I Turned My Side Hustle Into a Six-Figure Business in 15 Months — and Now I’m Quitting My Day Job

A photo to accompany a story about achieving financial independence Delyanne Barros / Getty Images
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I landed my dream job straight out of law school. Six months into it, I realized that I had made a huge mistake. I did not enjoy being an attorney. In fact, I hated it. 

I wasn’t ready for the adversarial and competitive nature of it all. I wasn’t prepared for the unending paper pushing and the detailed time tracking of every minute of every day. I wasn’t built for the office politics and quixotic assignments from equity partners with massive egos. I wasn’t thriving from the lack of positive reinforcement from either my bosses or my clients. 

So what did I do? I kept my head down and worked for another 7 years. With $150,000 of student loan debt looming over me, I didn’t have the luxury of quitting. I finally changed jobs and became an attorney editor at an online publisher, where I considerably lowered my stress and significantly increased my salary.

But the idea of leaving the law never left me. I knew that there had to be something else that I was called to do. So in January 2020, two months before the pandemic started and the world crashed around us, I decided to start my own online business

Only 15 months later, I did the unthinkable. I quit a six-figure legal career to pursue my side hustle full time. Here’s how I turned my fear and confusion around money into a thriving business — and achieved true financial independence

A Small Business Is Born

Delyanne the Money Coach LLC was born out of my own struggle and frustrations with money. I was angry that I had let my fear of math (AP calculus was traumatizing) hold me back from learning how to manage and grow my money. I lived in New York City for 15 years, just four subway stops away from the New York Stock Exchange, and yet I knew nothing about it. My 401(k) was a Rubik’s Cube that I couldn’t solve. I realized if I felt this way, then others must too.

It didn’t take long for me to verify this was true. I started sharing my personal struggles with paying off my student loans and I publicly announced on Instagram that I would be working to pay them off by the end of 2020. I had chosen Christmas Day as my debt-free date.

Little did I know that this would set off a chain reaction that led me to finding the FIRE community. FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire (I prefer “Relax”) Early. Basically, you invest enough money to pay yourself a paycheck for the rest of your life — and become work optional or work flexible. I decided I would not only use my Instagram page to educate people about this concept, but to document my personal journey as well. My FIRE number was $1.5 million, and it would take approximately seven years to reach it. 

I started Delyanne the Money Coach LLC two months before COVID hit us like a sledgehammer. For many, the pandemic devastated their business, especially those that focused on travel and live events. However, in my case, the stock market was all anyone could talk about, and people were starving for information. Between my full-time job and my new business, I was easily working 10-12 hours a day 5-6 days a week. I was producing content as fast as I could while learning all the technology and marketing aspects of running a business. 

In March 2020, I made my first official offer on Instagram: a mini-money makeover for $50. I would review a client’s entire budget and draft a plan to help them pay off debt and stay debt free. Only one person purchased. I was elated! I had never made money outside of traditional employment before. I was a spinning instructor for about a year, but I was working for someone else. Looking back at that offer now, I was grossly undercharging, but I was so hungry to prove myself and to make the business real that I was willing to do anything. I spent hours on my client’s plan, and she was so happy when she received it. I still get messages from her to this day about her progress and how much my plan helped her.

I then started coaching clients one on one helping them work their way through debt and money management issues. However, what I really wanted was to branch out and teach people everything that I had learned about investing as I pursued my own financial independence.  After 8 months of one-on-one coaching, I decided to launch my digital course, “Slay the Stock Market.”

Consider This If You’re Thinking of Starting a Business

Slay the Stock Market now has over 700 students and it has catapulted my business. So much so that on March 15, 2021, I did something I didn’t envision happening for many, many years: I quit my full-time job as an attorney. I’ve only had two jobs in my professional career. Quitting a job is a rare thing in my life and I don’t take it lightly. 

I was able to do this with confidence because I took those 15 months to put in hundreds of hours of work to prove my concept. Once my business hit six figures and then multiple six-figures, I knew it was time to leave my full-time job. 

If you want to start a business, I have a few pieces of advice:

  • Take the time to find something you truly feel passionate about. You’re going to spend more time on this than you’ve ever spent on anything else. Make sure you love it. 
  • Hire a business coach. My sister, Nathalia Copeland @ispeaksocial is my business coach and she’s the reason why I was able to launch and grow my business so quickly.
  • Stop aiming for perfection. If you try to do everything perfectly every time, you’re going to end up with a lot of half-done and forgotten projects. Do it messily and get your offer out there.
  • Do not worry about having a polished website or logo. I still don’t have a proper website for my business. All you need is a way to sell your offer, collect payment, and a platform to connect with your potential customers.
  • Don’t quit your full-time job until you feel 100% ready. It doesn’t matter whether it takes you a year or 10 years to leave your full-time job as long as you do it when you feel ready and not because you feel pressured by what other people think. Leverage that job to fund and grow your business. 

Whatever path you choose, remember that no one is going to have to live with those decisions but you. Make decisions that make you happy — even when others doubt you.