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I got fired from my dream tech job but now I make more money and work less hours a week as a content creator. Here’s how I built it up.

Zulie Rane in front of a brick wallZulie Rane now works 20 hours a week and makes more tan she did in her tech job.

Zulie Rane

  • Zulie Rane makes six figures as a content creator after being fired from her job at a tech company. 
  • Being fired was difficult, but it was a blessing in disguise and now she loves her job. 
  • Rane said she had to figure out what she was good at to succeed in a new industry. 

Today, I’m a six-figure content creator. But three years ago I was far from that.

In October 2019, I moved from the UK to the US to start what I thought was my dream job as an account manager for an incredible tech company that I’d admired for years.

I had to make sacrifices to make that happen: I left my now-husband behind in the UK and I moved back in with my parents in Georgia. But it was all worth it, because I thought I loved my amazing job.

But things weren’t going as smoothly as I hoped

I had a sneaking suspicion I wasn’t that great at my job, no matter what my colleagues or clients told me. I just didn’t understand the technology we sold, so I had a hard time selling it to our customers.

My peers and mentors told me it was normal to have a slow start, but I had my doubts. Long after other new hires had settled in and were closing big deals, I was still struggling.

I managed to convince myself it was imposter syndrome. In reality, I was experiencing the opposite of imposter syndrome. I wasn’t as good as everyone else, and I was concealing it. 

Nine months in, my boss called me in for a surprise meeting without an agenda

I went into it fearing the worst. Agenda-less meetings at short notice are never a good sign, and I was right. 

She told me I was in danger of being fired for not being good enough at the sales part of my job — I had too much customer churn. I had a very low expansion rate, which means that even when customers renewed their annual deals, they spent the same amount of money, instead of buying more products.

In short, I was the lowest-performing sales person by a considerable margin. 

She gave me three months to turn it around. Not only did I have to meet my original sales goal for the quarter, but I had to exceed it by 10% to demonstrate my improvement.

I came within 95% of meeting that target, but it wasn’t good enough. I was fired after almost a year to the day of accepting an offer at my dream company.

Getting fired always sucks, but this was especially tough for me

For so long, I’d built it up in my head as a dream job, the kind of job I would never willingly leave throughout my entire career. Contrary to my dreams, I was suddenly unemployed because I sucked at sales. I was still living at home with my parents with no real prospects. I had no idea what was going to come next for me.

But getting fired turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After being unceremoniously ousted, I had two choices. I could try to find another job in account management, or I could take a risk and go freelance.

Over the next two years, I worked to build my real dream job in content creation. I went in on YouTube, publishing quality videos every day. I built products to sell to my audience, growing my mailing list. I started taking my personal website seriously. I went from having a single client to having five regular clients. 

Today, I make more than I did in my old job — and I work half the hours

I took the hard choice and trusted myself to build my own company as a freelance content creator. Within two years, I went from being a mediocre account manager at a tech company to a six-figure content creator who loves her job and works 20 hours a week.

Here’s how I did it. 

1. I let go of my “dream” job

As soon as I got hired, I told everyone how excited I was to be working at my dream job. I then spent the next 12 months trying to persuade myself of that, too. So many people told me how lucky I was to get in, how great the company culture was, and how fun the work was. I made myself believe it, too.

In hindsight, I hated my job. I dreaded Monday mornings and check-in meetings with my colleagues. I had an anxiety attack at my first in-person conference. But I thought these were all normal things that happened when you worked, and a low price to pay for getting into my ideal career. 

I was extremely fortunate in that I wasn’t in dire financial straits. I was living at home rent-free, for one. I had a small blog going on Medium, a modest YouTube channel, and one freelance client for whom I did an article a month. I also had a comfortable savings cushion thanks to the year of living with my parents. 

I wish I had just accepted that this wasn’t my dream job. If I’d let go of that sooner, I could have started on my real dream job much earlier. 

Today, I love my job. I work on projects that excite me, I collaborate with creators I adore, and I am thrilled to create useful content for my audience. 

2. I learned things I’m good at

Back at my old job, I didn’t really understand the products I was selling. I didn’t know how to recognize good sales opportunities and I always felt like I was being too pushy when I mentioned new products on calls — I could never explain the features in a persuasive way. I still have terrifying flashbacks to trying to describe OAuth functionality to the CTO of a company when six figures were on the line. 

And because I was still trying to persuade myself I was a normal, good salesperson, I stuck my head in the sand and pretended my ignorance was normal, instead of trying to learn and improve.

Today, I learned everything I need to be successful from scratch, like how search engine optimization (SEO) works or how to build a mailing list and develop a relationship with my readers.

It took time to learn those things, but it was so much easier because those are things I have a natural affinity for.

3. I faced problems, found ways to solve them, and sold those methods

In my new career as a content creator, I have to sell myself every single day and I’m good at it. This is because I am confident in my ability to solve my customers’ problems. 

I sell my articles. I use my reputation, my article titles, and my article images to convince the reader to “buy” with a click. Then I convince readers to sign up to my email list with downloadable freebies that are jam-packed with value. 

I also sell products. For example, I noticed that one particular type of article always got way more clicks and views than any other. So I turned it into a repeatable template that anyone could use and sold it to my email list.

Most importantly, I sell myself. I have to convince companies to hire me to create their content. I can’t do that by being modest and shy — I know my strengths inside and out, and that means I know how to get people to buy my services.

I developed a strategic method to create articles in niches I know are profitable, like data science and fintech, which I optimize for search and publish on my blog. Companies find my articles organically, realize I know my way around SEO, then hire me.

In short, I build my audience by being an expert problem-solver for them. I know exactly what obstacles my customers face – because I faced and overcame them myself. Whether it’s a new blogger unsure of how to monetize a newsletter or a small data science startup not sure how to increase organic traffic, I know exactly how I’m the right person to solve them.

Getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me

I needed that reality check to take the plunge. If I hadn’t been fired, I would have quietly and unhappily continued along as a mediocre account manager, lying to myself every single day.

Thanks to that push, I took a risk on myself and now live a much happier life. Today, I’m an expert in my field: my YouTube channel to over 23,000 subscribers and my blog has over 80,000 followers.

Not only do I earn six figures, but I only work about 20 hours per week. Not only am I good at sales, but I love doing it.

Zulie Rane is a content creator, cat mom, and freelancer.

Read the original article on Business Insider