“I just can’t do this any more, I’m resigning”.
As soon as I heard the words tumble out of my mouth, I felt relief. Then panic.
Talk about a one eighty…a management consultant re-training as a personal trainer. I’m sure most of my friends and family thought I’d gone loony mad and was in the middle of a break down. And yet it was the most sane, most sensible and truly best decision I have ever made in my life. Really.
If you’re thinking about doing the same and quitting the day job, please don’t do what I did – which was pretty much spur of the moment and not very well thought out at all. A classic case of Ready, Fire, Aim!
If you’re going to do the same and leave your job, here’s what I wish I’d have done before leaving the rat race, starting up on my own and finally, becoming location independent…
Plan Your Escape
Might seem obvious but not to me at the time! If you are going to make a major life change then plan, plan, plan.
One thing to remember though, it’s one thing to plan but quite another to action that plan. Once you’ve done the planning, action it.
You can talk forever about quitting your job and setting up your own business – never quite doing anything about it.
You will always find a reason not to (for example, you’ll tell yourself that with the weak economy, now’s not the time to start your business or that “I’m too old to do anything new now” or “I don’t know what else to do” etc. etc. etc.), but it’s time to start finding reasons to PLAN it and then ACTION it. As soon as possible. Like NOW!
Start Your Emergency Fund
Jonathan & I often look back at our corporate days and wonder just what we did with our guaranteed £6,000+ per month income.
Whilst running your own business can see bumper months of big income and slow months of a lot less, as any entrepreneur will tell you: There is rarely a guaranteed income when you run your own business.
If you are thinking of leaving the rat race to set up your own business at some point in the future, start saving NOW!
Seriously, you can’t start too soon and particularly if you want to become location independent and travel round the world whilst running your business, you will need a float of cash stashed away to cover unexpected financial implications of being location independent – things like having to pay 3, sometimes 6 months rent in advance in one lump sum. Ouch – even in lower cost countries it can still be a sizeable chunk of your hard-earned cash.
Have A Plan To Earn An Income
On the day I quit the rat race, I really had no idea about what I wanted to do instead. It was only after I quit that I came up with the brainwave of qualifying as a personal trainer.
One of the major reasons many employees put off quitting is because they haven’t got their BIG idea yet – that one cool business idea that will make you your fortune and replace the comfortable salary you’re on now.
Create A Back Up Plan
Our back up plan actually turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made: Work from lower cost countries whilst we set up our business, so our expenses would be at least halved and any debts we might take on would be minimised (aka becoming location independent)! That’s kind of an extreme back up plan though and yours doesn’t need to be half as elaborate!
But you probably want to think about having a backup plan of some sort, before you take the leap and quit the rat race to set up your own location independent business.
Back up plans could include:
- Taking a part time job or doing some temping whilst you set up your own business.
- Have a “go to” guy or girl (or several) – someone who you can rely on should you ever need a place to come back to for a few days, who could provide emergency cash and who is well-connected. This person should be someone you know will keep a level head should you ever find yourself in a sticky situation and call them in the middle of the night with a plea for help.
- Multiple sources of income help spread the risk of one drying up and leaving you struggling.
Discuss it with those who’ll be most impacted
Unless you’re an emotional island your decision will impact others. Escaping the cubicle will have a major impact on your life in ways you probably won’t expect or be prepared for (as well as those you do expect and are looking forward to). Running your own business is the same. And a lifestyle of permanent travel? You bet!
The entrepreneurial and location independent lifestyle is all you’re hoping for and more; but it isn’t all roses and teddy bears. It is stressful, exhausting, challenging and frustrating – and it will certainly have an impact on all the major relationships in your life.
One of the things you’ll notice big time when going from corporate employee to business owner is the utter lack of support you have…the things you currently have but likely take for granted include:
- Tech support when your computer doesn’t play nicely and you’re tearing your hair out wishing you had your own tech support department.
- A dedicated marketing department ensuring there’s enough work in the business to keep you gainfully employed in your job.
- A finance/accounting department ensuring you receive your paycheck every month.
Running your own business doesn’t quite work like that – at least to begin with! – until you generate enough income to hire people to do these tasks for you or you outsource them, it’s going to be little old you doing everything.
Before you leave the rat race, brush up your skills on everything from marketing to online technology to business strategy – your time and effort will not be wasted, I promise.