Quitting Your Job is the Wrong Move
I quit school when I was sixteen. I got up from my desk, I ran to my locker and bolted out the gate before anyone could stop me. To this day it remains a favourite in my personal highlight reel.
I can’t quit things that way anymore. I have a wife, I have three kids, and bills, and a mortgage. I even have an ex-wife. Two, actually.
Quitting is exciting. I think about quitting things all the time. I'm betting you do, too. You probably fantasise about sticking it to your boss and striking out on your own – a fearless adventurer. After all, he probably hates you just as much as you do. We all want to live on a beach, sipping Mai Tais during the day and counting our money at night.
But you and I know that’s not gonna happen in a hurry. You’re not sixteen anymore. If you are, you need to get back on YouTube and start posting ‘let’s play’ gaming videos. You’ll make a killing.
No, for most of us, working our way into the dream life requires planning, and something all of us struggle with – patience.
In the old days, creating your ideal life involved huge risks and even bigger balls. It took lots of money and a tonne of marketing. It was tough. The familiar adage, “80% of small businesses fail in the first three years” is burned into our brains because it was true.
But the game has moved on. It’s actually a lot easier now.
It's cheaper, too. And best of all, you don’t need to quit your job to start something of your own. In fact, you’re better off if you don’t.
There are two reasons for this:
- The real opportunities today – the things that can’t be killed off by someone bigger than you – require creativity. They involve personal connection and heart. No one else can be you – only you. But to put your heart into something and to be fully engaged with it is really hard when your back’s against the wall. If your bills are going unpaid and your wife is mouthing the words ‘divorce settlement’ in her sleep, it’s impossible to create anything worthwhile. There’s just too much pressure.
- When you decide to scratch that itch and build a side-hustle of your own (even if your intention is to scale it), it has a tendency to rub off on your day job. You don’t resent it quite as much. Also, the things you learn as you move through your entrepreneurial journey start to enhance your work. You start applying some of these things, and the quality of your work actually improves. You also start seeing opportunities within your work that you mightn’t have noticed before.
Now if your dream is to start a café somewhere down the coast, that’s going to be hard while you’re working a day job. You might have no option but to sell up your worldly goods and bootstrap your way there.
But maybe you can take another approach. Perhaps you can start curating and sharing useful and inspiring information about your dream business online. Instagram and Pinterest are hugely popular visual media for this, and there are a tonne of people drawing sizable incomes from these channels through sponsorship, product placement and affiliate marketing.
You could start a blog that engages, inspires and entertains people about your particular interest or talent. As your audience builds, you can engage with affiliates to start generating revenue. You can write guides, or even a full-blown book (thanks, Amazon). This is no longer a left-field endeavour.
Look at it this way, if gamers can make millions (yes, millions of dollars) just by playing video games and posting them on YouTube, there are at least a dozen ways you can turn a side-hustle into a long-term escape plan.
The point is quitting your job is not the answer to your misery. If you really want to slash your wrists every time Monday rolls around, then go and get a better job. Or at least a different one.
Building a scalable side-gig takes time, and it takes persistence and on-going refinement. What it doesn’t take is lots of risk, or money, or big brass balls. You can take your time with this one and keep most of your money in the bank.
Now doesn’t that sound a whole lot better than betting the farm and going all-in? Besides, once you’re making some extra money and putting it aside (no, you can’t buy a fancier whip), you’ll have a buffer in place when you make your big move and wave the job goodbye.
And if that’s not enough to convince you to stay I your job, just remember this:
Divorces are expensive!
Blog Posts That Might Help
The Tools I Personally Use and Recommend
Books for Entrepreneurs in the New Economy
Choose Yourself – James Altucher
James's unique perspective on life, wealth, business and employment is an eye-opener. A brilliant mind.
Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way – Steven Pressfield
Steven forces us to face a simple truth: it's not about better ideas, but rather, actually doing the work.
The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris
Tim's book is responsible for fuelling much of today's solopreneur phenomenon. A must-read.
Tools of Titans
Tim Ferris's tome covering many of the best lessons gleaned from billionaires, icons, and peak performers.
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
Chris debunks the old myth, “It takes money to make money,” with plenty of examples to relate to.
Purple Cow – Seth Godin
Seth is a pioneer from the earliest days of the Internet and a trailblazer in today's ‘connection economy'. Read everything he writes. Seriously.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary V is loud, rant-prone and tends to swear a lot. But no one knows social media better. Read and learn.
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – by Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken is a remarkable thinker in the areas of education and nurturing one's innate talents. His TED talk is incredible and has been watched almost 43 million times.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope we get to hang out more in the future. And in the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to all emails. If this was beneficial to you, please consider subscribing and sharing with someone you think would also benefit.
Disclaimer & Disclosure: I'm not a psychologist and I'm not a financial advisor's elbow. This material doesn't constitute financial advice but rather a collection of personal opinions, based on my own experiences. Some of the links on my site are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I provide links to services or products I have used and liked or researched and recommend. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you believe they will be beneficial to you.
Also published on Medium.