Let’s talk about that uncomfortable time in-between wanting to do your craft full-time and not knowing if quitting your 8-5 is realistic. I completely understand what that feels like. On Instagram it seems like everyone in your industry is living the life with their mid-day beach breaks, daily coffee house outings and constant flow of vacations thanks to destination clients. On Twitter, it seems like they’re booked out through 2015 with the raddest projects on planet earth. All the while, you’re still stuck in cubicle hell. While some of those things may be true, I urge you to start your transition into full-time self-employment by dropping the comparisons between your real life and someone else’s on-line life. Things aren’t always as they seem and you’re not quitting your job just to copy someone else.
So. For those of you who desperately want to be self-employed, I ask you these questions:
1. What’s your plan? What product or service will you sell to pay the bills?
If you’ve been building momentum already, how can you take some risks while you have stable income to say no to clients who aren’t the right fit and go after the ones you’d prefer to build your business with moving forward? The goal here is to make a significant change that will lead you to the life you want, not simply make a lateral move from your current job to an equally awful experience only this time from the comfort of your home. Without a solid plan in place for how this business is going to help create the lifestyle you crave, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.
2. If you’re developing a product or service it’s going to take some time. How long will you give yourself to develop it to a point where it’s ready to launch?
If you’re still working an 8-5, a hard deadline for getting everything put together is a good way to get yourself on track for leaving your existing job and it’ll help you allocate your extra time appropriately. If you need time to develop your plan/product/brand and quitting your job is required to fully dive in, I would highly suggest making the realistic timeline for the development process and moving to step 3.
3. Take the timeline you’ve created in step 2 and make a plan for saving enough money to cover your bills for the development period BEFORE you quit your job.
There’s nothing worse than getting a few months in and realizing you’re already compromising values and goals because you need to pay bills that you could have covered if you would have saved more money while you had steady income.
4. If you have a spouse, are they 3,000% on board with this transition?
Not sure more needs to be said about this.
If you don’t have an answer to one or more of these questions, I wouldn’t suggest the leap quite yet. If you’re solid on all these points, you’ve gotta ask yourself, “What’s REALLY holding me back?” Chances are, the fears you have are a little exaggerated when the worst thing that will happen is a bruised ego and/or a brief financial drought. For some, the worst thing that could happen is having to sell their home and moving into a small apartment. WORST CASE. As badly as that would suck, there are a lot of people who wouldn’t mind that scenario if it mean moving one step closer to their dream. If the realistic worst case scenario seems manageable and you have a plan set in place, I ask you again, “What’s REALLY holding you back?”
Get a plan in place, start saving, define your start date of self-employment and take control of the life you want. Oh, and don’t compare your real life with someone else’s on-line life. That’s a sure fire way to get you off track in a hurry…especially in the early days of a transition this big!