Sick of your day job? Yearning for a life of freedom from the cubicle? Ready to give your boss the finger, quit your job and start your own business?
Don’t do it.
Yes, a lifestyle of freedom played by your own rules probably sounds damned tempting. But never take your day job for granted, no matter how much you hate it. It could just become the best exit strategy to self-employment you’ve ever had.
You Can Find the Right People
If you’re yearning for employment independence, you might’ve started reading advice online that tempts you with alluring promises: “Find your passion, follow your dreams and the money will come.”
Frankly, that’s BS.
And people who tell you this advice aren’t the ones you should be listening to. They aren’t giving you wisdom and sage advice – they’re filling your ears with a siren song. They aren’t telling you about the dangers and pitfalls – they’re glossing them over with smoke and mirrors.
Self-employment isn’t all roses and rainbows. The right people will tell you this. They’ll talk about why you shouldn’t leap without a safety net. They’ll be forthcoming with advice about difficulties you might face.
They’ll tell you the truth. And they’ll help you achieve your goals.
Seek out those people, the ones who have been where you are and who have gone far beyond it. Listen to what they say – they won’t hand you false hopes and unicorn dreams. They’ll tell you that you need to plan, and they’ll tell you how to begin, as well as the steps you need to take.
Your day job will be a boon during your research phase, because it gives you the time you need to map out your business and plan for it properly. You’ll be able to build a solid foundation for future self-employment and completely avoid impulsive decisions.
You Can Prepare for the Storms Before They Hit You
Starting your own business may seem sunny, but storms will inevitably blow your way. Your day job gives you time to prepare for them. As you build your plans for self-employment, you can work in predictions for rough scenarios, ask yourself what you’ll do if they happen and form plans for the ‘umbrella’ you’ll grab should dark clouds start to form.
For example, let’s say you quit your job and don’t earn a penny for 7 months. How could you begin preparing for a potential slow start now? What would you need to weather that storm? What safety net could you plan and have handy should you need to protect yourself?
And what would you do if you decide you hate self-employment? Not everyone enjoys it, so what Plan B could you implement should you start your business and decide it’s not what you hoped it would be?
Figure out solutions and options well in advance – before you quit your job. Ask yourself hard questions about possible dark times. For each obstacle you can think of, ask yourself: “What would I do if this happened? What can I do to prevent this from happening?”
You may never need your safety plans, but you’ll be ready to put them into motion at the first sign of rain.
You Can Save Up Emergency Funds
Starting a business is full of peaks and valleys. It’ll take time to begin earning enough to cover all your bills and feel financial steady.
You need to have emergency funds stashed away – both before you quit your job and at all times during self-employment. Here’s where your day job is truly useful: You can start saving now while you still have steady income, long before you cut off that source of cash.
It’s no exaggeration to assume you need least six months’ income saved up before making the leap. If plans don’t work out as expected, or “life” happens, your savings will help cover the bills while you hunt out a difference source of income or a new job.
Your emergency funds help you feel more secure and safe. Money’s there if you need it, and if you don’t, great!
It might take time to save up six months’ worth of financial cushion, so be patient. Get a second job or work overtime if there’s no extra money right now to sock away. Cut back on expenses. Stop spending.
And for the love of Pete, don’t quit your day job without cash in the bank, or you’ll be stacking the deck against yourself from day 1.
You Can Start Slow, On the Side
Starting your own business doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. There’s no rule that says you can’t keep your current job and start your business on the side until your footing is secure.
Build your website. Get your copy up. Start your marketing. Learn your technologies. Take on a client or two, if you’d like. Discover whether you have the dedication and commitment to make this work.
You don’t have to quit your job. You can have a job and a business, allowing yourself to gain experience and grow your venture slowly.
When your business endeavors begin to pay off in a sustainable way, and your income from the business starts coming close to or matching what you earn from your current employer, you can begin considering the transition from paid employee to solo entrepreneur.
Your business will be ready, you’ll be ready, and you’ll feel far more confident about your decision.
Celebrate with Caution
Once you taste success, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever have hard times again. You’ve done your due diligence, took your time, planned well and are reaping the rewards – woo hoo!
Celebrate the good times… but with caution. Every business has highs and lows, and the lows often come when you least expect it. Clients move on, a product doesn’t work out, or the market moves in a different direction and no longer wants what you sell.
Insulate yourself by learning how to manage your money responsibly. Take a course on budgeting, and get smart about your financials. Spend wisely, and save smart. Don’t assume the money will always keep coming in – enjoy some of it, and stash the rest away for a rainy day. Develop a smart, proactive plan for growth that strengthens your financial net worth, and keep a realistic perspective in mind.
You’ll establish secure footing that keeps you standing strong in the deepest of valleys, and you’ll be able to reach for your business dream with both hands knowing nothing can knock you down.