Solopreneur choices are natural when people get fed up with the struggle of their 9-5 jobs. Sometimes, it’s the uncertainty of keeping the 9-5 job that makes people turn to side gigs and then to full-time solopreneurship. Sometimes, it’s the miserable working environments, and the corporate rat-race that make you want to quit for the freedom to enjoy work-life rather than dread it. It’s interesting to know why and how other people made the shift to solopreneurship and ditched their 9-5 jobs with the courage to face the new dawn on their own. Here are some fascinating stories and thoughts.
- When you make more as a solopreneur than your day-job pays, switch pronto
- Do some reality checks on your 9-5 before falling in love with solopreneurship
- Life is too short to spend your working hours doing something you hate
- The terrifying fear of going back to the 9-5 job is what drives your business
- An inherent calling within you drives professionals to turn entrepreneurs
- Feeling awful in the 9-5 job? Use the time to prepare for entrepreneurship
- Iâm happy doing a business part-time, but full-time it’s not as appealing
- Talentism is going to be the future of work, for want of a better word
- Not in a good spot to quit soon? Commit to a savings plan aimed at leaving
- Discuss your career-shift with those close to you, but not with critical uncles
- Client work isn’t a preferred income stream, but it allows full-time business
- Worst case, you can go back to a 9-5 job. Best case, you’ll never ever have to
- Remember why you’re doing this business and schedule periodic attitude checks
- Use slack time at start of a business to cultivate your back-up income stream
- Donât use anyone’s story as a roadmap – taking your leap will look different
- I didnât just quit a $100,000+ job on a whim. I made a plan for about 15 months
- Plans are essentially worthless, but the act of planning itself is essential
- You could be the author of your own future and stop taking orders from others
VIDEO: Yasir Khan explains his travails and triumphs in “My Journey Of Quitting My Job To Go Become A Full Time Solopreneur” (Must watch: 15:19 minutes)
In this video, Yasir Khan, TEDX Speaker and Coach shares why he decided on quitting his job to become a full time solopreneur. He share his fascinating journey through the ups-and downss of his decision, and how that shaped his daily life. Listening to him may inspire you to do the same thing, and that’s the whole idea behind his video.
1. When you make more as a solopreneur than your day-job pays, switch pronto
Colin Newcomer in the article “How To Ditch Your 9-5 Grind And Join The Ranks Of Solopreneurs”:
“I donât think I have a typical journey to freelancing. From ages 17 to 24, I was self-employed thanks to a graphic t-shirt blog that I launched in high school. Then, around 25, I made the decision to get a âreal jobâ at the Vietnamese version of Google (sounded like fun!).
You know how most people wish they could have the freedom of self-employment? Yeah â I was the opposite. I wanted to try what it was like to work the standard 9-5. Donât mock me too much â I was curious.
Satisfaction at my job lastedâ¦9 months. Then, I realized I was crazy! And so I began plotting my journey back to self-employment. But this time, instead of Internet marketing, I was going to go into freelance writing. And given that WordPress and digital marketing were where my experience lay, those writing niches seemed like the obvious choice.
By the time I finished out my 30 daysâ notice at my job, I was already making triple my salary from freelancing alone. That was September 2016. Since then, business has only been getting better. I hit a personal milestone for income in March 2017 and have a steady stream of work without needing to pitch clients anymore.â
2. Do some reality checks on your 9-5 before falling in love with solopreneurship
Mauro Sacramento in the article “Should You Quit Your 9â5 Job and Become a Solopreneur? Letâs Ask Emma”:
“Letâs first look at the current state of your life. You shouldnât make any harsh decisions before youâre ready to.
When I first started reading about entrepreneurship, following your dreams and quitting your job, it all sounded wonderful but my reality was very different.
I was living by myself in a foreign country; as much as I believed in myself and in what I was doing, I couldnât just quit my job and hope for the best. Maybe thatâs why Iâm still not a millionaire, who knows. If you want to do this, you need to make sure you have a plan to fall back on. Once you have that part figured out, itâs time for a reality check:
- Does your job cause you physical or emotional discomfort (e.g. headaches, back pain, exhaustion, anxiety, depression)?
- Do you find yourself thinking about how to complete tasks at work in your personal life?
- Do you spend more time talking about work with your loved ones rather than their lives?
If you answered yes, as I did, on any of the questions above, youâre most likely overdue a career change.â
3. Life is too short to spend your working hours doing something you hate
Gillian Sisley in the article “How to Transition from a 9â5 to Self-Employment”:
“Now that Iâm self-employed, I canât imagine working for someone else ever again. In fact, the prospect of that is basically my worst nightmare.
I remember what it was like sitting in that cubicle wondering if that was all my career was going to be. I vividly recall that dreaded, sinking feeling inside as I considered how unfulfilling my work might be for the next 40 years, until retirement. The prospect of that was utterly terrifying.
Hereâs the truthââ life is too short to spend a majority of your working hours doing something you hate. And so, because I couldnât find work that fulfilled me in any job description, I sought to create my own work through self-employment.
Take some time to ask yourself the really realistic questions of how far youâre willing to go and what youâre willing to do to make your business succeed. Be prepared to sacrifice a lot of your free time to make this dream a reality. Thatâs just the honest truth.”
4. The terrifying fear of going back to the 9-5 job is what drives your business
Lidiya Kesarovska in the article “The Mental Shift from 9 to 5 to Entrepreneurship”:
“Chances are the thought of leaving your day job terrifies you. This is normal and expectedâ¦ good even. When I left the bank that day, I had only a vague idea of what I would do. I made a little bit of money here and there online. It wasnât anything close to a full-time living, but I knew it was a new market that was growing quickly.
And with some hard work combined with my savings, I (naively) believed I could have a full-time business up and running within a few months. It turned out to take almost 18 months for me to earn a full-time steady income.
I went broke a number of times, was supported by my ex for a time and then moved back home with my mother. For most of 2008-2009 I worked 10-16 hour days and the majority of my projects failed and made little or no money. It was stressful to say the least.
People ask me what motivated me through this period. The answer is terror. Complete and unequivocal daily terror. I was absolutely terrified to fail. Granted there was some love in there as well (I loved my job and still do). But thatâs also where the terror came from: the idea that I would never make money doing what I love; the terror that Iâd have to go back to living off a job I hated; the terror that I would have wasted two years with nothing to show for it; the terror that all of my friends and family who thought I was crazy would be proven right.”
5. An inherent calling within you drives professionals to turn entrepreneurs
Sameer Anil Karna in the article “Why I Quit My 9-5 Job And Preferred To Be A Solopreneur”:
“Everyone dreams of having their own business. Some of us inherit from our forefathers; some slog it out and build their empire. There is an inherent calling within you that drives professionals to turn entrepreneurs. I had figured out that calling a long time back.
There is also a new breed of enterprising youth who are ‘forced’ to consider starting on your own due to various levels of dissatisfaction at work.
The moment it struck me that ‘training’ and ‘consultancy’ is something which drives me to deliver performance to my clients, I just jumped onto it with three months of advance salary back up.
Initially, there is a lot of resistance from all corners and it takes at least three years to build a sustainable revenue stream from your clients. But, the answer to all these issues is two words: If you have heard your calling, then passion will drive you, and persistence will sail you through tough times.”
6. Feeling awful in the 9-5 job? Use the time to prepare for entrepreneurship
Nicole Martins Ferreira in the article “What Entrepreneurs Actually Do In A 9 To 5 Job”:
“The worst thing happened to me in 2014. My first business had failed only six months after quitting my 9 to 5 job. I panicked. I didnât want to go back into the corporate world. I donât belong there. I had never been freer or happier than I had been in those six months that I was building online stores. I just needed more time.
But time ran out, so I didnât have it. And that was a tough pill to swallow. So there I was interviewing for 9 to 5 jobs again. âThis isnât what I want to be doing,â Iâd think to myself. But at the time, I didnât know how to scramble money together. And thatâs when it hit me; I need to use the 9 to 5 to level up my skills.
Going back to the 9 to 5 wasnât going to be a curse. It was merely going to be an opportunity to get my finances back on track. Develop skills on someone elseâs dime. And get myself back on track to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Some of the lessons Iâve learned in a 9 to 5 setting that has helped me build better businesses over time. So if youâre currently feeling out of place in the 9 to 5, this is what you use the time to prepare you for entrepreneurship.”
7. Iâm happy doing a business part-time, but full-time it’s not as appealing
Tim Denning in the article “The No 9â5 Experiment That Lasted Four Months”:
“My experiment taught me that Iâm happy running a business part-time, but doing it full-time is not as appealing.
A good way to test your entrepreneurial spirit is to try it part-time. Quitting your job in a rage and committing to a full-time business can be shortsighted. You never know what itâs like until you try it. The responsibility and isolation of being an entrepreneur is not something to underestimate in the beginning.
Being an entrepreneur is less about creating a business and more about a spirit and approach to life. You can use the entrepreneurial spirit to run a part-time business, a full-time business, or work a 9â5 job.
What worked best for me was having some of my income guaranteed and having the other part of my income from my business endeavors being high-risk and simultaneously high-reward.”
8. Talentism is going to be the future of work, for want of a better word
Chris Kalaboukis in the article “Talentism and the End of the 9-5 Work Week”:
“Talentism is the future of work. Heard this word the other day and I thought it was great â it perfectly encapsulates, if you ask me, the future worker, or more accurately, the solopreneur â (not a big fan of this word but it likely is the most descriptive).
Work, as we know it as the 9-5 big block of time that you need to spend in an office, or even telecommuting and doing one specific thing for a specific company, will disappear. All work will become either piecework (creating a certain number of X for Y) or part-time (spending X number of hours/minutes/seconds doing Y).
All âjobsâ, and I guess even the word âjobâ will revert to the same kind of âjobâ the crew of the Firefly would pick up as it went from system to system.
The concept of a âjobâ would be the âodd jobâ â you would typically work for a number of companies at the same time, likely not doing the same thing though, and you would be tracked against either the piecework criteria or the time criteria above.”
9. Not in a good spot to quit soon? Commit to a savings plan aimed at leaving
Terry Rice in the article “The Great Resignation: How to Quit Your 9-5 and Start a Consulting Business”:
“Getting laid off in 2009 launched my career, but I donât know when or if I would have by choice. If youâre leaving a job to start your own business, itâs recommended that you have 6-8 months living expenses saved up. I had roughly 6-8 days.
You may be in a completely different situation but keep this in mind as it may impact when youâre able to quit. Iâm not a financial advisor â as evident by my 6-8 days left of living expenses — so consider chatting with one to explore your options. If youâre not in a good spot to quit relatively soon, you can still commit to a savings and professional development plan aligned with leaving eventually.
This may seem like a drag, but it allows you to support yourself while still taking advantage of the âone percent ruleâ. This strategy of small margin gains states that if you can make one percent progress every single day — in this case, as it applies to saving and professional development â it can result in a significant impact over time.
And, itâs motivating to know that with each day youâre getting closer and closer to living in your vision.”
10. Discuss your career-shift with those close to you, but not with critical uncles
Cami Galles in the article “I Quit My Job At Google To Launch My Own Media Company”:
“Without the right mindset, all the business plans and org charts in the world won’t save you. If you don’t believe your business can be successful, who else is going to believe it? There are two key traits you should strengthen before you leave your job: mental stamina and positive reinforcement.
A new venture or career change can take over a year to really take off. You need to have the trust and mental stamina in place to weather the rough beginning so you can see your business thrive. To improve your mental stamina, keep an eye on your why. You should have a strong reason why you started this business. When you keep that reason in mind, it strengthens your mental resolve and keeps you pumped about your journey (even when your bank balance is less than exciting).
As your business gets off the ground, look for all the positive reinforcement you can find. That could be anything from your first sale to a like on Instagram.
To keep things positive, sometimes that means NOT talking about your business with family members who won’t get it. Of course, discuss this with partners or people directly affected by your career, but the uncle who always criticizes you? He doesn’t need to know. You can give him an update when you’re raking in the dough.”
11. Client work isn’t a preferred income stream, but it allows full-time business
Alana Rister in the article “How to Confidently Quit Your 9â5 Before Your Business Makes a Profit”:
“Last year, I quit my full-time postdoctoral scholar position for full-time entrepreneurship. My full-time work was wearing me down physically and emotionally. Therefore, when my partner received a job offer across the country, I found my escape.
I was only bringing in about $50/month in my business in revenue. It wasnât even enough to cover my business expenses. While we had little in savings, we owned a condo. We had to sell our condo to move to his new job and the profits from this sale were over $15K. This was enough money to give me a year to pursue my business full-time.
As I dedicated more time, my business started growing more quickly. After a couple of months, it wasnât growing at the rate that I had planned for. I had only been working on my business for a few months before I quit my job.
Therefore, I started taking on client work. With client work, I was covering our deficit every month. Instead of depleting our savings, we could actually grow our savings. While client work was not a preferred income stream, it allowed me more time to stay full-time in my business.”
12. Worst case, you can go back to a 9-5 job. Best case, you’ll never ever have to
Daniel DiPiazza in the article “How I quit the 9-5 and Started an Online Business that Earns $50,000 a Month”:
“When I first started freelancing, I was working at Longhorn Steakhouse (I’m basically a steak aficionado now). I was also working for Kaplan Test Prep. My steak skills weren’t worth much. But my Kaplan skills were. I knew I could make this work on my own.
First, I quit Kaplan. Didn’t want any conflict of interest. Then, as soon as the restaurant started to get in the way of my new endeavor, I quit that as well. When I quit both jobs, I wasn’t making quite as much with the new business…but the projections were giving me a solid indication that things would pick up quickly. So I just took the leap.
You can do it! Mine your skills, do your homework and take the leap. Don’t look back.
Worst case scenario, you can always go back. Best case scenario, you’ll never have to.”
13. Remember why you’re doing this business and schedule periodic attitude checks
Nicole Blanckenberg in the article “How to Start an Online Business and Quit Your 9-5”:
“Starting your own business, especially when you start it as a sideline before you quit your 9-5, takes dedication and hard work. There are going to be days when you will feel like you want to give up; when motivation fails you. This comes with the territory, and know âthis too shall passâ¦â
Doing a regular attitude check will help keep you positive while also ensuring that you are dealing with customers in a upbeat way, no matter how bad your day has been. Follow the big guys like Gary V on Facebook to keep your newsfeed full of awesome, go-getting content and get onto the best eCommerce Facebook groups and feed your motivation.
Remember what youâre working forâ¦your own business and finally telling your full-time job to suck it! Keep your focus, your eye on that prize. Yes, initially it will be tough and it will take your evenings and your weekends and you need to have a lot of patience and focus.
And there will be days when you put your hands up and say âwhy am I doing this!âBut remember, just as Rome wasnât built in a day, neither is an online business.”
14. Use slack time at start of a business to cultivate your back-up income stream
Laura Fiebert in the article “How To Quit Your Job And Actually Start A Business”:
“When you do finally quit your job, you will have more time than you were anticipating. When we think of the time spent at work, we tend to think of just that, the time spent at work.
But quitting frees up so much more than just the eight hours you spend in the office. It frees up the time spent getting ready in the mornings, commuting time, and the time you spend doing errands like food shopping when everyone else is food shopping too, after work and weekends.
Most of your time will be spent on your business but use some of it to cultivate another income stream.
It doesnât have to be a lot, and ideally, it will be passive, but you will feel less stressed when you know you have some money coming in regardless of how the business is doing.”
15. Donât use anyone’s story as a roadmap – taking your leap will look different
Jenna Kutcher in the article “5 Things To Do Before You Leave Your 9 to 5”:
“Itâs scary as heck, but when I realized that if I did happen to fail, I would be okay. I didnât burn bridges, I worked hard through the end, I had experience and a degree to fall back on! I had to just make the leap and know that even if âfailureâ occurred, I could make it work.
Donât use my story as a roadmap â Taking that leap will look different for everyone. For me, I needed to know the net would be there when I jumped. For some, jumping and making it happen works better. My best advice is to set yourself up for success and have sound business practices in place so that you can free yourself up creatively. While creative small business owners rock out the creative process, the business side of things is usually where the trouble occurs.
I am not an extraordinary case! I had zero connections, lived in a tiny village away from home, and was burning the candles from both ends working the corporate job by day and building an empire by night. Being self taught doesnât mean you have to be paid less and looking back, I am proud that I recognized that from the very beginning.
There will be a lot of âfake it âtil you make itâ moments (heck, there still are!) and a lot of days of uncertainty, but when you feel unsure of your call, remember the one who called you in the first place! You can do this, you deserve to chase your dreams, pour into yourself, invest in your business, and set yourself up for success.”
16. I didnât just quit a $100,000+ job on a whim. I made a plan for about 15 months
Michael Leonard in the article “The 5-Step Strategy I Used to Quit My 9â5”:
“April 29th, 2017, was the day my life changed. I told my boss I was retiring (at 29 years old), going to build an online business that inspires the world and pursue professional golf. At the time, I was making $100,000+ at my job, and I had only made $200 from my blogâ¦ ever.
When I told him, he thought I was kidding, but I had been preparing for this day for nearly a year. I knew it was time to go 100% on my goals. Most people thought I was insane.
My old job was the definition of cushy; free insurance, six-figure pay, no dress code, ping pong tables, kegs, and kitchens. But ultimately, the perks werenât worth 40 hours of my week. I knew there was more to life than working on someone elseâs dream.
I didnât want to grow old and end up with regrets, so I took the leap. But I didnât just quit on a whim. I made a plan for about 15 months and made it happen.”
17. Plans are essentially worthless, but the act of planning itself is essential
Dan Kenitz in the article “How to Determine if Youâre Ready to Ditch the 9-5”:
“Dwight Eisenhower once said that plans are essentially worthless, but the act of planning itself is essential. So it is with business plans.
It doesnât even matter if your plan is a little bit off the beaten path. Scott Adams of “Dilbert” fame wrote in his most recent book, How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big, that goals arenât quite as important as systems. In fact, some goals can look downright strange to non-entrepreneurs if you donât view them as systems.
Take Richard Bransonâs “Virgin” brand â the leap from record store chain to airline might not make sense to most of us, but Richard Bransonâs plans for his brand were different from the conventional wisdom. By focusing on the systems that create success, he could leverage that brand into an entirely different business atmosphere.
But it all starts with having a solid plan in mind: a reason or system for doing what you do. If you donât know what you plan, then you donât know the next steps. When you sit down and plan, the next steps become obvious.”
18. You could be the author of your own future and stop taking orders from others
Jordan Ring in the article “Skip the 9-5: Eight Options When âI Hate Workingâ is Your Life Mantra”:
“Starting your own business is not for the faint of heart. But if you have some serious chops and a backbone, you can certainly make it work. Youâll never hate working again if you do what you love.
You can follow tips on starting your own business or tips on promoting your small business. It is definitely a high risk, high reward type investment. And not only will it take up money, but it will also take up a lot of time.
My wife and I would love to open a bagel shop one day, but not yet. I am not ready for that quite yet, but maybe you are? Maybe you are in the exact right spot in your life and you are ready to take the leap?
Still though, 8 of 10 new businesses fail within 18 months. It isnât something to take lightly, but what if you are part of that 20%? What if you could be the author of your own future and stop taking orders from others? I say go for it, what do you have to lose?”
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
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