Ever since announcing that I officially quit my job (yeah, that part-time thing didn’t last too long) to be a full-time blogger, speaker, and career coach I’ve gotten a ton of questions about how I actually did it. Not in terms of motivational mumbo jumbo, but in terms of money.
So here it is: the dollars and cents behind how I finally took the damn leap. Full disclosure, it’s not like I’m rolling in dough or anything, and that’s totally okay! Because my point is that you don’t need a ton of money to start creating the career and life you desire. Money is great and all, I love money, who doesn’t? But it’s not the end all be all of anything in this life. If you truly get that then decisions like taking the leap become a hell of a lot easier.
Cut Your Costs
I have incredibly low costs to run my business. I basically run the entire thing from my Macbook. I also have very low living costs. No car (therefore no insurance or gas), no debt, and minimal household expenses (since many of us in Miami live with family we mostly help out instead of having to pay the astronomical rent of living in this magical city).
The point is I was willing and able to make financial sacrifices so that I could make this thing happen. I cut spending, my beloved yoga classes were replaced by online classes while I found a sweet deal at a local MMA studio, I got rid of any subscriptions I didn’t use (bye bye Hulu Plus and Yoga Journal), I started learning how to cook, I have a shitty phone that covers basic needs, and I cut back on going out for a while.
This allowed me to a) realize I didn’t need so much stuff and b) cut my costs to the point where I could cover them just with whatever money I bring in on my own.
Do you always need to do this? No. Some people do just fine working their way up to their current living expenses without having to cut anything – however it might take them a hell of a lot longer. I found it easier to bring my expenses down, cover them, and then start expanding from there.
Ask for Help (And Possibly Even Pay for It)
If I had to pick my one biggest mistake throughout this entire process it would be this: I didn’t ask for help soon enough. I kept thinking I had to do everything on my own.
Once I did start asking for help, and in some cases even paying for it, things started coming together very quickly – from a business model to a complete rebranding.
I have a fierce business coach, a stellar VA, and I brought on Kelly Gurnett to help with the content of this site. I also have the best web designer in the world – she’s so awesome she’s currently in Kenya helping out with Girls Shift Africa. This team has allowed me to expand my business in ways I couldn’t even imagine!
I also asked for help in other ways – like referrals, emails, friends, family, fellow students at ICA – you name it! It’s like I’ve mentioned before, when you start showing up for yourself watch how others start showing up for you. And then let them!
It can be scary to ask for help, I know because I’m a control freak and I think that if anything is going to get done right I have to do it. We also meet resistance to paying for help when we really shouldn’t. If you need an extra push Carrie Smith breaks down how to outsource to help you build your business.
Learn How to Sock Away A Lot of Money
Although I worked for someone else for almost 3 years, it did give me the necessary time I needed to learn something very important: how to sock away a shit ton of money! As in, I managed to learn how to save half of whatever I made – from wherever the income came from.
If you are planning on leaping make sure you have a hefty savings as a back-up plan. There will be rocky roads, emergencies, who knows! The point is you need to have an emergency stash of cash just in case (note: this is still important even if you have a regular job!)
I haven’t had to use any of my savings to make this leap, but it’s nice to know the money is there should I ever need it.
Learn Some Financial Lifehacks
Traveling has become a part of my business. I just went to Portland for WDS and now I will be speaking at the Financial Blogger Conference in St. Louis. Here’s a little secret: I haven’t paid for any of the flights.
I started learning about airline miles a few of years ago when I read Chris Guillebeau’s ANOC. I also have a friend who knows the ins and outs of how to make airline miles work so I’ve been trying to learn everything I can. If I’m going to be traveling and already know I can handle money, I might as well make it work for me!
(P.S. A word of caution, don’t try this if you aren’t great at managing your money yet. You need to have good credit just to qualify and above all else you need to MAINTAIN good credit. If you need some help in this department Extra Pack of Peanuts has a nifty guide for that!)
(P.S.S. I’m trying my best to get my friend to write about travel hacking for you guys! Hang tight!)
Travel rewards programs aren’t the only financial life hacks out there. You can also try online banking to avoid ridiculous fees, learn about what benefits come with your cards, learn about what to look out for on your bills, where you’ll find quality goods for awesome prices, and much much more.
Ramit Sethi actually talks about a ton of ways you can make your money work for you in I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Lifehacker also always has a ton of great stuff to help you get the most bang for your buck!
So why do you want it so bad?
In reality I simply made one little shift so that I could do all of this. I changed my conversation around money. I realized it was something I didn’t have to be enslaved by, but rather it’s just energy. It’s not something that is meant to cause stress, but something that allows us to do stuff.
Above all I got really clear on what I wanted the money for and why I wanted to be my own boss so badly. For me it was all about freedom. If I wanted freedom within my career, why couldn’t I see money with more freedom as well? Why did the entire conversation have to be so rigid and scary? After all, there is nothing worse than being chained to a desk solely because of a paycheck.
So I simply decided not be chained.