Life Without a Day Job: All You Need to Know

 


“I 
feel so screwed!” my friend told me over the phone the other day. “I can’t believe I used to go to an office every day for so many years. I now realize I hate it: the lighting, noise, and inability to open a window without discussing it with fourteen colleagues. I should’ve quit years ago. I just thought that’s what you were supposed to do.”

This friend of mine is in the middle of switching careers — she’s clocking fewer hours as a marketing executive in favour of building a list of clients for her practice as a therapist.

And she’s never been happier.

I knew what she was talking about. I quit my job back in 2014 to pursue life coaching, and it’s been seven years now that I haven’t had a day job. Haven’t had a boss, haven’t had to go anywhere or do anything I didn’t want to. I’ve gotten so used to it that I sometimes forget some people still hurry in the morning and sit in traffic around 6 pm.

The Internet is full of people telling you not to quit your job to pursue doing what you love. I’m here to tell you the oposite — do it, just be aware it’s not all butterflies flying through a pink fog.

In a while, the pink fog lifts and… Well, let me elaborate.

“The reality, as Seth Godin so aptly puts it, is that the motivational quotes that tell you “Quitters never win and winners never quit” are wrong. Winners quit all the time — they just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

Your new way of life.

Your first few months without a job, you’ll spend most of your time either watching daytime TV or working on what you’ve always wanted to work on — most probably, it’ll be some mixture of both. That’s how it was for Cheryl Strayed as she was trying to write her first book.

Embrace it. If you feel like relaxing, relax. You need it to adjust to this new life.

If you feel like working, work. It’s the best way to use your newfound enthusiasm that will soon fade.

Start getting used to doing things on your terms. Don’t hurry into building new routines. Just go with the flow. Do yoga in the morning or sleep in. Or work in the morning and take long walks in the afternoon. Whatever you need for your brain and body to adapt.

And daydream. Do lots of daydreaming. It’s the most natural way for your new goals to come into focus.

You’ll regret it.

As the excitement starts to fade away, the regret will settle in.

Your former colleagues will call you to go shopping with them, and you won’t have the money. You’ll see their pictures on work trips or company parties while you’re at home in your pyjamas, having ice cream and tears for breakfast.

Your business, novel, blog, whatever, won’t be going as well or as fast as you’d hoped.

Chances are that’s when your car will break down, your dog will need surgery, or your partner will break up. That’s life for you.

You’ll start considering getting another job or returning to your previous one. Don’t.

You’ll grow in ways you can’t imagine.

“Dr. Seery says his study shows that, under the right conditions, experiencing some adversity may foster resilience. Participants were asked whether they had experienced each of 37 negative events and the ages at which they occurred. Subjects with a history of some lifetime adversity showed lower distress, fewer symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and higher life satisfaction.” — The Wall Street Journal

When I was trying to make my coaching business work, I learned a lot about doing a business online, but even more about myself. I became aware of fears I never knew before, and I leaned into relationships I didn’t deem important.

When you put yourself in unfamiliar situations, you’ll see unfamiliar outcomes — one of them is that you become this whole new awesome person you didn’t even know you could be.

A brave person who won’t take no for an answer. A person who really goes after his or her dreams. A person who can handle adversity.

Ultimately, you’ll become the person who can achieve your goals. But hold on, there's more to do before that happens.

Changing directions is allowed.

Researchers from Stanford recently concluded that “follow your passion” is bad advice because it makes people think that pursuing a passion will be easy. Believers are then more likely to give up when they face challenges or roadblocks.

That being said, Alison Doyle, a human resources expert, says switching careers is among the best reasons for leaving a job.

So what’s the truth? Should we follow our passion or not? You should! In fact, you’re allowed to change directions multiple times to find your passion.

I quit a job in sales to become a life coach. Then I quit life coaching to become a copywriter. I recently quit copywriting to become a blogger and finally write a novel that’s worth a damn.

Some things you’ll quit because they aren’t working. That’s okay. Learning to admit when something isn’t working without being able to blame it on your boss or colleagues — that’s one of the awesome new ways you’ll grow.

Some things you’ll quit even though they work fine (even great) because you’ll discover they aren’t your things.

Just don’t quit anything for the wrong reason: it’s too difficult.

You’ll make more money than you made at your job.

About a year and a half after quitting my job, I started making as much as I made on my job, only without annoying bosses and working hours. Yay!

In a few months, I doubled my income. Then, a year later, I doubled it again.

In my best month ever as a freelance copywriter, I made about $12K.

The money is coming as long as you don’t give up. In fact, you’ll suddenly become so aware of all the ways you can make money; it will become difficult to choose just one.

It’s not all about the money.

When you get settled in this new way of life, and you realize you can work a lot and make a lot, or you can work a little less and make a little less, or you can even hire people and eventually work very few hours for good money…

You stop caring about the money that much.

That’s not to say you don’t want to make money. If anything, you want to make even more. You just want the right money. After you’ve done a little of this and a little of that, you finally understand with crystal clarity what you want to do with your life, how you want to contribute.

This is the only thing you want to do for money. Also, it’s usually your best shot at making as much money as you possibly can.

You come at a crossroad, and if you’ve grown enough, you choose to lose a bit of income to focus on your ultimate goal. It’s not just about the money anymore. It’s about being fully you and doing what you love and what you’re great at.

You’ll become very conscious about managing your time.

You have no idea how much 8 hours is until you stop going to an office.

Eight hours is so much time! It’s ridiculous. Now, during my most productive days, I work 5–6 hours tops. In that time, I usually manage to write 2–3 articles, edit one of them and prepare it for publishing and write about 1000 words of my novel (or edit a couple of chapters).

That’s a lot of work!

And I still have a few hours to spare compared to the time I spent in an office.

Now that you control your time, you become a master in distributing it correctly among work, family, your partner or whatever else it might be.

It’s the first step to something greater.

Before I quit my job, I was often asked, “Can’t you combine your “side hustle” and your job for a while? Why in such a hurry to leave?”

You already know why. I could never have this experience if I were still at my job. When you leave your work, it’s like your ship takes off the harbour, and you’re on an adventure. There’s good in it, and there’s bad. You reach new lands; you stop for a little while, then you set sail again.

You learn, and you grow, and you experience life in a way you can’t possibly experience life while you’re still in your safe little harbour, your anchor weighing you down, keeping you close to the shore.

It’s a journey worth taking. At least once in your grown life, it’s worth it to live without someone else giving you a schedule and setting your goals for you.

And it’s not just me. Even Tim Denning wrote recently about the awesome effects of metaphorically falling on your face from time to time.

So save some money, generate some money-making ideas that excite you and anchors away. You deserve to know what’s behind the horizon.

Spoiler: it’s a much greater version of you.

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