And you couldn't tell me that this wasn't a business, nevermind that there was nothing to sell. That there was no like purpose. I was not solving anyone's problem. I was just showing up and sharing my experience and letting people know that like it's okay that your law firm experience was bad.
Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.
Hello my friends. Welcome to another episode of Lessons From a Quitter. I am so excited for today's episode. If you follow me on Instagram uh then you've probably seen me mention how much I love our guest today, Janelle Christian. If you don't follow me on Instagram, you should, you can follow me at LessonsFromaQuitter, but I have tagged and or mentioned Janelle a lot on my Instagram because I'm obsessed with her. As you will see in this interview where I basically just spend the hour telling her how much I love her, which was the point of this interview. No, I'm kidding. She provides so much knowledge and I'm so excited she is on the episode and you should follow her on Instagram at HeyJNicole because she is both inspiration and so much good wisdom about how to get out of a life that you don't want to be in.
Janelle started out her career as a lawyer. And like a lot of us found herself unhappy, but unlike most of us, she started doing something about it. Even when she didn't know what that thing was going to lead to. We talk a lot about how her approach is really just taking action, which is so rare. And I really wanted to bring her on as an example, because I know I talk about it on here and I can talk about it until I'm blue in the face. I can keep telling you guys that you can't think your way to the end of this, that you have to just try things and pivot. You have to let yourself explore. That things really become clear once you start taking action, right? Clarity follows action. It doesn't just come. And I can tell you all this, but she's just such an amazing example of it. And I want you to see what it takes to really go after that dream life that you want, even if you don't know what that is. And so we'll talk about how she started her Instagram and business while she was a lawyer and how she pivoted it multiple times to widely varying things. And she never stopped herself like most of us do thinking like I don't know what I'm doing, or where is this going? She just kept going. And her success is, in my opinion, a direct result of that. And we will talk about how it hasn't even been a year, a full year since she's quit. She went forward with a plan, she wanted to replace her income and save a certain amount of money. And she did. And she is now making so much more than that. We'll talk about the insane launch that she had and how she has replaced her very high, legal career income with this business that she loves and how it's really just the beginning. How much bigger it's going to be. Again, I think she is both inspiration, but really just an example of what is possible if you're willing to go out and try. So without further ado, I will stop rambling so you can hear from the wonderful Janelle Christian.
Hi Janelle, welcome to the show. I'm so excited to have you here.
I can't believe I'm here. It's like very surreal. And like I'm like I'm watching myself, like an outer body experience. I'm so grateful. Thank you for having me.
Oh my God. It is completely my pleasure. I mean, I, if you guys follow me on Instagram, then you've seen me fan girl over Janelle, but I absolutely love her and I'm obsessed with her and I've like been watching her journey over the last couple of years and it's the most amazing thing. And so I am so geeked out over this interview. I was like yay, she's finally coming on. So it's very exciting for me. Also, I can't believe that we haven't actually met in person like it’s such a weird internet world, because I feel like we're friends. I don't know if you feel that way, but you're forced to be my friend.
A thousand percent. It's funny you said fan girl cause I think it can't be fan girl if it's mutual. It's just a friendship at that point.
I love it. Okay. Well we'll stop fan girling so you guys can actually get some uh inspiration, but okay Janelle, you know then if you listen to this podcast then you know, we kind of start by back in the beginning and you, like a lot of actually our guests and myself, started your career as a lawyer. So tell us a little bit about why you went to law school and kind of what that career looked like.
A thousand percent I went to law school because my family thought it would be prestigious. And because we were a lovely, loving upper middle-class family, and the suggestion and expectation for me was to maintain that. So even, you know, when I was in high school, thinking about what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a musician. I wanted to play my oboe, which is so dorky and symphonies and like teach on the side. And that was like explicitly discouraged. So I went to law school and to be honest, when I got to law school, I loved it. I know that, I feel like your guests are 50/50, some people hate the upper education experience. Some people love it. And I was one of the people who loved it. And so I thought maybe it wasn't going to be so bad, but it was, it was pretty bad.
Tell me about that. How long did you practice for?
Six years in total.
And what kind of law were you doing?
I did commercial real estate. So I, um, specifically represented banks when they wanted to build when construction folks wanted to do like luxury condos in New York and LA a little bit.
Yeah and so you worked at like a law firm?
Yeah, I was in, um, probably one of the biggest law firms in New York. We were right on Wall Street. It's funny cause that's why I picked it. Right. Like I went up there and I interviewed and they like wined and dined me and made me feel so important and valuable and smart. All of the perks. I now know that anybody trying to lure me with perks is a trap, but I didn't then, I was too young. I didn't get it. But anyway, yeah, I worked at law firms, um, major law firms the entire time and it was just really hard. I think it was a mix of hard. It was hard because the work is hard and it's kind of grueling and that's just the nature of it. But I also think that law firms kind of poach on a personality type of person who's very type a and very people-pleasing-focused and they use that to their own advantage. And so, I mean, I would say it wasn't until recently that I realized like how toxic the environment was for me as someone who struggled really hard with always putting everybody before myself, it was hard.
That's such an interesting distinction cause I hadn't thought of it that way. I know that obviously most people that end up even in law school, but especially in law firms are type a, and we're like perfectionists, we want to achieve. And so it, you know, when you are kind of put in this high pressured situation and you're expected to achieve, it's a lot of pressure that we put on ourselves. Right. And I mean, obviously it's put on us by the partners as well. It can be really hard in that sense, but you've been really vocal on your Instagram, which I love that. I love. and I love that you talk about it because we were actually talking about this in my group program with some of, another young lady who was at a law firm right now. And it's amazing cause we're obviously like group animals and there's so many psychological studies of the fact that like when you see certain things be accepted, you sorta just accept it and it's when you're in it, when you were saying like it's really hard to see how crazy it is. Right. It's really hard to be like this is not normal. We probably shouldn't be doing this. You're like well, everybody else, this seems to be like normal so I guess I'll just go along with it and not just go along with it like I'll put shame on myself like why can't I keep up? Why can't I, you know, do better? And you, I remember you posted a Instagram post a while ago, this is probably a year ago where you talked about how there was like subtle and not so subtle pressure to even take Adderall in order to be able to work longer hours and how you went so far as to go to the doctor to get a prescription because like you couldn't keep up. Cause a normal human brain cannot work that many hours. And I remember reading it and I hadn't been at a law firm for a long time at that point. And it's like it brought back a lot and I was like wow, like I forgot when you're out of it. And you realize that's insane. Like anybody would be like I don't need to take drugs for my job. This is crazy. But when you're in it you're just like I guess this is what I have to do.
I like how you're saying that because now that I've had so much time away, it's very easy for me to make the correlation between the law firm experience and dating an abusive partner and that when you're in it, it's like you're making excuses and you're the problem. And why can't you just be different or better to not make this person act or treat you this way. But then as soon as you step out of it, you're the friends that are like leave, why, why are you still there? This is not a healthy situation. But yeah, I mean, echo everything you just said enough. It's hard to explain it to other people too, which is why I'm so grateful that when I was trying and thinking about and just being able to articulate that I wanted to leave that I had resources like your podcast to listen to, to give me examples, to normalize that what was happening didn't make me a failure. And that quitting was actually the highest honor of myself rather than thinking it was something I couldn't achieve or couldn't do.
Well, let's talk about that. When did you start thinking about wanting to quit?
I found a journal that I started writing in the first week at the law firm. That every day I would write prompts. And by the third month I was writing things like I wish I didn't feel so dumb or I wish, I can't wait until I feel like I know what I'm doing or that people don't make me feel so bad. As much as I want to say like oh, that was just recently. Like I knew I didn't like it pretty much the whole time, but I had a really hard time admitting to myself that leaving was even an option. It was like I knew I didn't like this job. So maybe I needed another law firm job. Maybe it was the serpents in this building and I needed to just go to a different building. And then I tried that and that didn't work. So maybe it was the law firm structure and maybe I just wanted to go in-house. But then when I would entertain the in-house interviews, it was like well, this doesn't feel like it either. And I feel really, really lucky because I had someone who was an entrepreneur in my life and they were building this like entire entrepreneurial endeavor from zero. Got to watch it and watch how quickly they were able to really pull things together. And I could see it from my perspective like oh, I can see where you could do this better. Or like I would've done that differently. And I just could catch on so quickly. But then I watched them in no time make more money than I was making at the firm. And I felt like such an idiot. I felt like I was duped. Like here's this person who gets to wake up at 11 if they feel like it and end work when they feel like it. Do things they're very interested and passionate about. And I'm here crying at my desk. And that was a, he was actually the person who looked at me and said it's okay to not like your job like you're allowed to not like your job. So that was like probably the first seed. And then I started reading, books are like my highest secret weapon and Rich Dad Poor Dad. I know that Robert Kiyosaki is super questionable and problematic for some but the book really showed me a good example of being a highly paid employee versus an entrepreneur and what that world could look like. And I keep referring to entrepreneurship. I think that this whole thing is about lifestyle design. Like life is about being intentional about designing your life. For me, entrepreneurship took away the hardship and made it easy for me to pursue that life that I was designing. But I think that anyone can find the right vehicle to get them to the life that they want.
I agree a hundred percent. And that is what we focus on a lot here is like there is no one path and everyone's path is not going to be for you. And so it's about figuring out like what works for you and every situation is different, right? I think even the path to leaving is going to look different based on your responsibilities and you know, your financial situation and all this other stuff. And so it doesn't have to all look the same but it's a matter of like let's make some conscious choices here about what we want. Let's figure out intentionally start living instead of like you were just saying, I would love to go back for a second when you were saying like I couldn't see like that I could not like it or leave this job. I think most people are really stuck in that situation where it's like yeah, I know I'm unhappy, but I guess this is just it. Like I have to stay in there. And so I love that you had that example. And honestly, like one of the reasons I start-, I mean the main reason I started this podcast was because I never had that example until I left. And I started both with books and podcasts, hearing about other people, making insane amounts of money like doing things online. And I remember like wanting to call every one of my lawyer friends who I knew were, you know, at the office until midnight and be like you don't have to do this. There's another way, like look at what these people are doing. This is insane because it really quickly put into perspective one of the, really the only reason that people stay in law firms is because of the salary. And it's like you know, you're made to believe and like it is, I'm not, I don't mean to say it's not a good salary. It is a very, you know, often more than most people will ever make. And so you get kind of the golden handcuffs or whatever, you get stuck in that like I can never make this anywhere else. And I just think that's a lie you're telling yourself because you can, you know, I think a lot, a lot of times people think, I don't know what I'm preaching here is like it's not always about the money. I'm not saying like you know, sometimes for me I was willing to not make any, make much less and be happy. But then I realized that was a faulty thinking too because I don't have to take, make less, I can make much more. And I think so much has changed with the internet and entrepreneurship and how accessible it is that I love people having that example that like you don't have to be miserable and hate your life in order, if it's just for the money.
I think money is the example that we all really fast to and comfortable to share, that I want to make this money or I want this certain title, I want to maintain my lifestyle is what most of my clients say. But really when you dig into it, I think it's, for most of the people that I'm working with, the money is like ancillary to the prestige, to the things that their family is going to say. Most of the people I work with they're first-generation college students, first-generation professional school students. It's layers. It's not just I'm walking away from $300,000. It's hey mom, I'm walking away and I don't really have a super clear plan or I'm going to go make money on the internet. I know you don't understand that, but it's that and also, I mean, I really think debt is, this is like a whole ‘nother conversation, but I do think debt is a bit discriminatory. And I do find that a lot of people are trapped. Like it's not that I want to make this much money. It's that I literally made a mistake and now I don't know how to get myself out of it without the situation. But that's where I think it comes back to showing and providing examples. Like we are inappropriately led to believe that this is the only way. And I just want to scream from the rooftops that it's not and there are better ways.
I love that. And I want to get into all that because I think your example in your journey is just such a wonderful example of this. Tell me when you started your Instagram account and how that start. Cause you were still practicing as a lawyer. It's not like you quit and then started like a business. So tell me what that journey kind of looked like for you.
I will but I want to preface it that my story is an example of a hot mess.
No, I'm going to stop you there because your example is the perfect example of doing it and we're going to get to this and this is why I want to talk about it because so many people have so many beliefs about why they can't and we'll get into that. And it's just an excuse. And I think you're such an example of the fact that you just have to start and you will keep pivoting until you figure out the thing. But so many people want to figure out the thing before they've done anything. And that's so impossible to think your way, like if you were still in the law firm and had never done anything online, you would not be where you are today. I don't even want you to call it a hot mess because I think that that's not doing you the justice that you deserve in the sense of like the bravery that it takes to start an Instagram account talking about like what you don't, you don't even know where it's going to go. You have no idea kind of what you're doing with it, but you're like hey, I'm going to give myself the room to experiment. I'm going to give myself the room, even if everybody else around me in my law firm doesn't understand why I'm starting an Instagram account or whatever. So I'm going to have to push back on that but tell us how you started and what you started.
If I could tell you anything for my story, it's just to start. And that's all I did. I was taking the Bar. I was barred in New York and DC because I've moved around a lot thinking that would solve my problem. And finally I was like let me move back to Atlanta. I want to buy a house. I want to be close to my family and friends, let me go home. So I came back to Atlanta and I got a different law firm job but needed to take the Bar again. And in part of my transition, like relocation negotiation, I said I would have a month off to study. And during that month I just felt so alive, which just sounds crazy because I'm studying for the bar, which is super stressful, but it was like I'm so happy. I just was making smoothies every day and like exercising and studying and like feeling one with the universe. And I started sharing that a lot. Like just the joy in every day. And after the Bar, I took a little trip to Savanna and decided I'm going to start intentionally sharing like my transformation. I felt so much happier in Atlanta. I finally found a job where I'm still working at a firm but I could end work at six. I didn't work weekends. I felt like I felt as close to it as I could. And so I wanted to share like the intentional steps I took to get there. And that's all I did for like eight months. I just was creating this website and this platform and you couldn't tell me that this wasn't a business, nevermind, that there was nothing to sell, but there was no like purpose. I was not solving anyone's problem. I was just showing up and sharing my experience and letting people know that like it's okay that your law firm experience was bad. Here's how we intentionally make it better and maybe hear some way for you to think about how you can make a change. And in that, in building this website, I realized I needed, you know, a thing like I'm building all this website. What am I, what am I really doing with, what is this platform? And I realized then too, that I really liked interior design. I wanted to bring happiness to people's minds and to their homes and create spaces where people could just be really well, was where this all started. So for a few months I was sharing my law firm story and also trying to build this interior design studio. And that skyrocketed a little bit when I bought the condo. I bought my house and I like ripped it apart. And I became client A and I became my first testimonial basically. And so that got me more clients, that got me more work. And I thought okay, this is it. I'm going to build this interior design studio. And it was going great. Like I was getting more and more clients. I was getting more and more work all over but I just wasn't liking it. And it kind of felt like I was building a cage for myself because clients would follow up. They would want, you know, deliverables. And I just felt this like deadline pressure that I realized oh, I don't like this. I don't want to build this for myself.
Let’s pause real quick before we get, cause I want to go back to this. Tell me what you were thinking even when you were like building a website let's say. I think most people have an idea. Like I know when I first started following you it was that like you were spreading joy and how do you find more intentional joy? And then it became lit. So that was the first, then it became interior design. And I think most people want to talk about something like they're interested in health or they're interested in like talking about motherhood or whatever, but then it's immediately like who the hell am I to talk about this? What are you doing? I'm so embarrassed in front of my colleagues and whatever. It's not going to go anywhere, whatever, like all of the thoughts and the fears. And so I'm just wondering like did you have any of that? How did you kind of push past really thinking like okay, I am stepping out, I'm doing something that is not very normal. Most people don't have like a law firm job and then also build an Instagram account and a business on the side for something that isn't related to that.
I know I had imposter syndrome but there was something in me that understood that if I built it, it would work. That I could do it, I just thought it would take me a really long time. So when I started I used to call it project 36 and I thought I'll be a full-time entrepreneur 36 months from now. And in reality, I think it took me 18 months from the first time I posted on Instagram with like intention and it took me seven months from the first time I offered, you know, the service that I wanted to offer and really felt in alignment for me to be able to quit. And so as much as I do want to say like I have a low privacy threshold because I do see tremendous value in sharing. For me, whenever I've stood up and shared something, I've only experienced benefit. And the only downside would be that someone may think less of me or think what is she doing? But the benefit of me sharing has always been that I helped someone or someone felt seen or someone felt like they had permission. And that was always more valuable to me than anyone who maybe thought less of me. And so it's, like I said, my privacy threshold has always been pretty low I think.
I love that. Did you have anybody say anything like your family or were like what are you doing?
Oh yeah. And they weren't saying it like Janelle, what are you doing? But it would be weird side comments. Like, you know, I'd be in a group chat with folks and they'd be like oh, I just like hate when people try to use the internet for money or like just little things that you're like well, obviously that was directed at me but like cool, like we're just gonna let it slide. Now I do feel like I have the last laugh.
But it's hard in that moment. I think most people do care what other people think. And so then they're like oh yeah, maybe I shouldn't. I love the fact that you you no that like sharing helps people. I mean, I think that's the biggest lesson I've learned. And the biggest thing I really want people to understand is like the more we all share our own journey, the more it helps people not feel alone. Like there's still so much of this kind of highlight reel on on social media. And I think so many people still think like everyone else has it together, it's just me. And I feel like the more we kind of sharing how we do it, the more people feel connected and it's it is worth more than anything like any hater can say, but then you switched to interior design and again, and the thing is like the fact that you've done all this so fast is remarkable. And it's just a Testament to the fact that you get started. But again, most people would be like yeah, I like interior design but like I don't have a degree or a certificate. I don't have clients or experience. I don't know the software. All of the things like it's like as soon as we have one thought of something we want to do, it's like a million fears, a million obstacles, a million reasons it won't work. So then we just get overwhelmed and we stop. And so I want to know like when you decided like yeah, I am interested in beautiful interiors, I'm doing it for myself. I'm going to charge other people. Like I think most of us get to a place where like I can't accept that money. Like I'm a fraud, I'm not an actual interior designer. Like whatever that means. So like how did you get past that?
Joanna Gaines has been more inspirational to me than she'll ever know. And I think it's because I just, I love her. I love her designs. I love her business acumen. I love like the empire she's built. And I found out one day that she's a communications major and she has no interior design formal training whatsoever. But here she is probably one of the most coveted interior designers. And for me, that gave me so much permission. I, unfortunately I wish I was different, but I do need a lot of permission. I need someone else to do the thing I'm doing in some iteration and for me to see it. I'm trying now for the first time to do things I haven't seen and be able to do, you know, forge forward. But until now I would say overwhelmingly I've needed to see it. And when I realized and found out that she didn't need that, it was like oh, well she figured it out. What makes her different than me? I am brilliant. I have so many skills. My, I really view law school as a certificate in being capable and just really, really prove resilient. So now I can take that and do with it whatever I want. And so that really gave me permission to figure it out one. And then there's just so many resources, like this concept of needing traditional schooling is so outdated and I wish people would let go of it faster and in time, but you can learn how to do anything online. There are programs, there are, you know, stuff like I mean, small scale things like Udemy is a website where you can learn basically anything for $14. And then you dabble your toes. If that's good, then you can go to, you know, Berkeley will have a course that you can buy for more money, but however you want to line it up, you can get the knowledge you need. You don't need these, this idea of certification is so false and you don't need that.
No, absolutely. And again, it's, it's just permission. Most of us think we need somebody to give us a stamp of approval. Like now you're allowed to go and interior and design, you know, interiors as if like you couldn't do that if you don't have that piece of paper. And it is good to see examples, I think what you said was really poignant. And for most of us, we will only reach for like the highest rung that we think is possible. And that's why seeing other people is so important, seeing examples. And then having that thought, if she could do it, then why can’t I? And like I love the thought you said, I am brilliant, I figured all of this stuff out. Really having that is the key. I always say like the number one thought that has gotten me to this point and has made me now have like a multiple six figure business and just do something I love is: if they figured it out, so can I. I mean, it was literally just that. It wasn't like I know what I'm doing or I have any idea. I still feel like most days I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm like I figured out a lot of stuff in my life, I'm sure I can figure this out. Like trial and error. So I love that. But so you were saying, so you'd started building up this interior design business and realized this isn't it either. Like it doesn't feel, it feels like a cage, as you mentioned. Was there any doubt at that point? Like you know, I think a lot of times people go into such self-defeating thoughts. Like maybe I just can't be happy. Maybe it's just me. Like I've heard, you know, so many of my clients, like maybe I just don't like working, you know? And I'm like well, and that could be true on a certain level, but was there a way when you were trying to figure out like well, what is the next thing that there was like a fear of like I'm not gonna figure this out.
Yeah, I remember having that exact conversation with my mom. My mom is a stay-at-home mom and I felt like for a long time, I didn't give her enough grace for staying home. And even like the qualities of of enjoying what life staying home could feel like and how to have an earlier last year. But I remember apologizing and being like I think I just don't want to work. Like I just like to stay home. I just want to be home. That's all I want to do with my life. And she was like well, maybe it's not home. You know, maybe you like working from home, but maybe we just haven't found the thing yet. And I definitely felt that. Reiterate what you said too, probably the top thing I ask my clients is like: when have you ever put your mind to something and like really decided you were going to do something and failed? And overwhelmingly, most people don't have that. They don't have examples or they don't have a lot of examples where they really wanted and tried and put their minds to things and couldn't achieve it. And I just use that, I think as fuel to that like I could figure this out. But what really happened was so I had the whole time had this entire interior design studio. And while I was building that people kept coming to me and asking me like Janelle your social media is growing so quickly? Like how are you building the social media account? How are you getting followers? How are you building this business? How did you know what to do? So I would have these little dinners at my house, like $25 come to my house, five people. And I walk you through like what I did and I would start people on that and then they'd start their businesses and they'd get traction and they'd start to get clients and they'd be so excited. And I could only get them so far. Right. Because I didn't really know what I was doing. I was just sharing what I had done. And I had never gotten more than like three clients at a time. Right. So I could only share what I knew, but I think that taught me so much too, is that like forget a certification. Like you being just a few steps ahead of someone else adds value and someone's looking for that value. So in May of last year I decided I just wanted to help people get out of work. Like the whole reason I wanted to start this business was that my law firm friends could be happier. So I was like I'm offering free sessions to anybody who wants to fix their life. Like you guys can book a session. I had taken a life coaching course, like let's try to do this. And they all booked up. I booked 300 sessions. And that to me was like okay, well that's the right message. Like people wanted, they were seeking me out for this like direction and let's just keep going down this way. So I tried to help people broadly and I felt incredible imposter syndrome. I don't know how you do it all the time, but I didn't. I just, I was feeling imposter-y. And I also, as I started working on it felt like the answer, like what the solution was, was getting more clear. So for me, it wasn't so much that I wanted people just to be happy at work. I truly believe that corporate structures are really toxic for certain people. And so I don't want to help you get another job. I don't want to help you, you know, pivot. I want to help you get out of this and see that there's another reality for you. And I could start to test that because half of my clients wanted to build businesses. Half of them wanted to pivot and I loved the business building clients. And so over time I just kind of refined it and refined it and refined it to now where that's all I do, as I have a program that helps people in 12 months start stabilized, successful side businesses so that they feel comfortable and confident to quit and be full-time entrepreneurs. And that lights my soul up.
I love that so much. And we're going to talk about the success of that business, but like I just want to commend you and like pause to look at the amount of trial and error. Right. Just even saying that I was like okay, I'll have a dinner and I'll charge you $25 for five. I mean, $125 is not making or breaking it in anybody's life over here. Right. And so for most people, and I've, I can't tell you how many people I've coached or I have in my programs where I'll be like okay, you want to try fitness coaching, find four people in your life and just tell them you're going to coach them on the weekends. Do it for free, you know, or like do it for 20 bucks. See if they'll do it. But that's not like worth the time. And I'm like it's, you're testing to see if you like it. Like we're not trying to build the business from this, but before we go out and get a certification as a personal trainer, or do all these other things that everybody thinks they need to do and build a website and spend money on a logo, let's figure out if we like it. Because exactly what you said is like so many things that I've tried that I thought I would love. And I'm like oh, this isn’t it either. I hate doing this. So why would I do it? Right. Like and I had the same experience, like when I started coaching was when, and I had fought coaching for, oh, I did this podcast for a year and a half. And people kept asking me and I'm like nope, not a coach because I had so much imposter syndrome around it. And when I started doing it was, I was like oh my God, like nothing has lit me up more than this does, but it was a million other things that I kept trying, right. The podcast and the social media and like all these other ways I was trying to monetize the podcast. And so I just love watching people that are willing to just try and fail and not attach a meaning to that failure and say like okay, that just wasn't it. Like now I'm going to try doing it, you know, broad. I'm just going to do general. How do we get out of things? I don't like that either. I like it, but it starts narrowing. And it's like oh, this is where I love. Right. And it's like it's the only way. And yet we're so scared of failure most of us won't do it. So I mean, bravo to you, because I think that is, it's such a reason for your success. I think it's really easy to watch people on Instagram and think like she started a course and is making all this money and that's so amazing. And everybody like, there's a lot of comparison and jealousy and you want to look at people 10 steps ahead, and you're not willing to look at like how many times that person was willing to fail and keep going.
Yeah and I want to say too, it's funny because if I was retelling the story, I didn't really consider any of those failures because they all built on each other so much. Like by the time I had built the interior design studio, I had built all this like tech automation in the background and all these email funnels and like all this stuff that I just copied and pasted when it was time to build the coaching program. So that's why it went so fast was because I spent five months building all this tech stuff and it took me two weeks to do it for the coaching program.
I don't mean to say that it's a failure. I just think that's how people look at it. I agree a hundred percent, like it's all stacks on top of each other. And like I love the quote you either got the result you wanted or you got the lesson you needed. I always think like okay, well I'm learning this. And I, and I agree with, I was recently talking to someone I'm like yeah, I mean, if I start another business, like just the learning curve, the amount that I can make that successful is going to be so much shorter than this podcast was because I didn't know what I was doing. Right. And so with each thing you're shortening that learning curve. So in no way did I want mean to imply that you were failing, I just mean that like that's how people take it is like oh, I tried this one thing and it didn't work exactly the way I wanted and it didn't scale into this huge business. So I guess I got to throw everything away and go back to my job.
Yeah, I think that's how people move. And and I do hope that my story shows as an example that it's not that way and that the just getting started. You know, I have so many people who come to me and say I want to be an entrepreneur, I just don't know what to do. And my response is kind of start anything, like start something you're interested in, start something that you have passion in but it's the act of doing that really helps you figure it out and you refine it from there. And it turns into this very beautiful thing.
Yeah, so let's talk about the success that you've had with this though, because you were saying, I mean, you've shared all this on your Instagram. And so what was your original plan, it was 36 months to like quit. What was the timeline? Cause I know it got shortened very quickly.
During COVID, my goal was that I wanted to save eight months of my expenses and I wanted my business to start making enough to cover my expenses. I had factored all that out that that looked like December of 2020 that I would be quitting. When I switched over to coaching, I started with, like I said, those free sessions, they were all one-on-one. And I then led people if they wanted to, they could continue this relationship with me on a one-on-one program. So for a few months we could coach together. I created some curriculum for us. I walked us through, it was very, again, there I am mortified when I look back at those videos, but that's how it started. So the plan, like I said was December of 2020, and by June of 2020, I was making enough money to quit. And I had saved enough money and I loved that I had put these like dollar amounts as the goal in my head to kind of trigger me because like circumstances changed. So COVID, as awful as it has been for so many people, like a lot of grants became available for small businesses and especially minority businesses. And I applied to 10,000 of them and got two amazing grants that really tipped me over for my savings. And it's like okay, my business is making enough money. It has for a few months, I have enough savings. I hate this job. If I got COVID and died like it'd be really sad to have spent my last day answering this client's emails, so I'm going to quit. And so I put in my notice in July of 2020, and I've been full-time ever since then, which is so insane.
Amazing and then and you were making back like your salary, like by the time I know in the fall, like you were kind of giving yourself more of a runway, but you ended up kind of replacing your salary, which is a hefty salary for a law firm salary. And then let's talk about the launch that you did, because we're going to have to talk about that. Cause the magic in all of this is so amazing. Okay, so tell us what you launched and what happened.
It’s funny because it sounds like magic, but from where I sit, it sounds like math and very logical and it’s no big deal. But I do believe you, it does kind of sound mad. It's not, I remember sitting in someone's seat who hasn't heard a story like this and thinking it was magic in my one-on-one programs, I was able to replace my income. So I was up to like, my goal was $18,750 a month in revenue because that matched what the firm was paying me. And so I did that by, I think it was November or December of last year, but what I learned was as much, I love one-on-one the transformation in one-on-one still feels unparalleled, but it was very exhausting for me and the other person. Like every, we, you know, the client felt alone. They would see my successes and my wins and feel so far removed from them and just felt isolated. Whereas in when I would try to put people in groups, I even joined a group program, which I think is when I really saw the power of a group, I saw how much energy that people fed off of each other, how inspired people were from each other’s stories, how much, you know, abundance, people were pouring into each other. And the mindset was so good. And it, it was like such a snowball effect that I was very addicted to it. So I set up a group program to test it in December. And I tried it out in January, like launching full on like, you know, guru, how the gurus teach you to launch. And it was okay. Um but I set what feels like a crazy goal. I said I have two two different coaching programs. And I said, okay, I'm going to launch them both in March and my goal is just to get 10 people in each group. And if I got 10 people in each group, I think it would have come out to like $95,000 in sales. And I ended up doing 27 people and I did over $200,000 in sales in the one month, which is so insane because that, I mean, that was my law firm salary, more or less. I did that in one month and I'm guaranteed those payments, right? People are on payment plans, so that means I'm going to get that money over a year's time, but still that's my law firm salary. And the difference, the quality of the $200,000 I earned in my business is so much better because I don't have to wake up to a law firm partner telling me I have to cancel my plans on a weekend and I don't have to have someone tell me I'm not using my brain or don't, I feel like I'm going to cry. Like it just, it feels good. It was hard, but it feels good.
I bet. You should be so proud of yourself. And I think you're such an example for so many other people that are going to come behind you to see that there is another way. I mean, I think kind of going full circle back to why you went to law school. I think for a lot of us, older than you so especially like at my, when I, even when I was going through college and stuff, but I think even when you are, like there was really only one way to guarantee kind of like to have a secure life and I think to have kind of that success. And so I don't really like fault my parents for really pushing me in that way, because entrepreneurship wasn't really accessible. Right. It was like if you were going to take out a big loan and open up some kind of storefront or do something that if you don't have that experience and there wasn't the internet to learn from other people. So it's like I didn't grow up with entrepreneurs. So I had no idea. I mean, it never even crossed my mind to have a business and it wasn't until the internet and podcasts and books and other people's stuff that I was like oh, maybe I can do this. And I think that now I really want people to kind of wake up to the fact that like there is another way, it's not just like wishy-washy like maybe you can have a business. Like people are out here replacing their salaries in a month and doing much more. I mean, this is obviously just the beginning. This is like, you've just launched this business less than a year ago. The beauty of all this is that there is no ceiling, like with a law firm salary, there's a ceiling and you get told what you get every year and you can only make that. And there's so much heartache and stress and all this other stuff that comes with it. And now you created on your own, in your own way and there's no ceiling and there's just so much possibility. And it's the most amazing thing to watch.
I appreciate that. I agree a thousand percent. You and I were talking before we started recording about an event I'm planning this fall that I feel some stress about but if this event goes the way I think it will, which I have no reason statistically that it shouldn't, I'll make a million dollars this year. And that's so insane because money was the only reason I stayed in a job I actually hated with my soul. And in about 12 months of leaving, I'm going to make four times what they were willing to pay.
Oh, it's so amazing. And tell me about like the people that you help and how you help them. Like I know you were saying so it's really like people that want to go from this employee situation. They're not happy and into creating an online business. So is there a certain type of person, type of business or like how do you help them?
I would say that my top client is normally a law firm associate, about 60% of my clients are in big law or some type of law, some lawyer in some capacity. But really, I would like to say that I help six-figure employees who want to start passion and purpose-driven businesses. So there are a lot of business coaches out there and they'll help you start a business. I think, I can't remember if I've mentioned this already, but the fidget spinners, like that was an example of someone just becoming, seeing a need and quickly solving it, but that person wasn't passionate about that product. I want people to start businesses that they deeply care about, that are normally rooted in a past transformation that they've overcome or just something that they feel strongly about. I think those businesses perform significantly better and it's an alignment with lifestyle design. Like I really want clients who want to use entrepreneurship as a way to craft the lives that they want. And so that's probably ideal in terms of client. I also try to target six figure employees, not because of their income, but because of the mindset that's normally involved around it in order to walk away from salaries like that from quote unquote prestige, from the assumed security and stability of that, into what feels very unknown. It's a particular type of mindset coaching. And so I feel like it's good to have a group of people who are all there in that space together but also I can serve them better by having them all be on a similar playing field.
Yeah, I love that. I actually think that's a tougher group to kind of serve because they think that they are very much of the mind of like I'll never be able to replace my income, like a lot of people at that end. So it's it's harder to do that. And so like if you're making maybe I'm not in any way trying to disparage like teachers or anything, but if you're making a salary that's 30 or $40,000 a year, it might not be as hard to replace that with an online business, but replacing $300,000 is going to, you know, take a little bit more work.
Yeah and I think too, that that group of people have the same limited resources and resources in abundance. So time, they are all strapped for time, but they have discretionary income. So I can teach them how to leverage that income strategically and smartly and the things that they can invest in that are going to help them move quickly, knowing and understanding that time is like non-existent. And that they have very, very little to invest in this. I would say that's, you know, the ideal client and the ideal types of businesses we want to build. And my program promise is that in 12 months I take you from, I just have a lovely idea, to this can be my full-time job and it's been good. So right now the average for people who have gone through the program is about nine to 12 months. I want to get it down to seven. Yeah, but it's, I mean, it feels great and it feels great because even in going to law school, I know that money was the number one driver, but helping people was probably the next ancillary thing that I wanted to do. And I've always hated the people I was helping in the firm. And now I just feel like I get to hand-select and help people who are my friends overwhelmingly, especially in the beginning, my clients were and are my friends. And I just am so grateful that I get to change their lives literally.
Oh my God. I love it so much. And one other question I have about that though, is that I'm sure there's a lot of people that are listening who already just count themselves. Like well, I'm not an entrepreneur. I think so many people don't even give themselves that possibility because of what we've traditionally thought about somebody that starts their own business. So do you have any thoughts about like people even considering, like who should be kind of considering that maybe there's something you can do outside of working for somebody else?
I love how you said that our parents couldn't advise us to pursue this type of career because it didn't exist. I really think the internet changed what's available for us in a huge way. I was that person, I thought entrepreneurship was for people who were much more risk averse than I was. But my favorite entrepreneurs are people who love to teach. If you're at the law firm and you love the junior associates, you would be a great entrepreneur. If you have any knowledge or experience or obstacle that you overcame, like you are going to make a fantastic coach for somebody. If you have an idea, it's so easy now to bring these ideas, like a tech idea, an app idea, it sounds, you know, like you have to know how to code, but you don't, you can pay someone $10 on Fiverr to code the thing for you. The internet has just changed it. Like our idea, like I just always thought entrepreneurs were like raggedy, confused hobo-y kind of people, but like really I just think they're brilliant. I think I love it.
I love it so much Janelle. Where can people come find you so they can follow along for all of this amazingness?
I would say that Instagram is unfortunately, the best place to find me. I wish, my website is undergoing a much needed surgery and second life, but Instagram is great. And my Instagram is at HeyJNicole, H-E-Y the letter J N-I-C-O-L-E.
I will put that in the show notes. Now in the last, I guess, parting words, any advice for somebody that was Janelle stuck in that law firm, miserable but didn't know what the next thing was. Like just knew that this wasn't it.
Oh yeah. I have two things. Thing one is to immerse yourself in people doing different things that align with your definition of success. So listening to podcasts, your podcast was so transformative for me, podcasts of people who had built businesses were so transformative for me. And just hearing story after story, after story of like people doing the thing changed me. And then my second thing, that feels like a secret but it's definitely not, are books. And I can't read a paperback book for anything, like the same paperback book sits on my nightstand for months. I can read like three pages a night, but I can listen to some Audible while I walk my dog, when I go to the grocery store, when I'm in the car and I can power through books. I read six to eight books a month now. If you can read more books of learning the skill or hearing other people tell their story, like that will change you so deeply. And I wish more people took advantage.
I love that advice because that definitely was what started changing my perspective slowly over time. And it was invaluable. Thank you so much Janelle, it was such a pleasure having you on.
I am so honored. I swear that your podcast is one of the things that changed me and I'm so grateful. I, it feels like I said, out of body to be here now.
Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes, it'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at Lessons From a Quitter and on Twitter at QuitterPodcast, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.