“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
For years I have been dreaming about this moment. The moment in which I walked out the doors of an office job and made the declaration that I was finally going to give it my all and be an entrepreneur.
Monday, 3/23 was that day.
I have officially left my office job and now I’m on a mission to succeed with this website and my other projects. It’s an amazing feeling. On Monday, I got home from work and literally stared at the wall wondering what I was going to do next. I’ve played through this scenario 8,000 times in my head, but when you actually do it, things are different.
The most prevalent feelings in my mind were;
Fear: Because I don’t know what’s next
Happiness: Because I broke the mold and have finally found a way to venture out on my own which is something I’ve always dreamed of.
Excitement: Because I now control my own destiny.
Doubt: Because I am not sure if I’m going to be successful.
Sadness: Because I worked with a great group of people and have now left that office job.
And Disbelief: Because I no longer have anyone telling me what I can and can’t do.
I know many of these feelings conflict with each other but this is how I feel because this is undoubtedly one of the biggest moments of my life.
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In this blog post I’m going to focus on the following:
- Why being an entrepreneur is a funny thing
- How long I’ve thought about this
- How I prepared for the big day
- What my plans are moving forward
Being an entrepreneur is a funny thing
In the last 72 hours, I’ve had to question my sanity a few times.
I just left a full-time position where I was paid very well, had stability, a great employer, and even had a great boss.
Not only that, but I live in a very nice condo in the middle of downtown Chicago that most people would love just to be able to walk into.
It’s not as if I’m a millionaire or anything, but I’ve done very well in my corporate career and was able to purchase a nice place at the right time. I know I sound like I’m gloating, but I’m really just reflecting on the appreciation that I have for what has been accomplished so far in my professional career.
Even though this is all true, I realized something a few years back that finally caused me to put in my two week notice.
No matter what my employer did, or how nice my house was, there was always going to be something wrong.
I think that in the grand scheme of things, the one thing that’s different about me is that I’m truly not motivated by money. I don’t care if I make $20,000 or $200,000 per year, I just care that I can take care of my basic necessities and run a successful business.
I’ve tried to conform, I’ve tried to put my head down, shut up, and get my work done.
I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I lost sleep over the fact that I’m not able to be like everyone else. I feel guilty for the fact that I don’t truly appreciate having a professional career that most people would absolutely love to have.
Not everyone understands why I’m unable to go with the status quo. People question why I can’t just keep working for someone else and also get nervous about how stable a career as an entrepreneur is.
While I understand those concerns, I want to bring up one point.
Aside from professional athletes, how many extremely successful people do you know that were employees?
You might have a few people come to mind, but at the end of the day those who are really successful are also those who are willing to take huge risks. At this point in time, I’m willing to take that huge risk.
I’m leaving my beautiful condo that’s 30 floors in the sky to move to a two-bedroom apartment that has carpeting throughout and a kitchen that looks like it’s from 1990.
I’m taking a pay cut of about 75%.
I’m leaving the safety of getting a paycheck every two weeks.
I’m going against the grain of society and attempting to change the world in my own little way.
Lastly, and most importantly to me, I’m liberating myself.
Human beings weren’t meant to sit in cubicles, we were meant to use critical thinking to help others and create something amazing.
How long have I thought about this?
My closest friends have known that I’ve been talking about working for myself for years.
In fact, a friend of mine mentioned how I had told her seven years ago that one day I was going to work for myself. I wasn’t sure how I was good to do it, or what I was going to do, but I’ve always been aching for the opportunity to never punch a time clock, never set an alarm, and just control everything that I do throughout the day.
Although I’ve been thinking about this passively for seven years, I really started to get inspired a year or so ago when I started to read about people who are actually living the life that I want.
These are people who work for themselves and make a minimum of $10,000 per month off of their online businesses. Some of them have blogs, some of them run software companies, while others runs service-based businesses, but all them have one thing in common……freedom.
I can’t exactly pinpoint when I really started to consider leaving my full-time employer, but I will say that once the OneHourProfessor.com website started it has been at the forefront of my mind.
What I’m trying to say is that this plan was literally set in motion years ago and I’m finally able to act on it after a many years of hard work.
How I prepared for the big day
As mentioned above, I’ve been preparing for this day for the last 2 to 3 years.
I am a big fan of taking calculated risks and in order to be “prepared” in my mind I felt that there were three key things that had to be in place.
1) An income stream: I had to have a way to make money outside of my full-time employer.
2) Savings: I had to have at least a full year’s worth of expenses sitting in my bank account.
3) Support: I had to be in a reasonable proximity to some of my closest friends and family for when times got tough.
I can confidently say that these three things are definitely in place and I’m comfortable with moving forward.
I know the most of you are probably wondering about my process to figure out my financial situation, because most of you probably have the same issue, so here’s exactly what I did.
First things first, I used Excel to balance out my expenses and income moving forward.
I’ll freely admit that I probably have reviewed this spreadsheet at least a dozen times because I really wanted to make sure that everything was correct.
What you’re seeing here is a estimate of what my monthly income and expenses will be. The difficult thing about my situation is that this particular table is never a guarantee. What most people don’t realize when I tell them that I’m a professor at four different colleges is that none of these colleges owe me anything.
In other words, if one of the colleges no longer has classes for me, I have to find other places to teach. As nice as it is to be an adjunct professor, at the end of the day I’m just a contractor and the colleges that I teach don’t own me anything.
With that being said, I’m sure that you’re wondering how much I have saved just in case things go bad.
While I’m not going to say the exact amount, suffice to say that I would be okay for an entire year if I didn’t have any income coming in. It’s important to realize that none of this was given to me or happened overnight. As I mentioned previously, I’ve been preparing for this day for years and have always been a saver, not a spender.
I think the biggest sacrifice that I’m making is that I’m moving out of my beloved condo to go to the suburbs. Although I realize that I could still teach and probably break even every single month, I’ve never understood people who live paycheck to paycheck.
When you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, you have to options. You can either make more money, or you can lower your bills.
I’m choosing to lower my bills because the most difficult thing that I’ve dealt with in the last few years is a lack of time. Although I may take on some consulting agreements here and there for extra money, I wanted to make sure that I would be completely fine if one of the colleges dropped me.
In order to do so, I decided that I should rent out my condo for a year and lower my cost-of-living so that I cando this without panicking over my finances.
Aside from the finances, I’ve also told many of my closest friends and family that I’m going to need them. I’ve even purposely located myself very close to three of my closest friends because I know that there will be some days that are going to be absolutely terrible and I’m going to want to disconnect and talk to someone.
I’ve definitely been extremely lucky in that every single person I’ve talked to about this has been supportive and told me that they know I’m going to succeed. In fact, many of them are so sure of it that they’ve given me a boost in confidence as well.
Aside from being prepared financially, I feel like the people who I surround myself with is the biggest blessing that I have.
What my plans are moving forward
As I’ve told multiple people numerous times, what I’m doing is a calculated risk. I am going to be working really hard on my own website, but I also have other things lined up to supplement my income and ensure that I don’t go broke while I chase my dreams.
- Teaching: First off, I’ll be teaching at four different colleges while everything is going on.
- Consulting: I was lucky enough with this one. When I put in my two week notice, my company informed me they would like to keep me on as a consultant. I’m not going to get healthcare benefits or a 401(k), but I have been given a generous hourly wage as they transition my position to someone else. Needless to say, this was definitely a welcome surprise and I’m very happy in the way that it worked out.
- Additional Consulting: Consulting from my old employer isn’t going to happen forever and I need to make sure that when they cancel my contract I have something to fall back on. With that being said, I’m already in the process of lining up a few extra consulting gigs just in case.
Although I’m only a few days into this, I can’t begin to explain how liberating it’s been to be able to do whatever I’ve wanted for the last 72 hours.
Sure, I know that is just the beginning and I’m certainly going to have good and bad days, but the fact that I can do everything from home is a pretty awesome feeling.
What do you think of my plan? let me know in the comments below. And by the way, any kind words of encouragement are truly appreciated!
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