This month marks five years since my family packed up everything we knew, moved 600 miles South, and changed our lives forever. When we made that decision, it was met with a lot of laughter, non-belief, and in some cases sadness. We lived 10 minutes from each of our parents, it was the county my wife grew up in, it was the county where I was known as one of the coaches. I was in a stable work position for over 9 years prior, so to say leaving was a tough decision would be an understatement.
My colleagues asked me, “How can you afford to do this?” The answer was fairly simple, we prepared for it and put ourselves in a position to do so. The biggest factor was: we paid off all our debt except for the mortgage. For years, we limited how often we went out to eat, went to the movies, and took potentially expensive vacations. Also, we accumulated cash flow that allowed us to buy a foreclosed house, on some acreage, which we were able to sell for enough to finance the move and set us up with the down payment on our next house.
It was scary making the move as we were in a new area, knowing very few people, and having no jobs in place. Although we knew we needed to make the move, it was a huge gamble that could have easily blown up in our faces. I started my own painting business and my wife was hired at our local bank. Building a business from scratch, in a new area with few contacts was a difficult undertaking but it was what I needed to do. Four and a half years later, that business had grown to the point where I was always booked for 2-3 months in advance; still even getting calls weekly for jobs even after I stopped to join The JPI Group.
Joining The JPI Group was risky, as well. I was leaving a thriving business I had built up to a new role I had never done before. But again, I knew it was the right decision and did not hesitate to make the move. I could not be happier with my decision. It allows me to spend more time with my family and is less wear-and-tear on my body.
The biggest thing I have learned over the past 5 years is that you must follow your dreams. It may not work, like me trying to be a Travel Agent in my spare time, or it may be a huge success like my painting business, but at the end of the day you have to try. I was chatting with a former co-worker from Indiana, who was traveling back from Florida after visiting his son. He said he told his wife how happy he was for me because I had the guts to pack up and move when I did. Not that I needed validation, it was still nice to hear that others see that from their point of view.
So, my advice is that if you have an opportunity you want to pursue, do it. Plan for it, then execute your plans. It may work, it may not work, but at the end of the day you will never know unless you try.