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Quitting. It’s not something that entrepreneurs are accustomed to, especially when it comes to work. Entrepreneurs don’t often shy away from hard work, especially when it means a paycheck or some other form of reward. Quitting you job, when done correctly, can be a great source of motivation for and entrepreneur launching their company. If done at the wrong time, however, it can be a source of frustration and fear as money troubles can quickly ensue without proper preparation. Read my story below and why I chose to embrace my fear of quitting my job for the good of my business.
Let me start of by saying, quitting your job when you have debt, a child, etc. may not be the best option for you until revenue streams are established. Everyone is going to have a different situation regarding their finances so quitting might not be in the cards for you quite yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t begin taking steps towards cutting the chord with your current employer. Make a financial plan and set a time limit. I blew past my original time limit at my job (December 31st, 2013), but I believe that that time limit was one of the driving forces to finally quitting mid-January as it always lingered in my mind that I was too scared to jump.
This week, I quit my job. I wasn’t feeling motivated and had been basically filing papers since Christmas. The promise of fulfilling work after college has largely been a myth for me in traditional 9-5 jobs. The current job market largely makes new grads take jobs they are overqualified for with less pay than the golden 60K salary promised to us when we began school. Here I was, with a degree in international economics, filing papers. It drove me nuts. I had been working on my company, Export Abroad, after I got home from work and couldn’t wait until I could go completely full time at it. All I had to do was bide my time and save some money so I could make my dream happen.
This week, I decided that it was finally time to take the plunge. I had saved about 4-6 months worth of a financial runway for myself which I believe should be enough time to get my company completely up and running. I will be completely honest and say that I was definitely more scared when I handed my two weeks in that I though I would be. The whole morning before I handed in my two weeks doomsday scenarios were going through my head. “What if my company fails?”, “What if I can’t find another job?”, “Have I underestimated how much money I need?” were all thoughts going through my head. It was almost like my subconscious mind was trying to talk myself out of it.
When you quit your job, society as a whole doesn’t necessarily get it. I told my co-workers that I was quitting to start a company and I was met mainly with, “Why would you want to give up a paycheck?” and “Oh that’s cute, you want to be an entrepreneur”. These reactions gave me more drive to prove them wrong that I could create my own paycheck and that entrepreneurship isn’t some cute phase I am going through. Barely anyone could understand why I wanted to set off on my own. It makes you question if you are making the right decision. I still can’t answer if it was the right decision, but I do know that I won’t be looking back wondering if I had the guts and brains to make it as an entrepreneur.
I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.
- Jeff Bezos
After I handed in my two weeks notice and the fear wore off, I felt like a new person. I had renewed vigor to make something really cool and more drive to get cash flow positive. I would say my new motivation was part fear, drive, and wanting to prove people wrong. It was an extremely freeing thought knowing that I am about to embark on a journey where I control my destiny. That sounds extremely cliche, but it’s true. If you can get over the fear of not having a weekly paycheck, the idea of complete freedom quickly becomes intoxicating.
I know my path to success isn’t going to be a direct course to financial freedom. There is still a lot that is uncertain about what comes for my future. I think a lot of entrepreneurs feel this as they set out on any venture that they create. It is important as entrepreneurs to embrace this uncertainty as there is going to be a lot of it when starting a company. Anything from fixing bugs to finding money for payroll is going to have some basic element of uncertainty. Knowing that you can embrace the uncertainty and tackle problems that will arise with a calm mind is going to help keep your sanity and allow you to make rational decisions for your company. When you’re ready, take the plunge. It might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.