In 2009, Amy Porterfield had a comfortable job as the director of content development at Anthony (Tony) Robbins Companies. She had a regular paycheck, she had paid vacation, she was eligible for promotions but at some point she realized she wanted more. The job introduced her to people building online businesses, and she yearned for the kind of daily freedom the gig afforded.
Porterfield ultimately left her full-time job and experimented with various businesses, including selling and creating online courses. In 2019, she launched Digital Course Academy, teaching others how to start an online course business themselves. And it blew up.
"It was the biggest launch I'd ever done. The best feedback I've ever gotten," she says. Over the years, she's helped "50,000 students" overall, she says. And her business has brought in tens of millions.
In February, Porterfield published a book, "Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit Your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want, and Change the World." It's already a New York Times bestseller. She's hoping the people who pick it up are, "those that are in a cubicle right now looking around thinking, 'there has got to be something better for me.'"
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If you're considering leaving your nine-to-five but aren't sure it's the right move, here are three signs Porterfield suggests considering.
You're 'being underpaid'
If you know you're being underpaid, it might be time to move on.
Porterfield tells the story of a former student, a pharmacist, who was training a recent hire. "When she realized this guy who she trained was making more money than she was and she had been there for many, many years," she says, "that was it for her."
Porterfield herself had a similar moment in one of her early jobs. She accidentally saw another male employee's salary on a fax and knew she both had a bigger role and was there longer. She started looking for a new job and left three months later.
With women still only making 82% as much as men, according to the Pew Research Center, this is not uncommon.
"Being underpaid is a huge trigger for, 'I am done,'" she says. "I need to move on." You can certainly ask for a raise, she says. But if they say no, "you've got to think about a plan B."
'You feel invisible or undervalued'
Similarly, if you feel like you're being undervalued and there's no way to remedy your higher ups' treatment, consider an exit strategy.
"Sometimes people feel invisible in their nine-to-five jobs," says Porterfield. "They have ideas, they bring them to the table and no one pays attention." That can be a sign that there won't be an opportunity for growth where you are.
"If you feel invisible or undervalued in your job and you know your ideas aren't even getting the attention they deserve," she says, start looking for a gig where leadership is open to hearing what you have to say. Conversely, Porterfield recommends considering starting your own business "where your ideas are the number one priority."
You don't want your boss's job
Sometimes realizing it's time to go is about recognizing that your company does not offer the kind of ladder you would like to climb.
"One of the workplace red flags that often gets overlooked is that you look at your boss and you think 'okay, if I'm going to climb that corporate ladder, do I want the job my boss has?'" Not all internal climbs look the same, but the idea is to look ahead to where you could end up and figure out if that's the path you're interested in.
If you feel like, "I don't want that kind of job. I want to make more money. I want to do something more creative. I'm not excited about that," says Porterfield, "right there that should tell you growth in that business is not a good fit for you."
Give yourself three months, six months, nine months or a year to figure out your next steps, she says, then "go out and make your own growth."
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