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  • Writer's pictureDeseré Cross Ward, M.Ed.

Quitting the 9-5 and Starting an Empire 💪🏽

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

It’s been about three months since I quit my 9-5 and co-founded TwoWards Solutions, with my husband Michael. During this time, I’ve learned a lot, and after taking some time to reflect, here are three lessons I thought were worth sharing with the world wide web:

The Power of Trust

Making the decision to quit my job required me to trust God, trust myself and trust the process. I had to trust God to provide. Losing a steady paycheck and employee benefits was not an easy decision to make. However, by focusing on what I would gain (my independence, improved mental health, and time to start my empire), I was able to center my energy on starting a new chapter rather than worrying about what would be left behind in the old one.

Philippians 4:6

I also had to trust myself and my skill set. You know that nagging voice in the back of your head that questions whether you’re good enough? If not, lucky you. If so, I hear it too, and I questioned if others would see the value in what our business offers. To overcome this doubt, not only did I have to trust in myself, but also my connection to the Universe that was guiding me towards the path of entrepreneurship. When I quit my job, I had every intention to find a new one, but as final round interviews continued to lead to no job offers, it became increasingly clear that God did not intend for me to work for anyone else -- it was time to employ myself.

Lastly, I had to trust the process. My unsuccessful job search ultimately led to me realizing being employed by a 9-5 was no longer my calling. And as I pivoted to entrepreneurship, I had to trust the process of building my clientele and business’ brand. This guided me to my second learned lesson -- the power of taking action.

The Power of Taking Action

It didn’t take long to learn the power of taking action. The first major action I took was quitting my job. That freed up time and energy to focus on building clientele and our business’ brand. The second major action I took was telling my story. During the last six months of my 9-5, I chronicled my experience as the sole Black woman working in a mostly-white department and the trauma that accompanied working at a university that had institutionalized white supremacy. I shared how I overcame the fear of quitting my job with journalists, podcasters and researchers who were highlighting the Great Resignation and Black women’s experience in higher education. Sharing my story was extremely therapeutic and made space for the necessary reflection needed to build confidence in the decision to leave my employer. As I reflected on my decision and shared my story, the idea of starting my own business became part of that narrative.

Deseré Cross Ward being interviewed for the film, Still Overcoming
Behind the scenes of the film, Still Overcoming, a documentary about racial integration at the University of Texas at Austin. I had the pleasure and honor of sharing my story as part of the film's narrative.

The third major action I took was creating. After months of ruminating on names for our business, we chose TwoWards Solutions. And once we named what we were about to birth, everything else took off from there. Over the next several months, while juggling clients, I built the TwoWards Solutions brand. From the colors, to the logo, to the website, I started to set the foundational blocks for my family’s empire. The 🔑, I’ve realized, to taking action is to not overthink the process, but instead trust in God (or whatever higher power you believe in) to guide you.

The Power of Entrepreneurship

After quitting my job and snagging my first client, I quickly learned the allure of entrepreneurship. Now that I have gotten a taste of owning my own business, I really can’t see myself going back to someone else’s office. I absolutely love the flexibility of working on my own terms. It’s much easier to achieve whole life excellence when you don’t have eight hours of your day dedicated to one entity. I also like the variety of projects I’m able to work on and the exposure I have gained to multiple different industries. I’ve worked on political campaigns, wrote grants for non-profit tech start-ups, produced social media and public relations strategies for schools and departments at UT Austin, and helped individuals discover, mold and shape their brand identity.


Call to Action

If you are thinking about quitting your job, starting your own business, or both, learn the power of trust and taking action; it will make for an easier journey. And while embarking on your journey, take note of the things that you love about it. These notes will come in handy during those times when you question why you started your entrepreneurship journey in the first place. Lastly, set up some time to talk to us; TwoWards Solutions specializes in helping entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality!

To learn more about TwoWards Solutions and the brand we've been building over the past three months, check out this podcast at the 28:30 mark; I really enjoyed sharing TwoWards Solutions’ story and where we are headed from here!

TwoWards Solutions logo

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