When you quit your job to start a business, all sorts of new experiences plop themselves at your feet. I truly believe there’s nothing in this world that can prepare you for it. It’s a process that you have to go through on your own, in your way.
While this post is far from what I usually write about, I felt that I needed to get it out there. Many people have asked me, “How’d you do it??” The “it” being leaving my job to start JAM.
I’ve answered with… “Well, I got a few clients… realized they wanted to contract me for more hours… figured out it could work if I left my job… put in my notice and here we are.”
But, let’s be honest. While that IS what happened, here’s the real story.
31 Things that happen when you quit your job to start your own business
- You have an emotional breakdown. Or in my case, 372 of them.
Let me give it to you straight – this process is EMOTIONAL, for lack of a better word because there are no words for this. Every other thing on this list can (and in my case, did) trigger an emotional breakdown, whether it was something I was struggling with or something I was elated about.
- You cry. A lot.
Following the emotional breakdowns, you’ll cry. Some of you are already thinking, “You’re a chick. Of course you cried. That wouldn’t be the case for me.” Dude, I dare you NOT to cry during this process. It pulls at every single angle of you, bringing up your deepest fears, darkest corners, and your brightest moments, all of which are tear-inducing.
- You wonder, “Who the hell am I to be doing this?”
Oh, the doubt! I still feel it creep in here and there as I’ve fully left my full-time job and am completely self-employed. No matter your background, how much experience you have in the field of your business, doubt will make you seriously consider who the hell you are for being so brazen. So confident that this is going to work. It says, “But maybe you’re wrong” every damn day.
- You find someone that doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do.
Once you start attaching yourself to the idea of maybe this business could actually work and maybe you’ll actually take the leap out of your 9to5, you’ll want to talk about it. I had made the mistake before of talking about my ideas too soon, so this time I held my plans close for a long time, not speaking a word. When I finally did, I found that some people just simply didn’t get it. “Go out on your own? Really?” Like they had never even considered that for themselves or anyone else in their lives.
- You find someone that openly disagrees with your decision.
Those that simply don’t understand your move are easy to deal with. We can’t all be entrepreneurs – some people have to be level-headed enough to want to keep their jobs, even though that feels like absolute torture to those of us looking to make the leap. But you will come across someone that understands the move and distinctly gives their opinion that it’s a terrible idea. “You have a house to pay for. Think about your health insurance payments. Oh, and your taxes. Brit, you’ve got to think this through. You obviously haven’t.” On the contrary, I absolutely have.
- Someone worries for you.
Whether they understand why you’re making this move or not, someone will worry that you’re making the wrong move or that you’re not ready for this yet. They won’t say this because they love you and don’t want to show their doubt. But you’ll notice it.
- Normally important things just stop mattering.
My house was a mess, my shrubs didn’t get trimmed, my yard was overgrown, my car was dirty for way longer than it should have been. But when you’re building a business, those things don’t make the priority list. Big deal. You’re building a business.
- You wonder if you’re leaving something good.
Here’s that doubt creeping in again. Sure, you complain about your job, maybe outwardly, maybe just in your own thoughts. But you’ll wonder if you’re making it sound worse than it actually is. Am I being over-dramatic? Maybe it’s not so bad.
- You wonder if you’re getting into something awful.
There are millions of unknowns in this situation. You have no idea what it’s going to be like once you sever the 9to5 cord. You’ll wonder if it’s going to be as good as you’re hoping it will be.
- You are convinced that you’re in WAY over your head.
When you’re working your 9to5 and hustling your butt off on the side to figure out if this business is going to take roots and work, you ARE in way over your head. You’re working 40 hours a week, hustling another 30, and your mind never ever shuts off.
- You blair music to drown out all 5 trillion thoughts in your head.
I think I’ve lost a percentage of my hearing in the last few months because of this. Often times, there’s no other way out. Your mind is going a mile a minute every hour of the day. You try to shut it off. You try a little glass of wine – that just makes it worse the next day. You try working out – that puts your mind into overdrive because you get so pumped about your ideas and you feel like you can do ALL THE THINGS EVER. But the right music can finally drown it all out.
- You screw up royally.
You’re burning at both ends, spinning approximately 67 plates at once, not getting enough sleep, consistently forgetting to eat. You’re going to drop the ball in a big way. It’s inevitable. Then you pick up the pieces as best as you can and you move on because at this point, you’re committed.
- You forget something important.
Right along with screwing things up because your mind is a cluster of everything all at once, you’ll forget something big. Your phone at home, your lunch on the counter, the laundry in the washer for days – all child’s play. You’ll forget something like a client meeting or an appointment someone was counting on you to make. Get ready to throw your ego out the door, apologize, and move forward.
- You compare yourself to someone and lose all confidence.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Joy, maybe. But the thief confidence, definitely. And you know this. You know that you need to put your blinders on, unfollow people on social media that belittle you (usually without even knowing that they do it), block the haters, if you will. But you’ll have a weak moment, check that person’s Facebook account or read their latest BIG NEWS and want to just die. I blame the emotional disaster that you are for this one.
- You find out that it’s stupidly expensive to be healthy in America.
You will start pinching pennies, getting ready for your big leap, maybe NOT get the uber-healthy, name brand groceries you usually get. But you’ll also find out that health insurance, even when you’re as healthy as a horse, is just ridiculously expensive. Eh.
- You make huge decisions without blinking an eye.
You’ve developed so much commitment to your idea at this point that the big decisions are nothing. This MacBook or that one? Easy. This health insurance plan or that one? Easy. It makes no sense, but your brain can just do it.
- You find it almost impossible to make small, unimportant decisions.
Because you’ve made so many big ones throughout the day! There was a specific time that this became unbearable. I couldn’t decide where to go to dinner, what to order off the menu, if I wanted beer or wine, what kind of beer, what kind of wine, whether I was full or not. It just went on and on.
- You talk to yourself more than ever.
You are your number one asset now. Once you start seeing that self-worth, you become your own coach. In the shower, at 3 o’clock in the morning when you can’t sleep, at the office when no one’s there, every single time you get in your car. I even put my headphones in and went for a walk once, acting like I was talking to someone on the phone. Nope. Totally talking to myself. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, people.
- Time will pass without you noticing.
Like an entire summer, in my case. You’re working around the clock. You’ve got your head down, while others are living it up. But that won’t matter to you. You’re in this completely.
- You find someone that is 100% behind you.
Remember those people that didn’t get it and openly disagreed with this move? They get drowned out once you find someone that supports you unconditionally. If you’ve surrounded yourself with good people up until this point or are willing to go out and find this kind of support, you’re golden. It exists. Relish in it.
- You blair music because you’re so pumped!
Music drowns out the craziness and feeds the ecstatic energy you’ve got flowing through you. Blair it and love it.
- You finally have a moment of realizing that, wait, you CAN do this.
Amidst all the work you’re putting in, something will work out and you’ll finally realize you’re on the right path. You knew it! But now you really, really know it.
- You value your own time more than ever.
When you’re in a 9to5, your time doesn’t feel like your own. But then you start tracking how much time you’re working on your side hustle. You start seeing a little money come in from that hard work. Suddenly, your time holds a specific value and with more hard work, that value goes up and up.
- You look around and see that you’ve got something important and valuable going on.
This is a key moment. Not only are you seeing more value in yourself, but you’re also seeing the value you’re adding to others. It’s now more than a one-woman/man show – you’re doing this for others and they love it.
- You lean on someone that you desperately need.
This experience can break people apart, but it can also bring people together. Through the emotional breakdowns and roller coaster turns, you’ll need support. Whether you like it or not, you’ll lean on someone to support you and they will, bringing you that much closer.
- You get noticed.
Wait, me? You like… me?! With the momentum of everything you’ve got going on, someone important will take notice and support you. It’s bound to happen, especially when you least expect it.
- You want to tell the WHOLE WORLD!
Especially once you’ve gotten a taste of positive feedback, you’ll want more of it. You’ll blurt it out accidentally to someone like the cashier at the dollar store and feel like an idiot. But you’ve got to get it out of you!
- Going into the day job is just so hard.
You could be working on the important stuff! But instead, you’ve got to “waste” 8 hours of your time. You might even love the work you get to do at your 9to5, like I did. But that stops mattering. You know you’re getting close to leaping when this happens.
- It’s hard to let go.
You’re so wired to care, to do your best, to get all the projects at work done. It’ll be hard to leave things unfinished at your 9to5. But someone else has to take the torch and you have to cut the cord.
- Your faith is tested.
No matter how many lists and budgets and projections you’ve put together about how this is all going to work out, you still have no freaking clue what’s going to actually happen. They don’t call it a “leap of faith” for nothing, guys.
- You’ll finally take the leap.
Into self-employment. Into the unknown. Into your remaining fears and doubts. Into make-or-break, do-or-die. Into the rest of your amazing life. It seems like the end for a lot of people around you. But to you and your closest supporters, it’s just the beginning. The beginning of your business, your mark on the world, your legacy.
Whether you’re starting to think about starting a side hustle, have one and are getting ready to make the leap, or you simply happened upon this list, I hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to hear what you think about this process. How has it been for you? What do you think your biggest hurdle will be if you do take the leap? Leave a comment, e-mail me, or message me on social. This is a big conversation and I want to dive in. Can’t wait to hear from you.