Secure your future then quit your job: a 7 step plan
At risk of stating the obvious the very first step to take towards leaving your job and living a more flexible, financially independent life is to make the decision that this is what you want to do.
I’m not talking about getting up one morning and spontaneously quitting your job, I’m talking about making the decision that you want to live a more flexible life that provides you with the freedom to make a living on your own terms, working hours that suit you, from wherever you happen to be.
For me, it has taken one hell of a kick in the pants to realise that life’s direction can turn on a dime without notice and that there is much more to life than the repeated cycle of going to work, spending money, acquiring things, going to work to pay for what you have spent, spending more money …
I just wish I had reached this conclusion before life shifted under my feet as I would have been in a much better position to adapt and move on.
Anyway enough about me and onto the plan.
Make the decision
One of the most common things preventing people from moving from a job to a more flexible and often more fulfilling lifestyle is that they don’t know how or are too nervous to take the first step.
Overcoming this is simple … Just make the decision … You don’t have to quit your job today but you definitely need to commit to working towards and looking forward to the day you no longer require it.
Break the spending cycle
Many people spend more than they earn and are constantly on the back foot servicing the debt they incur as a result. This is often a self-perpetuating cycle as paying interest on debt means that there is less money to spend each month.
If you are in this situation the breaking the spending cycle is a very important first step towards reducing the amount of income you need to replace in order to live.
The best way to break this cycle in the short term is to eliminate spending on anything other than the bare necessities and get to the point where you are spending less than you earn.
When deciding whether something is a necessity or not get into the habit of asking yourself a few basic questions such as:
- Do I need to spend this money to keep a roof over my head?
- Do I need to spend this money to stay healthy?
- Do I need to spend this money to stay clothed?
- Do I need to spend this money to keep my family healthy?
- Do I need to spend this money to earn an income?
If something is not a necessity then think very carefully when making a decision as to whether you spend money on it, at least in the short term.
Find Gigs to increase your income
The next thing to do is to start finding alternative sources of income or ‘gigs’ which will assist in breaking the spending cycle and eventually become a reliable, secure source of income.
It’s unlikely that the first online gig you pick up will enable you to quit your job so just get started with what you can get while you look for better opportunities. By doing this you will make a bit of extra money and prove to yourself that you are capable of earning a living independently of your job.
Once you have successfully landed your first gig keep looking for more, having a few on the go is a good idea as it diversifies your income and means that if there is no work available from one of your gigs you can always work on another and when there is plenty of work you can prioritize the work that pays the best.
Another great option is to create your own income stream from a blog or a website, this will take hard work and persistence but once you have succeeded they can be a great source of passive income and a valuable asset than can be sold in the future. The other advantage of doing something like this for yourself is that you are your own boss and you have complete control so you are unlikely to get fired.
Increase your earning potential
The best way to improve your earning potential is to invest time and money in self-development and the tools you need to make a living.
Tools of the trade are items like laptop computers, phones, headphones, and cameras which can be used for copywriting, free-lance photography, website testing, coding, and an array of other opportunities. You don’t need the absolute best of everything but you do need to ensure that your equipment is reliable and fit for purpose.
Keeping your skills current and continually building on them is a great way to increase your earning potential, there are many people out there competing for work that requires lower levels of skill so the pay rate gets driven down. One of the best ways to differentiate yourself and increase your value is to become better than average in your field or to develop skills in emerging fields where competition is much less.
Self-development could be as simple as taking a free online photography course then going outside and practising or as adventurous as flying to an exotic location to participate in a copywriting Bootcamp. It really depends on how much time you have and how much money you are able to invest.
It is also a great idea to create an online CV which you can refer potential customers or employers to when offering your services. An up to date, professional, well presented online is an extremely useful way to highlight your skills to prospective customers.
Pay down debt
Clearing debt can reduce the amount of income you need to live by reducing the amount you spend servicing your debt, basically, it starts to reverse the bad debt cycle by freeing up income that can be used to clear more debt, save, or otherwise invest.
If you have significant debt that isn’t somehow making you money then a good step towards freeing yourself up is to use your increased income and the savings you have made from reduced spending to clear, starting with your highest cost credit first e.g. Credit & Store cards.
Put money aside
When you finally take the plunge and leave your job it is likely that you will take a drop in income which will take a bit of adjustment. This transition will be made a lot easier if you have some money put away.
With this in mind, once you have cleared your most expensive debt it would be a good idea to start putting money aside to help you through this transition period and any future hiccups that life presents.
Investing the money you save can also be a good source of passive income that can help make life much easier in the future.
Decide what to do next.
With a bit of planning, discipline and effort you will hopefully soon get to the point where you look at your reduced expenses compared to your income and realise that you do not need your everyday job any more.
Once you get this point you have much more flexibility to do whatever you choose with your life rather than what your job demands.
Some options might be :
- Change nothing and keep your old job sound in the knowledge that you don’t need it and need it even less with every payday that passes.
- Quit your job and live a life with less stress and more flexibility to do what you want.
- Sell up and become a digital nomad for a while.
It’s really up to your imagination once you have secured the freedom you desire and the income you need to support it.