There seems to be a global “Go-and-quit-your-job” movement going on, which I must have missed somehow. It sort of feels a bit like "Go-and-quit-your-job" porn.
A lot of people out there write and talk about quitting your job and how amazing it is to do your own stuff and be your own boss. The dream!
I know. I'm guilty of this crime, as well (sometimes)..
I totally get it. And I totally get the idea of how awesome it is to travel 20 countries and build a business at the same time (I'm actually working on something similar, with the difference that I'm not successful).
What these stories usually leave out, are the times when it was rough. When you were down on your knees. When nothing seemed to work out. When you were about to quit.
I know working a job is horrible and it will in many cases make you feel miserable. I felt the same way back in 2013. That's why I decided to quit my job.
Here are a few signs that lead me to quit my job:
When my alarm rang in the morning, I didn't feel like getting up. Ten more minutes. Until ten more minutes ended up in half an hour or even more.
When I got home from work I didn't have any energy left to do stuff. Doing mind numbing things that were pointless sucked the energy out of me.
I felt like I had a lot more potential than this. I felt like this can't be it. I felt like there must be more to life than this.
Whenever someone called my Blackberry I didn't feel like picking up. Usually I picked up nevertheless and felt even more like not picking up the next time someone called. Vicious circle!
Whenever I got an email where I had to get in touch with other people, I felt like dying. I tried to ignore it as long as possible. Only to end up sending an email telling the other person that I had no clue.
And a few more things. These are all perfect signs that you don't like your job. That you should even consider quitting your job.
Now wait a minute. Didn't the title say that you shouldn't quit your job this year?
That's exactly what it says.
But from my own (painful) experience I learned a few things.
And the first and most important lesson is that you should not quit your job. No matter what.
If you resent your job, your life, your boss, your colleagues or feel like you're capable of doing great things in your life, I recommend that you don't quit your job (at least not this year).
What I recommend doing instead are some of the things below (actually all of them). These are the skills and things you'll desperately need once you quit your job. I feel that it's a lot better to start working on them when you still have a job (and a regular income):
# SELL. SELL. SELL
If you've never ever sold anything in your entire life it will be pretty tough to learn it while you're also trying to build a product, a service or what it is that you're planning to make money with in the future.
Creating art and being able to sell art are two entirely different things. Learn both of them (and especially the second one) before you jump right into quitting your job and being excited about creating your art.
# DON'T BUILD THINGS
Don't spend months and months on building your world changing product or service. Instead, get used to creating small things and shipping them as soon as possible. Things that don't have anything to do with your idea.
This will take away the fear of getting your work out there.
Every time you put something out there, people can judge you and the art you created and that's pretty damn scary. And the only way to get used to exposing yourself, of standing naked in front of a large crowd, is by doing it over and over again.
So don' t get trapped in your big vision of changing the world, which might end up in you wasting years of your life only because you were afraid of standing in front of a large crowd, naked..
Your network is the most important asset you have. In many cases it's even more important than your product. If you have a great product but no network, you'll end up being ignored by everybody else. Actually, no one will realize that you even exist.
# LEARN THE TOOLS
Don't just fantasize about that huge Facebook campaign that will go viral. Or your bad ass SEO campaign. Even worse, don't write it down in your business plan without even knowing what the hell you're talking about.
If you've never ever used one of these tools, you pretty much base your entire life on contingencies.
You base your idea's, product's or what not strategy on a huge gamble. You have no clue whether or not it might ever work out. Not talking about the fact that you don't even have a clue how to use any of these tools.
To me, that sounds like a huge gamble.
It actually sounds like going to Las Vegas, taking all of your life time savings with you, joining a poker table and you you've never even played a second of poker in your life..
# START WITH WHY
At the end of the day we all want to be free.
Free to do whatever we want to. And I'm not talking about the free where you sit on the couch all day and do nothing. No, I mean the type of free where you only do what you love because you don't have to worry about money anymore.
That kind of free.
If you quit your job to start working on something that you think might make you enough money to be a free person, that's probably a bad reason.
The probability that you're going to be successful with your own idea is almost zero. Also, the time it'll take (5+ years) in case you beat the odds and are successful, will start to feel like an eternity if you only do it to become a free man (or woman).
You need to do it because you love it. Because it's the first thing you think about in the morning. And the last thing you think about before you go to bed.
If you don't love it, it will feel just like another job. Like the one you quit because you hated it. Even worse. It will feel like a job but you're not even get paid for it.
So if you quit your job and start working on something, make sure that you do it for the right reasons. And money is usually a bad reason. Because you might never make any money with it. Another bad reason is this one right here.
# LOW HANGING FRUITS
If all you want at the end of the day is to become free, try to look for the easiest way possible. I know this is a hard thing to do in our over-educated society where the most sophisticated, most brilliant and most innovative people get trophies.
Similarly successful people that achieved their success through less innovative and less sophisticated ways will be looked down on. It doesn't matter if the jobs they created or the amount of value they created for society is the same.
People will still sort of look down on them.
So if the one thing you want is to be free, free to decide what to do with your life, I'd suggest that you ignore everyone that thinks easy is wrong and look into the easiest ways possible to make money. And once that thing works out you can start working on that hard thing. Or that charity. Or your passion or what not.
Always keep your eyes open for the low hanging fruits. How do you find them? By learning all of the available tools first (see earlier)..
Before you quit your job this year, try to save as much money as possible. Because you're going to need it. If you think you'll need 2 months of expenses on your bank account, have 10+ months of cash on it.
If you think it'll take a year, make sure you have two years of expenses worth on your bank account. It will always take a hell lot of more money until you reach the point where you want to see yourself in a few months.
What's going to happen if you don't have these financial resources is that you'll have to do freelancing gigs to pay the bills. And these will always consume a lot more time than you think. And then it'll take away your focus from what's really important.
Being a freelancer is a business itself already. And mastering two businesses at the same time is almost never a good idea..
# START MARRIAGES
Use the time you have to connect the people you already know. Don't hoard your contacts on LinkedIn and wait for that one moment where they might come in handy. Because that moment will never come.
And in case that moment comes, people won't remember you anymore.
Instead, start connecting people. Maybe they'll end up getting married. Maybe they'll make business together and end up making millions. Or maybe they'll just talk shit about you behind your back. It doesn't matter.
What matters is that you make sure they will remember you in case you might need to get in touch in a few years. When you quit your job for example. Or start your own company. Who knows?
# BUILD A FAN BASE
Before you quit your job, start building a follower base. Start building the demand for your product before you even have a product. This way you can easily test whether or not the market really needs and wants your product.
Build a simple landing page, send traffic to it and see if people sign up.
You can easily do this while you still have your job. In case you don't know how to send traffic to a landing page or a website, go back to the beginning of this post where I talk about learning the tools you need to succeed..
# GET PAYING CUSTOMERS
Maybe you can even convert some of your first subscribers into paying customers. That way you know that your idea might work out. You have the first proof that someone is willing to pay money for your idea, product or service.
It's a lot easier to actually quit your job once you already have paying customers lined up. And you know your business is not just based on pure assumptions anymore.
This can be a really comforting feeling..
# CONFIDENCE FOR FREE
Not all of us are blessed with the confidence of a Brad Pitt (or the looks).
So take every opportunity you get at your current job to get more experienced and gain more confidence. Because you're going to need it when you're on that stage trying to convince people to buy your product or invest in your company.
Take every opportunity to train these skills inside the “safe” environment at your job. Be the guy or gal that does all the extra work people are afraid of.
What's the worst thing that could happen? The worst case is that you lose your job (that's what you wanted anyway, so no big deal).
The best case is that people discover your true potential and make you a mind blowing offer for a new and awesome sounding position (sort of a big deal).
And if everything goes according to plan, you won't get fired or crazily promoted and you'll be a lot better prepared for the ride as an entrepreneur..
These are just a few things you could do in 2016, instead of quitting your job.
You can definitely start doing all of this stuff only once you quit your job. But this will take a hell lot of time and take away your focus from many other things.
So if you can work on these things before you actually quit your job why not start working on them right now?
And while you keep your job, you start planting your seeds and see which of the things turns into a strong enough tree. A tree that might allow you to maybe quit your job.
Maybe this year. Maybe next year. Maybe never.
But at least you'll be a lot better prepared for what's to come..