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EPISODE 91

Is It Time to Transition From the Classroom? Naomi Meredith Shares Her Experience

Transition From the Classroom

Have you ever thought about making the transition from the classroom and going all in on your business? Taking this leap can feel scary and comes with some risk, but if you’re prepared, it has the potential to pay off in so many ways!

Our guest today, Naomi Meredith, is a K-5 STEM coach who supports elementary teachers. When she saw success with her TPT store, podcast, and additional revenue streams, she knew it would be difficult to continue scaling without stepping away from the classroom.

Naomi has officially been out of her classroom role for several months now and is here to share her experience. You’ll hear about her decision to transition from the classroom, the emotions that came with that, how she prepared for this change, and best advice for anyone ready to do the same.

04:48 -How Naomi first got started with her TPT store and when she realized she wanted to go all in on her business

12:48 -Important steps that Naomi took to get ready to transition from the classroom

19:20 – The changes that she has seen in her work/life balance sincegoing full-time with her business

23:05 – Naomi shares whether or not she’s had any doubts or regrets about her transition from the classroom

32:48 – Advice for anyone who is thinking of making the transition from the classroom and becoming a full-time entrepreneur

Our Guest on This Episode:

transition-from-the-classroom-naomi-meredith

Naomi Meredith is an online K-5 STEM Coach in Colorado supporting elementary teachers world-wide navigate the best practices, strategies and tools out there. With over a decade of experience teaching, 5 years teaching elementary STEM, along with a M.Ed. in STEM Leadership and STEM Certificate, Naomi helps teachers world-wide to navigate best practices, strategies and tools out there.
She offers a variety of tools to help teachers feel successful teaching STEM to their elementary students through lesson plans, online courses, coaching and speaking events.
She even hosts the podcast, The Elementary STEM Coach where she discusses actionable strategies, lesson ideas and meaningful hosts to continue to support each week and The STEM Career Quest Podcast to help elementary students learn more about what they might want to be when they group up or discover new possibilities in the world of STEM.
You can learn more about Naomi on her website, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Shop her STEM resources on TPT.

Kristen 0:00
Hey y’all, and welcome to this episode of The Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m your host, Kristen Doyle. And today’s episode dives into the topic of going full time as an entrepreneur with your business. I know this is something that so many people think about doing and wonder how to know if it’s the right time or what you should do to set yourself up for going full time. So I invited my friend Naomi Meredith, to come on the show today, and talk about her experience going full time in her business.

Kristen 0:33
She left the classroom at the end of last school year. So she’s been out about three quarters of a school year at this point. And it has learned a lot from the transition, she set herself up to leave the classroom and some ways that I didn’t when I left, and we’ll get into that a little bit in this conversation.

Kristen 0:51
Naomi is a K-five STEM coach who supports elementary teachers with STEM best practices and strategies and activities and all of those things. And she left the classroom like I said, at the end of this past school year to go full time on her business.

Kristen 1:06
She has lots of tools she offers to teachers from a stem book club, to her resources on TPT. She also hosts two podcasts now, the elementary stem coach, where she talks about teaching strategies, lesson ideas, all of those things to support teachers. And then she just launched the STEM career quest podcast, just in the last week or so as of this recording. And this one is for students, and it’s focused on helping elementary students learn about different careers in STEM, and maybe start thinking about what they want to be when they grow up in in the world of STEM careers.

Kristen 1:41
So she has lots of things going on. And I’m so excited to talk to her and to share this conversation with you guys about her transition to going full time in her business. We are talking about the decision making process, what kind of led her to that point, things that she did to set herself up before she left the classroom.

Kristen 2:03
We definitely get into all of the emotions and feelings and her advice if this is something that you’ve been considering as well. So I cannot wait for you to hear this conversation. Let’s dive right in.

Kristen 2:18
Hey TPT sellers, ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place. Welcome to the savvy teacher seller. I’m Kristen Doyle. And I’m here to give you no fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sales. Let’s get started y’all.

Kristen 2:38
Hello, hello, thank you so much for being here, Naomi.

Naomi Meredith 2:42
thank you so much for having me. We were chatting a little bit before and we’re like, let’s just start recording because we have all the things to talk about today.

Kristen 2:52
Right, before we get all into it, and aren’t recording this conversation. Go ahead and get started. Well, I am super excited. I know you and I talked a year ago almost Well, yeah, right at a year ago, when you had decided you were going to leave the classroom and take that step into your business full time. And I said, then I want you to come on the podcast to share about this, but not yet.

Kristen 3:18
And so now we’ve waited till you’ve been out of the classroom, what, nine ish month, eight months, whatever. It’s February when we’re recording. And you’ve been out of classrooms since the end of last school year. So a lot of months. And now’s a great time, I think to just talk about that transition.

Kristen 3:36
I know so many sellers. Think about this and wonder if it’s possible to go into full time entrepreneurship, which sounds so much bigger, I think than saying well, your full time TPT or whatever I feel like that just paints us in a tiny little box. And we’re all so much more than that. So definitely excited to chat with you about it today.

Naomi Meredith 4:01
I’m so very excited to and I remember that conversation, we were at the podcast retreat, and we were sitting on the couch like looking at data or whatever, and we were talking about it. So I also agree it’s a good time because there’s definitely a whole lot of different emotions when you leave the classroom and take that next step.

Naomi Meredith 4:21
So nine months is a good time because I was having different feelings before not bad, but just there’s a lot of different emotions that go into leaving the classroom. So we have a lot of good things to chat about.

Kristen 4:34
Yeah, we’re gonna get into the emotions for sure. I know when I left the classroom, there were a lot of emotion too. Some better than others. Some good, some not. And yeah, we’ll get into that for sure. Let’s start just with you sharing a little bit about kind of your, your journey, why you started your TPT store and those kinds of things before we dive into all the all the other stuff.

Naomi Meredith 4:59
So I’m a lot like a lot of you where I’m an accidental entrepreneur. When I first started teaching about 11 years ago, I was just creating resources, putting them in my TPT store right away, like my first or second year. And it was just no strategy whatsoever, just throw it up there, which a lot of us did. And then over time as the up over time, my store transitioned into more technology, integration resources, so things again, I was doing my classroom but trying to be a little bit more thoughtful.

Naomi Meredith 5:36
And then that merged into when I got my K through five STEM position, I really figured out my niche in elementary STEM. So creating resources that don’t exist, I was given a brand new classroom with limited supplies, their curriculum and a common story I was hearing from teachers. So that’s really where the elementary stem and my niche came from, and dove into that and created the resources lesson plans, really specialize in that year long plan K through five, because I know it sounds very broad, and we really want to niche down but teachers in that position, you’re teaching all the grades.

Naomi Meredith 6:16
So you actually do need curriculum for K through five, because you’re seeing all the kids every single day. So that’s where the actual TPT journey of it came from. And then of course, all the other business things came with that as well. And all the different resources from there.

Kristen 6:34
So let’s talk about that moment that you decided or maybe you didn’t decide yet. I don’t know how fast your decision was, was there like a catalyst, something that made you realize that you really didn’t want to go all in on your business full time.

Naomi Meredith 6:49
There was a whole lot of things. And when I was thinking about this question, it was really to fold into big chunks. I love teaching, I really enjoy it. But there was also some things about it, where I was teaching, I created this program from scratch. So I was in K through five stem for five years, I built it up from the ground up.

Naomi Meredith 7:12
And like simultaneously building my business and creating those resources. And I was getting to a point where I had a lot of demands with my business and a good way where I was helping more teachers. I was starting my podcast, more workshops, courses, where there were a lot of demands on that side.

Naomi Meredith 7:33
And also collaborations that were happening with other people. There was some contract work that I was really interested in. But I actually had to turn down because I was teaching all day, I didn’t have the time for that. So it was just more of that demand where yes, I could be like doing the things in my spare time, which you could still do that. But if I wanted to grow more in my business, I knew I needed to devote that time and put that effort in.

Naomi Meredith 8:03
I’m like okay, well, this is what I can do while I’m teaching. What if I did not teach anymore? What could happen. So that was the first part of it, where I was really considering it. And I was super pumped up like I would take a day off like quite often to just go work on my business like and that was really fun for me. So that was a really big sign.

Kristen 8:26
I used to do that too.

Naomi Meredith 8:27
Yeah. So that’s that nerdy way like I had to get after work. But that was a big part of it. But also, I actually felt really stuck in the classroom. And I was actually the kind of teacher where I did everything. Where Yes, I had this program K through five stem. But I also was co teaching with teachers. That was also part of my role. I was our school technology person. I ran a committee for our school collaborated in the district did after school clubs every day.

Naomi Meredith 8:58
So I wasn’t just sitting there not doing anything in my school, I was really involved in the school community. And I really wanted to do more for my district and help other teachers in that same position because they didn’t have that type of support. It didn’t exist.

Naomi Meredith 9:14
So sadly, the district I was in didn’t really prioritize elementary stem or have those opportunities to really merge that passion where I want to help more people. I’m here, I’m ready for it. And it just wasn’t available. So just those two things were, you know, I was like, You know what, I am helping, I am still helping teachers and students. I’m creating that opportunity. And I mean, my districts have the habit, that’s okay. But I can do it on my own.

Naomi Meredith 9:45
So it was really just being brave, and I knew I could stay in the classroom totally fine teach. It’s dependable. I love it. But at the same time, I knew that I would really regret not taking that step because there was a good time just where I was at with everything that I could always go back to teaching, it was always there. But I just I knew I would regret not making that job because of the unknown. And I wanted to explore that possibility.

Kristen 10:17
I think my story is kind of similar. I was having that difficulty with balancing everything because my business had grown so far beyond where it started, you know, it started, like you accidental entrepreneur, it was more of a hobby thing. And then it just kept growing. And I was loving it and wanting it to grow. And at some point, something has to give because you’re working two full time jobs. And that’s just not healthy.

Kristen 10:42
Yeah, it’s not healthy for you. It’s not healthy for the people in your life who depend on you for your family and your friends. And it’s just not good. So at some point, something has to give. I had a straw that broke the camel’s back moment. Oh, in my school, and that’ll that’s a story for another day.

Kristen 10:59
But I definitely had a moment where I was like, You know what? I think I’m done. And it took me about five days from the time that happened to go, Yep, I’m done. This is Yeah. Fun fact, that happened in May, like two weeks before school was out. So I literally turned in a two week notice. Like, I’m not going to be back next year.

Naomi Meredith 11:18
Oh, wow, that is a quick decision. I, I knew going into the school year, this would be my last school year, because I really, it’s kind of sounds a little weird, but not really, I if you’re a teacher, you understand I had known like my kids for a long time, because as a special teacher, you see the same kids every year.

Naomi Meredith 11:39
And so I really wanted to see like the group that I had since kindergarten, like, see them through to fifth grade. So I really wanted to like tie up some loose ends, there’s a couple of things I really wanted to try and just make sure that foundation was there. But I knew the whole time. I hadn’t said it yet. I knew the whole time I was going to be leaving.

Naomi Meredith 12:01
And so I was mentally prepared for it and try new things. I still did all of that. But like I said it was it was a good overall good decision. We can get more into that. But it is scary. So if you have that thinking about it, if you’re thinking about it, it’s okay.

Kristen 12:20
Right. And to be clear, I said I had a straw that broke the camel’s back moment. But I had been thinking about it for a couple of years. Yeah, for that. So yeah, it’s not like it was a snap decision.

Naomi Meredith 12:31
Yeah, true.

Kristen 12:32
But because I had been thinking about it, and not really serious about it for a long time until kind of right at the end, I didn’t really do a lot to prepare myself for this transition. You had a whole different situation, because you knew you were going to leave. So can you talk about a little bit about some of the steps you took just to get ready for that transition out of the classroom and into entrepreneurship full time?

Naomi Meredith 12:56
Yeah, definitely. So the cool thing, I will say being a teacher and having your business is you kind of I think of it a little bit as like a little bit of bonus money. Because I knew I had my teacher paycheck, I could pay the bills, but all my like business money, I could be a little more risky in the business side where I started my podcast and invested in a podcast manager, knowing that I could afford it.

Naomi Meredith 13:24
So I started my podcast as a marketing tool. And I think Kristin and I you started like around the same month with our podcast. So really diving into that, and spending that time I was doing two episodes a week just to build up my long form content. I know crazy.

Kristen 13:44
You’re a rockstar. I can’t even imagine.

Naomi Meredith 13:47
I did it for a year and a half. Like I just recently went back down to one episode. So I was building that up just to really market my products, talk about it have that long form content that I was really slacking on. That was a big step in it.

Naomi Meredith 14:06
And from there that actually built my community where I was trying like trying more new things where people wanted workshops. So I tried adding in workshops, so really boosting up that income side of it and different programs that I didn’t have before and different offerings.

Naomi Meredith 14:23
So that really helped with my product suite. Along with my virtual book club. We’re helping teachers we talk about STEM books, so if you like stem, join the book club. I love book clubs, but that one’s very stem specific, but also like mapping out like Okay, so if I left right now like right this second, what is the minimum amount of money I need to make to make it happen?

Naomi Meredith 14:49
The minimum amount like sure it’d be great if I made this bigger amount. Awesome. We would all love that. What is the absolute minimum I need to make where everything will be okay need to live on? Yes, exactly. Because I mean, that’s scary to like, I mean, I’m okay, I can make that happen great. And my husband is actually a teacher. So he totally gets that side of it.

Naomi Meredith 15:14
So really map that out also researched, like health care. I know people think about that, too. And what would be the best option with that, so figure that out as well. And then even I was part of what I do, too, is yes, I make my resources. But I mentioned, I have the workshops, the book club, the course. But also I was really interested in contract positions, and collaborating with other companies.

Naomi Meredith 15:42
Like I said before, I had to turn some down. So I actually was researching some other opportunities as well, and kind of talking with people. And just like keeping that door open, where I wanted to do some more things in the elementary stem space.

Naomi Meredith 15:55
So I was researching those, none of them actually, I signed or actually had that lined up quite yet before leaving, but I’m like, You know what, it’s gonna happen, it’s fine. Like doing that type of research was really helpful while I was in that transition mode.

Kristen 16:13
Yeah, I think it’s so smart to think about, you know, all you have these things, whatever they are that you’re doing now in your business. But if you’re going to transition to full time in your business, you do, you have to rely on that money now in a way that you maybe didn’t before.

Kristen 16:29
And so it is so smart, just to be researching additional avenues for bringing in more income when you need it. Because as online entrepreneurs, I mean, we are in such a good position in terms of if I realize I need an influx of money for whatever, even if it’s just because I want to go on a vacation, I can come up with something new, run a workshop for teachers, or you know, whatever it is, you can come up with new things, to get those cash influxes when you need them.

Kristen 17:04
Because we really, I mean, there are no limits, we can do just about anything. As online entrepreneurs, it’s so inexpensive, and so easy to get that stuff up and running. It’s not like you have to go rent a storefront somewhere and have product and all of that. It’s just so easy to add in extra things here and there when you need it.

Kristen 17:21
So I think it was so smart for you to go ahead and start researching that stuff, even before you needed it. Just so that it’s there. It’s rolling around in your head when you do need things down the road.

Naomi Meredith 17:31
Oh, absolutely. And it’s actually I think some people think it’s scary because my husband, I love him. He is a great teacher. He’s not an entrepreneur, he loves teaching. He loves coaching. Like that’s his thing. And I love that. I think it’s exciting finding other possibilities, like oh, my gosh, I could do this in STEM, or how cool is this opportunity? So I think that’s a really fun part of it. Hence why we’re entrepreneurs, because we do think that’s fun.

Kristen 18:04
It’s that mindset. And we’re a little bit we’re risk takers a little bit.

Naomi Meredith 18:09
Yeah, so it’s super exciting, because I like I said, I didn’t have any contract work set up. But I knew that was something I wanted to do. I didn’t mention this either. Kristin knows that I was getting married also. So I actually got married in June.

Naomi Meredith 18:31
So ended school in May, I got married at beginning of June. And then we went on our honeymoon, like, oh, I went to a tech conference in between and then went to a conference. And our honeymoon was 20 days. So I didn’t have anything lined up and like I got paid. I also got paid through the end of August. So I knew that I had that buffer also. So that was really helpful. But don’t be scared of the possibilities. It is a little scary. But like I said, it’s really exciting to knowing that you have that time to try these things out.

Kristen 19:03
Yeah, it is. So let’s talk work life balance a little bit because that is one of the biggest reasons I hear people talk about wanting to leave teaching is the work life balance and just the stress that they’re feeling as teachers. How has your work life balance changed since you left the classroom?

Naomi Meredith 19:24
I did not know. I knew what I didn’t know until, like once I was back from summer, my husband was at work. And I was like okay, I’m spending this time in my business. I didn’t realize how much low grade stress I constantly had from teaching until I was doing my business full time.

Naomi Meredith 19:46
And I was like feeling this at the beginning like this. I don’t know how to describe it. I don’t know the word for it. But this feeling where I’m doing something wrong. I should be doing something all the time like I should be on 24/7 because that’s just what I was used to for the past 11 years.

Naomi Meredith 20:06
And so I’m just really taking a step back, like, it’s okay, if I take a 30 minute walk right now, like, I had to tell myself, that’s okay. I’m not sitting around and watching Netflix all day, that’s definitely not what I’m doing. But like having those little moments where I need a break right now, was nothing that ever happened in teaching. So that was really interesting for me, like recognizing that you were on point all the time with teaching, and that can get really, really draining. So that was huge for me.

Kristen 20:42
I am still struggling with that. And I am five years out of the classroom. Now I think six, getting close to six. And I still struggle with that sometimes. I’ve just this year convinced myself that it is okay, during the middle of what I consider the work day, which, who decides that anyway? Yeah. But while my kids are at school, and I feel like I should be working, it is okay for me to take an hour of that time to go to the gym.

Kristen 21:13
Which is like you said, we’re not talking about laying on the couch watching Netflix, this is something we should be doing. Because it’s good for us. It is healthy, for a million reasons, good for our emotional state and all of it. So yeah, I mean, I, I completely relate. And it is when you when you’re in the middle of being in the classroom, you don’t realize that you are like you said, just kind of carrying that stress all the time.

Naomi Meredith 21:40
All the time, and I love my job. Like I like being busy. But then I’m like, It’s okay to like, I will say like even some things health wise, like the working out, definitely like setting up that schedule. And I was trying like, It’s hard with teaching, like some days, I’d be really good some days not so great.

Naomi Meredith 21:59
But also too, like even just some appointments like it was always a hassle just to go to the dentist because they’re only open during the school that hours, I had to take a half day. And so even just that kind of health stuff was really game changing. And just getting caught up on some of those types of things where I was in the back of my head, I’m like, this shouldn’t be a problem going to the dentist, but it was a whole ordeal when I was teaching.

Naomi Meredith 22:31
So that like things like that just like have been really amazing. And another big thing too is I feel after leaving the classroom, I’m a very creative person. But I feel like the way I can think about things that are so much mental capacity where I can actually think deeply about a project where everything was just spur of the moment where I’m going to just get this done or get this done, where I can just sit down and really focus on a project and think about all the minut details that I never would have thought of before. So that’s been really amazing, too.

Kristen 23:05
Absolutely. Let’s talk. We’ve talked about good things. Have there been any moments of doubt, or maybe a little, I don’t know, reconsidering your decision?

Naomi Meredith 23:20
At first, I actually was doubting a little bit my decision because I was thinking, oh my gosh, what if? What if I never make money? What if this doesn’t work out? What am I doing? Like I did think that at first I feel like I went through like in a little bit of ways, the stages of grief of leaving teaching because I identified with it.

Naomi Meredith 23:42
Like I was a little bit angry at times, like at my admin for some of their choices. And the district. Like, I got a little bit sad about things, then I was worried. So at the begining, my emotions were kind of all over the place.

Kristen 23:59
I felt that way too.

Naomi Meredith 24:00
Okay,, that makes me feel better.

Kristen 24:01
And I think I actually said this is it’s like, grief, like not, I mean, obviously not to the same degree, but it’s like going through the same stages, because I knew I don’t know about you, but I knew as a teenager that I wanted to be a teacher. It was the only career I ever really seriously considered.

Kristen 24:17
And I loved loved the actual teaching in my classroom with my students. I loved it so much. Probably would never have left it if that was the only thing I was doing ever. And I could just stay in that little bubble.

Naomi Meredith 24:32
Yeah, I felt the same way.

Kristen 24:34
It felt like grieving like a loss of what you thought your life was gonna be. Even though the new thing was exciting, and I love it too. Maybe more. Just grieving the loss of something. I think it makes total sense. It sounds I don’t know, dramatic maybe?

Naomi Meredith 24:48
Oh, absolutely. And I and I, it’s one of my contract roles. I actually do get to teach a little bit and I think that was still important for me and just to be connected with kids. It’s in that way, but it’s not all day. I will say, I’m not kidding. My first day is just as teaching. It’s a Lego stem club. Literally my first day, and my boss was observing me, I had a kid who had a breakdown and wanted to run.

Naomi Meredith 25:17
And so I was like, Oh, it was like a wake up moment, like, oh, yeah, okay, and I could handle it fine. But, so even too like, if that’s something if you’re concerning, okay, like wanting my business, I’m really excited about it, I’m thinking about doing this but I’m going to miss the kids, there are opportunities where you could still be around kids, I am still saying kids a little bit, not all day, just enough where I like, I get to have that teaching side.

Naomi Meredith 25:48
But like we’re saying with that diversification of your income, if that’s important to you, you can do that. That’s great. That’s, that’s a really fun part of my day, and also all the other things as well.

Kristen 26:01
I know my first couple of years out, I did a lot of volunteering in my kids classrooms. And I loved it, because I could go in and just like, get that kid fix. I could just go in and do a little teaching. And because the teachers knew that I had been a teacher, they gave me different things. They weren’t having me, you know, cut out and staple stuff very often they were putting me like read with this kid or, you know, whatever given me things to do with the students.

Kristen 26:27
And that really fed the teacher part of my thought a lot. So yeah, definitely. There are lots of ways to stay involved with students, stay involved a little bit with teaching, and getting, you know, get your teacher fix a little bit. And I love that you found a way to do that, too.

Naomi Meredith 26:43
Yeah. So it’s good. Like where I’m at now. So nine months now, I, I’m not feeling that so much anymore, where I feel like oh, my gosh, I need to go back to the classroom, just knowing like my overall mental health. And I really feel like my passions are being fulfilled, where I get to explore those things I’ve wanted, they have been on my list.

Naomi Meredith 27:08
I want to create this, I really wanted a kid podcast, I really wanted to do that. But I knew I didn’t have the time. While I had one podcast. I couldn’t do two while I’m in the classroom. So that’s just something like a new project I’ve been able to dive into, and still support.

Kristen 27:25
Tell me a little bit about your new podcast. We briefly mentioned it in some of our communication before this. And I am so intrigued, and so excited for you to tell me a little bit about that.

Naomi Meredith 27:37
Yeah, so this my first podcast, I still have, it’s for teachers, but this kid one it’s called the STEM career quest podcast. And so I interview experts in STEM fields to help inspire kids of what they might want to be when they grow up. And so yeah, it’s your kids may actually like it, too.

Kristen 27:56
I have a little stem kid for sure. My oldest is, you know, he’s the one who like tears everything apart and puts it together. And he’s designing roller coasters on his iPad. And yeah,

Naomi Meredith 28:12
Well, he’ll love when I have the mechanical engineer. He’ll love that episode.

Kristen 28:18
Yeah, absolutely. We went to a he’s in sixth grade now. And we went to a curriculum night at his school talking about the seventh and eighth grade, kind of they lead into some career path type programs. And then by high school, you’re kind of expected to pick one and stick with it for four years, hopefully.

Kristen 28:35
And he is so excited about the engineering one. When we got through with the presentations. I’m like, so which ones are you interested in? He’s like engineering, like, Okay, but what about like another option? He’s like, No. I want to do the engineering one. And it is such a cool program. I won’t go into all the details. I’ll tell you about it sometime. It’s so so cool what they do with with high schoolers for engineering, but yes, I’m gonna put him on your podcast for sure.

Naomi Meredith 29:03
Yeah, he’ll love it. It’s super fun.

Kristen 29:06
I can see this being a another good way to serve your teacher audience because this is something they can have their students listen to, I don’t know, if you’re planning on, you know, how you’re planning on marketing and things. But I can just imagine them putting it in a center or, you know, all kinds of options for getting teachers involved with it too.

Naomi Meredith 29:25
Well with that teaching background, I’m obviously I record video with all my podcasts. And so the whole time when I’m recording, I’m talking to the camera, I’m acting it out, so they can watch the video version. But I actually sent her this whole podcast, the kid went around creating resources. So every episode has a comprehension guide in my TPT shop.

Naomi Meredith 29:45
There’s a membership where those resources are in there. There’s related stem lessons. So for example, the first episode is with entomologists who study bugs. So I create a comprehension guide for that, but also there’s insects and spider stem task cards inside of the membership. So using all of those skills and putting it together, it has a very educational component because that teacher side of me is never going to leave. So definitely wanted to start that off.

Kristen 30:16
I love that combination of when you can find something that feeds the teacher side of you. And also it’s just such a great business idea as well. Such a good marketing strategy, I think to have this podcast that ties into all these resources. Just so smart. I love it. I’m so excited for this to come out. When does it?

Naomi Meredith 30:36
It’s already live! It’s super brand new. So it came out on Valentine’s Day on my birthday. So it was a birthday present. I love it. Yeah.

Kristen 30:49
So it’s out awesome. My kid was gonna have some listening to do so. And honestly, I think you will love it. He is that kid he doesn’t like I cannot get him to read a novel to save my life. And it breaks my reading teacher heart. But he will read all the nonfiction sciency stem kind of books all day long loves it eats that stuff up. So yeah.

Naomi Meredith 31:14
Another type of resource.

Kristen 31:18
So we talked a little bit about how you’re feeling now. Any regrets?

Naomi Meredith 31:24
No. No, there are no regrets. Like, here and there, I talk to my teacher friends, and they’ll even bring me back down to earth. They’re like, No, like you’re doing what you should be doing. Like, they know how I had felt about everything, even over the years. And so it’s definitely it was, like I said, a little scary. There’s other options, it’ll be okay.

Naomi Meredith 31:52
But I just know, you know, in your soul when you make the bit, like best decision for yourself. And I’m always gonna bet on myself. I’ve made some other big scary decisions in my life. And I don’t regret those, so I’m like, you know what it’s gonna be okay. So definitely worth jumping in.

Kristen 32:12
And I mean, worst case scenario, we can always change our mind. Nothing in life is that permanent. Well, a few things.

Naomi Meredith 32:24
Children.

Kristen 32:29
I mean, if we make a job decision, and we decide it was the wrong one, we can change, we can go back to the other thing, we can do something totally new and different. We have options. So yeah, I love that you just went all in on yourself. Like you said, make the big decision and go with it.

Naomi Meredith 32:46
Yeah, absolutely.

Kristen 32:48
Are there some lessons you’ve learned? Or maybe some advice that you would give to others who are thinking that maybe it’s about time to make that decision themselves?

Naomi Meredith 32:57
Yeah, a couple of things. First of all, definitely, we’ve mentioned it kind of throughout. But that theme of diversifying your income. And I know Kristin has a really great series where she’s been talking to people about different ways specifically, you can do that. TPT is a big chunk of my income, but it’s not my only source of income.

Naomi Meredith 33:16
So I do a lot of other things that I had set up before leaving, and of course, those new things, but definitely think of ways that you can diversify. So yes, you have your resources. But how else can you branch off from that? And also too, like, if you’re feeling stuck, or if you’re scared, a big thing I kept coming back to is, think about your passions as a kid. What made you happy as a kid? Like, what were you into? Are you doing that every day as a grown up?

Naomi Meredith 33:49
I was happy playing school, making money. I was like a little entrepreneur as a little kid. I was all about making money as a kid. I like loved it. I would say lemonade stands or snow cone stands. I would host garage sales as a kid. So I love that and I also love making videos always an entrepreneur, right.

Naomi Meredith 34:10
So like, I am doing the things that little Naomi loved, like, I’m still doing school stuff. I’m making money. And I’m making videos. I always wanted to be on camera. So like think about that, like, are you doing what little you is happy every day because you can do that for a job. If it’s teaching great if it’s not, that’s okay.

Kristen 34:35
I’m so much like you that’s so funny because I definitely played school. I definitely did some entrepreneurial things. The other thing I really had forgotten. While I was in the middle of teaching, I had forgotten how much I loved creating, designing. I used to make like T shirts.

Naomi Meredith 34:54
Me too!

Kristen 34:55
All kinds of little things like that. Like I was just I was designing creative things. And I was always the one I was never an artist in the sense of drawing. Yeah. Not my talent. But I was like coloring and doodling and creating things on the computer. And yeah, always.

Naomi Meredith 35:15
And here you are. You’re doing what you’re passionate about. I get to do that for a living. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s like, really take a step back. Are you really doing what’s making your soul happy? Like, the end of the day, you’re doing your job all day? Like, you want to be happy doing it. So here we are. Another journey. It’s okay, if you outgrow some things, it’s okay.

Kristen 35:40
So I always try to give one action step at the end of an episode. What is one thing that you would tell sellers to do if they are thinking that they want to start moving toward full time entrepreneurship?

Naomi Meredith 35:56
One thing I would say is, do you have at least two to three ways that you are making consistent money? Because if one fails, what is your backup plan? That would be a big thing. Like, just really being thoughtful about where your income is coming from. For sure.

Kristen 36:16
Yeah, go ahead now and start creating those additional income streams. And not that we expect, I mean, I know you just said TPT is still the bulk of yours for my chocolate apples business. TPT is absolutely the bulk of mine, too. We don’t expect that to go away. But it just is always smart to have another income stream.

Kristen 36:37
So yeah, I think it’s so smart to start now. Figuring out, you know, what are the income streams that I could have, even if you don’t start that business quite yet, just having the ideas so that when you have the time available, you can start adding on extra income streams. Well, before we close out, is there anything else that you want to share with those listeners who might be kind of on the fence about this type of change?

Naomi Meredith 37:06
A big thing tail is, are you going to regret not trying it? And I said to myself, Yes, I would regret not trying. Like, are you going to look back in five years and say, oh, like, I wish I did this? Sure, sometimes might be better than others. But honestly, there’s never the perfect, perfect time for anything. And so if you think you’re gonna regret not doing it, then you need to do it.

Naomi Meredith 37:39
You need to step out and try and you never know, like, you can’t predict every single little thing and that’s okay. But if that if you’re gonna regret not trying, then you need to try. If you are going to regret it, then stay. That’s okay, too. You can say that’s all right. That’s okay if that’s how you’re feeling. But yeah, you definitely don’t want to live with regrets, and I do not. So yeah, that’s definitely where I’m at.

Kristen 38:05
I will say if you’re, if you’re feeling that pull, it’s probably not going anywhere. From my experience, it just keeps getting bigger. And yeah, like you said, there is there’s never a perfect time you did this when you were about to get married, your whole life’s changing. I did this six months, five months after my husband retired from his career. And he asked retirement, so we’re good there. He was Army. And everybody’s like, she’s not that old. He was in the army.

Kristen 38:37
They retire pretty young. So right after he retired, we had also bought a new house, which means that our mortgage payment had gone up. And we had two kids instead of one because I did this when my youngest was about eight months old, nine months old. So just so much going on. And you know, it wasn’t the perfect time, but it was the perfect time. Circumstances are never gonna be perfect, but when it’s time, it’s time.

Naomi Meredith 39:03
Mm hmm. It is.

Kristen 39:07
Well, thank you, again, so much for this conversation. It’s been so good talking to you about these things. And I know it’ll be so helpful for those people who are listening or have been thinking about this. Where can listeners find you online?

Naomi Meredith 39:22
The best places to find me, you can find me on my website, Naomimeredith.com. Everything’s linked on there. My podcasts are on there, the elementary STEM coach and STEM career quest, and I’m also really active on Instagram. So feel free to send me a DM my Instagram handles is @naomimeredith_. So those are the best places you can find me.

Kristen 39:42
Thank you so much for being here. Naomi,

Naomi Meredith 39:45
thank you so much for having me. I appreciated talking with you, Kristen.

Kristen 39:49
What a great conversation about such a big career decision and something I know so many of you, my listeners have been thinking about. If this is something that you’ve been thinking about, maybe you’re wondering if it’s time to leave the classroom. Or maybe you’re just thinking you would eventually like to and you know, now isn’t the right time, then I would just encourage you to take a step this week, one step, to put yourself in a good position for when it is the right time to make a change into full time entrepreneurship.

Kristen 40:22
Think about the things that Naomi and I talked about and take one of those steps, whether it’s, you know, starting to think about ways to add additional income streams, or maybe you want to start transitioning to see if you can live on your business income and let your teaching income be the supplementary extra, take one step, just to start inching toward that move.

Kristen 40:46
Keep in mind, it doesn’t mean you have to go turn your notice into your administrator right away, it definitely doesn’t have to be a big change you make immediately, you can take some small steps to put yourself in a good position. And let just let yourself think about the idea of making that change. Let it roll around in the back of your mind. Because when the time comes, I promise you will know that it’s time.

Kristen 41:08
But that is much easier to do if you’ve already been thinking about it. I know for me, I had been rolling this idea around for years, my husband and I had talked about it, we had already taken a few steps, things like paying attention to you know what our budgeting was and living off of more off of my business income and less off of my teaching salary and all of those things.

Kristen 41:29
And so when the time came that something happened that really pushed me over that edge, we had some foundation in place and had had done some things even if I wasn’t proactively planning to leave the classroom yet. But if you are already thinking about this, then you have a leg up on me in that regard. That means you’re already thinking about it. And you can take those proactive steps, put yourself in a good position so that when it does come time to leave the classroom, you’ll know and you’ll be ready.

Kristen 41:55
And if you have a stem loving kid like mine, definitely check out the STEM career quest podcast. I took a quick look at it after our call today. And I cannot wait to listen to these episodes with my kids. They look like they’re going to be so good. And you know, anything we can do to get our kids whether it’s our own children or our students thinking about what careers they might want down the road. Anything we can do to get them thinking about that as a young age is always a win and it’s so good for them long term.

Kristen 42:25
If you are thinking about making this transition and you have questions or you want to talk through anything, I know I am an open book and I’m sure that Naomi is as well, so feel free to connect with either of us. I know both of us like to connect on Instagram DMS so you can find the links in the show notes for those. And we would love to chat with you there.

Kristen 42:43
And don’t forget to share this episode with another friend who is maybe running their business as a side hustle and thinking about whether or not it’s time to take things full time. Talk to you soon friends.

Kristen 42:58
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you did, please share it with another teacher seller who would also find it helpful. For more resources on growing your TPT business, head to kristendoyle.co/tpt. Talk to you soon.

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