Last week, I received this question via email from Jasmine, a new HBW reader:
“I see you quit your job and just took the leap – but how?”
I love being able to answer questions like this because I know it sounds both inspiring and confusing when I share that I quit my job almost 4 years ago to work for myself full-time. Some people read my story and assume that one random day, I just jumped up from my cubicle, shouted “I quit!” and never looked back. But the truth is, I spent years laying the groundwork before I left my job. I loved my nonprofit career and didn’t leave my organization in a huff. I did a bit of planning and hustling that allowed me to make the successful transition from employee to being self-employed. For starters, I began building my personal brand in my industry in 2007, launched a consulting business on the side in 2008, and had already secured two major clients by the time I handed in my resignation letter.
From all the emails and messages I receive, not to mention my work with private coaching clients, I know that many women want to make the move from 9 to 5 to full-time business. What might that journey look like for you? Here are four specific steps you can take right now to make the leap in a strategic, effective way.
1. Set a Deadline for When You Want to Leave Your Job
When do you want to leave your job? For most people, “yesterday” would be the accurate answer to this question! But due to financial, family and life obligations, most people are not able to just up and quit right away. So let’s look at this from a more realistic standpoint. If you were to hustle hard for just one year, 365 days from now could you build your “side hustle” to the point where you could earn enough money to quit your job? Absolutely! The key is to commit to your decision by taking consistent action. Most people don’t believe it’s possible for them to ever leave their jobs, so they never give their full time and energy to the business. As a result, they never make enough money, never book enough clients and are never able to quit their job. It’s a cycle that only YOU can control.
2. Figure Out How Much Money You Need to Earn Per Month
I call this your “freedom number.” Most women are reluctant to write down how much income they would need to bring in with their side business in order to quit their job. Why? Because running the numbers makes the dream that much more real. As simple as it sounds, this number is the beginning of your plan to leave your job. You have to know the monetary goals you’re striving for so that you can spend your time wisely. For example, if you bring home $3,500 after taxes now, you would probably want to earn at least $4,000 in your business to account for additional expenses related to self-employment. Once you have your “freedom number,” you can start planning for how many clients and customers would need to purchase your products and services in a given month. It’s empowering to know your numbers!
3. Redesign Your Lifestyle to Make Space for Your Business
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but nope, you can’t get it all done with the routine you have now. If your goal is to earn enough money in your business so that you can quit your job and work for yourself, you’ll have to make some hard decisions about how you use your time. You’ll have to cut down on the hours you spend hanging out with friends or watching TV so you can work on your business. Many of my clients end up creating a new daily routine where they take advantage of the early morning block before work (5:00-8:00am), evenings or the weekends to get things done. Many women also choose to invest in babysitters for their kids for at least one four-hour block per week so that they can concentrate on business projects with no distractions. If you want to build a business that replaces your 9 to 5 income, there’s no doubt that your lifestyle will have to change, sometimes drastically. Are you willing to redesign your life to make room for this new possibility?
4. Find a Mentor or Coach to Help You Reach Your Income Goals for Your Business
I’ve met a number of aspiring entrepreneurs over the years since I’ve been writing, teaching and coaching on this topic. What I’ve found is that most people focus on the wrong things right out of the gate. Many clients who come to me were too worried about getting their logo or website just right while not taking the time to find customers. I’ve seen too many ladies spend too much time collecting Facebook likes instead of closing deals with clients. The great thing is that now, there are a lot of resources out there to help you reach your business goals. Many of them will cost you nothing, like blog posts and free ebooks. But the flip side of having all this information at your fingertips is the very fact that there is SO much of it that it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s where working with a business mentor or coach can be very beneficial. I’ve personally spent thousands of dollars over the past few years to learn about marketing, speaking and sales from experts I admire in the personal development industry. No matter what level you’re at, there’s always a part of your business that could be improved. A simple Google search will turn up a zillion business coaches to choose from!
If you’re ready to quit your job and get serious about your business, make today the day you decide that you’re going to do something about it. Look before you leap! By taking the time to plan for your goals, you’ll be much more likely to achieve them.
Leave a comment below: Do you want to quit your job and work full-time in your own business? Share ONE thing you can do this week to move forward on that path.
Rosetta Thurman is the Founder of Happy Black Woman, a supportive community that empowers women to create their ideal lives through personal development and entrepreneurship. Join thousands of women who have completed the only online course that gives you all the tools you need to get unstuck, set clear goals and rediscover who you truly are. Learn more about the 31 Days to Reset Your Life program here.