuse for why they couldn’t put at least a few minutes every week towards those goals.  So you can just fit it in amongst your day to day.

Tim Jahn: That makes perfect sense.  What keeps you going everyday?  I mean, what drives to you wake up and choose projects to work on?  Like what specifically?

Annie Sorensen: Oh man.  That’s a really good question Tim.  Two things.  When I see people that didn’t think that they could have more in their life, so that maybe they didn’t think they could be healthier or maybe they didn’t think they could be a little more financial well off.  Maybe they didn’t think they could ever quit their job.  When I see people do that because of something that I helped them accomplish, that’s huge.  So just following my passion is what really keeps me going.

The other thing too is just I have such a strong desire for that lifestyle freedom, that the time and financial freedom that I’ve always, always wanted ever since I was 18 or 19 years old.  I want, you know, my husband and I don’t have kids but we want a family someday.  I want to be able to stay home with them, have both of us be able to be flexible with them.

It drives me to think of my husband and I taking our young kids on a trip around Europe for a few weeks in whatever time we want just because we decided to go and it would be educational.  Or it drives me to be able to think of volunteering for 20 hours a week simply because I want to, I found a charity that struck my heart or you know, things like that.

I think, I always dream in real specific, little scenarios of what my time freedom and financial freedom in the future will continue to give me.  So I’m a big, I have a lot of philanthropicals so those types of things.  I obviously am very family oriented so those goals.  And those are really what drive me day in and day out is dreaming about and imagining those lifestyle pieces as time goes on.

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