In the throes of pandemic life, I told my husband I wanted to launch an online media training course. The next day, ads from Amy Porterfield started popping up on Instagram. That’s how I landed in Porterfield’s powerful orbit — joining millions of followers who turn to her for her business advice and products. Countless courses, newsletter emails, podcast episodes, and Clubhouse sessions later, I had a binder full of her workbooks, worksheets and downloads and launched my course a year later.
Porterfield has been transforming the lives of entrepreneurs and business owners for more than a decade. For the past 14 years, the online marketing expert has been providing valuable insights, strategies and guidance through her engaging and informative content. Now, she’s taking her expertise to the next level with the release of her highly anticipated book, Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want and Change the World.
In each chapter, Porterfield empowers readers with practical tools and actionable steps to help them create a business from scratch. Yes, that might involve creating an online course down the line but for now, Porterfield is focused on helping people who dream of leaving their jobs, walk out the corporate door and into financial freedom. She joined me from her Nashville home to talk about her eight-figure business, how you can go from employee to entrepreneur and what she does for fun. Click on the video above to watch the full interview.
Jessica Abo: Amy, you quit your own nine-to-five job more than 10 years ago and went on to create an $85 million business. Take us back to when you were getting ready to give your notice.
At my very last nine-to-five job, I worked with peak performance coach Tony Robbins. One day, he did a focus group and brought in a bunch of online business owners. I was the director of content, but I was brought in that day to take notes. So here I was sitting at a side table listening to all these guys around a big oak table talk about the businesses they built. They were talking about working when they wanted, where they wanted, how they wanted. They were talking about living a life on their terms. They were talking about making a lot of money and a lot of impact. In that moment, I thought, “I don’t even know who these guys are or what they’re doing, but I want a piece of it.”
It was the first time in my life that I realized I’d never been free. I didn’t call the shots. I wasn’t my own boss. I wasn’t working when I wanted, where I wanted or how I wanted. So in that moment, I thought, “I want a piece of this, and I’m going to figure it out.”
How long did it take from the time you sat in on that meeting until you actually gave your notice?
It took me about a year from that moment to the day I drove out of those San Diego offices in my little white car with all the boxes packed in the back, and I drove off to start my own business.
But in that year, I created a runway, like how am I going to quit this job with dignity and integrity, but also get ready to start my own business and figure that all out?
What did that runway look like? What are some of the steps that people need to take to build their own runway?
There are very specific things I did and I outlined them in my book Two Weeks Notice. The first thing is I had to get clear on my why. Because if you have a strong reason for leaving behind your job and starting your own business, your why will pick you up when your worries knock you down.
My why was that I didn’t want a boss. I wanted freedom. I wanted to bust through that glass ceiling. I wanted to call the shots. Once I got clear on my why, then I had to choose my exit date. I wrote my exit date on a Post-it note and looked at it every single day and I asked myself, “What do I need to do today to move me closer to that date? Do I need to pick up a book? Do I need to listen to a certain podcast? Do I need to ask for advice? Do I need to get support?” Every day, I was working toward that date and starting to build my ideas for the business I wanted to create. That exit date is everything because you will not quit if you don’t have a plan.
The next thing I did is I got really clear on my finances. I had to look at my finances and say, “How much do I really need to make each month to make ends meet?”
Then I started a side hustle. This way I could bring in a little extra money, working on it mornings, nights and weekends. I started a side hustle to gain a little courage and bring in a little extra money in the meantime. My side hustle was really important because it was a starter idea that gave me momentum.
Finally, I told three people: my husband, my mom and my best friend. In my book, I encourage you to only tell three people. Most people will not understand your dream of quitting a job and starting your own business. Most people, including your coworkers, will tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it. Be careful who you tell.
What roadblocks did you hit in the beginning?
I really struggled with imposter syndrome. From the day I left my job to go out on my own, the thought was, “Who am I to be doing this? I am not smart enough.” I couldn’t even use the word entrepreneur. That was too fancy and too big for someone who had always had a nine-to-five job.
But each time it came up for me, I kept going back to my why. Why do I want this? I want freedom. I want to call the shots. I want to build something amazing. I want to make a lot more money. So on the days that my worries and doubts knocked me down, my why would pick me back up.
Let’s talk about the person who is unhappy in their job. How do they have the courage to give notice and how do they identify when it’s time to leave?
This really is turning inward and asking yourself, “What do I want?” When you look around your job, and you think, “Okay, I’m underpaid and undervalued,” or sometimes people say, “I just feel ignored here. People aren’t even taking my ideas seriously,” or if you just look around and you think, “I don’t want my boss’s job. I have a desire to do bigger things in my life” you have to listen to those thoughts. The question you want to ask yourself is, “Okay, if I’m not happy here, if I want something bigger, what am I waiting for?”
So it’s going to take courage, but also know that there are steps you can take. Two Weeks Notice is your guide to start getting a plan together.
What are the steps that people need to take so that they know they’re building a strong foundation for the next chapter?
We’re going to start out scrappy. We’re not going to have all the answers. You’re just going to go forward with your starter idea. So whatever that might be, here are a few things you want to think about.
In Two Weeks Notice, I’m going to teach you how to put together an offer based on your starter idea, show you how much to charge, and how many customers you need in order to hit your goals. We’re going to break down the tools you need such as your website. There are so many resources today that you can get a website up in one or two days. I give a lot of resources in the book, especially if you’re on a budget.
Of course, you’re going to use social media to start building up that business and I’ll show you how to do it on your terms.
We’re also going to talk about growing an email list, your messaging, how to show up on video with confidence and how to really put yourself out there to find your ideal customer.
Amy, give us an overview of your company today. You have 20 employees and a list of products.
14 years in, my business looks very different from the days that I was doing social media for small businesses. That’s the point. Your business will evolve.
But today, I have built a team that I’m so very proud of and here’s the funny thing. I teach people how to quit their jobs and start their own business. One question I get asked a lot is, “How do you keep employees if that’s what you teach people how to do?” I’ve built a business where it doesn’t feel like corporate, and that’s so important to me. Any of you that are watching right now that want to build a business, I’m sure you don’t want your business to feel like your nine-to-five job.
So we do a four-day workweek, which is so incredibly powerful. We work Monday through Thursday, eight hours a day. We take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. I want people to have balance in their life, and I want them to enjoy their time outside of work, so I make it a point to set up a business that way. They also have unlimited time off. I have perks in my business to make it feel very different than a nine-to-five job.
Also, we do amazing projects, and we build really cool things, but we also make sure that we have fun in the business. We do in-person retreats since we work virtually, just to make sure we get time in each other’s proximity. The culture on my team is just as important as the students that I serve.
What do you think young Amy Porterfield would be saying or be thinking about everything that you’ve created?
She would say, “No way this is our life!” Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have a business this successful or get to have a team that is amazing as they are, or get to work with the people that I get to work with. My life is beyond my wildest dreams, and that is why I do what I do.
I know I am not special. I want to help other people leave their nine-to-five job, start their own business, and one day tell me, “Amy, my life is beyond my wildest dreams.” There’s a whole other world waiting for you beyond the nine-to-five, and I want to help more people realize this.