Nowadays it seems that everyone needs to become an entrepreneur and that the “old way of making money” (aka to have a job) is simply for the morons who like to put their life and fate on the hands of others.
First of all, let’s be clear here: to be self-made is not for everyone. Actually, I would say that it is only and indeed for a very selected group of people, who are willing to go through a long crossing in the desert and still manage to survive.
Yes, the fancy houses and the Lamborghini parked outside are just the tip of the iceberg, because to be an entrepreneur is much harder, much more difficult and much less sexier than people usually like to portray.
It is a constant battle with yourself, with your uncertainties and with your doubts, where you will question your abilities and capabilities the entire time. It is a marathon, which will take your mind and body to exhaustion, not a sprint, filled with muscles and ripped guys.
So contrary to what you have been reading online, it is fine to keep your job, especially if it is one where you are not (time) exploited and where you are paid accordingly and on time. By doing so, you will still have plenty of opportunities to relax, to hang out with the people you like and to do some extra activities which make your life better.
However, if deep down you know that you have not been made to accept instructions and orders from others, that you truly believe you deserve more, that you want to give value to the world, that you are stagnated and limited working for others or that you simply want to be your own boss, NO MATTER WHAT, then these are the 5 things you must do before you quit your job:
Make sure you work properly
Even if the only think you can think right now is to tell your boss to fuck off, and you keep dragging yourself mentally everyday to complete even the easiest tasks, just slow down and make sure you do the right thing.
And obviously, since we are talking about a corporate environment, the right thing is to get your job done. THE ENTIRE TIME. So treat it as if it were your own business. Show interest, be active and make responsibility your biggest ally.
Such attitude will bring two things: first, it will give you the right mindset for when the time of being your own boss comes. You won’t need to “reprogram yourself”, since you will have the proper work ethic.
Then, you never know what the future will bring, so it is always better to be liked and have a good relationship with your directors, supervisors and colleagues, than to start creating conflicts.
Plus, if people know you are a reliable employee, they will also label you as such, and so that positive image will always be associated with your persona.
Because remember, not only the world is getting smaller (through internet and social media) but also the information circulates very fast nowadays, so just make sure you are that guy who has always done his job properly, and not the smart ass who was disliked by half of the company.
Start your business on the side
If you want to become an entrepreneur, most likely you envision going thorough a path of freedom which will give you the life you have always dream of.
However, even if dreams are important, they mean almost nothing. Because if you keep dreaming without actually putting in the real work, then you will only become a millionaire when sleeping on your bed.
Plus, without coming up with a real service or product and actually testing the market, how do you know if that is really what you want? How do you know whether customers and the market will want to buy from you?
So if you are really thinking about quitting your job, it is better that you start being an entrepreneur NOW, while you still have this safety net called salary.
If you think like I did, you will probably say “but with a job I will neither be able to truly dedicate myself to it nor to have the proper level of energy to produce results”. This is a valid point.
However, it also means that you are still not serious about it and that you are not really seeing yourself as an entrepreneur. And so you put everything else as a priority – and also use it as an excuse not to do it.
Because if you really want to become your own boss, you need to give up on almost everything. So all that free time you have after work, and especially during the weekends, must be used to work in your possible future business.
As a rule of thumb, allocate one hour every day of the week, plus eight hours during the weekend. Thank me later.
Have at least one full year of expenses saved
Talking about having a safety net, whether you are already working on your side hustle or not, the most important is that you have your future prepared and secured. Don’t be this dumbass who believes that things will work out by themselves (quick hint: they won’t).
So first, make sure that by the time you will actually not have to return to your dead-end job on the next Monday, you have at least 15,000€ saved – or the equivalent of one year of expenses.
This number may be 12,000€ if you live in Eastern Europe, but can be easily be 30,000€ if you live in London, so just calculate how much you currently spend on your rent and on all living expenses such as food and transport.
On the top of that, you must consider extra costs such as clothing, internet/mobile phone, gym membership and any other activity or item which you know are part of your life (just make sure you don’t add up things you don’t need, e.g: online subscriptions or fashion accessories you keep buying every month).
Now, if you are thinking about quitting your job, my guess is that you are doing it with the main purpose of earning money on your own, either through a business or by monetizing your skills.
And while you may read that you can start a business with little or even no money, I can tell you that, unless you have a very in-demand skill, then this is nothing more than bullshit. You will need money – and eventually much more than you think.
Because when you will be out there, only living from your savings, everything will turn into a cost (I guarantee you that there will be many extra expenses which you are not considering right now).
So better be safe than sorry, meaning that you should have at least 5,000€ extra to start that (small) business.
Reach an agreement with your company
Ok, after you have (hopefully) made sure that the three previous point are secured, it is time to take the big decision, the one which will put your heart beating faster than a water pump.
To quit your job is a serious decision that will influence all other areas of your life, including your relationships and even your personality and mood. Therefore, it’s more than normal to feel nervous about it.
But much more important than what you will be feeling on that moment, are the steps you should take before presenting the resignation letter.
First, you usually need to do it three months before the date you are thinking about leaving the company. Don’t be this amateur presenting his resignation for next month, when he still has to stay in the company two months more after that.
Then, if you have a boss or someone you report directly to, go talk to him or her and be honest about what you are about to do. If you have kept a good relationship with him or her, this will be the best person to inform about your future plans. And don’t be afraid of telling the truth, just be honest and clear about your intentions.
You should also ask about the possibility of “getting fired”, instead of being you quitting the job. And why? Because if you live in a developed country, you will be entitled to receive unemployment benefits – and every extra money will be helpful when you will be out there, surviving in this jungle called reality.
Don’t make the same mistake as I did – who really wanted to present the resignation letter, just to feel the what was to have this power and glory of having control over my life – and ended up having my employment allowance locked for the first three months.
Moreover, in such a country as Germany, if you are the one resigning, then after one year, in case you still have no income, you will have no right to “Arbeitslosengeld II” – basically the social security almost every (un)employee has the right to receive, after one year of normal unemployment benefits.
Always remember that money is money, so don’t put your ego above the rest, especially if you have worked and paid taxes for so many years.
Finally, make sure you take the decision of quitting your job in the beginning of the civil year. There are some reasons behind it but the major ones are that not only you will be entitled to the company yearly bonus or payment (in case your company has one, of course), but you will also have a complete fiscal year, which is something very useful when you will be submitting your tax returns.
Do your best and keep being professional until the last day
Now that you have the confirmation of your resignation, you may feel the temptation of just relaxing and doing shit. After all, you will leave the company soon, so why bother?
Well, first of all, understand that this is more a personal issue than anything related to the company. Sure, you are replaceable, and you will be replaced, but that does not mean you should not treat who has employed you and paid your bills with respect.
As I said in the first point, you should treat the company as if it were yours. Therefore, you must give everything you have and show responsibility until the last moment.
Plus, if you want to start a business, where you will be selling and communicating with hundreds, thousands or even millions of customers around the globe, then you need to be someone people can trust. This means that such values as honor, integrity and honesty must be deeply rooted inside you.
So it does not matter whether you are just starting in a company, and you want to impress your new boss, or you are in your final working week. What matters is that you display commitment and that people can count on you the entire time.
Don’t be this average citizen who behaves like a teenager the moment he gets the confirmation he will no longer work for an organization after a certain date. Or the smart one who suddenly starts getting sick once or twice per week.
Such behaviors only show immaturity, lack of personality and, why not say it, lack of real values. Besides, you never know about your future, so neither burn your chances of eventually coming back to this company nor risk ruining your public image (that’s something you really need to preserve the whole time, especially when you will be selling things to people on your own).
Because if you act like an asshole, it will not be the company losing, but you.
The bottom line
Look, to quit your job is not an easy decision and it is something you really need to evaluate carefully before you actually do it. In my case, I certainly don’t regret having done it one year ago.
However, I surely would have done many things differently, especially the part of having saved much more money and having started already my business while still being an employee. Such silly errors almost cost my entire project to fall apart and, one year later, I’m still making up for lost time.
Because if you are still reading these lines, I know what you are feeling. I know what is to be stuck in a dead-end job, where you feel that all your energy, time and creativity are just being wasted in something which will lead nowhere.
That you could – and should – be doing something meaningful, where you would be able to release all your potential and show the world your true value, instead of just keep being an invisible rat.
So yes, I am the first one understanding what you are going through and, in case you need that extra push, I can tell you that, “If that is really what you want, something which your gut keeps reminding you every single day, then just go for it!”
BUT before you do that, just make sure you take the proper steps, so that you avoid making hasty decisions and you end up learning the hard way. It’s not worth to to waste a big dream simply because you did not pay attention to the small details (which indeed make all the difference).
Because even if you have the best business idea in the world, if you neither prepare yourself nor have a proper plan, you will fail miserably. Reality is ruthless and rarely protects those who follow the motto of “just do it”. So before heading out to sea, always lay the groundwork on land.