Are you hungry for more out of life? Do you have a deeply ingrained passion which you have expressed through a side business that is completely unrelated to the job that you do from 9 AM to 5 PM or later five days per week? Is your desire to pursue that business or passion project growing stronger each day, but you do not believe that you can quit your job because of the financial obligations that you have to yourself, your spouse, and or your children?
I hear you. About three weeks ago I gave notice to my supervisor that I would be leaving my six figure salary job as a corporate lawyer to become a full-time author, publisher, entrepreneur, and educator. I wanted to spend more time promoting my inspirational children’s book, Sunne’s Gift and facilitating bullying prevention workshops and professional development training for schools, corporations, and other organizations through my education consulting firm, Milestales. The decision was definitely challenging emotionally, physically and financially. Although my salary looked good on paper, I have never felt “rich” due to the high burdens of child care and student loans. These are the five steps that I took before handing in my resignation letter. You too can use them to quit!
1. Get ‘there’ mentally.
I believe that in order to truly explore the idea of quitting your day job to pursue your business and passion project full time, you must get “there” mentally. You must get to a point in which you want to realize your dream more than you fear realizing your dream. Every fiber of your being should be crying out to live with passion and purpose. You should feel as if you can’t breathe unless you become the highest manifestation of yourself as a human being and that if you can’t live life on your own terms, you do not want to live anymore. Are you mentally “there” yet?
2. Cut financial fat.
If you are mentally there, but you feel financially trapped, it is time to cut the fat. It is time to figure out how to decrease your expenses drastically. This might mean moving or at least being willing to move to a cheaper living space or cheaper town.
By decreasing your expenses drastically, you will feel more financial room to build your business. I encourage you to read this blog post about a couple that left all of their material possessions to explore the simple life. It inspired me reengineer my life for financial savings.
Even though my salary looked great on paper. I really felt like I was just working to work. I started my career as a securities lawyer at a law firm in which I worked very demanding hours. There were times that I had conference calls at midnight. Moreover, it was not uncommon for junior attorneys to spend the night in the office and take showers in the building. Because I got married and had my first child in law school, I had to contend with the high costs of childcare and student loans during my entire corporate law career. I paid for babysitters and then when my children were two and I felt that they needed to socialize and learn more, I sent them to part-time preschool. Pre-school and babysitting cost me about $4,000 a month. Additionally, I had student loan bills from Harvard undergrad, Wharton’s MBA program, and The University of Pennsylvania Law School that totaled nearly $2,000 a month. Paying for food, dry cleaning, transportation, and a few bills like electricity and water, left me with absolutely nothing at all. I was working to work. Thankfully, I have a husband who pays other major household bills. That said, “cutting the fat” may not be feasible for single parents and others.
For me, I had to figure out how to decrease my grocery bills, child care bills, and student loan bills. I went to uglier and cheaper supermarkets, let go of my babysitter and put my kids in a home-based full-time extended day care. When necessary, I woke up at 4 a.m. to get work done because I would have to leave work early to pick up my kids. I begged relatives to pick up and take care of my kids for free when I could not make it to their day care on-time. I also refinanced my student loan bills.
3. Refinance your debt if possible.
We are currently in a low interest rate environment. As part of “cutting the fat”, explore refinancing opportunities. I cut my student loan obligations by almost half by refinancing with Common Bond. I’m so happy with experience that I actually would like to be a spokesperson for the company. If you refinance, using this link (https://commonbond.co/choose-your-loan?referrer=023db44ea8938717b42a296a33ff38b3&referred), let me know and I’ll send you a FREE copy of my inspirational and motivational children’s book, Sunne’s Gift. This book can literally change your life, so don’t leave your free copy on the table. It will make a great gift to the children in your life.
I also refinanced a home loan. Refinancing should not take more than two months.
4. Know your number.
So now, you have made the sacrifices with respect to changing your lifestyle. What is the new amount of money that you need to make per month? Would you be able to make that amount of money freelancing, substitute teaching, contract lawyering, virtually assisting or doing something else part-time that would allow you to spend the vast majority of your time pursuing your passion and building your business? If so, congrats! It is time to quit. If not, it is time to save save save. Figure out an amount that would make you feel comfortable. That amount may be 6, 12 or 24 months of your living expenses. No one can make that decision but you. I came up with a savings number and worked towards that goal.
5. Just do it.
Conditions will never be perfect for taking a chance. If you are seeking absolute perfection and absolute certainty you are sabotaging your own dream. If you have completed the above four steps, there is nothing left but to do it. Are you willing to choose significance over status, clarity over clutter, passion over prestige, and courage over convenience? Are you willing to choose yourself?