A Teacher Story: From Job to Joy!

 

Teachers: Below are the show notes from the incredible interview I had with Shannon, a former educator turned entrepreneur of www.mshannonhernandez.com.   

It’s a must hear message for any teacher who is thinking of leaving the classroom due to wanting more joy and/or financial freedom.   This interview is just one of 20 interviews that will be offered to you free!  Just sign up for your FREE seat by taking the 5 Freedoms Quiz at www.SuzanneKlein.com 

Suzanne:

Hey there! Thanks for popping into my 5 Freedoms Life. I'm your host Suzanne Klein an educator turned entrepreneur with the 5 Freedoms Life and teaching you how to have one too! 

In today's interview I'm going to be talking to an educator turned entrepreneur who is no stranger to change. As a rural school teacher to an inner city Harlem teacher. Then jumping feet first into her journey as a business owner of a six figure marketing company, now enjoying Financial Freedom. I'm going to be talking with my guest about why she left teaching, her exit strategy out of teaching, and what her life is like now that she has this freedom. So thank you Shannon for joining me today on my 5 Freedoms Life.

Shannon:

Thanks so much for having me.

Suzanne:

That’s great. So can you tell us in the overview what you would like to share with our viewers today?

Shannon:

Yes. So I'm just really here to share that educators have so many skills that I think we don't know we have until they need to be put to use somewhere else, and I'm really excited to talk about how to help people that are looking for something different or thinking about something different and how they can use what they’re already great at to make that happen.

Suzanne:

Amazing!  Well I can't wait. So it will definitely be a power packed session for our viewers. So why did you leave teaching? Let's just jump right in here. Specifically, was there something you weren’t getting that wasn’t fueling you, feeding you, and feeding your soul?  If you want to speak to that?

Shannon:

Yeah, you know I was a teacher for 15 years and then I was also a professor at a college. Teaching just wasn't fun anymore and it wasn't that I wasn't having fun or the kids weren't having fun in the classroom, but all the red tape and the testing and the bureaucracy, it just wasn't fun. And one of the principles that I live by one hundred and thirty percent is JOY FIRST, and so any time something is not bringing me joy I do some deep reflection and see how can I make it more joyful or is that time to do something else. So really the fun factor had just kind of gone away.

Suzanne:

That totally makes sense and I'm sure that our viewers out there can relate to that. So thank you for your honesty. When you did decide to leave teaching, was there anything that you did while you were still in the classroom that helped prepare you for creating your exit strategy so that you could start on your own and find that joy and find what makes sense for you.

Shannon:

Yeah so I had the idea to leave in October of 2012. And that came about because I was living in New York City at the time and the Hurricane Sandy came through and all our schools were shut down and I didn't listen to the weather people. I thought that they were lying. And I didn't bring work home. So I had this whole week I actually call it in my book and in my personal story, it's like a gift from Hurricane Sandy. It was a week with no papers, no lesson planning book. And I had to get really real with myself.  What came of that week was a line that really changed everything in my world, it's that I deserve to be happy again. I had written it in my journal. And so I decided that I would teach through the end of the year. And then I would leave. And during the time from October of 2012 until June of 2013, I hired a business coach and just worked, worked, and worked in building a solid foundation for my business and learning how to do business, because I didn't know. I'm great at teaching, I have a global brand that teaches people things all over the world. I'm great at hosting events, but I didn't know the business side of things. And so I decided early on I was going to get a coach and I was going to make it work. And I was going to figure it out. So that's really what I did, figure out the structural, what am I going to offer, all those kinds of things during those next several months and then I left at the end of June.

Suzanne:

Yes. Thank you for sharing that. I do believe that that's the power of a coach, is to take you outside of your comfort zone and fast forward your growth.  You know you could have done the same thing, but would have it taken you a lot longer?

Shannon:

Yeah, and it would have been way more expensive! Teaching is a lot of energy investment and building a business is also a lot of energy investment. And I was willing to do that for those seven months to get my stuff together. But there was no way that I could maintain that level of excellence in my classroom and the level of excellence in the business, so I just said OK I'm just gonna invest money right now and I'm going to figure this out and then I can leave knowing that I know all of this stuff. And now it's the marketing which I'm gifted at.  I did not know that. So that's my gift that I get to bring to the world. And, you know, I've had to pay for other things like coaching as my business has grown. I've never had to pay for marketing but I have to pay for other developments that I need. So coaching is just huge for helping people advance and what they want to do.

Suzanne:

Thank you for sharing that. And that makes me wonder, you know your zone of genius is marketing. How did you know that when you were you were an ELA teacher?  How did you know that that was like what you said you wanted to share with the world?

Shannon

Yeah. Well I didn't know until I built my business really fast and I was making a lot of money and I was like wait I have colleagues that are still stuck in the same place and I started reflecting on that. I have a gift for words, I have a gift for telling stories, and those two things will sell yourself. The right words and telling stories. And so I actually came out of teaching as a copywriter in the beginning because I know how to teach people how to write. I had been working with eighth graders all of this time and I could get them to pass those dang tests. And so I just became people's copywriter but that wasn't bringing me Joy because now I was on all their deadlines but I realized in this process that I was so good at marketing strategy and helping people grow their businesses through a joyful marketing strategies and so I made that small pivot but I didn't know until you're in it, right?  Like a lot of things you learn the gifts that you have when you have the courage to jump and you figure stuff out along the way.

Suzanne:

Well that does make sense, thank you for sharing that. It does make sense from copywriter to marketing because words are a part of marketing. That's what’s the backbone of marketing I guess you can say, so I also heard you say something about writing a book Shannon what's that all about.

Shannon:

Yeah, I wrote my first book it's called Breaking the Silence: My final 40 Days as a Public School Teacher. It's a memoir and it really was written to well, one, I think we write books to heal. So I'm going to be very honest but it was an account about giving up on a childhood dream and being like a fantastic, phenomenal teacher, but just not being able to deal with the B.S. anymore. And I wrote the book, published it and so many teachers are around the country and Canada have reached out and just said they can relate to what's going on in it. They wish they had the courage to leave and go do something else and they're stuck. So it's definitely hit home with a lot of people and it's a great read.

Suzanne:

Excellent. So where can people find the book if they want to order it?

Shannon:

It's on Amazon.

Suzanne:

OK excellent. What is the title again.

Shannon:

Breaking the Silence: My Final 40 Days as a Public School Teacher.

Suzanne:

Excellent. Thank you for sharing that. Sounds like a great read. Well, now that we talked about your time as a teacher, an ELA teacher, then a master teacher and people coming and observing you. Now you're jumping into the world of content marketing and the strategy behind that. You help people in kind of an unique way compared to other marketers out there. You look at what is their content personality is, what honors them and what they believe. So let's talk about marketing for a minute and in a way that is relatable to all of our educator viewers out there and, 

A) for the people who haven't found their innovative idea yet and they need help digging it out and that's what I can help with.

B) Or you are already the teacher that has a product or service that they're selling and  they're still in the classroom. 

C) the educator who really doesn't have an interest in having a side business or leaving teaching but they want more strategies on how to market themselves better. 

Because let's be real, how we put ourselves out there, what we say and do is marketing and what we do is either helping our brand, or isn’t. I know I'm preaching to the choir here Shannon with you, but can expand on this? I mean do you agree, first of all, with what I'm saying about marketing?

Shannon:

I do, and I think that everyone has to find their thing of where they're comfortable. I think that you have to show up as yourself 100 percent. If you try and be anything else you're gonna be miserable and that's why the content personality quiz was actually created because there's so much noise in the marketing world. You know you need to be on Facebook , you need to write a book, you need to start a video show, you need to have a podcast and if we all did all these things we would be dead. We would not be joyful, we would be not be not be having the 5 Freedoms at all. And so I created the quiz after speaking with lots of business owners who just wanted to know what they are already good at. Like how can I just do one thing and be really good at it?  So the content personality quiz helps you in just three minutes. You can take the quiz and then I'll shoot you an answer back and say hey it looks like you're a natural at video or writing or live in person. Let's learn how to do that really well so you can market and sell your stuff.

Suzanne:

And that's actually how I found you, as when I went to your quiz and I took your quiz and then I read your bio and it said you're a teacher and I'm like, “Oh I definitely want Shannon to come and speak and help our viewers.” Do you have clients that are former teachers that are starting a business?

Shannon:

I have clients who are former teachers and they've already done the part A with people like you, and now they're like, “oh but my stuff isn't selling or I'm not making enough money!” then they come to me. So I'm like step two in the process, I don't work with newbies.  I have attracted a lot of teachers over the years because they can resonate with the story, right. Which is why story is so important to your marketing and that you're telling stories in your marketing.

Suzanne:

Absolutely. So I just want to share with our viewers stay tuned as and we'll be sharing where you can take your content personality quiz. So let's jump into what your life is like now and then specifically can you share with our viewers how now that you have financial freedom and you took the 5 Freedoms Quiz, on my website and you scored a twenty five out of twenty five in financial freedom. So definitely at the top there, and that's amazing! So how is your financial freedom now versus when you were a teacher? Did you have financial freedom when you were a teacher?

Shannon:

No, that’s a big no! I didn't have any of those freedoms as a teacher. My life is amazing now, and I know that may sound cliche but I've worked hard to take the skills that I'm great at, which is teaching and training and translate that into a global brand. I speak around the world, I teach around the world, which is the travel piece that I love. We just moved into a beautiful luxury condo on the Hudson River facing New York City, and it's like a dream come true. Bought a brand new car cash!  These are the things that I'm able to do now because 

1) I think differently than I thought before. Which is a lot of coaching, a lot of coaching. 

2) I understand how money actually works now.  Which is why my point of view is not to continue to do things you don't enjoy, because I teach that you find the joy first and the money follows. 

So that's like a big piece of how I help people once they've got a business but they're not having joy for whatever reason in it. But also I know that I can create money anytime I want and need it. And that took a long time, because as a teacher you went to work and you were paid ultimately whatever the taxpayers agreed to pay you. Right? Because our money comes from taxes. So if the clause or the bill or whatever it's called, didn't pass in the US, you didn't get a raise.  And I just wasn't OK with it anymore. I was not ok with letting someone else decide what I was worth and what my value was to students. So, I have a great life. Is it perfect? No. Is it always happy? No, but I don't have to worry about money anymore!  I can do amazing things with that money, and I do. I donate to a lot of beautiful causes that I'm passionate about.

Suzanne:

Amazing. And that is truly what financial freedom: giving you opportunities and experiences that you normally wouldn't have. It's all about giving you choices. It's not about being greedy or you know, just a consumer. It's really about the freedom that you now have. Like you said, you don't have to worry and that is a true gift, a true blessing. Absolutely. And truly you could probably speak about time freedom too and probably location freedom. I mean we won't get into that, it will be another interview. When we were working on scheduling and finding a time I think if I read correctly somewhere you don't work Monday or Friday. Did I get that right?

Shannon:

Yep. Yep. And I work like five hours a day. That's it. It's taken a while. This is not like magic. This has taken a while and you have to have a marketing strategy that works, that's my platform. That is what I preach all day long. So I don't want people to think, “Oh man, she works three days a week you know, five or six hours a day.” It is true now, but in the beginning that was not the case. I was working hard to get to this place.

Suzanne:

Absolutely. It doesn't happen overnight, for sure. Thank you for  your frankness and your realness too. I think that's really important to hear. Well, we've come to the end of our conversation. I just want to ask you one last piece of advice you have for educators out there that are thinking about leaving education, but they don't due to fears. You know, we know, that any teacher that is in the classroom that doesn't want to be there is not serving anyone. Not the parents, administrators, students, and especially not herself!  You made that leap as you say, and I say, you jumped as if the net will appear. But you also had a planned kind of exit strategy which was thoughtful and important. What advice would you give those educators who want to leave, but are scared to do so?

Shannon:

Yeah, well I think there's like multiple things that need to be thought about. The first is that, not to be morbid, but none of us are getting any younger. And you know in 50, 60 years we'll be gone and we'll be doing something else in the next lifetime. If that's what you believe in, so time is precious. I don't think we should spend any time doing anything we don't love. Period. Anything that does not bring us joy. It's not serving anyone just like you said. And so how do you make the leap? 

I always tell my people and my community and my programs. Courage and confidence comes after you take action, it doesn't come before. Right. You can't sit around say I want courage, I want confidence. It actually comes by falling down and getting back up and figuring things out and doing it again and again and again. So those would be the first things, and then work with a coach, and cut your time in half!  Work with a coach find out what you're good at. We've all done this now so you don't have to sit around figuring it out. Suzanne can help you find your gift and she can help you structure your business and build your operations. And when you're ready to go and you need help with marketing and sales, somebody can help you with that. There are people here that will love you and support you through the process, and get behind you 110%, to help you make that move.  But, you've got to take action to do that.

Suzanne:

Yes, absolutely! Well thank you Shannon!  We've definitely come to the end of our time but remember that quiz I spoke of earlier? Shannon's quiz. Well you can take it by clicking the link here.  Like she said, it takes three minutes or less. And it will help to tell you what your content personality is, so a great freebie there for all of you. 

So it's been a true pleasure and a gift of your words. You are a master wordsmith and I thank you for sharing your words with everyone and your experience.

Until next time, stay savvy my friends!

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