When Should I Quit My Job?

The Perfect Time to Quit Your Job

If you’ve ever thought about starting a business or working for yourself, you know just how important it is to wait for the right time.  Wait until you’ve stashed lots of cash as a safety net, until all the bills are paid, until there are no pending financial obligations, and risk is as low as it could possibly be.  That time is called ‘never’.

Saving for a Rainy Day

If only we could line everything up in a neat and tidy row, and then freeze time.  But the world doesn’t work that way.  The world is patently unfair.  Just when you finally make that last car payment, you hear a strange noise coming from the engine; when you have some money saved for a rainy day, something catastrophic happens to your house.  It’s always when you think you’ve finally gotten ahead of the curve that something, some unforeseen event, pops out of nowhere and smacks you back down to reality.

Is there a perfect time to quit your day job? Of course. It’s completely theoretical and has nothing to do with real life, but yes the perfect time to quit your job is when you’ve saved up a year’s worth of income, are 100% sure that you won’t need to spend extra money on emergencies next year, and you are all but certain that your business idea and goals will be achievable in the next twelve months.  When will all of those stars align?  Never.

If It Was Easy

You’ve probably heard that expression, if it was easy, everyone would do it.  It’s very applicable to starting your own business.  But it doesn’t follow that just because something “isn’t easy”, it can’t be done.  Of course it can be done.  I’ve done it!  As have many other successful entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers, and work-from-home gurus across the globe.  Each with their own unique path and story and, I’d be willing to bet, none that waited for the perfect time.  Waiting for the stars to align is comfortable, safe, and non-productive.  At some point, you need to be willing to make the commitment, and leap.  Look first, certainly, but then leap.  You can build dreams in your imagination, but it takes action to make them a reality.

3 Steps to Take Right Now

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you head into your boss’s office tomorrow morning and quit your job with viral-video-inducing flourish!  There are some steps you can take to do basic due diligence before you take that leap ahead.  The goal here is to stop waiting for the perfect moment, and instead recognize the right moment for you.  Take reasonable action now to set yourself up for successful.

1. Test Your Idea

Whether you have a brilliant idea for the next hot social network or you’ve worked a way to make money from your passion for gardening, the best way to see if people will buy what your selling is to test it.  Ask your friends how much they would pay to buy your service or product.  Ask the market whether they’re interested.  Although you may be interested in buying what you’re selling, the real question is whether anyone else is!

2. Invest Your Free Time

If you want to start your own business, you need to make sure it’s something you care about.  You’ll be pouring inordinate amounts of time and energy into making it work, so don’t sign-up for something that you dread to even think about in the morning.  The simplest way to test your own passion and commitment to your idea is to start working on it in your free time.  Now, as I said above, working on your idea is very different from thinking about your idea.  Thinking, dreaming, imagining…that’s the ultimate fun part!  But working on it requires commitment. After you’ve put in an eight hour day at work, and several more hours attending to your personal obligations, are you still willing to squeeze in that extra hour or two, or even just 30 minutes a day to work on your business?  Building your dream means giving up something, and it’s a choice you make daily. Watch an hour of television, or work on your website?  Meet friends for coffee, or finish your business plan?

3. Work the Side Hustle

This is one of the best steps you can take to making that leap from employee to business owner!  While you’re still toiling away at your day job, start working on the side for yourself.  Evenings, weekends, any moments you can spare, can be spent delivering value to customers and earning money.  It may not necessarily break the bank, but there’s intrinsic value in the side hustle.  You still have your day job to pay the bills, while developing a promotable portfolio and a rich network of happy customers genuinely interested in what you have to offer.  One caution though – be sure to check the terms of your employment, to make sure you’re not restricted from working on the side. Some companies will specify that you can’t offer the same goods or services while in their employment, depending on the industry.

What’s Your Path

Those who know me or have read my blog know that I didn’t exactly leap from my comfortable employment nest, so much as I was pushed.  I was already in it before I began.  But following that initial nudge, I had to make the choice to stay, and the steps above helped me make that commitment.  Of course it also helped that by then I already had a taste of the freedom and empowerment that comes with being “out on your own”.  Everyone’s journey toward realizing their dreams is a little bit different.  What will your path be?