One day… one day I will do it. I will quit my day job and I will pursue my dreams. I will jump off that cliff and throw myself into the air and fly. I will then decide what time to wake up in the morning and I will decide when and where I will eat my lunch. I will travel the world and live as a digital nomad. No boss will order me around or give me the evil eye when I decide to take the afternoon off.
Have you ever had these thoughts? I think most of us have.
So how do we get from thinking it to doing it? When do we know it is time to quit our day job? And how do we do it successfully? It’s a scary road to travel and you need to be brave. You need to be sure and you need to know what you are doing. Hopping without a parachute is not a clever jump to make. Life is not a competition or about proving a point. It is your life and you create it the way you want to. However, while you are doing all this, bread still has to be brought on the table.
Here are some simple steps that might help you start living your dream:
1. Think over it
Think about it long and hard. Not many people make this kind of decision overnight even though some people like to portray it that way. But no one simply wakes up one day and decides to quit their job. More often than not, such a decision is preceded by a long period of unhappiness, dwelling and doubt. Take your time, let no one tell you when. You have to be absolutely sure because you are one who has to live with the consequences.
2. Talk about it
Let your friends and family know about your plans—this has several benefits. You might actually have a friend or two who can help you, both with practicalities and with some well- thought-through advice. Perhaps someone close to you has travelled ahead on the same road as you and they can help steer you away from the pitfalls. It might save you time as well as money. Some payroll folks might also have a clever thought or two to share with you. Beware of the occasional jealous [or scared] friend/associate who would do anything to convince you to stay on their team. They will serve you with all the arguments as to why you shouldn’t go this way. But don’t shut your ears to them. Listening to them will actually give you time to sharpen your arguments and question your own doubts.
Once you have thought and talked about it, there’s time to simply stop and visit your special place within. It is amazing—the clarity we can get by simply sitting for a while. Pack your bags and visit that Land of Wisdom we all carry inside. Breathe and Be. This is where the true answers lie and through stillness, they will come forth.
4. Plan it
Yes, you will need a plan. It might sound boring, but once again that thing about bread on the table, especially if you provide for more than just yourself, is vital. Save some money, look into the rules and regulations on what kind of start-up-support you might receive and how to get set-up. Last but not least, plan for how you will actually earn your dough.
Make a business plan, marketing plan and a back-up plan. And ask yourself the hard questions: am I ready to do the dirty work? Cause there will be some, if not lots, ahead. What are you ready to do/not do? Handing out flyers? Waiting tables until that big break comes? Or even working for free to self-promote? How low can you go? Can you semi-quit your job? Cut down on hours and build your business on the side? Can you start different projects? Spread your risks. Put your eggs in different baskets. Whatever you decide, you will need a plan.
5. Get a fan club
You need support. Find a group of people; digitally or in real life: Peers who can cheer you on when Mr Doubt comes visiting; folks who can give you advice on all the things you need to learn—where to turn and where not to turn. They will also be your colleagues when you are turning up in your first oh-so-lonely office. They will be there for you when you are having your first online coffee break.
Other than this, you can of course carry on making excuses. If you find yourself going around in circles, don’t confuse it with taking your time. When you realise you are running out of excuses, then you simply need to ask yourself; “Do I really want this?” If the answer is yes, take the leap.
This was first published in the March 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.