I Quit My $160K Job to Be a Full-Time Mindset Coach. 4 Things I Wish I’d Known Going In

Yanet Borrego walked away from her career as a Fortune 500 engineer and consultant to become a mindset coach. In this guest essay, she shares how year one of her employee-to-entrepreneur transition has gone.
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After wavering on the idea of becoming a full-time entrepreneur for the last nine years of my thriving corporate career, I finally took the leap of faith.

There are many challenges I didn’t foresee. Even though I had built the foundation of my mindset coaching business while working a full-time corporate job — getting certified, building meaningful connections, having paid clients, and getting referrals — nothing prepared me for the challenges I faced when I became a full-time entrepreneur

Now, I’m the most happy, abundant, and fulfilled I’ve ever been, and I’m well on my way to creating a 6-figure business and replacing my $160k corporate income. As part of my coaching and speaking business, I help individuals discover their purpose so they can align their careers to what truly fulfills them — and generate more income, too.

No one can tell you the exact challenges you’ll face in this transition, but by knowing the challenges others have faced, you can better prepare yourself for your financial independence journey. Here are four challenges I’ve had to overcome along the way in my first year of entrepreneurship. 

Challenge No. 1: I Had to Let Go of Perfectionism

Being an entrepreneur requires thick skin, because you have to face rejection every day. Here is the good news: no one can reject you if you don’t reject yourself.

I had to fully embrace failure by practicing what I also coach my clients on: “There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback.” The more you fail, the more feedback you receive, and the more you can improve your services to fully support your community. This is the entrepreneurial mindset; it’s about growing and serving, instead of trying to be perfect every single time.

When I first created my digital course, I had heard about the strategy of pre-selling your course to test the market’s interest, then developing it in real time with a small group of live clients. 

My perfectionism took over. I said to myself: No way! I would never sell a product that’s not yet created! 

I later had to eat my words, because when I researched how major corporations test new concepts and products, that’s exactly how they approach it. Pre-selling my idea and taking a round of clients through it to get feedback and improve helped me develop the life changing course I have today.  

Challenge No. 2: I Had to Get Creative in Order to Receive Mentorship

I was used to the structure of corporations, in which finding a mentor usually just required showing interest and reaching out to someone who I thought was a good fit. People are naturally receptive to being mentors under the corporate umbrella, because it benefits all the parties. The mentee gets a role model, the mentor gets to highlight his role in the annual performance reviews, and the organization benefits because we’re all helping each other in support of the corporation’s mission and vision. It’s a natural fit and there’s not much resistance.

The dynamic of finding a mentor in entrepreneurship, however, is completely different.

I quickly recognized the importance of getting advice and insights from people who had gone through the path I was navigating. I tried reaching out to successful entrepreneurs within my city with no success. I realized I had to change my approach.

As I was brainstorming, I arrived at the realization that, for different areas of my business, I needed different mentors. Mentorship in my entrepreneurial journey came in the way of investing in digital courses and programs to be able to access successful entrepreneurs who were already succeeding in the areas I was focusing on. My return on investment for most mentorship experiences was around 200% — totally worth it!

Investing money in a mentor was something I had never thought of while in corporate, and now in my entrepreneurial journey I embrace a different mindset.

Challenge No. 3: I Had to Make Myself More Visible in My Industry 

In entrepreneurship, you must learn how to serve and sell. It’s the nature of being a business owner. Your services and client testimonials will speak for themselves, but they aren’t valuable unless people see them. Your network of family and friends stretches so far. 

In my journey as a full-time entrepreneur, I had to become resourceful to tap into different communities. I quickly learned that generating revenue is a statistics game. According to one of my marketing mentors, just 1% of people who see your sales page will buy. Only one percent! This means you have to find ways to put your products and services in front of many different people. 

The closing rate of sales calls is also low: about one out of every ten potential clients will commit to your services. Thankfully, my closing rates have been way better so far, but I always go in with the mindset of serving and giving value, knowing that not everyone will buy. 

Buying requires trust. It’s important to keep in mind that people sometimes need to see you and hear from you several times before they are willing to pay you. I’ve approached this challenge through different avenues, speaking on mindset topics to different organizations, offering low ticket or even free workshops, creating my podcast, learning how to use social media ads, and being featured in the media.

Building visibility takes time and as an entrepreneur. I remind myself often that I’m here for the long run.

Challenge No. 4: I Needed to Find ‘My People’

When I left corporate, I realized that my network and colleagues were mostly working professionals. Now that I had transitioned into entrepreneurship, I needed to be more intentional about surrounding myself with people who were going through similar journeys. I needed a space where entrepreneurs could connect, brainstorm, and share the challenges we were facing in our businesses.

I joined two business women networking groups, and started attending an event or meeting at least twice a month. There’s so much I’ve learned from the other coaches and business owners I’ve met through these communities. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey at times; finding fellow colleagues you can share your ups and downs with is priceless.

Ten years ago, I found myself, a Cuban immigrant with a single mother, starting my corporate career as an engineer with a Fortune 500 company, accomplishing everything I thought the American dream was about. But I still felt an emptiness within me. My drive to not settle for less than I’m capable of led me to a career path where I feel successful and fulfilled: being a full-time coach and speaker.

Here are four takeaways I’ve learned from my journey so far, in review:

  • You can be both financially successful and fulfilled.
  •  Do not settle for less. Believe in your dreams and believe that you can. Remember: no one can reject you if you don’t reject yourself.
  • Make decisions based on long-term fulfillment instead of short-term satisfaction. I have a free 3 questions framework you can download to help you make aligned decisions that lead to satisfying outcomes.
  •  It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.

I believe in you. If I’m doing it, you can do it too!