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How To Quit Your Full Time Job And Start A Business

Wandering Aimfully Through Starting A Business

How To Quit Your Full Time Job And Start A Business

The American dream used to be getting a secure job, working from 9-5, and retiring.
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

Written by

Jason Zook

The idea of working for someone else makes many of us cringe, and if you’ve had a full time job, you’ve probably¬†felt the suffocating hold it can take on your life. Mondays are dreadful. Mundane meetings and conference calls¬†seem never-ending. Having a corporate job can literally suck the soul right out of your body. But fear not, you¬†can start your next business while working for someone else.

I’ll break these steps down further, but here’s the big picture of what it takes to leave your full time job to work for yourself:

  1. Have an idea for a business you want to pursue
  2. Set a timeline and schedule to work on your own business part-time while building up your savings
  3. Get a working version of your business going and get your first paying customers
  4. Save up enough from your full time job to cover expenses for 6-12 months
  5. Leave your job and start your entrepreneurial journey!

Your intentions will help create a plan to quit your full time job

Let’s assume you already have an idea for a business you want to start. The first thing you need to do is set your intentions. A couple of those intentions could look something like this:

Those are just a couple examples of intentions I set for myself when I made the decision that I wanted to start¬†my own company and leave my “secure” 9-5 job back in 2007. By taking action and repeating those intentions¬†to myself (almost daily), it created a sense of focus and desire to work that much harder at getting my own¬†business up and running.

One of those intentions needs to be dug into a bit more and that’s your after hours work schedule.

Because a¬†normal job creates structure and a fairly rigid schedule, most people want nothing more than to come home,¬†lounge around, kick their feet up, and be lazy. If you want to start your own business, you’re going to need¬†structure in the beginning to make sure you’re actually getting work done and putting in valuable time and¬†effort. Kicking your feet up isn’t going to help you escape the stranglehold your 9-5 job has on you. Here are a¬†couple tips on how to get into a routine after work:

Start small. Don’t try to dive in head first with a new schedule, you’ll never stick to it. For the first week,¬†just try to get on a schedule with one thing (maybe it’s dinner time). On the second week, give yourself¬†an hour of relaxation time after dinner, but cut yourself off after that hour is over. We all have favorite TV¬†shows, but just sitting on the couch watching them doesn’t help us start a new career. Each week add a¬†new change to your evening schedule.

Family comes first. Come home and immediately devote time to your kids, your spouse, your pets, etc.¬†If you get home at 6pm, spend an hour doing something with your family that doesn’t involve TV, a¬†computer, or anything technology based. If you have kids, this is a great time to wear them out before¬†bed. If you don’t have kids but have a spouse, spend some quality time with them and avoid talking¬†about work of any kind. Go for a walk, get some exercise, make a delicious meal together.

Focus! When you start spending time working on your next business (maybe 8pm – 11pm), be focused only on¬†that. Turn off notifications on your phone. Close all the tabs you have open on Google Chrome. Shut¬†your email down and don’t look at it unless that’s part of your work. Spend these limited hours actually¬†working.

You may not be a fan of having a schedule at home, but that’s only because you work at a job you don’t enjoy¬†and it forces you to have a schedule you don’t enjoy. Make an effort to appreciate your time away from your 9-5 job, and I guarantee giving yourself some parameters won’t feel the like the worst thing ever.

Setting goals will help you leave your full time job

Now that you’ve created structure and a schedule for yourself, start working on goals for your new business.¬†Through trial and error, I’ve found that creating three sets of goals works really well for me (and people I¬†consult with). The sets of goals are daily, weekly, and monthly.

Daily goals help with all your tasks and to-dos

These will most likely be your smaller goals or to-do list items. Each evening that you start working, you should make a list of goals you intend to complete by the end of that night. This small exercise should only take 5-10 minutes of your time (at most) and I find it best to physically write these down so you can then cross them off. It always feels great to cross things off a list!

Weekly goals help with bigger chunks of your journey

These are somewhat larger goals and are things that won’t necessarily be able to be completed in one¬†evening. Some weekly goals you might be setting early on are: Design and develop different stages of your¬†product/service/website. Reach out to friends and family for feedback about your idea. Do PR or influencer¬†outreach to try to get exposure for your new idea. Put a product or service up for sale and work on perfecting¬†your sales process. Take one week off to recharge your batteries. You should still write these down and be¬†diligent about crossing them off at the end of each week (it’s okay if some carry over to the next week).

Monthly goals help you actually achieve your dream

These are your bigger goals and you’ll probably want to set these for one month, three months, six¬†months, and a year. It may seem silly to write down goals for a year from now, but trust me, it helps keep you¬†accountable for that intention you set to leave your job in six months. Your monthly goals might look something¬†like this:

It¬†wasn’t until I started writing my sets of goals on a whiteboard in my office that I really started to focus on¬†completing them.

Goal setting can feel uncomfortable and awkward at first, but like everything else, it gets better with practice.

Starting your next business while working a full time job isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely doable.

Put these steps in¬†place and you’ll not only be working for yourself in no time, but you’ll also look forward to your work. Of course, you’ll actually need a functioning business to make this entire plan work, but hopefully that part was a no-brainer.

If you don’t already have an idea for a business, read this article about starting a business with no money and no ideas. And if you already own your business, pat yourself on the back and then get back to work!

How To Quit Your Full Time Job And Start A Business

(Big Fat Takeaway)

Starting your own business while working at a full time job is absolutely doable, but it requires having an idea, creating intentions you can stick to, and setting goals that can help you accomplish your dream.


This article written by

Jason Zook

(he/him) Co-head-hancho of this WAIM thing. I used to wear t-shirts for a living, now I just wear them because I'm not a nudist. You can usually find me baking things, watching JCVD movies, and dreaming of living on an island.

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