Jen Schultz is the founder of the non-nine-to-five. In 2010, she quit her full-time job as a special education teacher at a charter school during a time of her life where she found herself battling anxiety and depression. During this dark time, she received a consistent and persistent message that urged her to create and generate an income on her own terms so she could better serve and support more children in a way that felt aligned for her.
In December 2010, Jen followed the call, leaving her full-time job to become an entrepreneur. For the past six plus years, Jen has been teaching highly intuitive people how to leave the nine-to-five to start mission-driven businesses. Jen holds a BA in communication from the University at Albany and a master’s in special education from New York University. She is a certified professional coach through IPEC. While she’s originally from New York, where she has lived most of her life, she now makes her home in Austin, Texas.
“I have a history of when I’ve had various jobs in my life where I would see something and go, ‘it should be done this way. Because if we do it this way, it’s going to make a difference.’ But I never felt like I could actually use my voice and create those changes that I wanted to change,” said Shultz. “I knew that if I really wanted to create the type of change that I wanted to create in the world, I have to go out and do it on my own. And that was definitely the scariest realization. But that was a realization I had.”
As a teacher, Jen said she kept getting this feeling that she “could make so much more of a difference and help these kids in a more intimate setting. Because when I would sit with these three or four kids during this reading time, I could hear how they were reading. I could watch them. I could see everything and I’m a very intuitive person so I could pick up just on their body language, on their facial expressions, on what they were saying to me in their behavior,” she said “So what started to feel more aligned for me – and kind of like this little light bulb that went off – was I am better suited in a more intimate setting with kids, not in a setting that has 20 or 30 students in it.”
In our conversation, Jen asked, “What makes an individual want to break out and do something on their own? Well, there’s a problem that they want to solve. They want to use their own creative abilities because we all have creative abilities.”
“I also believe personally that there are people in the world that are meant to be entrepreneurs,” she said. “You can choose the entrepreneurial path. You can also choose to work for someone else. What’s the most important thing though, is that you make that choice from your heart, from your gut, that you choose because it’s what’s most aligned for you, not what’s aligned for other people, not what anyone else wants you to do or thinks you should do.”
For Jen Shultz, what really lit her up was seeing how she could make a bigger impact on students in smaller group settings. So, she found a private agency where they place tutors with kids, to do one-on-one work. She sought that role out while she still maintained her full-time teaching job. And then she left her full-time teach job as the work with one student scaled up to another student, and then another student. She was able to find enough income this way to keep paying her bills and maintain the same lifestyle she had.
And then one day her dad, who is an entrepreneur himself, suggested to her that maybe she should start her own tutoring business.
“I relied on my own intuition and I thought to myself, ‘well, what would be the next step here if I want to be working with my own clients privately?’”
It was at this point that Jen Shultz started her first company called “Teacher on the Go,” where she would provide one-on-one academic and behavioral services to kids.
Jen is also a life-long learner. While running Teacher on the Go, she continued in her self-education through courses and workshops. One of those courses she took was “a woman’s workshop, which was all about taking what you were passionate about and monetizing it,” she said. “So, when I was doing Teacher on the Go, I thought this probably could help me bring this business to the next level. But I had no idea that when I was going to take that workshop that I would have an epiphany light bulb moment happen where I thought, ‘I want to teach people how to do what I did’ because at that point I had been self-employed for over a year.”
She then took her teaching skills from children to adults; teaching people how to do what she did, how to make the leap from working for someone else to starting your own business. “It felt right and when something feels right, I go with it,” said Shultz, who continues to emphasize the intuitive nature of the entrepreneur.
She also became a certified coach, earning a certification from IPEC after doing an 8-month course with them. She also offered a coaching session at a very low fee to about forty friends and colleagues to see how she might do this with future clients. She started Jen Shultz coaching “because I didn’t know what else to call it,” she said.
“I remember sitting in the kitchen and saying to myself, ‘you know, I know that I don’t belong in the nine to five. I’ve been out of the nine to five now for several years. So, if I don’t belong in the nine to five, what would that make me? What does that make me?’”
That’s how she came up with the name of her business, the Non-Nine-To-Five.
In 2015, she also made another life move. After living her entire life in the New York City area, including where she went to college, she decided to move to Austin, Texas. After visiting a friend there, she just had this intuitive feeling that she should move there, and so she did. And because her clients are in multiple places and she can pretty much do her work from almost anywhere, the move to Austin was smooth and she was able to continue working with her clients as she continued to build her business.
As she coaches others who are looking to make the transition from a traditional job to becoming a non-nine-to-fiver, she offers plenty of helpful advice.
“People define success in many different ways. You know, many people define success as financially. Many people define success in a different way,” said Shultz. “I do teach something that I refer to as the non-nine-to-five steps to success.”
“And part of those steps, if I were to condense them, I would say is: you’ve got to really want it. You’ve got to know in your heart that this is what you’re meant to do. In spite of the fear, in spite of the doubt, in spite of the worry, you’ve got to stay with it,” said Shultz. “The only way that you can fail is if you stop. If you stop and you say, I can’t do this or this won’t be successful, or this will never work; if you stop, then it will stop.”
“If there’s something that you know you’re, you’re meant to do, you’re meant to go that direction. You have to stay with it and keep going,” said Shultz. “I am committed to teaching people how to do it themselves.”
“Our minds can always tell us how we’re going to fail or we won’t be able to support ourselves,” she said. “Our minds love to predict the future and our minds love to swim around in what if and the fears and the worries and the doubts. Right? So what if I fail? What if I don’t make any money? What if, what if?” said Shultz. “What if the key here is: are you going to listen to the mind or are you going to go beyond the mind? Go beyond this type of energy and get real with yourself, with who you want to be in the world, what it is you want to create. That’s sometimes a scary thing for people: Getting real with themselves.”
Jen has released an e-book, The #1 Step to Staying With Your Business Mission. She provides it complimentary when people sign-up for her e-newsletter on her website, the Non-Nine-to-Five. You can listen to our full interview on Episode 68 of the Agents of Innovation podcast which can be heard on Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Google podcasts, SoundCloud, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also follow the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We welcome your comments below and encourage you to write a review on Apple podcasts!