Jen Shultz, Founder, The Non-Nine-To-Five

Jen Shultz quit her career as a teacher when it left her without purposes but with anxious and depression. She then dedicated herself to creating her own career path and now educates and coaches others that are meant to leave the typical 9-5 and venture out on their own.


Troy: Good afternoon, everyone. Hope everyone's day is going well. And everyone's staying warm or coming to you from very, exceptionally chilly Austin, Texas. I mean, just January. And I think we're both from out of state prayers that actually are used to winter weather, but that doesn't mean that you get used to it when you're down here in Austin. So we both got our sweatshirts on and trying to try to stay warm today. So today I am joined by Jen Schultz, who has a business called the non nine to five. And so I appreciate you taking the time to join me today, Jen.

Jen: Yeah, thanks, Troy. Super excited to be here.

Troy: Appreciate it. So like I say, try not to do too much research on people cause I like to understand and learn kind of as I'm doing the interviews and stuff as well. But in doing that a little bit of research, I believe that you had moved to Texas from the Northeast?

Jen: Yeah. I'm from New York city originally and I moved to Austin A. Little bit over six years ago.

Troy: And have you been enjoying it?

​​​​​​​Jen: I love it here. I love it here. I do very much like the weather. This is way too cold for me.

​​​​​​​​​Troy: And when you think this would be like a typical kind of day in, probably in New York, in this, you know, in January and stuff, I'm from the Midwest and this would be like, oh, this is nice weather actually, you know.​​​​​​​

Jen: Yeah. It would be typical weather, but for someone like me, I don't like the cold at all. So yeah. It's not my thing.​​​​​​​

Troy: Well, oh yes. I've, I've pretty much always hated it. So, kind of what brought you down to Austin obviously, maybe give us a little bit about your origin story. You know, you have this business now that you kind of, got into, so maybe talk a little bit about that, but was moving to Austin apart of that right off the bat. Or was that something that came later kind of what's maybe a couple of minutes, you know, a minute or two and your kind of your background and origin story?​​​​​​​

Jen: Well, the part about moving here was completely intuitively led. I'm a very intuitive person. I go with my gut feelings, and actually within the work I do with the clients I work with at the non nine to five, I teach a lot about intuition. In fact, I teach what are called six steps to success. The non-owner five steps to success and there are six steps and one of those steps is called “Tap into intuition to stay the course”. So if we want to stay the course of successful self-employment, intuition plays a massive, massive role. And for me, if we go back to 2015, I was visiting a good friend of mine here in Austin for about the second time. I think it was the second time I'd been to Austin, maybe the third, I can't quite remember. And I was over at town lake.​​​​​​​

I was at that, that area that's just east of 35 where there's that boardwalk and I'm putting boardwalk into quotation marks because where I'm from, it's not a boardwalk, but that's okay, we will call it a boardwalk. And I went for a run, and it was one of those moments or however long I was out there where it was, very much again, intuitively, well, the stars were aligned and I got a really strong feeling that I was meant to move to Austin. And when I get those feelings and I know that I'm a resounding yes, even though of course, something like that can feel really scary. I also felt really excited about it. And I truly believe that when we feel both excitement and a little bit of nervousness or fear, that's like this middle ground sweet spot of which direction we're supposed to go in our lives.​​​​​​​

And so I followed that and two months later I was here, and I've been here ever since, again a little bit over six years. And I had actually started the non nine to five, about two years before I made the move to Austin. I was pretty brand new in my business, and the business came from, I quit my full-time job. I was a teacher for a high performing, very rigorous charter school in the Bronx, in New York city. And I was at a place in my life where I was struggling a lot. I was depressed, I was dealing with anxiety, I was dealing with insomnia. I was waking up at 5: 45 in the morning, walking to the subway, taking two subways, getting to the neighborhood that the school was in, which was a very impoverished neighborhood. So there was definitely a very depressing energy to it, getting to the school in the dark and not getting home till seven o'clock at night and trying to manage that just really, for me, I learned it's just not a fit for me.It's just not a match in that, that model, if you will. ​​​​​​​

And I ended up quitting and when I quit, it was the end of 2010. I walked in and on Monday morning I gave two weeks notice, and I didn't have a job lined up. I didn't know what I was going to do next, but what I did have, we'll just call it a little bit of clarity because if anyone that's watching this has ever experienced depression or anxiety, nothing is clear. There's no clarity. It's hard to make any types of decisions and make any progress moving forward. But what I did have a little bit of clarity was that. I did want to continue teaching, but I wanted to find a way that matched me. And I didn't know if that existed, but I was willing to see if it did. I landed some independent contracting work as a tutor. And, then I started my first business called teacher on the go. And, that now has brought me to again, over, well, I don't know if I said this yet, but it's been over eight years that I've been the founder and leader of a non nine to five, teaching other people how to do exactly what I did, how to quit their nine to five jobs and create a successful and sustainable self-employment​​​​​​​

Troy: Very nice. Yeah. I feel, you mentioned going back to the, the run, I think we would probably call it trails here versus like say the boardwalks, these, that you have here in New York, New Jersey, but you mentioned kind of that, that nervous energy that you had in making that decision. And I think for a lot of people, maybe, you know, public speaking is probably the most recognizable place for a lot of people when they get that fear. But you know, one of the things that I've learned is that, right, like this it's really the same chemicals, whether you're nervous about it or excited about it. And so, you know, if you have that feeling, that means that there's something, something there, right. Something there that you should be looking into and stuff. And there's so many things in life that we like, there's not, there's so many things in life that it's rare that it's truly a right or wrong answer. And so by making a decision and moving forward with it is the only way you're going to truly find out if it was the right choice. Or, and you're never going to know if it was the wrong choice because who knows what the other choice would have really truly led to.​​​​​​​

Jen: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. It's, you know, I actually wrote this somewhere. I don't remember where this was, but if we're not making a decision or not making a choice, we're just in limbo. And so you've got to take some type of action to move forward.​​​​​​​

Troy: Yes, very much. So, it's kind of speaking to do then as part of your, your, business and stuff, teaching people to make decisions quickly. Cause I feel like, for either self-employed people for entrepreneurs, you know, generally the quicker you can make decisions, the better you're going to be, because again, whether or not instead of an over-analyzing, which is an issue that I definitely can have from time to time over-analyzing decision to hopefully make the right perfect decision by doing, I'm getting your decisions done quicker. You can really find out if they're right or not, and then adapt from there. And so is that a part of the coaching that you, is important for people looking to make that switch?​​​​​​​

Jen: So I don't have a specific teaching around that, but you did touch on, what can we refer to as analysis paralysis, right? So we analyze, we overanalyze, we think, and we think that we think, and then it's like, we're paralyzed, right ? So we're not actually like moving forward or doing anything. And I would agree that as part of a self-employed person, like you're making decisions every day, things are coming at you. I'm not necessarily teaching my clients to make these fast decisions, but I'm teaching them tools to support them in connecting deeper into their intuition so they can make decisions. and, and also really open them, opening them up to possibilities. And what I mean is, and I'm thinking this is intuitively coming to my mind. One of my clients I had shared with her about a specific, specific networking organization, I felt would be really good for her to attend, to talk about the work that she was doing to connect with other people.​​​​​​​

And she felt a little bit turned off by this networking group. It just didn't feel really aligned for her. And so she was like, I don't want to do that. And so I just started opening up possibilities and I said, well, what if you just went to one or two of them just to see, so that way we don't rule that out and say, Nope, that's, I'm not doing that. I'm not making that choice to do that. I'm not making that decision, but just go, just to see. That way, we're not closing off possibilities. and I see that, that part is what I see a lot of people doing that will never work. That can't work. I won't do that. That won't be good for my business, but how do you know, how do you really know unless you actually just try it out and see.​​​​​​​

Troy: Yeah, no, very, very accurate. So you mentioned that your first business was kind of a teaching on the go thing, almost probably more like a contract teaching type of work. How did you end up transitioning to your current company, the ”non nine to five”?​​​​​​​

Jen: Yeah. So I did that in independent contracting work. And from there I started my business that was called “Teacher on the go” cause I was on the go, I was going to kids' homes, I was going to schools. I was sort of like every queer it's working with kids one-on-one. And a little bit over a year, a real full year of doing that, I attended a workshop, as a student, as a client, as a participant, and the workshop was all about how to monetize your passion. Like passion into profits is a term that I've heard before. And I thought, well, this is really me. But also at that time, my intuition was showing me that and I knew this, I could feel it, that doing academics with kids was definitely not what I want to do for the long haul, but I didn't know where to go next.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Cause that's, you know, I went from being an employee, starting my own business, like, well, I know how to do this, but I'm not passionate about it. So within this workshop, I remember sitting there with a group of women. We were in a circle and the woman whose workshop it was, she was talking to us and teaching and coaching. And I had one of those other like light bulb, you know, epiphany moments where the sky opens up and I got this, this intuitive message that I was meant to coach people as well and had been quite familiar with the coaching industry, the personal growth industry I've been doing rigorous personal growth and development for, I don't know, maybe almost 20 years now, a little bit less than 20 years. And so it seemed to fall into place. I didn't know what coaching was supposed to be about, but then I went and I became a certified coach.​​​​​​​

So I just followed that. I'm going to become a certified coach. And then it just sort of came to me that, well, Hey, I was able to quit my full-time job. I did not end up in a cardboard box because once I walked out that door from that job, there was no more money coming in. I was living in New York city paying, you know, New York city rent prices and all that comes with that. And I didn't get that independent contractor job, like the day that I walked out. So there was a bit of time where there was no money coming in. And so the realization I had was why I was able to quit. I was able to stand on my own two feet without a full-time job. I was able to start my own business. So this really positions me to help other people. And not only does it position me, I'm passionate about this. I'm passionate about this experience. I'm passionate about people not being at a job, just to get a paycheck who know in their heart, there's something more for them now. There's nothing wrong with working a full-time job, but not everyone is coded or built for that. And the folks that I work with, mainly women, but some men as well know in their heart of hearts that they're not meant to be an employee. They know in their heart of hearts, that there's something that they're meant to do on their own to serve and support people and also generate a healthy income and have a sustainable business.​​​​​​​

Troy: Nice. with everything that's happened over the last couple of years, how has that impacted your business I could see, where it maybe has actually, it's hard to say improve the business, but had a lot of people that again, maybe lost jobs or had to kind of, you know, take a hard look in the mirror and realize, do you, this is what I want to do. And I've seen a lot of people transition to different types of, either part-time side gigs or full-time, self-employment and that route. And so I'm assuming that's probably had a pretty big effect on you and your business as well.​​​​​​​

Jen: Yeah. When the pandemic hit, you know, it's almost two years now, which feels absurd to even say that it's like, what? When the pandemic hit, I would, I personally became very introspective. I really went inward and I was looking at my work. I was asking myself some deeper inner questions. And I realized too that other people were naturally becoming introspective for a number of reasons. One is that we were hearing all these stories about people passing away, people getting sick, people passing away, people losing their jobs, people being furloughed from their jobs. And it really got me to realize that if now and still now, even though it's two years later, because we're still in a pandemic, if, let me say it this way, now more than ever, if anyone has had any desire to become self-employed to pursue the thing they're passionate about to pursue writing, to pursue music, to pursue whatever it is, now's the time because our world is forever changed.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​It's not going back to normal. We're not going back to how we were before, two years ago, it's not going to happen. So the way I look at this is that we all have one life. That's it. You know, I don't know what happens after we die. We might be reincarnated, who knows, but I've got one. How do I want to live this one life? But I want to live this one life at a job that I never really liked to begin with. Do I want to live this life at a job that I kind of like, I've got a really great paycheck? And it's a personal decision for everyone, but if we're all going to die at some point, because it's inevitable, why not take this time to really, move forward with the things that we're most passionate about. And so I was really speaking to that. I really spoke to that during that time. And I'm still speaking to that now. Yeah.​​​​​​​

Troy: I say it's intentional, right? Again, not that working at a fortune 500 company isn't right. For plenty of people, but to just be intentional with why you're doing what you're doing and does it, you know, is it something you need to do for a while because you need to make that paycheck to get the kids through school Or is it something that you enjoy doing because of the structure that's there versus the unknown stuff when it comes to being self-employed that way. And so, understanding the intention of why you're doing what you're doing is I think critical to that fulfillment and being successful in what you're doing as well.​​​​​​​

Jen: Well, that's it, you know, that's a really key word, intention being intentional, such a key word, because again, just going back to my, you know, my deeper thought of we have one life, are we going to live an intentional life Or is it just going to be like, I don't know, whatever, whatever happens in life or, yeah. I guess they'll stay at this job, you know Yeah. I guess I'll get this paycheck, but that's not living life on purpose. It's not being intentional. And for some people, if that brings them joy. Then yeah. Beautiful. Amazing. But it doesn't for many people. I know I'll say that. And I feel very strongly about that.​​​​​​​

Troy: Well, the, let me say the pandemic, you know, anytime you have big moments like that, so there's like nine 11, the pandemic different things, you know, it definitely tends to lead to more introspective and those, those kinds of things, but also we're fortunate to live in a time when there are so many more opportunities to do your own kind of work, right? To, to be a business coach, to, you know, do stuff at home on a computer and have that be a full-time job or a full-time career as, as a business owner, sell stuff on Amazon, whatever, you know, whatever it may be. Whereas, even growing up, you know, for me, those types of jobs, there's so many jobs that are available now as a career that weren't available 20 years ago. Pre-internet and so that's, something that I think can still be hard to wrap your head around that it's not the same nine to five, go to college, get a, get a job and kind of work somewhere for, for 40 years. Like, I don't think anybody really thinks that as much anymore, but like that you can break free from that corporate structure altogether, if that's what you're meant to do.

​Jen: Right. Absolutely agree.​​​​​​​

Troy: So for you and your business, like what do you tend to work more with people that, you know, that are still working at a company and then trying to break away or do use, tend to work with more people who've already kind of done the, already made that transition, but are just trying to get better and get better at running their own business, being self-employed, or kind of a mix of the two.​​​​​​​

Jen: It's a mix of both, to be honest with you. When I just kind of do a vision in my head of my current clients, some of the folks I'm working with are still in that full-time job and we've got their business started on the side. So they're, they're doing both. One of my clients who's coming to my mind, she left her, she actually happened to be a teacher too. She left her full-time teaching job at the end of this summer to pursue her business full-time and then actually, you know, talking about being open to possibilities, she was offered a part-time job, but she also was really excited about. So she took that as well. So she has her business full-time and she's got this part-time job really enjoying both, you know, which I think is so cool because, you know, we think it will, it should be this, or it should be this, or it should be this, well, it shouldn't have to be anything it's it's whatever gets you, excited, whatever you feel really connected with. And I have women who have come to me who had already quit their jobs, you know, not in any nine to five and already started their business. And, you know, they're, they're, they're focused on it. They want it to be successful and sustainable. So, you know, I have the honor of equipping them with tools and teachings and support and guidance to be able to bring those pieces together.​​​​​​​

Troy: Nice. The, going back to the lady, you said that student, the part-time gig, it's one of the things I think about as well too, is that too often, as someone running your own business and being self-employed, you, it's not, you, you can't punch the clock to really be off like your mind, if anything else is, is always kind of on or can turn on at a moment's notice. And so having something else to kind of let your mind and, energy recharge, whether that be a hobby specifically, or a second job or something like that can actually, I think in a lot of cases make you more productive in the full-time job or, you know, pursue that way because it lets you take that break and again, see, see things from different angles sometimes too, depending on again, what that job is. And so I think that's always a super beneficial thing that a lot of people don't necessarily think of, would be beneficial.​​​​​​​

Jen: I totally agree. And I've experienced it myself and my clients are as well. I think back to when I first started this business, I had to what's called them part-time jobs. I was still teaching kids one-on-one. I was doing less of it. And at that time, actually I was homeschooling an autistic child pretty much four to five days a week for like three hours straight a day, just her and I together. And then I landed a job with a nonprofit and I am so grateful for that work I do with that nonprofit. I had the privilege and the honor of working with formerly incarcerated men and women who were actually being taught how to become entrepreneurs. And then probably a year by a year later, those two jobs didn't exist. And my business mentor invited me to work for her. So I was both a client and I was working for her as an independent contractor. And I did that for several years and it was the most amazing experience I learned so much and I was having so much fun. I was like, this is so cool. I'm building my business and I'm helping her build hers and I'm learning from her too. And then lastly, cause I just really think this is worth noting too. Another job that I had over these past number of years was, I worked for, what is it, a consumer product goods company. And what I did was completely tactile. I was doing all of the product orders, putting the products in boxes, handwriting, little notes to the customers, taping the boxes, bringing them to be mailed. I loved it because it was so different. I got to use my hands. I made extra money and I had fun doing it.​​​​​​​

Troy: Very nice. So with being out, you've been in Austin for six years now, other than the normally nicer weather, what's kind of been some of your favorite things about Austin?​​​​​​​

Jen: Well, I mean, we kind of touched on it before, but I do love the trail here. When I say the trail, I think about the town lake trail. I spend a lot of time there. I have a dog. I've had a dog now for almost two years, so I didn't have a dog for the, you know, the first four years of living here. I had my dog for two years, take her to the trail, go to Zilker. I love letting her off leash. That's just, that's probably one of my favorite things to do. And honestly, I wouldn't say I'm like the most exciting person. I just love going for walks where I live in the part of Austin. I live in the complex that I live in, we have these, I'm looking at them now with these beautiful trees here and we have all these dog parks and just to walk around is fun for me. I love it.​​​​​​​

Troy: Nice. She probably enjoys being off these two and it's definitely something where ha ha I do not have a dog, but you know, like I say, in having a dog, it definitely forces you to probably get out a few more times a week than you would have normally. you know, I should go for a walk and then you kind of don't because business where now it's like, well, no, we need to go for a walk because she needs to go for a walk. ​​​​​​​

Jen: Right. Yeah. And I'm really grateful for her because, and you're absolutely right because, because I had her over these past two years, I am out of the house even more so. And, and I'm a, creature of habit. Like if I'm feeling cozy and comfortable at home, I can just stay here and it's great, but you know, but then intuitively I know I need to be outside more and because of her, just such a gift, such a gift.​​​​​​​

Troy: Very nice. So for people that, may have more interest in you and kind of the services you provide in your company, what's the best way for them to kind of learn more about that and kind of reach out to you​​​​​​​

Jen: Yeah. So one way is, if you go to the website, it's the non nine to five.com all spelled out in letters right there. If you go to the website, want to plug in your first name and your best email and you will receive what's called the number one step to staying with your business mission. It's a mini mini mini. Did I say many PDF ebook that I've written you'll receive that. And that's a way for us to stay in touch. And then I'm also on Instagram, the non nine to five also on Facebook, the non nine to five. and those are great places as well.​​​​​​​

Troy: Awesome. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to jump on the call or jump here on the chat and stuff today. It was great getting to hear your story and some of the stuff you're doing to help other Austinites as well too, which is something that's great.​​​​​​​

Jen: Awesome. Thank you so much for having me​​​​​​​

Troy: Appreciate it. Everyone have a great day and stay warm out there.


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