If you are anything like me, you’ve probably thought about quitting the corporate world and doing something on your own. But what would you do? And would you have enough money if you left?
Not knowing the answers to those questions can cripple you to the point where you won’t pursue your dreams.
I’m writing this post on my last day of full-time, salaried employment. I am making the leap and focusing on my business full time.
When I gave notice last Monday, I texted my dad and told him. I wrote, “that was either a very smart or a very stupid decision.” His reply? “Time will tell.”
There are many schools of thought as to the “right” time to make the leap: when you’re making more money on your own business than you are in your day job, when you have your first few clients, when you can at least pay the rent with your own business.
All those are great indicators, but you know what? It’s very hard to leave a “stable” (using quotes here because nothing is stable, nothing is guaranteed) salaried job to venture into the unknown.
There’s never a good time, but there are things that make now the right time for me. Here’s my list:
I’m Taking My Business Seriously For Once
When I started blogging in 2011, Frugal Portland was little more than an online diary. I stopped short of describing what I ate for dinner, but some of those early posts were written by someone who clearly wasn’t taking the blog-as-a-business idea seriously. But, one thing led to another, and I snagged an awesome freelancing gig with a big online publisher in 2013, and things started seeming more real. “Huh,” I’d think, “someone is actually paying me to write things I’d write anyway. That’s neat.” But still, I thought of it as a hobby. When people met me for the first time, I’d never mention my blog, and if someone mentioned it on my behalf, I would stammer and mumble and say it was just something I was doing on the side.
All that changed early this year when Joe and I became partners. Now there’s no room at all for false modesty. It’s my responsibility to make this joint venture a financial success (it’s Joe’s responsibility too, but he’s been much more serious about this for a lot longer time, so I’m playing catch up).
I Have a Business Partner
Blogging is not just writing diary posts and waiting for the money to come in, unfortunately. It’s a business, and like a lot of businesses, it’s better when you’re not going it alone. I’m able to focus on my strengths, and my partner can focus on his, and we can collaborate and make a bigger impact together.
My Day Job Was Clearly Holding Us Back
In the months since we partnered, we’ve worked hard on the Stacking Benjamins platform. We put together an awesome course, we updated our look, and we’re on the path toward a consistent content calendar. But at the end of the day, there were always more things we could do than either of us had time to do, and a lot of that was because of my day job. I was a blog manager, which meant I was doing nearly exactly the same thing at work as I was on the side business, and that was leading me straight toward burnout. So we stayed busy, like hamsters on a treadmill, getting things done but not getting anywhere.
I Have Savings
I’ve been saving half my income for the past four years, which means I have enough cash reserves to get me through the inevitable lean months ahead. I don’t know how long it will take for my business to replace my last salary, but I have enough saved to make it at least six months. It won’t take that long to make money. It might take that long to replace my salary, but it won’t take that long to make money. Which brings me to my last point…
I Have Financial Support at Home
My husband makes enough money to support us both. I don’t think I would have the confidence to do any of this without him. Remembering back to my single days, I know I’d wait until there was some kind of sign. I would wait for my income to be replaced. I would hustle and work until I slept every day. And I’d hate it. But Brent and I had a long conversation (really long, I mean, this conversation took place over six months!) where he said we would divert our savings into our checking account. So we’re giving up saving half this year in exchange for a short-term family investment into my new company.
So, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to knowing when it’s the right time to quit your job and strike out on your own. But I for one am going on a long vacation (in fact, when you read this, I’ll already be checked out!) and when I come home, I’ll be working on my own business. Full time.
I can’t wait to know what that feels like.