Do you feel hopelessly stuck in a 9-5 job that feels like it’s wearing you down more every year?
Do you have dreams you’ve all but given up because you can’t see how they will ever become a reality? If so, you’re not alone. There are millions of people just like you.
I’m here to tell you that there’s a way out. Most people have what it takes to escape the 9-5 – but they don’t realize it.
The first problem is that they don’t know where to start.
I hear it all the time. I want out, but I have no idea where to start or what that looks like.
You Need a Roadmap
You can escape your 9-5, but you need a plan.
This six-step roadmap will help you build a business that fits your lifestyle so you can leave the 9-5 behind.
1. Figure out how much income you’ll need after you quit. In other words, what percentage of your current salary will you need to replace when you leave your job for self-employment? 70%? 90% 100%?
You might need less than you think.
Does your current job require owning a second vehicle? Consider how much you spend commuting, buying meals at work, or maintaining a professional wardrobe every month.
You may be surprised to discover how much money you spend just to perform your job.
2. Find a side hustle or business idea that meets all of the following criteria:
- something you love doing
- something you are good at (or you can learn)
- something you can make money at and scale
You can start several side hustles, but the business that replaces your 9-5 has to be something that you can do for several years and be lucrative enough to replace your current career.
By the way, it’s okay to pivot if you realize that a business idea isn’t working.
Once you come up with a side hustle idea, the most important thing you can do is get started! Too many people waste time on activities that aren’t moving them closer to their goals. You can only take so many courses and read so many books.
You have to get started. You MUST get started.
3. Find your tribe. Your chances of success go way up if you can build relationships with like-minded people on the same journey as you. Here are some places where you’ll find your community:
- Social media (Facebook Groups, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube)
- Attend conferences in your niche
- Join a mastermind group
- Start a blog and connect with other bloggers
Unfortunately, your co-workers at your 9-5 will be of little help. They won’t be able to relate and lack the mindset to do what you’re attempting.
It’s not their fault; you were once the same way. It’s just that you can’t escape the 9-5 with an employee mindset. You need to think differently than the people around you.
4. Hone your craft and scale your business. You won’t be a superstar on day one. When I began my journey in January 2018, it took me six months to make my first $200.
Focus on the small wins. Strive for consistency and incremental improvement. Aim to get 1% better daily, and you’ll see enormous gains over six months or a year.
After 18 months, I grew my side hustle income to $2000/month.
5. Get your financial house in order. As you get closer to leaving your job, make sure your finances are where they need to be. Use the additional income from your side hustles to build an emergency fund (I recommend savings of 10-12 months of income.)
Take care of looming expenses before leaving your job. If your house needs a new roof or you have to replace your vehicle, use your side hustle income to cover it.
Do this to avoid massive expenses in the first year or two after leaving your job.
6. It’s time to make the leap. Once the income from your side hustle consistently meets or exceeds that of your 9-5, it’s a sign that you’re ready to leave your job. Everyone’s situation is different. You can go earlier than that if you’ve built a larger safety net and believe your income will continue to trend upward after you take your business full-time.
Regardless, here are some things you need to know about taking that final step (based on my experience.)
- It will never feel like the right time, even when it is the right time
- Leaving your 9-5 isn’t as big a deal as you’re building it up to be in your head
- If it doesn’t work out, you can always go back (if not to the same company, somewhere else)
- Your employer will replace you within 30 days, and you’ll realize (if you didn’t already) that you were just a number.
- Almost immediately upon leaving your job and becoming your own boss, you will experience an overwhelming sense of freedom (there may be some fear too, but that’s ok). Your life is now an empty canvas waiting for you to paint your masterpiece.
The Journey Won’t Be Easy
I’ve been on the same journey you’re about to embark on.
I remember the exact moment in 2018 when I decided I’d had enough; that life was too short to be stuck in a 9-5 grind with little to no control over my time.
It took four years, and it wasn’t easy, but I managed to build my side hustle into a full-time business and walk away from a 20+ year banking career.
At age 47, with a family of five and a single income, I walked away from the 9-5.
You can too.