Day 43: When To Quit Your Day Job

This is a post that is nine years in the making, friends. Let me tell you, I know how hard it is to decide to leave behind something steady for something so uncertain. Especially if, like me, you’re a single mom trying to keep your household running.

I knew it was time to leave my full time job when I felt like a small part of my soul was dying every time I punched in. I knew it wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I was and still am thankful for that job. Yes it was monotonous and required extremely thick skin, but it also gave me steady income and health care for nine years. But it also was the thing that took up so much of my time that I had very little to give to my dream. By the end, I had so much built up resentment that I couldn’t stand being there anymore. At the end of the day, I was so mentally exhausted that I would have nothing left for my business or my family. Then, six years later, after I had given my best years to a company who really just saw me as a cog in the machine, I left. I don’t recommend giving years to something that isn’t giving your life meaning. So when you can’t stand the thought of going into your day job one more day, or spending one more minute not chasing your passion, you know your heart is ready.

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So here are eleven tips / thoughts / pieces of wisdom to help you on your way:

It will never not be scary. Whether you do it tomorrow or nine years from now, that fear will still be there.

You will never get full time income from part time hours. There was a big part of me that thought I could grow my business to its full potential on two hours a day. The reality is, two hours a day of work will yield two hours a day of income. In order for your business to give you full time income, you have to be working on it full time.

Having a savings is nice but sometimes you just have to hit the ground running. They say it’s best to have 3-6 months buffer money because the sowing days of your business will likely be set in those first three months. If the financial responsibility is 100% you, then you have to have something in place. Having said that, some of us work better under pressure and the stress of not knowing where next month’s rent is coming from will kick us into gear.

Go through your monthly bills and cut out anything unnecessary. I did this and within a few hours I had cut out $375 from my monthly expenses.

Calculate how much you need to bring in each month. Remember now you have to calculate for taxes, insurance, business expenses. For most people, this is triple what they actually need for bills, food and gas. No, they don’t make being an entrepreneur easy.

Set a date to quit your full time job. And stick to it.

Don’t burn bridges at your work. Leave your job the right way: In good standing and having given your two weeks notice.

Ask for help. Send out a beacon to the people in your life who truly support you letting them know your life is changing like crazy. That any help is appreciated whether it be babysitting, or just talking you down when you feel like you made a mistake and should go back to your safe job. Chances are, your friends will answer your call with flying colors. My friends took me to dinner, bought me a drink when we went out, planned a night in with me watching movies on Netflix, and offered to babysit. And my family offered to cover small bills if I found myself broke for the month. People really love to see someone brave being a full time creative professional and want to see it work for them. You’re not alone. Call in your support system.

Consider the worst case scenario. What is the absolute worst that will happen? Chances are, it’s not as scary as you think. I used to think the scariest thing that would happen to me was I’d be living in a gutter having lost everything I own. But in reality, my family would never let that happen to me, and the worst thing would be that I go back to work. So really, I was already living the worst case scenario.

Plan the work then work the plan. My friend Taylor told me this and he’s both hella smart AND a full time creative professional. So many of us map out a plan and then there is no follow through. The most important part of running a business IS the follow through, the execution. You can do this, you just have to work your plan.

The first few weeks are terrifying. You feel like you are working with no direction and thinking “Is what I’m doing now actually going to turn into anything?” Give yourself grace. Take pause. All of this takes a lot of getting used to and your life has been massively shifted. Give yourself small goals during this time. “Post to Instagram.” Check. “Email Joe about Friday.” Check. “Create graphics for Facebook ad.” Check. Those small steps won’t take you nowhere. You’re working, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Where are you at in your journey now? Did you leave your full time job? Any words of advice or thoughts please leave them in the comments!  I’ll see you tomorrow for day 44: The best way to build vendor relationships.

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris