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At the age of 21, I decided it was time for me to step away from work. I had worked for a video game publisher and was not rewarded for my efforts, no matter how much I put into it. Over the course of a year, I became increasingly demoralized until I started looking for freelance opportunities.
Then a job came up where I could work from home. It paid twice what I earned and I was able to build my own team and use my time to create content. It was the best decision I had made up to that point because it put me in a place where I was forced to make things work on my own.
I was born to be an entrepreneur. Eventually, when I outgrew video games, I became a self-employed personal trainer working in gyms – paying monthly rent and recruiting my own clients. It was never a struggle because I was so passionate about what I did. I would take new signups on a tour of the equipment, give them a free session, and then they would sign me up.
Over the years I have helped many people quit their jobs and become full time entrepreneurs and in the process have discovered some different elements/dynamics that keep people stuck in their existing positions.
1. The money question
A question I ask anyone considering a career change is, “What specifically needs to happen before you can quit your job?” Most people respond with something like “I need to replace my current income,” which is a fair one , but broad answer is. The word “specific” is important here. So, for example, if someone takes home $5,000 a month, I would ask, “Do you have to make $5,000 from your part-time job for three months to quit, or does it have to be six months?” When you get to the actual tipping point, there is a mental shift. Then the follow-up question is: “What exactly does something have to happen for? that happen?” Again, we’re going into detail so we can break down all the milestones that will lead to the resignation, because if there’s no belief that change is possible, it simply won’t happen.
Related: Male entrepreneurs often lead with “What do you do?” Instead of these 7 life and career changing issues
2. Turn fear
Of course, there’s security in that paycheck, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time working for other people, but it’s important to address the fears that come with it and think differently when there’s a chance to make a power move. Common fears include the possibility of not attracting clients, the fear of failing as well as succeeding, and the fear of looking stupid. While looking at the worst-case scenario can sometimes be helpful in preparing for the challenges ahead, more often than not it’s just clever self-sabotage that keeps us from living our true potential. So we need to become aware of the fear and then turn it into something positive. If you keep thinking, “I’m not going to get customers,” turn that around into “I’m going to get a lot of customers,” and find evidence to support that expectation rather than quelling ambition over a thought that just isn’t true.
3. The energy shift
Big decisions create an energy shift. Just like the thought of breaking up with someone, relief often comes when you actually find the courage to take the step your soul has been crying out for. It’s the same dynamic when it comes to thinking about letting go of a job that doesn’t support you. With every day, week, and year that goes by and you put off a decision, you lose vital energy. However, the moment the decision is made, the energy shifts because you have aligned yourself with what is best for you.
Related: 14 effective ways for entrepreneurs to boost their energy throughout the day
4. Uncomfortable emotions
Some people don’t quit because they’re afraid of how someone else will react, of difficult conversations that need to be had, or because they can’t handle the feelings that might arise – and that’s how years are spent trying to live life avoid what we desire. When I was recently helping a top performer at her job finally quit and go into real estate full-time, I had her text her boss while we were on Zoom. She had the interview that same day and it was done. She’d put off that decision for years, but once she was on the other side, she said, “This is the best decision I’ve ever made.”
5. Setting an intention date
It’s human nature to keep putting things off… to protect yourself. So if you’re 100% serious about quitting your job, it’s important not only to solidify that intention, but also to set a date when it will happen – to make a decision, because decisions have power. Then ask yourself if there are any reasons why it can’t happen half this time. You’d be surprised how many people make big decisions faster after asking themselves this simple question.
Related: Richard Branson: The key to success is intent
Having the courage to work full-time as an entrepreneur is a bold move. It requires deep digging, self-awareness, and a mindset dedicated to liberation. It’s also a big part of being a full-time entrepreneur because quitting is the first test: if you have the courage to quit, you have the courage to face the bigger challenges that come your way.