I was 22 years old when I quit my day job. Fresh out of college and stuck in a job I hated, I woke up every day thinking “is this all there is?!” and “I can’t do this for the rest of my life”. When I ask people on Instagram to input topics that they want to know about, I get an overwhelming amount of responses along the lines of “how did you know it was time to quit your job?” and “how long did it take you to quit your job and take your side-hustle full-time?”.
Trust me, when I first started my business, these were the questions that kept me up at night. Would I be rocking a side-biz forever? How long do I have to hustle with both jobs before I get to say “enough is enough!”. I found myself 10 pages into Google on the search “how to quit my job and work for myself” almost every day.
The truth is… it’s different for everybody! I was able to quit my 9-5 within 3 months of starting my business, but believe me when I say there are things I wish I did differently.
Here’s what I learned.
1. Do not quit your job if your business is not making money yet.
As much as it sucks to wait it out, it’s totally necessary. There are an abundant of horror stories out there of people who quit their day job too early in pursuit of starting a business, only to be left penniless and jobless. Unless you can financially justify that leap of faith, do not quit until your side-biz is making actual money.
2. Match your salary.
As soon as your business is bringing in as much money as your 9-5, wait 2-3 months before you quit. This is something I did not do, but wish I had. The SECOND my side-biz hit that sweet spot of a few hundred bucks ABOVE my 9-5 monthly income, I put in my 2 weeks. The next month I was below that target, and believe me when I say it caused a fair amount of stress. Your months will fluctuate, that’s normal. So make sure your business is bringing in matched income for 2-3 months in a row before saying sayonara to your day job.
PRO TIP: Keep track of your expenses in an Excel document. Add up all of your expenses from bills, to groceries, to “fun money”. Don’t be stingy with these numbers. It is better to over estimate your monthly expenses than under estimate and find yourself without enough money!
3. Fill your calendar.
This tip is one I did, almost too well. Don’t be afraid to book some really packed days, but make sure you can still manage both your 9-5 and your side-biz. I never wanted my side business to affect how well I performed at my day job, that was a given. BUT I definitely over-booked my days.
I was waking up at 4am and going to bed at 1am for a solid month. This was a big factor in what pushed me away from my day job a bit too soon. I was working through the nights, through the weekends, and through my lunch breaks. This led to major burn out. So fill your calendar, but don’t over do it to the point of burn-out. Raise your rates if you have to in order to match your current income.
4. Get your systems in check.
When you are still in side-biz mode, you are in a beautiful position to perfect your process. You’re busy, but you aren’t swimming in clients quite yet. If all things go to plan, this is the slowest you’ll ever be. So, this is the perfect time to get your systems in check. Again, this was something I did not do.
I HIGHLY recommend investing in a client management system, like HoneyBook when you find yourself getting unorganized. I know money is tight when you are first starting out, so click THIS link to get 20% off your first year of HoneyBook.
Part of this tip also includes contracts. If you are not using contracts, START NOW. HoneyBook has amazing contract templates that you can use if you need a little help.
5. Prepare yourself for the reality of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship may seem like all sunshine and rainbows, but there are so many things that go into it that newbies don’t take into consideration. I sure didn’t! Things like: health insurance, taxes, financial security, retirement, etc. Guess who is responsible for ALL of that… YOU. If you aren’t prepared to pay for health insurance or taxes, you aren’t ready to quit your day job. These things are no joke, and if you overlook them in your decision, you may regret it.
When it comes to taxes, I highly recommend Quickbooks Self-Employed to keep track of your mileage, finances, expenses, etc.
The Bottom Line
When it’s time, you’ll know. Sometimes, it just takes a little calculated leap of faith. Have a backup plan, but don’t let fear hold you back. If you are making the money, and you’ve thought it through, what’s stopping you? The truth is, entrepreneurship isn’t for everybody, but if you know deep down in your heart that it’s for you… take that leap of faith. But be smart about it. There’s a difference between a leap of faith and reckless move.
Do you have any questions about how to quit your day job? Comment below!