So I got such a sweet response to the post I Quit My Job To Do What I Love and I’m so happy to hear that so many of you want to do the same! I’m definitely pro-doing what the hell you wanna do…. but in a smart way.
Saying ‘to hell with this’ and up and leaving your job impulsively may feel good in the moment, but without solid footing, a strong plan, backup resources etc… you may be setting yourself up for a fall.
I have two children a husband and a mortgage that need to be considered before any huge decisions are made. I’m a planner by nature (Virgo, anyone?) so these are my tips and ideas for you if you’re interested in leaving your day job to pursue a dream career…
Before you quit your day job…
Try to Make It Work
I’m a huge believer in the side-hustle mentality. I say grow your business as much as you can while working before leaving.
If you’re aching to leave, but can stick it out, try to do so. Here’s how:
- See if you can go part-time or extend hours M-Th to get Fridays off.
- Try to make friends to make your time at work more bearable – If you need the income, try to stick it out as long as you can. Friends can help.
- Schedule your work so you have at least an hour of time during your workday to work on your biz
- Use the resources afforded to you: Do your research, writing, photo editing, drafting pitch letters etc and anything else you can accomplish at work as much as you can.
- Be creative – If you’re a truck driver, you can certainly use a dictation program to dictate the next great american novel out into your phone instead of typing it on a computer.
- Keep a notebook or a notes app on your phone with you so you can at the very least jot down business ideas and to dos during your day so you can execute when you get off
- Make your lunch hour count – Wolf down your sandwich and bang out some work in the rest of your “free” time.
- Schedule your after-work time for business building – be really conscious of how you use your time
- Use your commute wisely, either dictating, reading/researching, writing, planning etc.
When I started my old blog LongNaturalHair and OKDani I was working as a CFO’s assistant and I would rush to finish my work for him, and push him out the door to meetings so I could get back to writing, or researching about blogging. I built my little blogs during lunch hours and any spare moment I had.
If your job is just completely soul-sucking or doesn’t allow any time/resources for you to build your business around it, try finding another one. If your current job has you on your feet, or in a position not conducive to getting some of your work done, try to find a different type of position.
The biggest factor in leaving your day job is certainly the financial hit you’ll take. That steady paycheck is comforting, I know. I’m thankful that my business is bringing in income already and together with John’s salary it can sustain us while I grow.
Paring down your expenses is definitely a smart idea. John and I let our lawn guy and our cleaning lady go. We cancelled our cruise in October ::sobs gently::, lowered our cell phone plans and I’m cancelling cable this week. We’re dropping Rohan down to just a few days a week at his pre-school and will not be eating out as often anymore until my business picks up more steam.
Take a look at your monthly expenses and get rid of the ones you can live without. I’m not a proponent for cutting back so much that you “feel” broke. In my opinion that does more harm than good, getting you into the wrong mindset for business building. (desperation vs contribution) So pare down to the point where you still feel good and abundant.
Get a roomie or move to a cheaper place. Can you get by without a car? Think big, and small, and get your expenses down as low as you comfortably can.
Pay down debt as much as you can while you’re still working. Credit card debt is lucifer I tell ya. Get rid of that shit. Rebuke it! Pay them off as fast as you can and cut those cards up! (not all of them tho, don’t be hasty lol) Try not to fall into the credit trap. Pay cash/debit, and if you can’t afford it, and it’s not a necessity, just don’t buy it right now.
Also, the obvious: SAVE. We have been saving like the dickens for a while in preparation for this leap. Ramp up your savings as much as you can before leaving the land of steady paychecks. Everyone’s stomach for risk is different. I would’ve loved to have a years worth of expenses saved up before leaving but that’s just not practical.
Decide on your goal amount and when you reach it, bounce!
Plan Your Leap Fully
I suggest you don’t leave your day job on hopes and dreams alone. Have a strong business plan in place and already be working your biz before you tell your boss bye, felicia. It would be mighty foolish to do otherwise. I know the phrase “jump and build your wings on the way down” gets tossed around frequently in the entrepreneurial world, but the common sense having part of me says, nah son. Plan out your moves, set your goals, and the action steps to get you there. Plan out your back up plan just in case.
I have my plans in place for all 3 of my business legs. And I am making the moves now to build them all up. I planned out exactly how I’ll be using my time and encourage you to do the same. You’ll spend less time waffling about if you have a sound plan in place.
Ok… this is a hard one, because it’s relative…when are you actually really 100% ready, ready? Right? Well, there are some obvious parameters to judge readiness. I don’t want you quitting your job to be an actress in Hollywood if you’ve never taken an acting class or performed in public before. You can’t leave your day job to be a blogger if you don’t have a blog that’s already earning some dough. You’re certainly not going to go be a world famous celebrity personal trainer if you don’t even have your certifications, etc. Right? So, while dreams and idealism are great…common sense is greater sometimes. So be ready. Do your research for your industry and know what you need to do. Take whatever classes you’ll need before you leave the job. Build your freelance resume up, or do whatever it is you need to do in your industry to position yourself for success before you leave the security of that day job.
On that same note, be ready with practical items you’ll need like health insurance, biz insurance, even business cards.
I don’t care who you are, you need support. In any area of your life. No man is an island and all that shit, right? So find some supportive folks. If you don’t have a partner or family or good friends to support you, then…. well first, I’m sorry to hear that….. but second, get online and find a tribe. Facebook groups abound for any industry you may be quitting your job to enter into. Entrepreneurial support groups are on meetup.com as well. If you need guidance, find a mentor already doing what you want to start doing and you’ll have him/her for support. Or get a coach or find a mastermind or accountability group with other entrepreneurs. No matter how you go about it. Be sure you have a supportive team of some sort around you, whether living in your home or virtually.
My biggest blessing is my extended family nearby to help with the children, and John being my best cheerleader and supporter in this entrepreneurial journey. I’m so grateful that, even though they don’t fully “get it” (my dad asks me about once a quarter, “so….you make money with this website thing?”) that they “get” me, and know that this is the way I plan on doing life.
Do What’s Best For YOU
I just told you a whole mess of stuff here. I think it’s a darn good post, it’s honest, it makes sense, but guess what…. You’re you and you ultimately have to do what’s best for YOU with regard to your business and life. You’ll get a lot of advice from well meaning friends, family members, hell even strangers… but they’re not you. Nobody is in your shoes, nobody is paying your rent, your bills, feeling your feelings, living your life, dreaming your dreams.
Think hard on what the best move you should make is, and make it. I’m excited for you!
What tips do you have on this topic??