How Two Best Friends Quit their Day Jobs for their Day Dreams

Balancing out life in your twenties can definitely be tough, especially when society tells you life is supposed to be figured out by now. Shirley Chilus is a 27- year -old hair stylist living in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated beauty school, finished her college degree and also began her masters all in under 4 years. Lucrecia Coty, also 27, is an experienced esthetician and she holds three college degrees and counting. Both women were working in their fields of profession while living in their home state of Florida. Chilus, was working as a Master stylist at an established hair salon in West Palm Beach. Coty was the head esthetician in Orlando at a national waxing salon.

“Of course while you’re in school you have created a huge plan for yourself. I thought that once I graduated, life would just align itself for me. Graduation for me meant instant job offers. Job security meant happiness, so I thought,” said Chilus.

For these two women, something was just missing in their lives. However, from the outside looking in, they seemed to be living the perfect life for women in their twenties.

“Let me tell you something, looks can be very deceiving,” laughed Shirley. “I just did not feel like I was fulfilling my calling. Yes, I worked in a hair salon, but I was just another employee. I took the bus to a job that did not excite me. My co-workers were mostly older white women. Which I had absolutely no issues with, but when I tried to take on bigger positions at my salon or give ideas, I was always being ignored. As if my ideas were too radical. That was when I knew a change was necessary. I have always wanted to get in to my own salon, but I never was confident enough to venture out on my own. ”

Chilus wanted a different atmosphere. She had always wanted to move to Atlanta,  to pursue her dreams of becoming a hair stylist with her own personal clientele.

“Atlanta is the hair capitol! I just didn’t think that I would be able to move. I mean, I was 25 and I had a great paying job. I was just so miserable. I thought to myself when the heck am I going to start living my dreams?”

Just like Chilus, her best friend, Coty was also feeling unsatisfied with her life.

“I was not created to just live paycheck to paycheck and die. I actually started working on my vision of building my non –profit while I was in New York. When I relocated to Florida, I let my parents persuade me into just focusing on work solely. Like most parents, they want the best for you. They didn’t really understand my non-profit and didn’t see any benefits to it. I became focused on being financially stable and not being happy,” said Coty.

According to a Creative Jobs report that was conducted by an online education network Creative Live, 41 million employed Americans would be willing to take a pay cut for a more creative job. “It seems finances are still important, as almost 78 million would make the jump from corporate to creative, if only they could be sure of being able to pay their bills”.

 It was certain these ladies wanted to start investing in their dreams. While trying to figure out what to do for Chilus’ next birthday and for the new year (which were on the same day), the ladies made a decision to leave their home state of Florida and head to Atlanta on New Years day in 2015.

“We literally just rented a car, quit our jobs and moved up to Atlanta that same day. We didn’t have a place to stay or any jobs waiting for us. We just took our savings and hoped for the best,” explained Chilus.

Huffington Post 2013 article,“20 Tips to Make the Most of Your 20’s”, encourages women like Chilus and Coty to know that they are more than just a job. The article is a series of quotes from women who have once walked in their shoes having to make tough choices. Amanda Slavin, CEO & Founder, Catalyst Creativ, one of the women who gave a tip in the article, believes that your 20’s are for you to do what makes you happy.

“In your 20s, it’s easy to rush through life to get as much as you can as quickly as possible. We like to push ourselves to the limit, throw ourselves in the fire and never think we are never going to get burnt. But we do. Instead, think about what makes you happy. You are more than your job. You are a multi-faceted person. Slow down, breathe, and take the time to realize you can create your own happiness in your life, and that doesn’t just mean in your job.” – Amanda Slavin

 In the first few months the women had to adjust to their new environment in Atlanta.

“We had to get a place stay. Thank God we had a friend that we were able to live with for a month. We even got jobs at a local grocery store to help fund our apartment. We just trusted God. Since we were in a new state, it was required of us to transfer our beautician and esthetician license. That took some time, but we used that time to work on us. Shirley was building her clientele and I was working on a campaign to help out local teenage girls,” explained Coty.

Shirley's haircuts.

A  couple of Shirley’s haircuts.

The ladies got part time jobs that allowed them to actually focus on what they really wanted to do. The extra time they had was used to network around the city with entrepreneurs and like-minded people.

Going to local beauty events also gave the ladies more confidence to share the skills and their work with others.

“We were so happy. I got to pass out my cards to potential clients. That was something I never really had the opportunity to do. I was actually selling myself. Being around people who knew so much about the hair industry motivated me to keep pushing. I didn’t have this drive at home. Being here with my friend makes it so much worth it and so much more easier,” said Chilus.

Shirley is now a stylist for Great Clips in Atlanta, a freelancer for Be Glammed (a local mobile beauty company), and she is also working on her own brand. Lucrecia is currently working on her non profit, Heart2Heart, where she has created a campaign to promote love with pillows that she has hand made. She also is working on her lifestyle blog full time, which has recently gotten her mentions on an Iheartradio station in Atlanta.

“I’m not here [Atlanta] for a success story. I am just here doing what I love,” said Coty.

For more information on these ladies and their ventures visit the links below.

Lucrecia Coty:

Shirley Chilus: