Thursday, March 12, 2015
Life :: 10 Crucial Steps to Take Before Quitting Your Job and Starting a Business
If you're totally happy with your job right now and want to stay there forever, you're of the minority. And this post is not for you.
However, if you've thought about quitting your job and starting your own business, I hope this quick and dirty step-by-step guide will help you out. I've been self-employed for a year, and though I've made lots of mistakes, I've also learned plenty. I'm here today to tell you the things that I found out the hard way.
STEP ONE: Set a date and mark it on your calendar. I would recommend, that if you want to quit your job today, you should wait at least 6 months (but not more than 12). 6 months gives you enough time to gather up savings and plan like a madwoman, but it's not so long that you go crazy and have a nervous breakdown at work. If you put it off for longer than a year, you might get stuck and never start.
STEP TWO: Decide on a monetary amount that you want to save before you bounce. If your business is not already making a significant income, you should save up enough money so that when you quit The Man, you're able to live without any profit coming in for 6-9 months. Divide your goal amount into the amount of paychecks that you'll receive, and then put aside that number per paycheck.
STEP THREE: Write a business plan. If your business is blogging, here's a blog business plan. If it's something else, here is a freelance business plan. You can pretty much tailor either of these to any type of small business. Even if you work 60 hours/wk right now, take the time to do this. It will be worth it.
STEP FOUR: Give your daily to-do list a makeover. Have you started your business on the side yet? Figure out what you're able to do with the time that you have. Use your daily/weekly/monthly planner (here are my faves) and create a schedule you can follow. Be realistic, but try to push yourself and make concrete goals so you can actually get ish done. Make a daily to-do list and include your side hustle.
STEP FIVE: Honestly is the best policy (with the right people). There will always be co-workers or bosses that will try to make you feel guilty for wanting to leave or will passive-aggressively punish you for "betraying" them. Your true friends will be happy for you because they want you to be happy. You shouldn't lie and tell everyone you'll be there forever when you won't, but you also don't want to tell everyone that you're quitting (especially when it's still 6-12 months out). Be honest, and if someone brings up the subject of you ever staying/going, simply say that you'll stay as long as it's beneficial for you. Because that's the truth. Don't just walk out on your last day or leave without saying anything. You might want them for a reference someday and you don't want to burn bridges.
STEP SIX: Don't let your side gig interfere with your full-time job. Remember, you need this work to save money for the future. You don't want to get in trouble for being distracted on the job while thinking about your own business or even working on it. Be careful, because the last thing you need right now is to be fired. Every company has more or less supervision, so just be smart depending on your situation.
STEP SEVEN: Network with others in your field. If you're already working in the same field as your own business, you're lucky and that's awesome. But if you're doing something completely different, you will have to branch out and find your own people to learn from. Besides the usual googling, ask around (to your friends and family OUTSIDE of work) and see if anyone knows anyone who has your dream job. When I started life coaching, I had no idea that my boyfriend's mom had a friend who does life coaching. We've since connected and she's a great resource for inspiration. You never know unless you ask!
STEP EIGHT: Don't compare your journey to someone else's end result. It's really easy to compare yourself to other people who seem to be easily making money from their dream jobs, but remember that a lot goes on behind the scenes -- for years -- that you don't know about. You're just getting started, so don't worry about what other people are doing; focus on your own goals and you'll be happier.
STEP NINE: Build your client list. Once your "end date" gets closer, put in your two weeks (or more, if the company requires) and start spreading the word. If you're doing anything that helps people, your current co-workers might have a need for your future services. Since you've spent the last half-year or so working hard with a smile on your face, there's no reason that anyone should shun you for wanting to leave. In fact, they will probably congratulate you for taking a risk and pursuing what you truly love.
STEP TEN: GTFO of there! Hopefully you've saved up enough money by this point, researched similar companies in your niche, networked with various mentors, collected a client or two, read tons of books about your industry, and planned your business to a tee. Hopefully you've already started your company on the side, and now that you can put every single day into it, you're crushing numbers like a champ. Hopefully you're happy that you're officially starting this journey, 'cause you're bad-ass mother who don't take no crap off of nobody (please tell me you know that reference). You will probably NEVER feel 100% confident or ready, because you're human and fear is a bitch. But you're doing it.
And even if unexpected life obstacles come up and you run out of money and you don't reach your goals as fast as you'd like (TOTALLY NOT talking about me here), you're still awesome for doing your best.
It's a win-win situation, no?
*Photo found here. Text added by me.