How do I leave my day job?
In this post series, I will explain how I quit my day job and started a business that has lasted 6 years and is profitable. I will also provide tips I have learned along the way that I wished I had known about much earlier.
For the start of this series, let’s cover the most critical topic first, and that’s what you are prepared to sacrifice to reach your dream.
If you want to get out of employee mode, you need to think like an Olympic athlete.
An Olympic athlete sacrifices many things to reach the podium. What will you offer to be in a position to jump into starting your own business?
I gave up my weekends for 7 days a week and, for the first few years, often worked on the weekend.
I gave up the ability to buy nice things. All funds went into the business. Sometimes we did not have enough to cover the bills and used our credit cards.
I gave up drinking alcohol because it slowed me down physically and mentally.
I gave up TV at night, so I could read more.
What will you sacrifice?
Becoming your own boss is not easy. You should know that 96% of all businesses fail in the first 5 years, with most falling in the first year.
So I will assume you are willing to sacrifice a lot to reach your dream, so let’s begin this series by preparing to leave your day job. This is one of the most important parts. You don’t just quit and expect the world to give you millions. So let’s begin.
Step 1: Before you leave your day job. Get healthy
You must have a healthy body and mind to handle the pressures of running your own business.
You must exercise daily or every second day, strengthening your muscles to help with the tension headaches and the long hours working; you must improve your aerobic fitness so your body can pump more oxygen to your brain and think more.
If you don’t have a healthy body, you will certainly have an unhealthy and limp brain which will cause you to fail.
Give up or dramatically reduce your intake of alcohol. I wish I had known this much earlier as alcohol really slows you down. It makes you sluggish, tired, and unable to work hours.
Step 2. Before you leave your day job. Decide what you are going to do
So you want to leave your day job, right?
So what do you want to do?
Can you see yourself doing this in 5, 10, or 15 years without hating it?
Who are your competitors?
How much money do you need? How many months can you last with your funds?
What happens if it doesn’t work? Ignore the people who paste cheerful banners on Facebook stating that positive thoughts and a friendly smile will make you succeed. Thats BS. You need to cover the worse scenarios.
Do people actually want what you are selling? Many people go into business and fail because they just expect a market for what they sell – ‘hell, everyone will buy my product because I love it’ – ahhh.. no.
Research! And research some more. Know the market you are entering.
Step 3. Before you leave your day job. Network
Here is what I did when I was a cook wanting to get into IT. I worked for free at a local software vendor on my days off to learn about computers. When I left my cooking job, the IT firm offered me a job.
Now it’s a lot harder these days, so if you cannot work for free, then at least join the networks, associations, and groups where the sector hangs out.
Attend their events and meet people. Get to know the players, then research them. Write down ideas that could help their business succeed more. If they will not be a direct competitor, show them the list and gain their feedback. Remember you must get your brain thinking correctly before leaving your day job.
It’s not hard – just use your now healthy brain to think of ways to connect with people in your sector. You need to find out how the market works, your competitors, and if there is a space for you.