Updated: Oct 21, 2021
I did it. I quit my job to dive 100% into my business. I'll spare you the boring details as to how I came to the decision and jump right to last summer, August 2020. It had been a rough so many months for me as I'm sure it was for just about everyone on the planet. I remember sitting at my desk at work and just making up my mind that I didn't want to die having never gone full out for what my I truly wanted in life.
Growing up, I wanted to pursue a number of different careers but the only thing that stuck was that I wanted to write. Novels, stage plays, or movie scripts, I wasn't that particular, just wanted to be known for my writing. I didn't want to work for anyone, I didn't want a fancy corner office in some glass and steel monolith, I wanted a modest villa within walking distance of the ocean where most of the rooms had panoramic views of the water. I wanted to sit on the screened in porch writing for hours while my cats wandered around my feet.
But alas, I fell for the pressure to be part of the crowd and so I got...A JOB. My first one was summer of '82 and I've worked ever since. It hasn't been pretty, it hasn't been rewarding per se - I've been surviving but not thriving in the least. All that to circle back to August 2020 when I decided it was time.
Now, I am known for taking leaps without thinking about the landing but at my slightly advanced age, I needed to at least pack some type of parachute. And that brings us to the point of all this word play. Here are seven steps I suggest you take before taking a leap from your current job into the world of entrepreneurship. Side note - I'm a 53 year old single, Black female (she/her) with a Master's degree and a background in administrative support; my suggestions are geared toward humans in my similar educational / financial / ethnic world.
Without further ado and in no particular order:
Give yourself time to prepare - set your 'quit' date six months or more out, so you have time to prepare.
Reduce monthly expenses as much as possible - downsize your living space; cancel subscriptions (print, digital, multi-media); downgrade any electronic device service plans; switch to more energy efficient items, etc.
Pay off as much debt as possible - I went all in and closed out my retirement account so I could pay off my car, my credit card, and a personal loan I had. I could have paid off my student loan as well, but it was more important to have money left for the next step. (*CONSULT YOUR TAX PERSON first. While I don't regret doing it, I am now facing the highest tax bill I've ever had in my life - hello payment plan* ....sigh)
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! Put away as big a cushion as possible. I took the remaining money from my retirement account, divided it up into two savings accounts, an absolute emergency fund, and a Q2 living expenses fund. The "Absolute Emergency Fund" has enough money in it to pay rent, utilities, and buy food for six months. The Q2 Living Expenses fund has enough to pay for three months of those same expenses. It made sense to me to not put the money all in one account so we'll see how this works out.
Get any health issues resolved or at least, checked out, while you still have your employer-based health insurance. Supplement to this, if you live in the US, be sure you get connected with someone who can help you navigate the Insurance Marketplace now active via the Affordable Care Act.
Take any needed course work / get any needed certifications and or licenses you need for your business. For example, I'm a regular notary and I figured if my business wasn't doing well at the end of Q2 (and doing well for me means I'm making a steady thousand dollars or more in revenue a month), then I can fall back on that as a revenue stream. The big thing these days is being a Notary Signing Agent. I did some asking around, found out there's a certification course so I signed up, cost about $250. Upon completion of the course, I'm certified and part of a national registry that will help me get clients.
(and finally) Buy any business supplies you absolutely need to work your business. Notice I typed, 'absolutely need'. This isn't the time to do any frivolous shopping, you want to invest in things that will bring you a financial return. For me, as an author, that meant getting a really good office chair to provide comfort for the many hours I'm going to be sitting and writing; I got some books printed so I'd have stock to sell, and lastly, stocked up on printer ink.
Bonus suggestion - get your car serviced. Last thing you need is for your ability to get around to be impeded in any way, or your Absolute Emergency Fund to be depleted for a surprise, expensive, car repair you could have prevented.
I know there are some steps I've missed - what do you suggest someone do before quitting their day job to go full time in their own business? Leave your tips and suggestions in the comments below.
For a visual version of this post, check out the video over on my YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/YzQPnOOOsMA
And until next time - sending love, light, and writing inspiration!
PS - if you found this helpful, inspiring, or simply a good read, please share. As an author, having people read and share my words means the world. Thank you!