Deciding when to quit your job is a potentially life-changing decision, one that can set you free from the daily grind onto a path where you can choose when and where to work. But if you jump too early, things can get tough, cash flow can dry up and sacrifices may have to be made.
Your life today is 100% based on your past decisions. It is important to take ownership of this and learn from it when planning for the future. Even when you are not consciously deciding on a course of action, you are allowing yourself to take the path of least resistance, often to your own detriment.
Similarly, the decisions you make moving forward will determine your future happiness, success, your joy, or whether you go into debt, feel unsatisfied or unfulfilled.
Almost everyone who succeeds in life does so because they learned to live well within their means. They don’t jump at opportunities they can’t afford, and they don’t upgrade their lifestyle until a specific goal has been reached. Most online millionaires don’t drive flashy cars or show off their wealth. They got to where they are being careful with their money, making sacrifices and spending well less than what they earn.
Factors to consider when quitting your job to work online
What are your goals?
Deciding when to quit your job and work online full-time should never be impulsive. There should be a clear number you have as a financial goal that is a part of your long term plan for success. For example, if you are currently earning $4000 a month in your job + superannuation, your goal might be to quit your job when you make at least $5,000 during your worst month of the year. This figure should, of course, be after any expenses you need to pay within your business, and it should also be after any money you have committed to re/invest in your business.
When you are getting started, it often makes good sense to reinvest a large percentage of your profit back into your business so that you can quickly improve your growth rates. Using this money for targeted online advertising campaigns on Google AdWords or Facebook, for example, can help you quickly shorten the time it takes to hit some big goals.
Because of this, it may take a lot longer to be in the position to quit your job, however by applying this long term strategy you can set your self up for a lifetime of success.
What is your risk tolerance?
Nearly all of my decisions are long term, rather than impulsive. This is mainly because I have a young family with bills to pay. I don’t consider this to be a negative aspect to my life at all, quite the opposite. I pride myself on the responsibility I have as a dad and as someone who works online full-time. My family gives me the motivation I need to work hard every day and I don’t want it to be any other way.
Nonetheless, I don’t have the freedom that many people have when they are young, to live cheap while they grow their business. I know many people who traveled to Asia to live on the cheap for up to a year, developing their business and having fun. Others will still be studying or at home with their parents, and so there is less pressure to bring in a certain amount of money each week.
It is also worth considering how easy it would be to get a new job if your online career didn’t work out. If you currently work for minimum wage, the risk of giving something else a crack is much smaller than if you are quickly rising up the ranks within a well-respected company. If quitting your job is going to set you back, or if there is currently a down tern in the local economy you may want to put in some extra hours during your free time and be certain you are going to make it before making the plunge.
Your risk tolerance will determine when it is the right time for you to quit your job and work online full-time, and for a lot of people, it will be a lot sooner than someone like me. Work out your risk profile and set goals based on what you are comfortable with.
Do you have a great idea, or just a good one?
Quitting your job and working online involves one of the biggest changes in attitude you will ever have to go through; from getting paid by the hour to getting paid for the value you create.
If you think that putting in the hours will guarantee you success, you may be in for a rude awakening. Not only do you need to work hard, but you also need to have a great idea, and you need to work hard on the right tasks.
There is a significant risk that your idea sucks, or even worse it is ‘good enough’. The only thing worse than a bad idea is a good idea because it means you will keep at if for longer, even when the results don’t come. As an online marketer, you need great ideas.
Are you diversified?
There are a number of significant risks when building a business online that don’t exist offline.
Recently YouTube demonetized millions of their videos and significantly changed their algorithms. Without delving into the politics of free speech, the fact is many people I know lost up to 95% of their income from YouTube. This is obviously a significant drop and many people decided to close their accounts.
Other examples include affiliate programs closing their doors, or something as obscure as Google changing their algorithm for their search results. If you only have 1 website and 90% of your traffic comes from one keyword on one successful blog post, what happens if all of a sudden it disappears from the top of the search listings? You need to be prepared for the unknown, and for me, the best hedge you can have is to diversify.
You can diversify your income with multiple websites, generate traffic from as many sources as possible, be active on numerous social media platforms, and always look for new ways to turn your traffic into revenue.
Quitting your job too early can potentially leave you exposed to unknown risk factors including the decisions of companies such as Google or an affiliate partner. The more diversified your approach is online, the better your chances are of making it in the first few years you go it alone, and for most people, this is going to take a bit of time.
What are your values?
Like so many of us that work online full-time, I value freedom quite highly, but I value my family’s safety more. That means I make decisions that ensure the financial and physical safety of my wife and son before I do anything new in my business.
My values have also helped me understand the importance of living a debt-free life, something not that many people talk about, and yet debt can make such a significant impact on your life. Credit cards and unsecured loans are a horrible trap for a lot of people, and I found out myself just how hard it can be to repay even a small credit card balance. If you can’t afford something today, unless something changes significantly for the better, you definitely won’t be able to afford it after you have your existing expenses plus an additional repayment to make.
I see many people flirting with the idea of borrowing money in order to fund their lifestyle and I want to tear my hair out! It’s such a dangerous thing to do because if you don’t hit all of your goals not only will you be looking for a job, you will also be spending the next period of time repaying your loan, a process that can take many years.
Are you ready to make the necessary sacrifices?
Delaying gratification is one of the most important skills you should learn if you want to be your own boss and work online full-time. In a time when everyone expects things to be instant, making money online typically takes hard work and dedication over a period of time. Sure, many people make it in as little as 6-12 months, but even that is a long period of time for some people to really work hard at something. How long are you prepared to work before you start to see success?
Instant gratification comes in many forms such as junk food, alcohol, online shopping, and social events. While everyone else is out spending all their time and money on instant gratification, successful online entrepreneurs are typically at home working on their business. You are going to need to make sacrifices if you want to work online full-time. That means working when others are doing the things that make them happy in the moment.
What type of person are you?
There is this stereotypical image of an online affiliate marketer working on the beach enjoying the good life, perhaps originating from the best selling book ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’. But I can say from my own experience that getting to the point where you have the freedom to travel the world and the strength of character to work hard while doing it does not come easily for most people.
I believe that money has little to do with when you should choose to quit your job. The decision should be made when you are ready to become your own boss; a person of good character that works hard and acts like a leader. You might not have a team of staff working for you, but you do have the harshest critic of all watching your every move – yourself!
If you don’t feel like you deserve the success of working online full-time there is a good chance you will sabotage any success you find. Self-sabotage is so common all the top life coaches talk about it. Whether you spend your time on the beach or partying too hard, people who are not ready to be a responsible business owner typically fail at running an online business. Make sure you are a person you respect before you promote yourself to be your own boss.
Making money online is also something most people don’t believe is possible. The herd work 9-5, obey the boss, watch TV in the evenings and drink too much. Are you ready to break free from the herd and ignore the expectations of society, including the people who love you the most? To live life on your own terms means choosing a different path from what society expects of you.
Read books, work hard, become a better person. When you are ready, you will effortlessly transition to a life of freedom, where the skills you have not only make you money online, but they also make you a better person.