WA woman Carla da Costa used to clean people’s teeth for a living – then she quit her day job and is now making a fortune in a truly unique field.
Carla Da Costa used to clean people’s teeth for a living. Now she helps them leave their marriage.
She is one of many Australians who have joined what is known as the ‘great quit’ and quit their day jobs over the past year.
According to NAB research, more than 20% of Australians have changed jobs in the past year, and more than a quarter are currently considering quitting. It’s a trend seen in workplaces around the world, largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has caused many people to rethink what’s important to them and seek a better work ‘deal’ that matches what they’re looking for, the stage of life they’re in,” says Lauren Trethowan, Head of Talent at MYOB.
“It has provided us with a unique opportunity to challenge the many fundamental assumptions we have about where and how work is done. The ‘big quit’ or ‘big realignment’ is primarily driven by people looking to ‘trade off’ about their current position regarding flexibility, compensation, career development opportunities and wellness initiatives.”
While these factors all played a part in Carla’s decision to join the Great Resignation, what sets the WA entrepreneur apart is that she’s capitalizing on another great exodus happening right under our noses: the Great Separation.
“I think current statistics indicate that one in three marriages in Australia end in divorce,” says Carla, “but for the record, I know a lot more of those marriages end in separation – and the data actual divorce rates emerging from the pandemic will be much higher.
After going through her own divorce in 2016, while graduating as a life coach, the mother-of-two needed the stability of a nine-to-five.
“I needed to go back to working as a dental hygienist so I could afford to leave my marriage and support myself and my daughters, who were four and five at the time,” she recalls.
Carla continued her work as a life coach on the side and quickly realized that the market was crying out for someone who specialized in divorce to help people who found themselves with a marriage ending and didn’t know what to do next.
“Basically, I needed someone to be that positive voice for me when I went through my divorce, so I became that voice for other women,” she explains.
“Sometimes women come to me to help them find clarity – they don’t know if they want to leave, and they need help tapping into what they really want instead of what others think they want. ‘they should do.’
“Other women have already left their marriages, or are considering leaving, and have no idea what to do next. Like me, many of them met their partner when they were on their own. still girls and never even had a bill in their name. I help them with the emotional and practical side of leaving.
What ultimately turned Carla’s secondary hustle into a career was the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, she says.
“I was one of those people for whom the lockdowns had a huge positive impact on business,” she says.
“Couples who had distracted themselves by socializing outside the home, playing sports, working late at the office – all of that was suddenly gone and the laser focus was back on each other and on their wedding. And many couples have realized that they have outgrown each other.
With her marketing niche crafted just in time for the rise in marital discord, Carla was able to resign from her job as a dental hygienist and focus solely on divorce coaching.
“As soon as I did that, business completely took off,” Carla marvels, “I didn’t even have time to properly look at the exact numbers, but I easily tripled my income during that last financial year.”
“I have an individual client base, a group program for people who can’t afford individual interviews, an online workshop and I also published a book last year.”
Ms Trethowan of MYOB agrees that, like Carla’s example, being sure of why you’re making the decision before you take the leap and quit your job can help ensure success.
“Once you know your ‘why’, make a plan. This can include making sure you’ve exhausted all internal options within your current company or exploring with your boss ways to shape your current role to better leverage your strengths. If you decide to quit, make sure you’ve worked out how you’ll cover your financial obligations, with some leeway in case things don’t go as planned. When it’s time to go out, be sure to leave gracefully. This includes giving your manager adequate notice and ensuring proper handover. You never know what’s in store for you, and if things don’t work out, you may want to leverage those connections to help you find your next role. »
When Carla recently spoke out in an article about the number of women unhappy with their marriages, she expected backlash.
Instead, she got a ton of new subscribers and lots of inquiries about her services.
“I know when a woman is unhappy in her marriage,” she says, “there’s a look in her eyes, something in her body language. I know it, because I lived it. I’ve played this game. And I can tell you there are a lot of people right now who are unhappily married and coming to terms with what they need to do about it. These are the people I want to help. My big goal is to change the conversation around divorce. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing. In fact, it can be one of the best things that can happen to a person, if they have the right support.