Quitting your stable 9 to 5 job to go all in on your business or side hustle is a big decision. While it can lead to more freedom and success, it also comes with considerable risk. In this article, I’ll share how I was able to successfully quit my 9 to 5 job after just 3 weeks to pursue entrepreneurship full-time.
I’ll provide context on how I got started, give an overview of my income progression, and most importantly, detail the specific steps and criteria I used to determine if I was ready to make the leap. My personal situation may differ from yours, but you can use the framework I followed to assess if you’re prepared to leave your job. I’ll also offer tips on how to set yourself up for success when transitioning to working for yourself.
Getting Started with a Side Hustle in University
I graduated high school in 2019 and went straight into a business program at university. My grandparents generously paid for my tuition, which was an immense help.
In 2021, while still completing my degree, I began freelancing on the side after a professor suggested cold calling local businesses. I started off slowly, making around $200 that summer by cold messaging people on social media.
In 2022, with graduation approaching, I continued freelancing while also applying for corporate jobs related to my major. I ended up accepting a position that paid around $50k per year.
However, after just 2 weeks, I realized that a typical office job didn’t align with my personality and interests. I valued the freedom and fulfillment that came from working for myself.
The Turning Point: Earning More Freelancing than at My Day Job
A pivotal moment came when I closed a freelance client during my lunch break that would pay more than I earned in a month at my job.
That’s when it clicked that I could likely earn more focusing full-time on freelancing than staying at my comfortable but uninspiring office job.
My expenses were minimal at the time since I still lived at home. I knew if I dedicated all my energy into freelancing and learning high-income skills, I could cover my bills.
Evaluating If I Was Ready to Quit My Job
Before handing in my notice, I carefully evaluated if I was prepared to quit:
- Low Expenses: My monthly bills were around $2k total, consisting of rent, car, gas, food, etc. I had some savings as a buffer too.
- Side Income: I already had a few regular freelance clients bringing in $3-4k per month.
- Skills: I had 1 year experience doing freelance web design and cold outreach. I knew I could keep acquiring skills too.
- Growth Potential: My freelance income was steadily rising month to month. I expected it to keep increasing as I gained more experience.
Given my low expenses and existing freelance income of $3-4k per month, I felt ready to take the risk of quitting my job.
I handed in my 2 weeks notice 3 weeks after starting at the company. They were understandably surprised given my short tenure, but supportive of my decision.
My Goal: Learning High-Income Skills
Once I quit, my priority became rapidly developing skills that would allow me to command a high income. This included:
- Purchasing online courses related to sales and digital marketing
- Joining a paid mastermind group for extra mentorship
- Reading books and blogs to expand my knowledge
I invested over $20k that year in educational programs. It was scary spending that much, but proved to be worth it.
Within 2 months, the additional skills I gained helped me earn back what I spent on the courses. More importantly, it expanded my income potential tremendously going forward.
For example, I learned SEO and lead generation tactics that allowed me to start attracting ideal new clients consistently.
Tracking My Income Progress After Quitting
To hold myself accountable, I tracked my earnings progress each year:
- 2021 (While in University): $200 total from freelancing
- 2022 (After quitting job): $18,000 total from freelancing
- 2023: Over $100,000 in revenue
Obviously, this income growth is not typical for most new entrepreneurs. It just demonstrates how investing in high-income skills can pay off tremendously if applied correctly.
Tips for Quitting Your Job to Work for Yourself
If you’re thinking about quitting your 9 to 5 job to work full-time on your business, here are some tips:
1. Cut expenses and build savings. Lower your monthly bills as much as realistically possible. Save up a buffer of ideally 6+ months of living costs.
2. Start freelancing on the side. Ease into entrepreneurship by freelancing on evenings/weekends. Make sure you can consistently cover your lowered expenses.
3. Invest in education. Spend on courses and mentors that align with your business goals before and after quitting. This can significantly boost your skills and income potential.
4. Have a plan. Know how you’ll acquire new clients/customers once you transition to full-time. Don’t quit without a solid game plan in place!
5. Make the leap. If you’ve done the preparation and have a plan, take the chance on yourself. Commit fully and work harder than ever before.
Quitting your 9 to 5 job can be scary but ultimately rewarding. While my personal story won’t be identical to yours, hopefully the steps I took can help you evaluate if and when you’re ready to make the transition to full-time entrepreneurship. Focus on lowering expenses, building skills, and executing a plan post-quitting. If you prepare diligently and commit 100%, you can build a successful business that offers more freedom and upside than a typical office job.