Do you dream of quitting your job and living a different life? Your dream life maybe?
Do you surf the internet, reading about how other people are living their dream life, wondering how they got there?
I have two words for you: Exit Plan.
I used to work insane hours in a corporate job, juggling three jobs under my one position title. I managed people who didn’t actually work for me, where I had no real power to make decisions. That’s hard when you’re being asked to reach rather unachievable goals with what you have at hand.
To keep my head, I would read travel blogs while I inhaled lunch at my desk. I would read about these people who would travel the world, writing about everything they were experiencing, photographing it as they went. It became my escape, my outlet. I lived vicariously through these people’s words.
Then it hit me. I asked myself: Why can’t I have that too?
I knew that I couldn’t travel the world full time – yet – but I knew that my job was affecting me mentally, physically and emotionally. Something had to give.
I created an exit plan.
It was scary at first. I had been at the same company for twenty years. I had built a reputation. I had a stable income. I had great medical insurance.
But when it came down to it, none of was going to matter if I was dead. And I was on the fast track to that outcome the way things were going.
So, I took a breath and looked deeply at what I wanted. Really deeply.
The thought of pursuing your dreams can be intimidating.
But let me give you some advice: If are still sitting on that decision fence and tell people you’re going to quit your job before you have a plan, they’re going to talk you out of it. Almost guaranteed. It will make you doubt yourself, doubt your decision. Most people in life believe that a stable job in an office environment is the safest bet. But let me tell you this: After a few layoffs from a Fortune 5(00) company (and not based on performance), I can tell you that there are no guarantees in life. There is no safety net. Your world is what you create it to be.
It’s best to have your plan in place and when you are close to your exit, that’s when you reveal your decision.
Sounds good, but where to start? How do you put an exit plan in place?
First decide why you want to leave. Not just because you may hate your job, or that you want a better life, but why you want to pursue that particular dream. What is it that makes you want to do (x,y,z)?
Once you know why, take a good look at your skill set. What are you passionate about? What do you want to do that you can wake up and be excited about every single day? What will get you jumping out of your bed? What are your strengths? Take a look at your weaknesses too as well as these are telling as well. Are you a happy to pave your own way or are you someone who needs structure? Dig deep. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur and that’s okay. You can still pursue your dream and have a ‘day job’. It’s just up to you what that ‘day job’ is.
Determine how you intend on making money with your new dream life. It’s great to have a dream, but let’s be realistic: You still need to pay the bills.
If a travel blog is your goal, I will warn you that it takes 3-5 years before you start making any money from the blog and even then, it’s rare to make enough strictly from the blog alone. You need a pipeline, or multiple ways to make money to be able to do it successfully. That means having other revenue streams like creating products like eBooks or courses to sell on your blog; Work online doing freelancing with oDesk or the like; even having an Amazon online store can bring in money IF you sell the right products. Get creative with your thinking.
(Note: if you’re thinking of taking the plunge into the blogging world, I highly recommend this mentorship by Christine Gilbert at Almost Fearless – WeCreate Mastermind. If you’re not ready to invest in something that large, try The Launch Kit that provides a great foundation.)
Now, it’s time to get down to the details. Get out your calendar and put your exit date down. Put it in PEN, not pencil. Commit to it. Then, work out what you will do each day/week leading up to that date to prepare for your exit.
Do you need to take classes to build your knowledge?
Do you need to put finances in place for this business, or open a business account?
Do you need to register a business?
Do you need to buy a domain name for a website? Do you need to build a website?
All of these can be done while you’re winding down from your current job. But be warned: Things take time. You can leap before you’re ready but make sure that you can hit the ground running.
If you do it right from the very beginning, it’ll be a smooth transition.
So, get out that pen and paper. It’s time to start your exit plan.
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