In my early 20s, I resolved to leave the workforce for good. No matter how hard I worked for a video game publisher, I was never compensated for it. Over the course of a year, I gradually lost hope and began looking for work as a freelancer.
Then a job opportunity arose that allowed me to work from home. Double my salary, I was able to establish my own staff, and I was able to use my time more productively. As far as I was concerned, it was the best decision I’d ever made because it pushed me to fend for myself.
I was destined to be an entrepreneur from the moment I was born. To pay the rent and bring in clients after growing out of video games, I became a self-employed personal trainer working out of gyms. Because I was so enthusiastic about what I was doing, this was never a problem. It was not uncommon for me to give a free trial session to prospective members before convincing them to join my program.
When working with people who want to leave their jobs and start their own businesses, I’ve come across a few common factors that impede them from making the leap.
1. The question of money
“What specifically needs to happen for you to quit your job?” is a question I ask everyone who is contemplating a professional pivot. “I need to replace my existing income,” which is a reasonable but vague answer, is the typical response. It’s critical that we use the term “particularly” here. “Do you need to make $5,000 for three months from your side hustle to quit?” If someone is making $5,000 a month, I might question, “Do you need to make $5,000 for six months?” There is a shift in perspective when you get to the crux of the matter. The next question is, “What specifically needs to happen in order for that to occur?” If there is no belief that a change is feasible, then it will not happen. That is why we go into detail again here, so we can dig down to any milestones that lead to resignation.
2. Changing one’s perspective on one’s fears
There is security in that salary, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time working for others. However, if you want to gain some authority, you need to confront whatever fears you may have and change your way of thinking. Fear of not attracting customers, fear of both failing and succeeding, and the fear of looking foolish are all common sources of anxiety. For the most part, it’s our own ingenious self-sabotage that prevents us from realizing our full potential by focusing on the worst case scenario. Hence, we need to become aware of our fears and then turn them into positive thoughts. Stop telling yourself, “I won’t obtain clients,” and instead tell yourself, “I will attract plenty of clients,” and provide data to back up that expectation. Don’t let yourself be held back by a belief that you know isn’t true.
3. The shift of energy
Energy shifts when big decisions are made. When you finally muster up the guts to do what your heart has been begging you to do—like contemplating a breakup—there is frequently a sense of relief. When it comes to deciding whether or not to leave a job that isn’t supporting you, the same dynamics apply. The more time you spend delaying making a decision, the more valuable your time and energy become. Making a decision transforms your energy since now you’re aligned with your highest self-interest.
4. Emotions that are not pleasant
In order to escape the life we want, some people refuse to quit because they are terrified of the reaction of others, unpleasant talks that need to be had, or because they are unable to handle the sensations that might arise. While we were on Zoom, I had a high-achiever in her job ultimately quit and go full-time into real estate. After she had the talk, she was done with the matter for the rest of the day. Once over the other side, she exclaimed: “This is the best decision I’ve ever made,” after years of postponing it.
5. Set a target date
It’s in our tendency to put things off, to shield ourselves from the consequences of our actions. Hence, if you’re truly serious about quitting your work, you need to make a decision on when you’re going to do it, because decisions are powerful. What are the reasons that it can’t happen in half the time? You’d be astonished at how many people speed up the decision-making process by asking themselves that one basic question.
Taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship is a brave decision. It requires a deep dive into one’s own self-awareness, as well as a determination to break free. When you’re running your own business full-time, leaving is an essential part of the process: If you have the guts to do so, you have the courage to take on even more difficult obstacles in the future.