The Solo Project provides inspiration, ideas, tools, and community for the country’s most ambitious soloists. We’re a media and research company, launched by the people who helped create and lead the Fast Company and Inc. Magazine brands.

The Leap

The Leap

Photograph by Nick Cosky


[Ed. Note]: We were introduced to Erin Bailey in 2016 when her moving post “What Do We Deserve?” went viral on social media. Little did we know then that Bailey’s prescient story of sexual harassment would be a harbinger of the worldwide #MeToo movement that would soon follow. 

We quickly became fans of Bailey’s Instagram feed—a fountain of all things positive, energetic, and healthy. Last year, she decided to put her money where her mouth was and declared her independence from her day job at a large company in Boston.

Bailey has spent the past year making many of her dreams and ambitions come true.

We love a good “I Quit!” story and hope that you find the inspiration in Bailey’s to help you make your move into the new world of work.

I left my full time job. Soon the scary reality set in.

Salaried jobs come with an immense amount of security. You get benefits. You get a paycheck when you work. You get a paycheck when you don’t work. You can take a sick day and get paid. You can sit at home, answer a few emails, and still get paid. And then, about once a year, someone tells you you’re going to get paid more money—because that’s just how it works.

And for some crazy idea, I decided that life wasn’t for me.

So I left.

Now I only get paid when I work. I get paid based on the work I put in. I still haven’t fully figured out my health insurance plan. And I’m currently working at least twice as many hours as I was, and not getting paid as much.

But I’ve never felt more alive. I’ve never felt more passionate. I’ve never felt more ... me.

Salaried jobs are wonderful for many people. But right now, for me, given what the past 9 months have been, I just felt like I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t devote myself fully to another company. I couldn’t put so much time and effort into someone else’s dreams. It was time to put that energy into my own.

I’d always dreamed of having my own online training program.

Women from around the world would message me for workout tips and I wanted a way to help them. They would share these incredible stories of drive and energy without results, I wanted to help them get those results. So I partnered up with my ultimate partner in crime, Meg, and created this 12-week online training program, Begin Again.

I currently have my first round of women in and it’s so amazing. I’m so humbled to work with each of them, and see them hungrily chase their fitness goals. (Proud of you ladies!)

Photograph by Quoc Ngo

I’d always dreamed of running my own marketing consulting business.

Over the past two years at in my role, I learned so much about what my ‘sweet spots’ were in marketing and what I could offer. I also learned about the types of brands and people I wanted to work with and represent. So I started E. Bailey Consulting (page coming soon) so that I could decide who I worked for and who I represented. The choice is mine. The effort is mine. I currently work with EverybodyFights helping them launch in NYC this summer. A company and team I have so much love and respect for. I’m grateful to be on the team.

I’d always dreamed of being a badass group fitness instructor.

Still a work in progress here, but now I have more time to devote to teaching and learning. To taking classes and learning from the real pros. To make kickass playlists, and practice my boxing combinations for class. I currently teach at two awesome gyms, EverybodyFights FiDi and Burn Fitness (Back Bay and South End). I love both, both unbelievably different and both equally wonderful.

I’d always dreamed of being a fitness model, too.

I wanted to work with and represent the brands that inspired me to get to where I am. The strong, ambitious women I would see in advertisements, the women that became role models. I’m lucky to have signed with two agencies, SLU (Sports Lifestyle Unlimited in Portland, OR) and Maggie (an awesome local Boston modeling agency). I’ve sprinted, squatted, and snatched my way through Reebok photo and video shoots. And jumped, laughed, and strutted with my Crane & Lion family. Opportunities that weren’t available to me with a “normal” job.

Now people have started to ask me what I do. What’s my title? How did I get here?

I do a lot. I guess I’m a “Fitness Professional”? I worked for it. I chased it. I didn’t let myself say no.

I’m scared, a little bit everyday. But I also trust myself. I know I won’t let myself fall. I know I will fail. I know I will learn from it. I know this current situation may not work out. But this is my reality.

And if I can be honest with you for a minute? This is my dream job. I just made my dream job.

One step at a time. And here I am. Chasing joy.

Now go find yours. Go chase yours. Go create yours. This life is too short to feel stuck. This life is too wonderful to not embrace. This one life is meant to be lived, make your impact.

Chase your joy.

Reprinted with permission of Erin Bailey.

Photograph by Quoc Ngo

For more information on Erin Bailey, visit her website.

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