I Quit My Job: Where I Went Wrong

I tried, through my previous posts, to adequately cover the reasoning, and process, of quitting my job.  One thing that I didn’t cover, however, was the mistakes I made along the way.  I think that, partially, I couldn’t because I hadn’t had enough time to ruminate on them.  I also think that I couldn’t because I didn’t want to expose my weaknesses.  Now, I’ve had time to think about it, and I think I can easily identify the things that I would do differently should I have the opportunity to try again.  Maybe they aren’t all mistakes (I don’t count some of them that way).

Quitting Your Job The Right Way

One of the biggest changes I would likely have made would have been to quit the right way.  The decision I made, while necessary, was made quickly (over two days), and without much fore-planning.  Part of the motivation was that I had wanted out of the job for quite some time.  How much I wanted out wasn’t really clear until after I was out.  In hindsight, I should have started making moves well before I did.  Unfortunately, I was mired in the comfort of a position that I had held for over seven years.  Lesson learned: comfort is nice, but freedom is nicer.

Have a Full Plan B

Because of the hastiness of my departure from my position, I didn’t have a full plan B.  I had no idea where the money was coming from to even partially replace my income.  What income I had wasn’t dependable.  In a way, I was smart enough to at least get a part-time job.  But, without a full plan B, I think it was likely doomed to fail.

Wrong Way

Get After IT

This is probably the biggest mistake I made through the whole ordeal.  I quit my job, without a plan B, and then didn’t get after it nearly as much as I could have.  I wanted to focus entirely on my blogs and websites and grow them to at least a part-time income.  I severely underestimated the time it would take to do so, and should have spread my roots a bit and taken on other small projects to fill in dead time, and especially, fill in dead income spots.  Towards the end of this round of self-employment, I started to realize that I needed to pick up my game, but by then it was too little, too late.

Have an Exit Plan

Nobody likes to think that they are going to fail.  Just like nobody likes to think that they are going to get into a car accident or die, but we still buy car insurance and life insurance anyways.  While you can’t just go out and buy entrepreneurial failure insurance, you can have an exit plan so that you not only know when it’s time to move on to the next thing, but you also have a plan on how to get there.  I had none of that.  As a consequence, I probably waited several weeks too long to even begin looking for a new full-time job, and risked not getting something in time to fill in the income I needed when our savings was depleted.  I got lucky.  My first paycheck at my new position came only a few days after the last transfer from the savings account happened.  Even so, we’re still struggling to keep up without that cushion that we had grown accustomed to.

I Would Do It All Over Again

Despite all those mistakes I made, I would still do it all over again.  I know the mistakes I made, and am better able to prepare myself to not make them again.  I’m not afraid of failing.  At least not to such a degree that it prevents me from trying.  It’s a little bit like riding a bike.  You’re going to fall off.  It’s going to hurt.  But, you’re going to get back on the bike because you like riding your bike.  I like riding the entrepreneurial bike!

img credit : Crystl, on Flickr

I Quit My Job: Back to Work

This is a bit of a hard post to write. If you’ve been following the I Quit My Job series, you’ll know that I quit my full-time job back in November 2011 and have been working a part-time job and running my websites ever since.  With any journey that entails so much change, things are always changing.  Several weeks ago, I made the decision that it was about time to start looking for a new full time job.

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Why, you ask?  Do you want the simple answer, or the complicated one?  The simplest answer is that I’m running out of money, and need to earn more.  Obviously, there’s more to it than that, but that reason is the largest of the bunch.  In truth, it’s less of a reason as it is a symptom for a few other reasons.  One of the biggest of those reasons is a lack of preparedness.  When I quit my job, it wasn’t after months of planning and saving.  It was a decision that I came to after a week and was based far more on an unhappiness with the position I was in.  I don’t regret having made that decision, and I truly feel like I’m in a better situation now than I was there.  The fit of the position and I had fallen out of sync, and it was time for me to go.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t the soundest decision financially.

When I quit, I decided to give the new situation of blogging and a part-time job 6 months to see where it went.  While the part-time job remained fairly stable, the blogging income has been anything but.  My income on that front has fluctuated by several hundred dollars from month to month, and hasn’t grown at the rate that I had hoped it would.  Because of that, and the fact that I was operating on limited funds to cover any differences between my income and what we needed to pay bills, I’ve got to make the right move here and get a job.

In a way, I feel like I’ve failed.  But, sometimes, you have to fail in order to move ahead.  I’ve failed in that I wasn’t able to grow the income from this and other sites at a rate that would allow me to continue doing what I’ve been doing for the last 7 months.  I’ve failed in that I wasn’t able to see that lack of growth in time to find better (other) ways to increase my income.

I’ll be in a better place.  The new job is at a company that I feel is much more in-line with what I want in an employer.  They’ve got a very progressive business model that I feel is very unique in North Dakota, and was key in my making the decision to accept their offer.  While looks can be deceiving sometimes, I don’t think that they’re that far off.  Many of the issues that I had with my previous employer don’t exist at my new employer from what I can tell.  Time will tell, but I truly believe that I’ll like and enjoy my new job.

I’ve struggled a bit over the last few weeks, after I accepted the position, as to what it meant for the direction of this site as well as my other sites.  What I’ve decided is that Beating Broke isn’t going anywhere.  I really, really enjoy the interactions with you, and the writing that I do here.  I may have to scale a few of my other sites back a lot, and will likely get rid of a few of them as well.  I may even scale back how often I write here, but at the moment, I plan on continuing the 3 a week schedule that I’ve been keeping.

That decision is two-fold.  I enjoy Beating Broke as a creative outlet.  I also am not giving up on my dream to do this on a more full-time basis.  I want to continue to grow the site as best I can so that I might, someday, be able to come back to what I’ve been doing the last 7 months.  But, hopefully, next time, I’ll do it right and do a lot more planning and saving in order to do that.

What would you have done in my position?  What other thoughts do you have? How about questions?

I Quit My Job: How I Did It; and You Can Too

One of the first things that you, I, or anyone else will likely worry about when contemplating quitting our jobs is the financial aspect of doing so.  We’ll worry about whether we’ll be able to make enough money, on our own, to pay our bills.  We’ll worry about whether that income, if it is enough, will be steady.  We’ll worry about how we’ll make that money, and whether the income streams that we have are going to be robust enough to scale to a point where we can securely quit our jobs and work for ourselves.  I know they were things that were foremost on my mind when I was deciding whether I should quit my job or not.  In the end, I decided that it was time to let go of some of my fears, and take the leap towards self employment.  Taking that leap was not an easy thing to do.  Here’s how I was able to do it, and how you can too.

Get your Finances in Order.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it.  It’s not.  If it were, there would be a lot of personal finance bloggers who would be blogging about something else today.  Myself included.  Despite what some people believe, personal finance isn’t a simple thing to master.  I know I haven’t done it.  I’m a little bit further along the curve than some, and further behind than others.  When I first started blogging about personal finance, it was during a very dark time in my personal finances.  My wife and I had been wondering if we were going to have to declare bankruptcy, and paying our bills each month was a juggling act with balls that were destined to fall.  Somewhere in that time period, I discovered other personal finance blogs, and through them, Dave Ramsey.  I ordered, and then read, Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover.  It was the beginning of a financial turnaround for us.  Ramsey’s book Kathmandu , Nepal,Himalayas,Everestgave us the financial know-how and direction to turn our finances around.  With the help of that book, and the amazing community of personal finance blogs, our finances became something that was far less of a worry for us.  That was over 5 years ago now. If we hadn’t had that turnaround, and hadn’t, as a result, gotten our finances in order, there is no way that I would have been able to do what I did.  We have been aggressively paying down our debt and refusing new debt whenever possible.

If you’re a regular reader here, you are familiar with the story leading up to the day I quit my job.  We had become a bit lax in our financial governance, were about to buy a new house, and were suffering from a severe case of lifestyle creep.  Our lifestyle had grown along with our incomes.  We still were attempting to pay down our debt, and we were still avoiding new debt in most places, but we could have been doing so much more than we were.  That’s our fault.  We got comfortable with our income, got comfortable with the luxuries that we had let creep into our lives, and we had lost sight of our end goals.  The day that I decided to quit my job, we took all that back, and started actively working towards our goals again.

In a way, my quitting has been a blessing.  It’s given us a renewed perspective on what we need, how much we need, and what we can do without.  If you think you are going to quit  your job or just want to quit your job, you can’t do it without having a firm grasp on your finances, and truly having them in order.

Cut Your Costs.

Part of getting your finances in order, and a large part of being able to make it without the once steady income that you made at your job, is cutting your costs to a level that is sustainable, given your new income level.  I went from a mid 5 figure a year salary with steady paychecks every two weeks to a part time job that I get 20 hours a week at and an inconsistent online income.  In the time since I quit, and now, we’ve cut our costs dramatically.  When I was still employed, we were spending nearly $6,000 a month.  That includes debt repayment, but is still a pretty large number.  Now, we’ve cut our costs by about $2,000.  If you had asked me in October of last year if we could do that, I would have told you that you were nuts.  But, we found a way to do it.  And, so can you.  It’s all a matter of motivation.  Do you have the motivation to cut costs so that you can give your dream the wings it needs?

Work Your Ass Off.

Have your finances in order.  Cut all the costs you can.  None of that will amount to a hill of beans unless you are ready and willing to work your ass off.  It’s something that I still struggle with.  Every job you’ve ever had has conditioned you to expect to have someone telling you what you had to do.  Everywhere you’ve ever worked, you’ve had a supervisor looking over your shoulder giving you the tasks that you were to work on, setting your yearly goals for you, and keeping you motivated to do them with the threat of unemployment.  Once you quit your job, and decide to work for yourself, that all ends.  It sounds freeing doesn’t it?  It is.  And, it isn’t.  You have to become your own supervisor.  Your only motivator is to make your choice valid, and make enough money to live off of.  You aren’t going to get fired for spending 4 hours a day on Facebook anymore; You’re going to go broke.  Scary, no?

As scary as that may sound, it is freeing.  You’ll have the freedom to make the choice to work your ass off.  It’s something that, even now, almost 3 months later, I still struggle with.  There have been days where I haven’t done a damn thing.  And, I’ve regretted each one of them.  Each day spend screwing off has cost me potential money.  If I don’t get anything written for this site, or any of my other sites, it’s one less article that you’ll enjoy reading (I hope), and one less well written article to attract new readers, and new advertisers.  Because of the long lasting ability of any article that I write, the repercussions of a missed article can be exponential.  What you choose to do, may not be writing content for websites, but you’ll likely see the same trend.  And you’ll likely struggle to keep yourself on task without a supervisor.  I’m learning, and you will too, that you have to provide that supervisory oversight for your new venture.  It’s no longer a matter of keeping your job, but of keeping your bills paid, you heat on, and the foreclosure agent from your front door.  Work your ass off.

Have a Little Hope (And Faith).

None of what I’ve said is the most important part of this.  Without hope, you are destined to fail.  You have to have hope that you will succeed.  You have to have hope that you’ll overcome any mistakes you make.  You have to have hope that you will prevail, and make your venture grow roots and blossom.  You have to have faith in yourself, that you can do the things you need to do to make your venture a success.  Without hope and faith, you will fail.  I can tell you, first hand, that there are going to be days when both your hope and your faith will falter.  There will be days that you feel like you’ve started on the trail to scale Mt. Everest.  The air is getting thin, and all you want to do is, stop, turn around, and head back to the comfy, warm, job you had before.  But, like anyone who has attempted to climb that mountain, you have to keep climbing.  The trail may change directions from time to time, but the goal is the same.  Find ways to renew your hope through community, family, and friends.  I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive family, friends, and the community of personal finance bloggers to help me keep that hope, and keep my faith.  You can find that too.

Get your finances in order, dramatically cut your costs, work your ass off, and keep your hope and faith alive.  Reach your summit.
photo credit: ilkerender