Thinking About Quitting Your Day Job? Do This First

One of my subscribers has a side hustle running a “learn to code” website.

And he’s feeling frustrated about making the jump to working for himself.

He writes:

I struggle a lot with managing time.

I work full time as a programmer and the business (iLoveCoding) does not make enough to cover my personal expense.

How do I make the transition.

Its tough, very very tough for me to work on multiple things.

There are at least 2 different things going on here, so I’ll address them separately.

First of all, there’s the time management issue.

This is *really* important to get a handle on if you’re going to survive working for yourself.

The first question I would ask myself is, do I really struggle with time management, or am I just trying to cram 4X more tasks into my day than any human being could possibly hope to accomplish—and then beating myself up when I only get half of it done?

Seeing as you’ve launched a side business that’s earning you income, I suspect that you’re more in the “not enough hours in the day” camp. More on this in a minute.

If however during your 9-5 job you find that you regularly slip into a “Facebook coma” only to snap awake 90 minutes later wondering “whoa, what just happened?” then you have some work to do before you’re ready to be your own boss.

When I was thinking about working for myself, I was terrified that I would crash and burn due to a lack of personal discipline.

What if quit my job—and then just spent 3 months goofing around on the Internet?

Here’s what I did that really helped:

I started treating my salaried day job like it was an hourly freelancing gig where I got paid for “billable hours.”

I started tracking my time, setting weekly goals and using the Pomodoro Technique to improve my focus.

In other words, I used my 9-5 job as a “bootcamp” to learn to be more focused and disciplined during the work day.

A good test for whether you’re ready to quit your job is:

Can I successfully take a one-week “vacation” from my day job and put in 5 solid days of work on my side business?

This took some practice for me, but once I was able to do it, I knew I could handle working on my own without the bossman shoving my face into the grindstone day after day.

Now, let’s say you’re past this point.

You’re not struggling with procrastination and focus so much as having a to-do list that’s 30 yards long and not enough time to knock things off it.

This was a major frustration for me when I was juggling a full-time job and my side gig.

Your heart is set on making the side hustle the ONLY hustle, and the 9-5 can pretty quickly start to feel like a ball and chain that’s slowing you down.

It’s tempting to just want to say, “Screw it,” and up and quit your job one day.

Not a good plan.

A lot of the frustration I felt with my day job was that I felt like I was “wasting” 8 hours a day doing something that was totally out of step with my passions and goals.

Instead of jettisoning the day job entirely, see if there is some way to get double duty out of that time.

In my case, my long-term goal was to build some kind of passive income business so I could earn income without “trading hours for dollars.”

And let me tell you, it’s a looooong leap to that from working a 9-5 job.

However I knew I needed to get better at marketing if I wanted to have a passive income-type business.

And I realized that if I could at least switch gears from writing CODE for dollars to writing COPY for dollars, that would move me closer to my ultimate goal.

That’s when I decided to pursue freelance copywriting.

This was a GREAT move, because it’s far, far easier to build a “dollars for hours” type of business than it is to build a passive income-style business.

It’s a baby step in the right direction.

In this subscriber’s case that might look a little different.

He already has a developer training business that’s earning him some money.

What if he experimented with offering more expensive coaching packages?

Or even created a 2-day on-site training package that he could sell to corporations?

Building enough traffic to where you can make a living selling $200 online courses takes time, patience and effort.

If you can supplement those sales with 3-5 $1,000 per month coaching students, or one $5,000 training event each month, he could move ahead a lot faster.

And the hands on experience will help make his online training that much better.

It’s a virtuous cycle.

There are other ways to do this too.

You could take on a project at work that helps you learn the ins and outs of a specific technology that you can later teach.

You can temporarily shift to freelancing to get more flexibility with your time.

The main point here is to stop looking at the 9-5 as a trap, and start looking at it as an opportunity…

Then find ways to mine those 40 hours a week for extra goodies that will help you buy your eventual freedom.