Here we are about 8 months after I left my 9-5 job to work for myself. To say it’s been stressful is an understatement. I’m not going to lie and tell you that the grass is greener being a business owner. I’m not sitting on a beach working with my laptop like you see in all those horrible cheesy entrepreneur photos on Instagram. Most days I don’t leave the house and work in the office right next to my bedroom.
In this blog I want to cover the top 4 things that went into me leaving my 9-5 job of 15 years.
Getting rid of your debt is one of the most important things you need to do before you think about leaving your 9-5. It will take time and you will have to be patient, but paying off your debt gives you the freedom to do what you want in your business and in life.
My biggest debt was my student loans. Before I quit my job, I wanted that debt gone. I saved whatever money I could and paid it down in separate chunks throughout a year. The day I made that final payment, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
Whatever debt you have, I believe it’s best to pay off before quitting your 9-5. You’re making a huge life change that’s going to be stressful, so if you can eliminate the stress that comes with having to pay off debts, you’ll be better off.
Paying off your debt is only part of the puzzle. You also need to learn how to cut back on your expenses. This means you have to make sacrifices on your lifestyle. You will be shocked at how much money you can save if you learn to cut back on expenses.
One of my biggest expenses used to be my car. I had a car payment and my daily commute was about 2 hours. Between my car payment, mortgage and student loan I had very little money left over for savings. I always felt like there was no way I could afford to leave my job. The minute I learned that my lifestyle was the reason I felt trapped in my 9-5, I decided to start making some major lifestyle changes.
I moved to a city where I didn’t need to have a car. I started cooking at home more. I learned to have fun staying in rather than going out all the time.
I understand that most people can’t just up and move to a new city, but if you really want to quit your 9-5, you have to make changes somewhere Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in the same financial loop feeling like there is no way to get out. It’s scary to make changes, but they have to be done if you want to change your situation.
Tip: Have at least six months of expenses saved before you make plans to quit your job.
Here’s a topic everyone loves! Taxes! Yuck!! At first, this was scary because paying taxes at a 9-5 is completely different than being self employed. Yes, it will add stress to your life, but with some research and hiring a professional accountant it makes the process a lot less scary. The first year will also be the hardest because you will see how much money goes toward taxes.
Good news, it’s not all doom and gloom dealing with taxes. You get to write off tons of expenses toward your business income. This can include expenses like meals, vehicle, lodging, hardware, software etc… The key is to stay on top of your expenses throughout the year.
For example, if we meet a client in the city and pay for parking and have a meal, I will take those 2 receipts home and input those expenses in my accounting software the next morning. If you don’t stay on top of your expenses, you’ll be missing out on tons of savings come tax time.
Tip: I recommend you save at least 15%-20% of your income for taxes.
Here’s another big subject I had to think about when leaving my 9-5. One of the biggest benefits when working for a company is the health insurance. Once you are self employed in the US, you are now responsible for paying 100% of your health insurance premiums.
It can be overwhelming when looking for private health insurance. I recommend you start at healtcare.gov and see if you can quality for a premium tax credit. This will help you save on your monthly premium.
Even with the credits, insurance can be expensive, so I recommend setting aside money every month to go towards the premiums. The change will be worth it
There is a lot that goes into quitting your 9-5. Your lifestyle will dramatically change and things won’t always be easy. I’m still adjusting 8 months later to this new lifestyle.
There are so many things that will change when you run your own business. In my situation, I’ve noticed that I’m a more creative. I have more personal time to focus on new things that will help me grow my business and myself as a person.
I can honestly say that running my own business has been the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life. I wouldn’t trade it for working a 9-5 again.
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