Quitting your 9 to 5 might be the most positive change you can possibly make in your life. But, how to do it?
Making the decision to quit your job to go freelance is a tough one and, once taken, not an easy transition for most. Nevertheless, the rewards are boundless and if you just take action, you’ll be well on your way to living the life you design, rather than the default life endured by so many.
How do I know? Because I did just that in early 2009.
The reality is, the majority of people just don’t have the level of risk tolerance that most freelancers and entrepreneurs have. In addition to that, there are a number of fears that rise swiftly to the surface upon contemplation of leaving the 9 to 5. Those fears are pretty valid ones and quite frankly can’t be condemned by anyone; the key to a successful escape from the life you’re living, to the life you’re dreaming of, is absolute faith in oneself and one’s dream, thus followed by action.
So. What are you afraid of?
The biggest most common fear that haunts new entrepreneurs and freelancers is the good old garden-variety fear of failure. Because of this common fear, many never take the plunge to follow their dreams and make them happen; after all, if one never tries, one can never fail.
Loss of the dream:
For most people, dreams of entrepreneurial success are likely beautiful, exciting, fantastical, and sometimes grandiose. They just feel good. Taking action opens the dream to the risk of failure, and regardless of whether failure or success is achieved, the dream, once followed, ceases to exist.
Though it seems counterintuitive, many people fear success more than they fear failure. Success could mean a number of things; more responsibility, loss of friendship, business growth that exceeds ability, and loss of control.
Letting go of job security:
For many people, there is some fantasy around the security of their job. Employees often mistakenly believe that tenure in a company automatically ensures them continued employment. What most people don’t realize is that, regardless of experience, employment history or job performance, very few people are indispensable. The bottom line is, when it comes to company survival, the only people who truly have job security are the company owners; and even then, the economy can sometimes dictate otherwise.
Receiving a steady paycheck can quickly establish a false sense of security. Working freelance, or starting one’s own company, signifies a certain amount of financial insecurity. Freelancers sometimes don’t know where their next client is coming from or when they will get paid for a project or a task. Likewise, new business owners can’t be certain of the success of their endeavor.
Is it worth it to take a chance?
Most freelancers and entrepreneurs would say, “Yes!!”
When you stop suiting up and showing up to help someone else make their dream come true, you can focus on your own dreams and start to live the life you want. The gifts that come from such a courageous decision range from more quality time spent with loved ones, to being able to exchange uncomfortable business attire in favor of comfortable pajamas.
The process of leaving your employer to become your own boss is not necessarily easy or fast, but it is most definitely rewarding, even if the reward is only that of self-worth because you tried.
Start with a plan
Know what you want and how you plan to accomplish it. Some find that sitting down to do a “dream day” exercise helps get the goal-setting juices flowing.
Get financially prepared
Start setting aside an emergency cash stash well in advance of your resignation. A good rule of thumb is 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses. In addition to that, try to eliminate as much debt as you are able.
Obviously, you need to be educated in your field, but what most people don’t think of is educating themselves around the additional necessities for running a successful business. Time and project management, accounting, and marketing are just a few areas that you need to know at least a little something about, even if you plan to outsource or hire in-house people to handle these functions.
Not enough can be said about the benefits of hiring a coach or joining a group so that you surround yourself with likeminded people who are successful and will rally around to cheer you on. Whatever you do, stay away from naysayers who will bring you down with their negativity, and finally, never take advice from someone who is married to their own job and has not seen the kind of success you are bound to achieve when you put your energy into it.