Does this scenario sound familiar? You've been thinking about quitting your 9-5 job for a while. You might not hate it, but you certainly don't love it. You're feeling bored and uninspired. Sometimes it's hard to wake up in the morning. Sunday evenings are full of depression and sadness.
One day, a colleague mentions that their second cousin freelances and does pretty well at it. You google what freelance designing entails. After doing a little research, you start to think freelancing maybe be your way out. The more you think about it, the more you become sure that this is what you want to do. It becomes an obsession.
As much as you keep pondering quitting your job, you just can't bring yourself to do it. The idea is super scary, and you don't have much support from your family and friends. After all, they don't know the first thing about freelancing. You decide to wait just a bit longer.
And this can go on and on for months, even years.
So when is it time to leave the day job, and how do you get the courage to finally walk out of those doors for the last time?
Believe it or not, there is somewhat of a right answer to this question.
You need to be about 80% confident you are ready for this. I say 80% because there will always be uncertainty in the unknown.
So how do you gain confidence when this idea of freelancing seems so scary? Preparation. A prepared person is not scared, they are ready.
Here's a few things I recommend doing before quitting your day job. Once you cross these things off your list, I promise everything will seem so much less risky...
1. Set up an office space in your home. Find a room or corner in your home that you aren't currently using, and decorate it. Don't spend too much money. A little can go a long way when it comes to office spaces. Go to vintage/thrift stores to decorate on a budget. A vintage desk is a beautiful way to save your pennies and spice up a space. Craigslist is great for finding desks as well. Just having this office space ready will remind you that you are committed to freelancing.
2. Cut back on spending. Just for now. If you want to freelance bad enough, this will be easy. Remind yourself that this is only temporary, and a necessity in accomplishing your goals. You don't have to cut spending completely. Just only buy things you need. You probably don't need that new top, or that amazing purse right now. Shopping at Aldi is a great way to cut costs on groceries. Once you start to see a little nest egg pile up, it will be easier to take the financial risk of leaving your day job. When you do spend money, try to put it towards your business - whether it be investing in equipment, or taking useful courses.
3. Freelance after hours. This one's not easy, but totally necessary. Find a few clients, and start working in the evenings. You won't be able to keep up this pace for long, but it will give you the confidence you need to quit your day job. You are not trying to make your 9-5 salary, you are just trying to prove to yourself that you can find projects. Craigslist is a great place to find work when starting out. I have a post on how to use Craigslist effectively. I also have a free finding clients guide when you sign up for my mailing list.
4. Get a head start on launching your business. Update your portfolio website and personal brand, set up an LLC, and open a business checking/savings account. I would also make sure you have a decent computer, and that you have Adobe CC. I have several checklists that go over everything you need to do to launch your business in the shop section of my blog.
5. Visualize. But a notebook and keep all notes for your freelance business in it. Hopes, dreams, logo ideas, a to-do list - anything and everything. Think about what life will be like as a freelancer. Write out a schedule of how you want to structure your day when you are self-employed. Write out your marketing strategy, and brainstorm ways to find clients. The more time you spend thinking about freelancing, the more you will feel prepared to tackle the unknown.
6. Tell everyone. Tell your friends and family that you are planning on launching a freelance business. You may not get support from everyone, but that's okay. Just keep in mind that they probably know nothing about this line of work. Therefore, don't let their opinions influence you. This will give them time to get used to the idea, before you just announce that you quit your job. It will also show them that you've carefully thought this through. Also, telling everyone is a great way to spread the word and find new potential clients.
I guarantee that once you do these things, you will feel much more ready to quit your day job. This is because you will finally feel prepared. If you are still hesitating, you just need to wait it out. I promise you will wake up one day and know it's time. Until then, have patience and keep working at your launching your business.
One trick I recommend - I bought post-it notes of everything I wanted to accomplish to set up my business. Then, I hung them all on a wall in my house. Each day, I would try to take a couple down. The closer I got to an empty wall, the more ready I felt.
Just lean in to launching your business, and you will get there in no time!