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Before I left my job to work for myself and make money from home, I dreamed about writing this post. I was obsessed with learning about how others had finally left their 9-5 job to pursue full-time self-employment.
I imagined what it would be like to sit down with my boss and announce that I was leaving. It was a terrifying, exhilarating thought, and a part of me didn’t think I would ever be able to do it. But as of next month, I have been self-employed for two years. So obviously, that day did come. And it can come for you too, if you want it to.
Here are the steps I took to finally make that leap:
1.Realization – You Can Make Money from Home!
I very, very vividly remember the day I decided I had to quit my job. I had always been a little unsatisfied with my work. Either I didn’t like the boss, or the work was boring, or I just felt like something better had to be out there. But after job hopping a handful of times in just a few years, I stopped blaming my jobs, or my bosses, and started blaming myself.
Yes, I worked for difficult people. Yes, I was dissatisfied. But at the end of the day, it was my own desire to do something more me that convinced me to leave. No job was going to be good enough until I tried working for myself, because that itch was always there.
It was the Monday after Easter. The job I had was fine. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but I didn’t hate it, either. I didn’t dread going in in the morning. But that Monday, something in me shifted. I desperately didn’t want to go in. And I spent the morning watching YouTube videos of others talking about how they left the 9-5 world behind to work for themselves.
Then, when I did go into work, I got in trouble for something. I can’t recall what it was, and I’m certain I was at fault, but I was tired. Like a lot of people, I was tired of having to answer to someone else. I hated having to ask for time off to go to the doctor, or for feeling guilty when I requested a day off. I didn’t feel like I was reaching my full potential.
I decided I had two choices. I could stay miserable and continue trying to make others responsible for my happiness, which is what a lot of people decide. Or I could take a risk. I could claim responsibility for the way I was feeling, and do something about it.
That day was the very beginning of April, and by June, I was working for myself. That initial spark was critical in successfully launching my business just a couple months later.
2. Face the Fear
As soon as I knew I wanted to make money from home, I knew that the biggest obstacle to my success would be my self-doubt. Plenty of other people were working for themselves, making good money as virtual assistants and writers, so why couldn’t I? I had the basic skills. People were paying me to write at my day job. So realistically, I could probably find people to pay me to write outside of that job.
That’s where the fear creeps in. It takes the form of, “What if I can’t land clients? Who am I to work for myself? What if I can’t make money from home? Those other successful freelancers are just lucky.” But what all of that is really saying is, “I’m not good enough.” But no one put that limit on me. I put it on myself.
What have you been telling yourself about starting your business? You need to quiet that voice, because often times YOU are the only thing standing in your way.
I found that I had to literally drown out the self-doubt.
I did it with motivational speeches, music and YouTube videos. Instead of the usual music I would play at work, I played those songs and videos on repeat. Whenever I felt the doubt creeping in, I’d turn it up louder.
Another tip: Play motivational speeches or videos when you work out. It makes it feel like every cell in your body and every single one of your senses is fighting to achieve your goal. It made me feel powerful.
And when a quiet voice inside you asks, “Why not me? If they could do it, why can’t I?” don’t immediately squash it. Turn it up. Say it out loud, even if you feel stupid. Better yet, answer it. Anytime I tried to seriously answer the “Why not me?” question, my answer always sounded ridiculous. Without a valid reason, I knew I needed to push forward. If fear is ever the only thing in my way, it usually means I need to move past it and take a chance. The same goes for you.
3. Get Practical
So much of being successful in any goal is your mindset. You have to believe you can get it done, because if you don’t, every bump in the road will paralyze you. Mindset work is imperative to success.
But you also need practical tools and exercises. What worked for me may not work for you, but why not give it a shot?
Get CLEAR about your goals. But know that your goals can change. Ever tried to drive somewhere when you only had a vague idea of its location? It takes much longer than it does when you have an actual address. The more precise you can get about what you want your career (or anything you’re after) to look like, the easier it will be to stay focused.Really feel this, too. Take some time to visualize what an ideal day would look like, who your dream client might be, etc.
Educate yourself. I took a couple courses and worked with a business coach when I got started. The course I took was Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success, and it was a game changer. It gave me the push I needed to finally get started. But don’t get stuck at that step.
Some people will procrastinate at this step. They’ll buy every course, research every tip and contact every coach before taking action.You’re going to learn a lot from your own journey, so don’t waste time getting started. It’s not going to be perfect, so don’t try to make everything flawless before you dig in.
Carve out time. Oh man, this is a tough one. If you work a full-time job and are launching a side-hustle, you’re going to feel like you’re working all. the. time. And you are.I’m a new mom, and this is a serious struggle for me (tips on this coming soon!) You might only have time to work on your business first thing in the morning, before work. Or late at night, after the kids have gone to bed.
You’re probably going to deal with less sleep and less time for fun while you’re building a business. Schedule time to get your work done whenever you can, and show up to do it. Every day you hit snooze puts you one day further behind.
Give yourself a deadline. If you’ve been wanting to launch a blog, quit your job, publish a book, whatever you’ve been dreaming about…set a deadline. Make this firm, too. Don’t say “spring.” Say, “May 1st.” Don’t get too hung up on the date, though.
Sounds counterintuitive, right? Why would you set a firm deadline if it doesn’t mean anything?It’s because it will mean something to you. Deep down, you’ll see that date on the calendar, and it’ll be nagging you. You’ll feel an urgency to get things moving. And while most people move these deadlines (I moved mine six months up…that happens a lot!), just having one tends to get you focused.
Make the Leap
The day I quit my job, I spent the whole day sweating, panicking and rehearsing what I was going to say. I nearly chickened out, but my boss asked if I was okay. I almost said yes…but then I told him no, and that I needed to talk to him. He wished me luck, and said if it didn’t work out, I could come back. I spent the next few weeks wrapping up business there and preparing my own business on the side. Those were some of the scariest, most exciting weeks of my life.
I can’t explain the feeling of taking a real, tangible step toward the life of your dreams. It’s empowering and terrifying, and I think everyone should try it.
Have you ever quit a job to start your dream job? What was that day like for you?