Safety first! I would never encourage my clients to take irresponsible risks. If you want to escape the rigid and sometimes diseasing system Social Workers have to work in, you have to make a solid plan. Here’s exactly how I did it. Hope it may inspire you!

2005

This year my frustration about the job went to the top! I was sick and tired of not being seen, not being heard and not being valued. Frustration can be a great source of action. While frustration can keep you fixated, the action brings you forward. At the end of this year I knew I wanted to show up and be responsible for my own journey. For my own happiness.

2006

In January I went to the Chamber of Commerce and my business was officially born. I still had my job: a 30 hour workweek as the CEO of a small Social Work organization. So I started to combine things. During that year I learned to set boundaries in my job because I knew I needed the time to set up my business.

In this first year I build an expensive website. That website had to bring me money by selling website ads.

It didn’t work.

2007 + 2008

I still had my job for 30 hours. I still had my mission to empower social workers. But I didn’t have customers. And I didn’t have revenue. I had really no clue what to do! Selling ads made me sad. This was not what I was supposed to do.

Frustration came back at my door. But I didn’t want to quit. My dream made me realize every day that I was needed. That I had to find a way to make it work.

2009

In september 2009 my story makes a huge shift. A friend told me that I should learn more about marketing. First I refused. I’m a Social Worker and we don’t do marketing. But my friend was persistent and finally I surrendered. I took my first marketing class and it was a great relief.

I discovered that marketing is not dirty. I discovered a way of doing business that’s not salesy. I started practicing the things I learned and that got me immediate results: I got customers, they were happy and payed my invoices.

In 4 months I got so confident that I knew that my business was my future. That also meant that I knew that I had to quit my job.

Then fear came at my door. It was the fear of getting out of money. The only way to handle this was to make a safe plan.

In december I asked the salary administration to let me know what my salary would be if I worked 28 hours, 24 hours, 20 hours or 18 hours. I decided to go back to a 18 hour workweek. My salary would be less but I had the confidence that I could bring in money from my business when I was able to spend 20-30 hours per week on my business.

2010

This year I worked so hard! 18 hour per week as a CEO and sometimes 40 hours per week in my business. But I knew what to do to bring in customers. Constant and consistent doing the right actions worked very well. I was dedicated and happy. This was rewarded with customers and revenue.

I payed myself a salary and together with the salary from my job my income stayed at the same level. The money that was left stayed on the bankaccount of my business to build a buffer.

I also made time to invest in myself and my transformation from Social Worker to Social Worker Entrepreneur. I worked with a mentor and followed more marketing classes.

This together brought me closer to my goal: quit my job and become a fulltime Social Worker Entrepreneur.

2011

This was my year! In march I left my job. It was a huge victory. I had saved enough money to overcome eventually misery. So it finally felt safe to quit my job.

Now

I’m happy and proud the way I did this. My business is established and still growing. I’m happy with my salary, love the hard working and very grateful for the love from my clients.

You!

I wanted to share this with you because I know some of you too dream of quitting your job. What are the lessons you can learn from my story? How will this help you to take your next step? Please share this below in the comments.

Don’t give up. Do what you love!

Help

Do you need help? Could you use a mentor too? I’m here to help you. I have training- and coaching programs to do this together.

Showing 14 comments
  • Tua Teara
    Reply

    Hi Anneke, thank you for your beautiful email. This has given me another strength to hold on to what I started since November last year 2015. I reduced my hours of work from 40 a week to 32 thinking I have all the answers to get out there and start getting customers such as General Practitioners, government agencies to refer client to me. However one interview with a GP service set me back and thought it will be harder to keep knocking at doors. So I continued to present doing voluntary work in a Caravan Village as I saw the need of family with children and started making changes, however I was not satisfied. I so much want to leave or reduce my hours further but I cannot afford to. Thank you for sharing your story because I haven’t given up hope that one day I can really share what is really happening within my community. I have shared a lot of my knowledge and have seen a bit of it put in other professions area. I am so passionate raising the level of practice with our social workers as I see a need in this. I am doing supervision for new graduate social workers, students on placements and coaching to gain registrations. I would like to register in your programme.

    • Anneke Krakers
      Reply

      Hi Tua, thank you for sharing your story. You work so hard! What I recognize in my own story is your big dream that keeps you going. I would love to see if my coaching program will be a good fit for you. We can set up a call. You can register for this call here: https://annekekrakers.leadpages.net/discoverysession/

  • Jessica Lundmark
    Reply

    Dearest Anneke, thank You for sharing Your very inspiring story!

    I too have never settled with what is “good enough”, or less than that. I changed my job as a social worker in the public sector a few times, and recently changed to the private sector. I think I will stay here for a few years, and then I hope to start up something of my own.

    When I think about stop working as an employee, and becoming my own, this of course raises a lot of thoughts and sometimes fears, so thank You again for sharing Your story, and showing that it can become real instead of just a dream!

    • Anneke Krakers
      Reply

      You’re so welcome Jessica!

  • Jennell
    Reply

    Hi Anneke,
    Your story was so inspiring. I have a private practice that has been open for 3 years. I see 4 clients a night 3 nights a week. This is in addition to my full time job. I had to limit myself to 3 nights a week so I can still have time for my family. The revenue from my practice can pay for its self but I am still struggling with how much to pay myself as well as when should I start. I also struggle with knowing when it is the right time to transition to my practice fulltme.

    • Anneke Krakers
      Reply

      Hi Jennell, I started paying myself a salary from my business right away. In the beginning it was only a few dollars but that didn’t matter. You need this to get the trust that your business can provide you a living. That you business can pay you a salary. This will make it also more easy to finally decide when it’s time to quit your job. Good luck Jennell!

  • Makha Thusi
    Reply

    Dear Anneke
    I’ve always felt inspiring talks which serve as a stimulus to us as Social Workers to consider venturing into being entrepreneurs and to take “worthwhile risks”!
    I highly appreciate the fact that one can actually start the business whilst employed! It was like you were speaking with me directly as I have been procrastinating for some time, thinking I need to “retire” first before I could start. Your story has greatly inspired me and end of June, I intend registering my “private practice” and hope to maintain contact with you as a “support system” and coach, whilst I’m “learning the ropes”. Once again, thank you very much & may you grow from strength to strength!! Makha

    • Anneke Krakers
      Reply

      Dear Makha, I’m so grateful to inspire you. Please don’t wait for your retirement. You can start today! I’ll do my best to continue to empower you and all these other Social Workers who are willing to play a new game and change the system. I’m sending you and all the others light, love and strength to follow your entrepreneurial journey <3

  • Atim Alice
    Reply

    Dear Anneke

    this story is great encouragement for me, am social worker in an organisation that supports children, but for the past five years i have a lot of pain on how my boses crush my soul and for the other workers too, in fact most moments when am out of work and alone i spend time crying. lately i requested to work only 3 days a week so i can figure out what to do. i donot actually earn that much to help me but i decided to stay back home so i can keep away from the very arrogant boss.although i do think i need to set up a shop to keep me busy the other days am off.thanks alot

    • Anneke Krakers
      Reply

      Dear Alice, thank you for sharing your story. I feel sorry for your crying. I think it’s great that you made the decision to get more time for yourself and develop your own plans in freedom and creativity. Good luck!

  • Donielle
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Anneke Krakers
      Reply

      You’re welcome Donielle!

  • Diana Griffiths
    Reply

    Hi Anna

    I wonder if you would be able to mentor me I have a couple of ideas I would like to pursue but both would require some capital and I’m not sure how to and where to start. I have been working for the Local government for a few years now and I feel burnt out I have tried to change departments but it has helped matters either

    • Anneke Krakers
      Reply

      Hi Diana, I’ve send you an email to set up a call to find out if I can be your mentor. There’re many ways to start your business without having capital so we can talk about that.

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