In today’s episode, Anna looks at how you can make your 9-to-5 escape happen in 2021.
There has never been a better time to leave the world of corporate employment and start up on your own. It’s easier than ever before – yes, it’s still going to be hard work, but there is more information, tools and guidance out there than ever before. Thanks to COVID-19, a lot of companies and individuals are also more comfortable with virtual working rather than the traditional office set-up. Also as a result of COVID-19, a lot of people have also woken up to the fact that the so-called security we think we have in a full-time job isn’t as secure as we thought. And the idea of working for yourself – or at least having a side hustle, a second income stream – has become much more appealing. So how can you navigate this transition in 2021?
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The One Step Outside Facebook group– Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside
Hello, hello there and welcome back as we talk today about quitting your job in 2021, because yes, we are nearing the end of 2020. I know some people, many people will say good riddance. If you’ve had a good year, then congratulations to you for making the most perhaps of what hasn’t been the best situation. If you’ve thought, you know what? This is awful. It’s terrible and good riddance, then that’s okay too. So, whatever your personal situation has been, the truth is we are coming up to a new year. We’ll be talking lots about that in the next month or so, really getting you set up for success, whatever your goals might be for the new year, the new decade almost to some extent, although I suppose this was the first year of the new decade, strictly speaking.
And so, we want to look at, okay, having talked about all these things the last few weeks, and hopefully you’ve been following along, you want to quit your job, 2021 is the year, what now? What are you going to do to make this happen? And I use quit your job quite loosely to mean potentially quitting the 9 to 5 as I call it, finding a sustainable way to work for yourself. Perhaps, you have already quit, but you’re still juggling some part-time contracting work and so on. Right? So, whatever that means for you. But let’s look, first of all, I’m going to talk you through some really concrete steps. And again, there’s lots more where this comes from. So, there are plenty more resources to help you out and of course, as ever, you can work more closely with me.
However, let’s talk about why in general terms, this is a great time to go for it, to quit your job, potentially. Not today, don’t worry, but to navigate that transition out of a nine to five, to set up on your own, to work for yourself. And the truth is, it is easier than ever before. And I use easier a bit lightly because of course, it’s still going to be hard work, but there are more resources than ever before. There is more information and knowledge out there. There are more business coaches and programmes and so on then out there before. There’s tools, resources, more possibilities to work remotely than ever before.
And in fact, that’s even more the case thanks to the dreaded C-word. So, thanks to COVID. A lot of companies now are more comfortable, and individuals, perhaps you yourself are more comfortable working virtually. And on the more negative side of COVID, I think a lot of us have woken up to the fact that the so-called security we think we have in a full time job in employment and a salary isn’t as secure as we thought, whether we were furloughed, made redundant, actually clinging onto a job, thinking that that’s so much more secure than running our own business, working for ourselves and so on is a bit of a fallacy because we really have no control over, unless we’re the CEO, I guess, or the Senior Vice President, which you may well be, but even so, being part of a big corporate machine, we just don’t have the autonomy over our schedule over the culture, over our income. There is a ceiling we’ll hit with a salary. There is a limitation on the culture is this, so you can’t do that and so on.
And so, a lot of us, I think, have woken up to the fact that, hey, maybe at least having a side hustle, at least having a second income stream, isn’t a bad thing, and really exploring what that could look like working more flexibly, having more autonomy and working for yourself. So, COVID, positive and negative implications, but I think everything points in the direction of the strength, the power of having your own thing outside of that 9 to 5 again.
Now, for you personally, there may be as I call them, push and pull reasons why you might want to leave and why now is the time. So, it might be push reasons, toxic work culture, burnout, lack of flexibility to manage your work alongside your family, whatever that might be, right? There are push reasons for leaving and there are pull reasons as well. Maybe you really long to do something more meaningful, you want that flexibility, the so called work life balance. You have an idea that you’re really excited about and so on. So, we’ve been talking about a few of those in the last few weeks, but there are lots of reasons why you might want to quit and why not now?
And in fact, the why now is the key question here, right? So, a couple of things there, it takes longer than you think, that’s the truth. And I’m not putting you off, but again and again, we realise and I realise this too, it does take longer than you think to build your audience, to validate your idea, to get yourself out there, to refine your messaging, to get to where you want to be. And of course, that’s an ever evolving target as well. But it takes time. So, you know what? It’s going to be easier the sooner you start. If you, I don’t know, get absolutely desperate next year, in three years, five years from now, if you’re made redundant then or whatever that situation might be, then suddenly you have to scramble and do something. Even if you’re not in a rush right now, starting now, beginning to do this right now will help you lay the foundations and set yourself up for the future. So, it is going to take longer, so as the Chinese saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was a hundred years ago. The second best time is today.
And then finally, the perfect moment will not come. I talked about this last week in terms of the mistakes waiting around for, I’ll do it when X, Y, Z, it’s not going to happen.
So, if X, Y, Z is missing, and we’ll talk about this today, let’s make sure we then create X, Y, Z, let’s work towards X, Y, Z, but certainly, there’s no point in just waiting around. So, hey, why not 2021? Let’s make this happen for you, let’s make this the year that you once and for all navigate the transition or at least begin to navigate the transition out of the nine to five, out of the work that you’re doing that’s not as meaningful. Perhaps, not even as financially rewarding or vice versa. Perhaps it’s very financially rewarding, but missing lots of other things. Get that business up and running. Get those clients coming in. Get the income, have the excitement and passion that comes with working on a really clear purpose, having autonomy and working towards that North star of your new business. So, let’s make it happen in 2021.
Okay. So, what do we do? Well, the first thing is still let’s stay with this why now, why 2021, but ask yourself really specifically why now for you? So, I’ve mentioned a few reasons, but your situation of course, is specific. Why is this the time for you? So, why are you committed? What’s going to change for you, for your family, for your life? What’s going to be different assuming everything goes well, ultimately, however long it takes, what’s your life going to look like? What’s your schedule going to look like? Your job satisfaction? Your happiness? Your income? Tick all those lovely boxes. What does the dream look like for you? So, what will it change for you? What does this mean if you’re able to make this happen?
And on the other hand, what’s the default future if you don’t make it happen. So, what’s the worst case scenario. If you continue on the trajectory that you’re on right now, what might happen? So, really spend some time exploring why is this the right thing for you? Certainly, you shouldn’t be doing anything just because I’m mentioning it or it seems like the cool thing to do, start a business, but of course, you want to make sure that you’re really motivated, really committed. That is going to be hard work. So, having that really strong, why, understanding why it’s the right thing for you is going to be really powerful.
The second thing to do, assuming you want to go ahead, is to set yourself a deadline. So, again, if I say, oh, I don’t have this, I can’t do that. Okay, but how could you get those things? If it’s clarity that’s missing, if it’s savings, if it’s information, knowledge, a valid business idea, whatever it is that’s missing, okay, I don’t have that today, but how could I get there? So, set yourself a deadline. And if you have no idea how long it’s going to take, I would recommend a year. Long enough to get a lot done, short enough to still stay focused. A year is a nice round number. It’s the time I usually work with my clients through the programme to get them from, hey, I want to start a business to actually, I’ve got clients coming in, it’s all up and running and I’m ready to go. Definitely, if you’re managing it alongside a full time job, family, whatever other priorities, a year is quite a reasonable time to cover the ups and downs as well.
But then, okay, this time next year or December 2021, or January 2022, whatever that might be, what are the criteria? What are the decision criteria? So, today I don’t have these things, what are the things that I need to make that decision on that day? Because we’re not saying you have to hand in, you have to like schedule an email that goes to your boss on the 31st of December that says, “Hey, I quit.” You can still make a different decision then, but the point is you’re working towards that deadline. So, okay, I need to decide on my business idea. I need to validate my idea. I need to maybe have already X number of clients or Y amount of income coming in. I need to have run the numbers at least. I need to feel confident that I’m onto something, it’s viable and hey, I can go ahead. So, really think about what the decision criteria look like for you again for that deadline.
Now, the third step is to, and I say this again and again, but it’s so important, but when you’re working backwards from that deadline, when you’re setting milestones, when you’re working out your action plan, really focus on the what first, before you get to the how. So, this is not something you’ll do today, but I usually plan one month, certainly two, three months, ideally to really explore, okay, these are my skills and experiences. You may have heard me talk about the icky guy before. This is what I really loved doing. This is where I really want to make a difference, make a contribution in the world and this is where I think I could make money, how I can combine those things together. What could that look like?
So, really again, build the dream, excuse me, paint the picture of what you want it to look like. Then we can get to the how. So, first of all, what skills and experience do you have that you want to use? What are the values that are really important to you that maybe are disconnected from your current work. Practical criteria, minimum salary, maximum commute, hours in the week. Whatever that looks like, right? So, really paint the picture of this is what I want to aim towards ultimately.
The next one is what’s missing? Okay. So, we’ve done the what, how are we going to get there? But what don’t you have today to allow yourself to be able to do that already now? So, are there missing skills right now, or do you need to hone or at least upskill a little bit. Missing knowledge, missing information, missing support structure system, missing savings. But more importantly, and of course, missing savings, okay, I can cut my spending, I can begin to save a bit of a buffer, that’s important, but that’s eventually going to run out.
So, more important than savings is the other side of the equation, the income.
Okay, again, I want to make sure that I have at least five clients lined up or two projects in the pipeline. I want to at least have a business plan that’s giving me the confidence to know, hey, okay, this is who I’m going to be working with, the client, this is the package, the service, and this is how I’m going to make money. Again, the support system, having a tribe, as I always called it, of cheerleaders, having friends, having peers, having a mentor, having a coach, getting a partner on board, whatever that means for you, right? So, focusing on the what, then the how, what’s missing right now, and then you can do the action plan.
So, how are you going to get to those criteria a year from now? And again, we’re just in the planning phase right now, right? But it’s running the financials, both of looking at your spending now, all the pieces of your personal finances, what could the business finances look like? And it might be very theoretical, but knowing, okay, this is the income I need. Okay, yeah, I do feel comfortable with this. I’ve talked to my partner or I’ve run the financial scenarios, however, detailed you want to get, but we’re often just concerned about money in a vague sense, but if we really sit down and look at the numbers and black and white, that’s going to give us an idea of again, what’s missing and how are we going to actually get there.
And upskilling, again, do you need a formal qualification?
I talked last week about the fact that maybe that’s not necessary, but certainly, hey, I don’t know how this works. So, I need to work with someone who’s going to help me figure that out. Maybe like me, you come from a marketing background, but you’ve never done the sale. So, okay, I need to certainly start listening to podcasts on sales, read some books, perhaps even work with a sales mentor. Or I want to work in a comprehensive programme that’s really going to take me step by step through the process navigating this whole transition to help me stay on track, to help me stay accountable.
Maybe that’s what’s been missing in the past. You’ve had the ideas, you’ve kind of dabbled a little bit, but you just haven’t got the business up and running. You’ve just let life take over, which is fair enough again, especially in 2020, you’ve delayed it, you’ve deprioritized, procrastinated. Maybe what you need now is now I need to invest in myself, invest in a programme like my business incubator. Takes you over 12 months from exactly these steps, right? So, setting us off that deadline, getting really clear on the what of what’s important to you, what that dream looks like, what success looks like for you as I call it and then working backwards, setting those milestones, getting clear on the action steps you need to take.
So, again, lots more on this topic and really on planning for 2021 in the coming weeks, but I wanted to just give you a few tidbits already on, okay, you’re motivated, you want to do this in 2021, how can we begin to help you do that? So, importantly, get clear on why you’re motivated to do that, right? So, discipline is remembering what you want as a quote that I have over here on a board, on a little framed quote. Remember what you want, right? So, what is this going to change for you? What’s the default for you if you don’t make this happen now. And why is 2021 the right year for you?
Really making sure that you’ve set yourself that deadline, you’ve got clear decision criteria for if and when you’re going to pivot or quit. And that might be a year in advance. To be honest, some people decided on a much shorter framework. They might decide to quit three months from now. And we talked a few weeks ago about when is the right moment to quit without a plan? Maybe if you really get to that pivot point, that’s going to be sooner rather than later. So, have a listen to that as well.
Get clear on the what. So, allow yourself step back if you can from your current work and the exact job description you have and maybe your current ideas and just think, hey, putting everything else aside for a moment, what does the dream look like?
What would I love to do? Why is it so exciting to me? What could get me excited? And what is that big picture vision that I’m really working towards in terms of what my life and business might look like. Then what’s missing? Skills, knowledge, support, savings, income, whatever it is. And finally, we can work then on an action plan that’s actually going to get you there.
So, hope that’s helped you a little bit. Again, I really focus, if nothing else, if you’re not sure yet on that big picture of why? Why now? Why is this the year get super clear and motivated and then we can hit the ground running if you want in the new year because obviously, now holidays, Christmas is going to get perhaps, a little bit busy, crazy times. I think, to be honest, a little bit of time off is often good to allow ourselves a bit of perspective, a bit of time away from the day to day drudgery. But at the same time, we might have chaos with kids and family and all those things. So, if you can, carve out some space, at least in the little gaps. Have a bath, go for a walk, whatever that looks like. Reflect on, what’s going to be important for you in 2021 and then again, more to come on this topic anyway. But really, specifically, why is 2021 the time that you’re going to be motivated to actually make this change happen once and for all? Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Up-level with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate