10 Things to Know Before Quitting Your Job and Embracing a New Lifestyle
In May 2011, I quit my job and moved to Paris.
I was 23 years old and passionate, but hated working for someone else and longed for adventure.
So I jumped.
And I’m not going to lie: you’ll learn more from jumping than you will from reading this article. However, there are some things that I wish I’d known before I skipped across the Atlantic with a suitcase full of dreams.
You deserve to live a life as adventurous, colorful and full of joy as you desire. If that means buying a one-way ticket to Paris, I say go for it!
But here are the 10 things you need to know before you jump:
1. It’s vital to have basic knowledge of and respect for money
And we’re not just talking about knowing the numbers in your bank account (which you should know). Spend some time working on your relationship with money. Here’s why:
If you knew everything about money, then you’d have exactly as much money as you want. Do you have as much money as you want? Neither do I. So let’s start learning more about it!
Ask yourself: What hangups do you have about money that could prevent you from making as much as you want? (Manifesting coach Denise Duffield Thomas can help.)
2. Blogging isn’t a career
Very few people get paid to blog. If they do, they’re writing for someone else’s blog. In your own business, blogging is a marketing tool, not an income stream.
If you want to live a fabulous life and never have to get a j-o-b ever again, then let’s talk about business models. If you don’t have one, you don’t have a business.
A business model asks the question: “How do you make money?”
Ask yourself: What solution are you providing that people will pay you money for?
3. You’re going to have to work, so figure out how it fits into your dream lifestyle
You can 4-Hour Workweek it up all you want, but you still have to do the work. (Following Tim Ferriss’s advice requires a whole bunch of self-discipline, so don’t think you’re getting off the hook by following his tips).
Here’s the thing: even if you do find a way to earn passive income, you’re going to get bored quickly if you don’t do anything productive with yourself.
Ask yourself: When you picture your ideal lifestyle, how do you picture working? What time of day? With whom? Doing what?
4. Results take time, so you need to want it bad
There is no such thing as overnight success.
The people you believe have struck overnight success have actually been hustling their bums off for months or years. It could take years for you to see the results you want with your lifestyle business.
Ask yourself these questions: Can you muster up the willpower to hustle after your day job? If not, are you willing to vastly reduce your cost of living?
5. If you’re remotely rebellious, being your own boss will test every cell in your being
Hands down, the number one thing people ask me about is self-discipline:
How do you do it all?
How do you stay focused?
How do you follow through with projects when new ideas seem so much more enticing?
It’s hard for rebellious personalities to stick to a program for long before it starts to feel forced. The funny thing? Most entrepreneurs and lifestyle designers are rebellious by nature.
Ask yourself: Why do you want to design your own lifestyle? What are you willing to sacrifice?
6. Boundaries. Period.
People who live a conventional lifestyle often assume that working from home means sitting in your PJs eating peanut butter off a spoon while watching Ellen.
Your family members will start asking you to do them favors in middle of the day.
You’ll get invited to lunch when you should be working.
Ask yourself this question: Can you stick to a schedule 80 percent of the time?
(My advice? Work when you say you’re going to work.)
7. Treat yourself like a CEO would treat you
If you think that means mani-pedis at 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday, you’ve got another thing coming.
Successful CEOs are results-oriented and profit-conscious. That’s how they got to where they are.
They don’t let their employees do whatever they feel like. If you’ve ever had a job, you know the boss expects you to arrive at a certain time every day. They even expect you to dress appropriately. (Shock!)
Ask yourself: If a CEO of a Fortune 500 company watched you work for a day, what comments and critiques would she give you? How would she do things differently?
8. However, you should indulge in some perks
If you just reached a big goal, and you have the money to blow, go ahead and get a mani-pedi at 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday.
It’ll feel mischievous and a little rebellious. (If playing hookie becomes habitual, however, it’s time to get back to work).
I have to confess: It’s possible to find me in my PJs eating peanut butter off a spoon while watching Ellen. I do it because I can. But I don’t do it every day. It’s a treat!
Ask yourself: What are your favorite perks of designing your own lifestyle? What are you excited to do now that you couldn’t do before?
9. Your new best friends are vulnerability and discomfort
When you work for yourself, you’re 100 percent in charge of your reputation 100 percent of the time. This will cause anxiety. (Why do you think Oprah meditates so much?)
Risk-taking is, well, risky. Especially for perfectionists. You’re going to have to put yourself out there. You’ll feel naked. Just keep swimming.
Ask yourself: Can you get comfortable with discomfort? Are you willing to put yourself out there?
10. Routine isn’t the devil, mon ami
It seems everyone from Mark Twain to Oscar Wilde thought that routines were the curse of modern society. But routines are so necessary.
As a rebellious entrepreneur, you’ll need to cultivate routines and systems that facilitate your work.
Ask yourself: How do you spend your time? How could you use routines to be more efficient?
If you take these tips to heart, you’ll become better at lifestyle design faster. If not, you’ll wind up learning all of these lessons the hard way. If that’s the case, welcome to the club!
What tips do you have for newbie lifestyle designers? What do you wish someone had told you about lifestyle design?
Courtney Johnston is the creator of The Rule Breaker’s Club, where she helps people get really good at being self-employed and teaches them how to write for the Web. This summer, she’s launching her next ebook, From Amateur to Professional, and drinking margaritas on the rocks.
Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!