You’re unhappy in the corporate world and thinking about quitting your full-time job to pursue your side hustle – that thing you’re truly passionate about. Believe me, I’ve been there and done that. In 2012, I quit my full-time job in Corporate Communications to pursue a full-time career in Health Coaching. Now, six years later, I often have conversations with other aspiring Health Coaches who are also thinking about doing the same. The decision to take that leap is highly personal and only you’ll know when and if it’s right for you, but here are some important things to consider before quitting your full-time job.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I had a full-time corporate job, I took my benefits – and they were generous – for granted. You may be able to live without the free snacks and gym stipend, but what about health insurance? It isn’t cheap. Make sure you’ve explored all options and have a solid plan for how you’ll secure coverage. If you’re married, you can likely take advantage of your spouse’s coverage. A select few plans allow for unmarried partners to be on the same plan, but definitely explore all your options.
Here’s why it’s important: In case of an emergency, health insurance is a must-have. Unplanned, out-of-pocket expenses are high and can set you back or send you into debt if you’re not prepared.
I started Health Coaching part-time while I was still working my full-time corporate job. Truthfully, I never thought I would leave my full-time job but a year in, I changed my mind. Even though I wasn’t initially planning to venture out on my own, I still had a number in mind for where I wanted my savings to be if and when I did. Here’s the twist, I did leave my job before I reached that number exactly, but having that goal in mind was a helpful guage for me to know what I needed to fall back on. Even though I hadn’t reached my goal yet, I was still able to make it work because I knew given my living expenses, I could use what I had in savings for a certain amount of time if need be.
Here’s why it’s important: The security of a regular paycheck is gone when you work for yourself. At times, monthly income can be sporadic. A cushion takes financial stress out of the equation as you’re finding your groove the first few months. The peace of mind you get from knowing you can pay your rent is priceless.
There may be days now when you wish you could hole up and escape your co-workers or trade your cubicle for a home office, but know that working from home can be incredibly isolating and lonely. Know from where you pull inspiration and energy. For me, it’s a mix of solo home work and buzzy coffee shops or co-working spaces. When I need to crank out a lot of work on a deadline, I take advantage of a co-working space. If I just need to reply to a lot of emails, I’ll head to a coffee shop.
Why it’s important: It’s healthy to get out of the house and be around people in some way whether you work with a remote team or by yourself.
Planning for the future runs the gamut. Whether it’s updating your resume, creating a sales funnel, having a business plan, devising a daily schedule, knowing your Plan B or mapping a timeline for quitting your full-time job, planning for the future is a critical part of being a business owner. A strategic plan tells you where you’re going, how’ll you’ll get there and how to detour if need be. I made this mistake when I left my full-time job and learned from it the hard way. I had a list of items I wanted to accomplish, but no real focus or prioritization. With my never-ending to-do list came overwhelm and paralysis. I discovered that I can do it all, but not all at once.
Separately, I consider every skill I’ve developed as I’ve grown my Health Coaching practice marketable from a career standpoint. To that end, I regularly update my resume to keep on file. This has proven useful for landing brand sponsorships to securing speaking gigs. If I do ever want to go back to a corporate job (probably not, but hey – you never know!), I won’t have to start from scratch with a resume.
Why it’s important: You can never be too prepared. It ensures you have a clear path forward and avoid getting stuck in the weeds.
If you’re thinking about quitting your full-time job to become a solopreneur, only you will know if and when it’s time to leave. Sure, some people jump ship and fly by the seat of their pants successfully, but if you want to do so thoughtfully and increase your chances of success, these tips should get you thinking in the right direction.