You’ve got a great idea that you’re SUPER excited about! You’re so excited, in fact, that you’re thinking about quitting your job and diving straight into this idea—whether it’s a business vision, a brilliant book proposal, or just an epic road trip. But where do you start? And how to figure out whether quitting your job is the best course of action? Ask yourself these questions first:
- Why do you want to undertake this great idea?
- What will happen if you fail? (I.E.: The business makes no $, the book idea flops, or your car breaks down halfway through your trip, and you’ve got no money left for a new one.)
- How much money have you got saved up?
- What do you hope to accomplish during the next few weeks? In 6 months? In a year? Maybe even 5 years down the road?
- How much does it cost for you to LIVE? Include rent, utilities, food, alcohol, and all the odds and ends like coffee, Christmas presents and car and doctor visits. Break it down and try to figure out your EXACT number; mine is between $1,500 and $2,000 a month. If I cut back, I’d save a couple hundred, but not much more. Be realistic, not optimistic.
- How far will your savings go? If your lifestyle is $2,000 a month, and you have $10,000 saved, you can expect to survive for five months before getting yourself into a jam, and that’s assuming nothing BIG goes wrong, like a broken leg or a totaled car. If you choose to quit your job and haven’t made any money by the four-month mark, go find another job. Keep pushing toward your goal, but ground yourself in the knowledge that we all need money to survive.
- Can you reach your goal and keep your job? If I had stuck with my job and dedicated every Saturday to my writing goals, I would have accomplished probably half what I’ve done, but it would have been during longer, more focused intervals. Some people work best under pressure. That can mean deadlines, another job, or the fear of running out of money and living in a cardboard box in your dad’s backyard. Whatever it is that drives you and sends you in the direction of your goal (and hopefully money, too) find it, grab hold, and let it push you forward.
Whatever your decision, remember to always make a list of your immediate, short-term and long-term goals. Figure out what you need to do to reach them and go for it. I want to write for a living, so I’m taking an Intro. To Entrepreneurship class, I’m reading The Copyeditor’s Handbook from cover to cover, and I’m writing, revising, and submitting my work to as many publications as possible. I am also obsessed with money, so although my savings are far from depleted, I’m looking for a second job to supplement the class I’m teaching. I also desire a physical work environment, which is why I quit my job in the first place; stationary doesn’t work for me. Identify your needs before leaving your job. But no matter what, keep striving for your goals and you will reach them.