What it took to retire at age 24 and pursue my own ventures

Throughout the past few years, I’ve see people on social media say they were able to quit their full time job and pursue their “side biz” full time. I always thought that was the coolest thing, and obviously knew it took a lot of hard work for them to get where they got, but I was curious exactly as to how. And not just the easy answer of “I put in a lot of hard work, stuck to it, and just did it.” I wanted the details.

So that’s what I want to give you.

Because it actually took a lot more than just believing in myself and putting in hard work. And the road is probably not as glamorous as you may have envisioned. Which is why I wanted to take the time to share my complete behind-the-scenes story.

If this is a dream of yours, to pursue your own business and passions full time, I hope that I can help you gain insight into what the journey actually looked like so that you can do it too.

As a pre req, I learned all of this through Life Leadership, the company my fiance and I are partnered with, and through having great advice from my parents, family and mentors throughout the years. It is SO important to get around successful people as often as you can (more on this later) and to not just learn from them, but apply. So just know this is all LEARNED and that anyone could do this. I am not special. I just actually used the advice I’ve been given and followed others who have gotten the results I wanted out of life.

My “strategies,” per say, can be broken down into two areas – defense and offense.

The defensive side is how I was able to save enough money to ultimately give myself 2+ years of financial security that allowed me to quit my full time salary.

The offensive side is how I was able to shift my mindset, make myself more valuable, and grow my businesses to a point where I could do them full time. If you’re going to quit your job, you have to have an opportunity or a business vehicle that will help get you to where you want to go. The key is to find the right vehicle.

Key point about the defensive and offensive components here: you cannot be truly successful without both. If you save all your money but don’t have a vehicle to take you to your dreams, you’ll get stuck. If you have a great opportunity to pursue, but you can’t get your finances in line, you’ll ever never be able to make that entrepreneurial leap, or you’ll take the leap but find yourself in all kinds of financial trouble.

My final prelude: you are going to think all of the things I did are absolutely crazy if you don’t have a dream yourself. All of this seems ridiculous if it wasn’t for something. It didn’t even seem bad at all, and didn’t even phase me because I was so laser focused on being able to move back to Michigan, be able to pursue my businesses full time, and be with my fiance that all of these little “inconveniences” actually became a game for me. A fun game in fact.

Defense

These are some of the tactics I used to build up the financial backing I needed to be able to drop a full time salary and still, like, live.

I turned my heat off for the entire winter. I lived in a high rise apartment building, so the temperature naturally stayed around 65-67 degrees, but even when it occasionally dropped lower, I just wore more layers and bundled up in my blankets. Which honestly, I kind of enjoyed. Even during the spring and summer days, I would turn my A/C off whenever I wasn’t at the apartment (7 am to 6 pm), and would only turn it on if it reached 75 degrees – which is my “breaking point.” None of this bothered me at all, and helped me cut my electric bill in half the entire time I was there.

I said no. I said no to a lot of things – going out to dinner with friends (which is a minimum of $40-$50 in NY), going out at night (a lot more than $40), drinks after work with my co-workers, flying home for family events. Everything, you name it. This one got hard, because who wants to miss out on events just because of finances. But just one year of this for a full lifetime of freedom to do whatever you want? Worth it, if you ask me.

I put 10% of every single check in my savings account, and put my entire signing bonus and bonus check into savings. And left it. Did not touch. Now I know almost every financial advisor or program tells you to do this – but how many people actually implement it? Do you actually put 10% away every single time? This step alone was so crucial, and it’s incredible to see how much 10% can compound over just one years time.

I packed a lunch 95% of the time. And the only time I didn’t pack my own lunch was when I ran out of groceries. On days where I had to buy a lunch, it normally cost me around $14. Just image spending that much every. single. day. compared to packing your lunch every. single. day. Simply doing this one thing saved me hundreds of dollars over the course of the past year.

I didn’t buy a TV or have cable for the entire time I’ve been in NJ. In fact, I pretty much stopped watching shows all together (yes, Netflix included). I watched on average 1- 2 hours a week as a way to let my mind unwind when I really needed it. And if you’re wondering what those shows were, KUWTK and The Bachelor have always been my go-tos. Don’t ask me why, they’re just my favs.

I limited myself to only 1 kombucha a week. I literally could drink a kombucha every day, but at my grocery store they were $4.99 which is absolutely insane. So even though it is healthy, I knew that if I bought $35 worth of kombucha a week it would really add up over time. Now kombucha doesn’t sound like a critical thing in life, but I seriously had to prevent myself from putting it in my basket every time I went into a grocery store. It wasn’t easy for me. And I’m sure everyone has that one thing that ends up racking up their grocery bill every trip that you could cut out on. It’s just a matter of discipline.

In terms of clothes shopping, I only bought one pair of shorts and one romper for our Hawaii trip within the entire year. This is where most people get tripped up themselves, because they end up buying way more clothes than they actually need. This adds up people! I already had “good enough” clothes, I just work most of the time, and I practically live in my workout clothes when I’m not at work, so I really didn’t need a new wardrobe. I can’t even fathom how much this one step saved me over the course of the year.

In fact, I put fashion and ~beauty~ aside for a whole year. I got my nails done only twice (once for Christmas, once for Hawaii), I only got my hair done twice, I didn’t buy a single piece of makeup the entire year. I just used what I had. When you’re really working towards a goal, things like this don’t matter. And girls, we all know how expensive a trip to the nail or hair salon can be. Just one year of living life a little more ~simply.~

I have so many mismatched socks its ridiculous. A lot of them are stretched out, some are the kids size of the sock matched with the adult size, my drawer is just a mess. I easily could have bought brand new, comfortable, normal sized socks, but I didn’t. Now, getting a full set of nice socks would not have cost that much, but I’m using this as an example for the many things like socks that I did not buy simply because it wasn’t a need. I used super cheap plastic containers, some with broken lids, for my meal preps, and they did the job. I used the travel size containers of toothpaste that I’ve had left over from dentist offices over the years because hey, it’s still toothpaste. I used the shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the gym showers so I could conserve my own (I lasted the entire year on less than a bottle of shampoo and conditioner each). So when we think one little decision wouldn’t actually make a difference, we need to remember that making a lot of those little decisions over time actually does make a difference. This, too, probably saved me hundreds of dollars this past year.

Offense

These are the key factors that helped keep my head in the game long term to get to a point where I was motivated enough and had enough belief in myself to go out and pursue something big.

I focused on my health. I woke up every morning around 6 am. Did my morning routine for an hour (read, bible, breakfast, pack lunch, wash face, etc.), then walked 20 minutes to my gym before doing a 1-1.5 hour workout 6-7 days a week. I can count on both hands how many times in the last year I didn’t get to the gym before work in the past year. That morning workout was absolutely CRITICAL to my energy, performance and mood throughout the rest of the day. My body became so addicted to these positive feelings all day long that I got excited to get to the gym every morning and honestly rarely had a bad workout. I have followed all 3 FIGR programs back to back to back from September to April, and I can’t even express how much more effective and motivating it is to follow a regimented program rather than go in the gym every morning with no end goal and no real intentions. FIGR programs are so effective because each day you get into the gym with a set program for you where the goal is to improve since the last time you performed that workout. It’s a competition against yourself. Every day you get to the gym wanting to use a heavier weight, go a little faster in your timed circuit, push yourself harder than you did the week before. And you know what? That produces results. I started with FIGR:Shred in the fall, FIGR:Elite in the winter and FIGR:Lean in the spring.

I listened to at least 1 hour of motivational, business-related, or finance-related content every single day. On average, I probably listen to 3 hours or so, all from my Rascal Radio app . It was so crucial to my mental fitness and attitude in life that I added it to every FIGR program. And I didn’t just add it, I actually made it so you don’t have to pay shipping and cut the price of the FIGR program itself so that you could get the Rascal Radio app with your FIGR program for the same price you used to pay without it. It’s. that. important. It has helped me set goals, hit them, stay on track, find every positive aspect of life, and honestly just got my head to a place where I knew I could accomplish anything. You can apply the principles the app teaches to any area of life – fitness, finances, personal relationships, business, professional development, literally anything. Only people who have success in each of those areas in life talk on the subject, so you know you’re listening to people who actually have fruit on the tree – not people who “in theory” kinda know about the topic. Learning from multi-millionaires about finance, people in happy relationships about having a good marriage, successful businessmen about professional development, and so on is how you’re going to actually get to those same stages in our own lives. It just makes sense to learn from the best, right?

I read for at least 15 minutes a day. And not just of some romance novel, but from some book with depth and significance. In fact, I’ve read over 20 books in the last year – while having a full time job, 2 side businesses and keeping up with my health and social life. Don’t believe people when they say they “are too busy to read.” That’s bs. In addition to these books, I’ve also ready many Forbes magazines, Wall Street Journal articles, and anything I can get my hands on to teach me more about the business world, current news, and entrepreneurs. Did you realize that Forbes – one of the most prestigious magazines in the world – mainly talks about successful entrepreneurs, their story and their strategies? The most successful people in this world all started as entrepreneurs. Not employees. Just let that sink in.

Below is the list of books I’ve read in the past year just in case you wanted some recommendations or a place to start your own reading journey!:

  1. The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson
  2. Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
  3. The Leadership Train – Orrin Woodward
  4. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  5. Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz
  6. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling – Frank Bettger
  7. How I Became the Fittest Woman on Earth – Tia-Clair Toomey
  8. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  9. Launching a Leadership Revolution – Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady
  10. Love & Respect – Emerson Eggerichs
  11. Paradigm Shift – George Guzzardo
  12. The 4-hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss
  13. Made In America – Sam Walton
  14. The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
  15. The Innovator – Life Essential Series
  16. Rascal – Chris Brady
  17. High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard
  18. The Ant and the Elephant – Vince Poscente
  19. Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy
  20. Morning Mind – Robert Carter and Kirti Salwe
  21. Financial Fitness Program – Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady

If I was able to read over 20 books in a year while having a full time job, working out 6-7 times per week, building 2 businesses, maintaining a healthy relationship, etc. then you start by reading at LEAST 1 book. Because that’s all it starts with – pick up one book, read it, get motivated to read the next. After the first few, you’ll get hooked. I promise.

It’s fantastic, and crucial, to develop yourself through reading and listening, but if you don’t apply anything you learn, you can’t actually move forward in life. The books and audio content gave me the courage to actually take action, put myself out there, and risk getting “talked about” or snickered at. Because when you read the stories of all the most successful people in this world, you realize all of them were considered “crazy” by the crowds, until they became ultra-successful. Then the crowds called them “lucky.” Ha.

Above all, association is key. Associate with winners, become a winner. Associate with successful entrepreneurs, become a successful entrepreneur. Every 3 months I would fly to a weekend leadership convention where they didn’t just motivate us to pursue our dreams, but also gave us a business vehicle where we could apply the teachings and get tangible results. Having the motivation to live a better life PLUS a business venture that will help get you there is 1000x more effective than just going to an event where they give you a good pep talk. I’m sure many of those speakers are incredible, and the motivation you get from them are great, all I’m saying is that having a way that you can actually achieve those goals you set that weekend makes all the difference. On top of physically going to these conventions, I regularly mentored with multi-millionaires on calls or in person. I used the resources I had within my own network of people. I associated with people who had what I wanted and that’s all it really comes down to. If someone else already achieved what you want in life, you can do it too. And they can give you some of their answers.

What’s worth it to you?

Think I’m crazy now?

I don’t.

Living below my means, developing myself as a person and as a businesswoman, and staying committed long term has allowed me to:

  1. Quit my corporate job after just 1 year
  2. Build up my savings account to support me for over 2 years even if I didn’t make another penny
  3. Move back to Michigan where my fiance and family live
  4. Pursue my passion of helping others get physically and financially fit
  5. Wake up without an alarm every morning
  6. Determine what my calendar looks like instead of a boss dictating my days
  7. Make money at any time, from anywhere in the world
  8. A bunch of other things that would make this list way too long so I’ll save you the reading time

I can’t express the value that all of this has provided to me, even in just the past month or so of moving back home. I am living exactly the life I’ve always dreamed of and I wake up so happy and grateful every day that I stuck to my guns and just went for it. I get to do what I love, with the people I love, every day of my life.

And so can you.

I now help people achieve these same kinds of results for a living so if I was able to make it through, I know exactly how to help you too. Whenever you’re ready to start living life on your own terms, email me at katescrivfit@gmail.com and we’ll get you up and rolling.

And for those of you who already found your passion, hopefully this post was just another reminder that there’s others out there like you pursuing their best lives. There are other “crazies” in the world.

Because tbh, there’s too much mediocrity and just plain normal going around. I think it’s time we change that.

8 thoughts

  1. Out of curiosity, since you only worked corporate for 1 year, how much were you making? It seems your frugality (Defense) and money saving techniques only save at most a few thousand a year. Even if you were making 100k out of college, your 10% bank account savings is only 10k.

    It also seems like you live alone in an apartment. How much is the rent for that? Is your side business already making the 20k+ per year required to pay for that NJ/near NYC apartment?

    1. Hey Ryan! Thanks for your questions. Although a large bulk of my savings have accumulated over the 1 year I was working corporately, the total savings I have now have been built up over the past several years using those similar principles.

      1. Thanks so much Kate for getting back to me. I want achieve this just like how you did! However i’m unsure on some of the details. For me, rent is around 1k a month, so 12k a year. Having saved 15% of my 100k income from a year of work only sustains me for 1 year after including food as my expenses, so I can only save 1 year of retirement with 1 year of work.

        What are your yearly expenses so I can see how you achieved this after only working 1 year? I try to stay positive, but I can’t see myself saving for multiple years of retirement even though I make 100k. Does your side business already make enough money to cover all your expenses after one year?

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