Escaping the 9 to 5 with Jana Hendrickson

life coach and consultant Jana Schuberth

This month’s interview is with Jana Hendrickson (Schuberth), who I met back in May at the Alive in Berlin conference. Jana is the one who created the whole Alive event and community, after finding that most of the events of this kind are limited to North America and deciding to “be the leader she was looking for” in bringing that same spirit to Europe. I spoke with Jana back in July, when she was in her usual “coffice” in Starbucks, Los Angeles, about to move on to Portland, Oregon for the World Domination Summit organised by Chris Guillebeau and part of that inspiration for the Alive conference.

This is an incredibly honest and inspiring look at the choices she has made, the challenges she has faced and how she continues to address them, and there are a number of really powerful themes that I think a lot of us can relate to. Jana had to come to terms with leaving behind the prestige of being a chartered accountant at a prominent firm and creating a new identity for herself. She has had to address an underlying belief structure that earning money only comes from doing a certain type of job and you can’t make a lot of money doing something you love. And she makes a great point about not sitting around waiting for your Passion to come knocking at your door.

In my endeavour to do more video on my site, I’ve recorded the full interview for you to watch here. Being the amateur that I am, at the time I was using a demo version of the Skype call recorder so poor Jana has a big ad banner right across her forehead. Sorry Jana! I still think it’s worth putting up the video because Jana shares so much more than it’s possible to convey in my abridged transcript below. So please enjoy the video if you can, or read on below to learn more about Jana’s experience…


Life coach and consultant

Jana SchuberthJana Hendrickson (Schuberth) has made a number of career moves and life changes over the past 12 years. Originally planning on becoming a children’s nurse, she ended up training to become a PR journalist, and from there moved on to become a marketing manager in the leisure industry and got a degree in advertising and marketing communications at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK. When a mentor suggested that she train as an accountant, Jana jumped on the idea as a way of addressing her weaknesses in the area of finance and “numerical stuff”. She trained at Pricewaterhouse Coopers but was asked to leave after failing the final exam twice; she finished her training, however, with a smaller company and eventually moved on to Experian. Since then, she’s completely transformed her life and her lifestyle, both for herself and increasingly for a community of lifestyle and social entrepreneurs…

1) At what moment did you decide it was time for a change?

At Experian, which was really my last real job, I had the pleasure of working with a manager who I could be really open with. I sat down with her and asked her, “What would you have done if you hadn’t become an accountant?” and she replied, “Oh, I’d have a garden centre!” So we got to talking about alternative careers…

By that time, I’d hired a life coach for myself. I was just at a loss, I didn’t know what my next step should be; I didn’t really know what a life coach was but I had nothing to lose. I had always had a plan of what I wanted to do next and there I was with my finance background, my marketing, and my languages, and had no clue what my next step should be. Within that, I really started to fall in love with personal development and I started reading a lot of psychology books. I had actually considered doing an MA in Psychology after my degree – when I look back, the common thread is there, for me to have loved behavioural studies at university, always loving psychology, always reading psychology magazines… So it was easy in hindsight but at the time I was very frustrated with not knowing what I wanted.

As we talked about personal development stuff, my coach asked, “Well, how about coaching for a career?” Up until then, I had felt that I needed a safe job, my boyfriend at the time had his own business so I didn’t want to have another variable income, and I wanted the pension scheme and all of that… But I was living from weekend to weekend and every Sunday afternoon I’d be getting the blues and saying, “Do I really have to go?” until one day my boyfriend said, “You don’t. If you don’t want to go, then don’t.” That really sparked off my journey into self-employment – and I haven’t looked back since!

2) What was the biggest challenge you faced in making the change?

I think professionally the biggest challenge for me has been the last two years with Alive.

The idea for Alive had been born four years ago on a retreat with a mentor coach, because I wanted to have a community – I felt a little isolated in my industry in England in the middle of nowhere. I was always looking to the US for speakers, for TED talk inspiration, for blogs and books and authors, and I didn’t feel that we had the same amount or the same calibre of people in Europe. So Alive would become the stage for those people.

This journey for me has been associated with a lot of fears. I had to have a lot of coaching from other professionals to overcome my fears – there is so much work involved and last year I was coaching 55 clients at the same time! I’ve reduced that to less than half this year but the financial burden is very high; I’ve invested over $60,000 into making those last two years happen, personally.

Right now, we’re expanding across different revenue streams and I have to organise funding and run it like a business. We have 20 people on my team now, all volunteers – in the first year there were three! So becoming that leader is very challenging for me, to delegate work, to be effective as a leader, to be inspirational to them, to put the right structures in place… But the legal and financial responsibility that comes with running big conferences and these businesses for real is probably the biggest challenge, and I’m still learning, every day.

3) Where did you get the support you needed to make it happen?

In the past six years, I’ve always had a coach of sorts, or several coaches, to help me through recurring patterns.

For example, one of the patterns that has been very evident is that either I work really hard in stuff that I don’t like and I make a shitload of money i.e. accounting or consulting; or I do what I really care about, what I love, and I’m broke! So now I’m working with a coach on how I can do the work that I really love, that is ‘play’ for me – and make a shitload of money at the same time. It is very viable, it’s very possible, but because I grew up with the belief structure that work has to be hard, and making money is difficult, and money doesn’t grow on trees and all those things… that’s what I need to address. So I have people that I work with there.

Alive in Berlin 2015
The presenters at this year’s Alive in Berlin conference. If you look closely, you may recognise Dave Cornthwaite and Emily Penn, who together led the recent Mississippi expedition[Photo credit: Michał Szafrański]
Other than that, I probably feel the most support from the people I really care about: my family, my sister, my friends that have my back; the people that come to speak at Alive, that are investing their own time, not being paid, coming to Europe; and the Alive community. Whenever I feel like, “I don’t know why I’m doing this anymore!” I just watch the video from last year online and I go, “Yep, that’s why I’m doing it.” Because it’s meaningful to me.

4) What’s the best part of your lifestyle today?

Instantly what comes to mind is skydiving! What other people pay in rent and cars and gas and all of that stuff, I pay in flights and skydiving.

I love just having a suitcase and a backpack. And although some days I want to have my own little home of sorts where I can put my head to rest, I’ve also learned to be very, very comfortable with very unusual, or uncertain, circumstances and with very limited means. I feel a deep sense of freedom to literally just pack up and go any day. So it’s a very strong lifestyle by choice: I choose to be here right now, and then I choose to be somewhere else in two days. And then… I want to do something else! It’s very, very freeing.

Jana Schuberth skydiving in Hawaii
Jana on one of her jumps over her favourite place in the world, Hawaii.

And I get to meet a lot of amazing people and visit great places. I’ve fallen very much in love with Hawaii! I get to spend great times in really beautiful places – what’s better than that?!

5) What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering making a big career or lifestyle change?

People think that passion is just going to show up on their doorstep one day and then they’ll use that passion to make big money. I don’t agree with that, I think passion is something that develops over time. You can have curiosity and you can have an inkling of what you like in the present moment and the more you follow that every day, the more it will lead to passion… but I think it’s wrong to wait for the perfect thing that feels like, “That’s it.” Sometimes we just have to follow hunches.

And the second part of that piece of advice is just to be really in tune, and almost become a scientist of your own life, of all the things you don’t want to miss out on – like the documentaries that you keep watching, the blogs that you keep reading – because they are a thread of information, of what it is you really want and care about. And sometimes it’s better even to ask: what bothers you? Because if you can solve a problem that several people have, chances are that’s going to get you some income.

The main piece is really to follow your curiosity!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You might also be interested in these articles

“Everything you’ve ever
wanted is one step outside
your comfort zone.”

Book a free consultation

Get on the phone with Anna to discuss your unique goals and situation to determine the best programme for you, so you can start taking action towards creating the business and lifestyle you desire.

Get a free assessment of your business

Download this scorecard to review where you are on each of the 5 pillars of building a life outside of the 9 to 5, and get clear action steps to help you fill the gaps.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Looking to grow your expert business?

Download this FREE Business Assessment to identify the gaps that are preventing your growth so that you can take actionable steps towards building a more successful and sustainable business.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Download the brochure

Find out more about our flagship mentoring programme for experienced professionals who want to translate their skills and experience into a profitable business that brings them more freedom, flexibility, and fulfilment.

We will use and protect your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy sets out how One Step Outside uses and protects any information that you give One Step Outside when you use this website (

One Step Outside is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

One Step Outside may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes.

What information we collect and why

We only ever collect the information that we need in order to serve you.

Generally, this just means collecting your first name and email address that you enter, for example, when you request a resource, register for a webinar, or submit a message via a contact form.

If you are a paying customer, we also collect your billing information including your last name and your postal address.


When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

An anonymised string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

Contact forms

We use Gravity Forms to allow you to contact us via the website. We will use the information you submit for the sole purpose of that specific form and will explicitly ask you to provide your consent to allow us to do so.

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Advertising and Analytics


We use Google Analytics to track and optimise performance on this site as well as embedding video content from YouTube, and this means that your web browser automatically sends certain information to Google. This includes the URL of the page that you’re visiting and your IP address. Google may also set cookies on your browser or read cookies that are already there. Apps that use Google advertising services also share information with Google, such as the name of the app and a unique identifier for advertising.

Google uses the information shared by sites and apps to deliver our services, maintain and improve them, develop new services, measure the effectiveness of advertising, protect against fraud and abuse and personalise content and ads that you see on Google and on our partners’ sites and apps. See their Privacy Policy to learn more about how they process data for each of these purposes, and their Advertising page for more about Google ads, how your information is used in the context of advertising and how long Google stores this information.


We use the conversion tracking and custom audiences via the Facebook pixel on our website. This allows user behaviour to be tracked after they have been redirected to our website by clicking on a Facebook ad and enables us to measure the effectiveness of our Facebook ads. The data collected in this way is anonymous to us, i.e. we do not see the personal data of individual users. However, this data is stored and processed by Facebook, who may link this information to your Facebook account and also use it for its own promotional purposes, in accordance with Facebook’s Data Usage Policy

You can allow Facebook and its partners to place ads on and off Facebook. A cookie may also be stored on your computer for these purposes. You can revoke your permission directly on Facebook here: For more guidance on opting out you can also consult

Who we share your data with

We use a number of third parties to provide us with services which are necessary to run our business or to assist us with running our business and who process your information for us on our behalf. These include a hosting and email provider (Siteground), mailing list provider (GetResponse), and a payment provider (Stripe).

Your information will be shared with these service providers only where necessary to enable us to run our business.

How long we maintain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

For users that register on our website, we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

The main reason for collecting this information is to be able to send you resources, updates and, sometimes, information and products and services, as well as for internal record keeping.

The rights you have over your data

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

How we protect your data

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure.

Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password that lets you access certain parts of our site, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential and we ask you not to share a password with anyone.

Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

Links to other websites

Our website contains links to other websites. This privacy policy only applies to this website so once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Changes to our privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review. Initially created on 18th November 2016, it was last updated on 23rd May 2018 to be compliant with GDPR.

Contact information

If you have any questions or concerns related to your privacy, you can get in touch here >>