5 Things to Consider Before You Quit Your JobThis post may contain affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure for more information.
Quitting your job can be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make (it certainly was for me!)
Your mind will work overtime with a million conflicting reasons as to why you should or you shouldn’t take the plunge right this second. But before you let your emotions get the better of you, there are a few things you must consider first.
Is it the right time and are you financially prepared?
As tempting as it is to cut up your staff ID and burn your access card on bad days at the office, you must think carefully about whether or not the timing is right.
You may be lucky and have a partner or investor supporting your business venture that may allow you to quit your job and pursue your business full time. However, most of us are not so lucky, and you will need to be more cautious before taking this big step.
Is your business at a stage where it can support your living? Or will you have to survive on two-minute noodles for the next 3 months?
Perhaps your business is at a stage of growth, and requires your regular income to cover expenses. Depending on your industry, you may need extra funds to purchase inventory to keep your business running – if your day-job paychecks stop, will your business stop too?
Yes it may seem like there will never be a “right” time to quit your job. After all, you will always have expenses, living costs, personal items you can’t do without, etc. Which is why it is important to have goals, budgets and plans in place. Set yourself a time-frame in which you want to achieve your day-job freedom, and let yourself see the finish line so you have something to work towards.
It could be 3 months, 6 months or even a year. Work out what your living costs are, what your business budget is, how much you estimate your future expenses will be for that time-frame, and aim to save that amount at least.
Be aware that you will hit a few bumps in the road: unexpected bills, price hikes, and things you forgot to add in the budget. But by having a finish line you can visualize and a plan for the future, it will give you more motivation to keep going with your day job and help you get through your rough days a little easier.
Can you do it gradually?
Instead of deciding to quit your job cold turkey, is there an option to decrease your day-job hours to part time or even casual? That way you will still have a consistent flow of income, but you will be able to spend more time on your growing business.
Perhaps you have saved up a lot of sick days and annual leave that you can use to work on building your business?
Whatever you can do to lessen the impact to your normal lifestyle and income, the better it will be for your wellbeing.
Are you mentally ready?
Whilst working a job you hate is a cause for mental and emotional stress, you need to be prepared for worse when you’re in the throes of running your own business, especially in the early days.
Day Job = Finish at 5pm and not think about work at all until the next day.
Business = Working all day, all night, and through the weekends, often missing social gatherings and family engagements.
Day Job = Assigning your workload to Jess and Aaron for the next two weeks so you can head off for a carefree vacation in a tropical resort.
Business = Making sure your hotel has good WIFI access so you can still answer emails and check on your business while you’re away. That’s if you feel brave enough to pull yourself away from the business for more than a day to actually enjoy your “vacation”.
Day Job = Coffee break at 10am (Hey Susan’s brought doughnuts!), lunch at 1pm, afternoon coffee break at 3pm and TGIF drinks!
Business = ……….Why am I so hungry? Oh it’s 3pm and I haven’t eaten anything yet!
Day Job = It is payday! Time for a shopping spree!
Business = Woohoo! Just made $22.50 from a sale!……better put that towards rent…
Of course there are A LOT of rewarding moments when running your business, and if you work extremely hard (or are incredibly lucky) you won’t be in this “treading water” situation for long.
However, the harsh reality is that your life will change drastically the moment you switch from a secure day-job to running your own business. So while you may have prepared your bank account, your meal plans and your budget, you also need to prepare your mindset.
It is one thing to be luuurrrving the romanticized notion of being the starving start up founder, surviving on a forced diet of lettuce leaves for a week – but it’s quite another to live it.
If all your friends are going out to a fancy restaurant, are you okay with not going along? Or will it affect your self-esteem, which in turn would affect your productivity on your business?
Do you have a support network?
While it’s not vital that your friends and family support your business venture, it is certainly helpful. Someone who understands your late nights, makes you a soothing up of tea or sleep-deterring coffee, reminds you to eat, offers a helping hand, and doesn’t make you feel bad for missing a few social gatherings.
You’d be surprised how much a friendly and supportive pat on the back means when you’re in a tornado of start-up stress.
Do you have a Plan B?
“Why would I need one?” You ask. “There would be no reason why my lizard-skin face cream wouldn’t take off and make me millions!”
Well… just in case it doesn’t, it is always good to have a Plan B, even a loose one.
I’ve known people to have used their long service or maternity leave to build their businesses. If it didn’t go to plan they would have their job to fall back on once the leave was over.
Others have made sure they got every accreditation possible from their day jobs before they quit. If they had to go back to the workforce in the future their chances of finding work would be higher.
I was lucky enough to have a very supportive partner who encouraged me to pursue my dream full time while he worked the 9-5 (luckily he loved his job at the time). Now we are both able to enjoy the freedom of working together and choosing our own hours!
No matter how obscure your Plan B might be, it is always good to have one in place. Knowing you have something to fall back on, should things turn sour, will help you pursue your business goals without further stress than there already is.
Work Smarter, Not Harder, By…
TRULY understanding what you stand to lose and what you stand gain by leaving your current job.
Quitting your job and “going it on your own” can be one of the best decisions of your life – but it’s not without it’s risks.
We read and see many examples everyday of people “Living the Laptop Lifestyle”, but they never show you the less glamorous, risky side of being your own boss.
By identifying the potential risks, you can greatly decrease your chances of stumbling at the outset and in turn, vastly increase your chances of long term success.
Have you left your job to start your own business, only to not factor in a crucial element in regards to finance, work-life balance or another area?
Let us know in the comments below as we would love to hear from you!