Episode 27 – A Prosperous Life After a Lay-off with Tela Holcomb of Trade Your 9 to 5

Our guest today, Tela Holcomb of Trade Your 9 to 5, is a stocks and options trader, investor and a full-time entrepreneur.  She joined us to speak about being laid off from her primary job once they found out about her side hustle!

House of FI listeners, you all know that I am big supporter of the Side Hustle.  I have my own side income, and in the past, I used side hustling to help in my debt pay off.  In my experience, I was able to balance multiple jobs openly with employers. However, Wendy and I knew there was something to be learned from Tela’s story, and we needed to find out more.

In today’s episode we talked about :

  1. Whether or not you should let your primary job know about your side hustle
  2. How to protect yourself financially when you are beginning a side hustle
  3. How to bounce back if you end up losing your main job
  4. And finally, How Tela was forced to recognize an obvious business opportunity, even though it wasn’t the side hustle she was laid off for!  


Tela’s Money Story

Tela’s earliest money lesson was from her mother.  Tela’s mom believed in learning through action, and she would have Tela balance her checkbook and pay the household bills beginning when Tela was around 15 year old!  This experience instilled consistency and first hand experience into Tela’s budgeting habits.

Later, when Tela began working, she always exhibited curiosity and a willingness to learn.  When she worked at a local hotel’s breakfast bar, she convinced the college student at the front desk to secretly train her on the front desk duties so that she could transfer to the job herself.

Tela was committed to taking control of her future!

Searching for Commitment

When Tela was in high school, she had dreams of becoming a lawyer.  As she made her way through school, though, she began to see others return from college just to remain stuck in the same small town.  She knew that she needed something different – something that would allow her the opportunity to leave and never circle back to hometown comfort.  

She found her answer in the military.  

Tela joined the Airforce for the commitment, the chance to travel and the chance to change her circumstances.  

The Full Time Job vs The Side Hustle

After her time in the military, Tela found herself working for a government contracting firm doing the same type of work that she did in the military. She worked with this firm for 8 years in total, and eventually decided to try her hand at creating her own, similar firm.

Why did she feel the need to start her own similar business? Well, government contracts are often defined by a term limit. With the contracts her company sought, the contracts ended annually. This was a source of anxiety for Tela, and she wanted to insure her income by finding additional, similar work.

Unfortunately, while she openly shared that she was creating the side business, her company eventually gave her an ultimatum due to a potential conflict of interest. When she decided to stick with her plan, she was laid off from the position – and was left to pick up the financial pieces of her decision.

Steps to Take After Losing A Job

Tela and her husband took immediate steps after Tela lost her main source of income. Here are some of the things they did after the lay off (as well as some things you should do while you have a steady income).

  1. Sit down and discuss the issue with your significant other, or those potentially affected by the layoff
  2. Look at your budget to determine what changes, if any, need to be made
  3. Check your existing cash reserves and determine how long you can survive before requiring more income
  4. Decide if paying off existing debts immediately is a good decision in the long run – it decreases monthly expenses but also depletes cash reserves
  5. Figure out alternate sources of income, list them out, and begin pursuing them.

Life After Lay-Off

In Tela’s situation, she and her husband were avid savers.  They always paid down debt, and were overpaying on their mortgage.  When they looked at their budget, they recognized that Tela had months of leeway to start and grow her dream business.

While this was great news, over the next 6 months, it became clear that it would be harder to grow her consulting firm than she hoped.

Every now and then, she would trade a few stocks to bring in extra cash – leading her husband to have a light bulb moment…Why not do that instead?

We go into detail into how she learned to trade successfully in our episode.  Listen now to hear

  1. The tried and true steps that Tela took to master the Bull Market.
  2. Who taught Tela about Trading
  3. What account you MUST have before getting started
  4. How Tela’s average day looks
  5. What is and how to create your own trading plan

Want to try a TD Ameritrade Practice Account as Tela Suggests? Here is the link (not an affiliate link)

Tela on the final questions:

Money Lessons

Budgeting and saving taught by her mom.  Since she had these down at a young age, her mind was primed for other more complicated ideas later, like investments.

Favorite Life hacks

Wait ONE WEEK.  If Tela still wants it after that time, she will go back and get it!

Favorite Read This Year

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes – especially the parts about saying yes to saying no.  Freedom and time with the family has always been a priority, so following the ideas in the book allowed her to reassess her priorities.  Tela began to make sure the business was structured in a way that fits into her freedom.

Best way for listeners to find you:

TelaHolcomb.com and on facebook, instagram and youtube at Tela Holcomb.

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