I have just celebrated my two year anniversary of leaving my day job! 

The time has flown by so fast that it all feels like a bit of a blur. I’d had this full-time job for 11 years and I started working there when I was 22, so it was a massive part of my working life! Making the decision to leave my day job is the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but it doesn’t have to be as scary for you! That’s why I’m sharing my tips and advice…

My messy journey when deciding to leave my day job

At the time when I wanted to leave my day jobI tried almost every combination possible to get to the point where I could just be running a business I’m passionate about and that’s all I need to do to make a living. 

I reduced hours in my day job, then I reduced them some more, I ended up signed off work with stress and anxiety, then I volunteered for redundancy, I was accepted and left that job. 

At the time I had a business that had started as a hobby (I made button bouquets and you can check them out here!) and I had thought I would just throw all of my energy into this and that would be it!

Unfortunately, I was wrong. I realised my heart didn’t lie in that business anymore. I had started it as a hobby after making my own wedding bouquet when other people asked me to make their bouquet too, so it was never really my true passion. I enjoyed making the bouquets, but I couldn’t see myself doing that forever.

I kept working on the bouquet business, but I also ended up getting a part-time job to support me while I figured things out. 

I panicked and felt insecure and vulnerable without a full-time job, so I then defaulted back to the things I had always known. A job and education. I got another full-time job that I ended up hating and that was a truly miserable existence for 5 months. I also started a masters degree in Psychology and thought being a Psychologist would be a good job.

I had to dig really deep at this point and be truly honest with myself. Was this the right path for me or was I, yet again, just defaulting to what I thought was right?

I had to do some quitting

It was the latter. So I had to do some quitting! First I quit the degree – it wasn’t leading me to a job I wanted to do forever. Then I realised I wanted to help other people whose jobs made them miserable to escape! That’s where my entrepreneurial journey began and not long after I quit this other job!

When I took redundancy from my job of 11 years I was so confused and panicked about how I was going to make money that it clouded my judgment and I didn’t make a plan. My journey was so messy and a huge rollercoaster ride.

The 5 things I would have done differently:

I’ve been reflecting on what have helped me make progress faster when I left my job and the things I would have done differently while I was still in my day job if only I’d had someone to share their story and help me!

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: I started my personal development journey while I was signed off work with stress and anxiety from my 9-5. That’s what ultimately made me decide to leave my day job, gave me the courage to quit and what opened my eyes to the opportunities that were out there for me. 

However, since I decided to leave my job the amount of personal development that I’ve done is insane. I’m a completely different person to who I was just two years ago. 

I wish I’d understood that I didn’t need to compare myself to others, and in fact, this can be so detrimental to making progress, especially in the early days of business. I would have focused on being confident in what I had to offer people and that my knowledge and experience can help others who are a few chapters behind me on their journey. 

I wish I’d realised this and used that knowledge to just share what I was learning right from that start and not worrying about whether I was good enough or what people would think. We all have a story to share and it’s so important that we do as there are so many people we can help. If we don’t share what we know we are doing those people who need our help a disservice, as we are making them have to figure it all out for themselves like we did, and we all know how stressful and messy that can be!

PASSION: I wish I’d made sure my time was spent on my passion. I initially decided that when I left my day job I was going to focus on growing my button bouquet business to make a living from that. However, it never felt 100% right and I found myself not wanting to give it my all. 

This knocked me for six and this is why I went and got that part-time job. I panicked that maybe I didn’t want this business after all. Maybe I didn’t want to wire together buttons for my whole life getting cuts on my fingers and burns from the hot glue gun. I think deep down I knew this business wasn’t where I wanted to put my focus anymore, but it took me a long time to admit it to myself. In fact, I was still selling Christmas items last year as I cleared out my old stock! 

If I could go back and do it again I would really dig deep into what my passions were and find a business idea that fits these. Then I’d put all of my time into working out how to do that, right from the beginning, instead of everything getting messy with another job I hated, a business my heart wasn’t in and a few fleeting thoughts of what I really wanted to do. I would just have started a blog, shared my story and built things up from there.

ESCAPE PLAN: I wish I had made an actual escape plan instead of leaving and then figuring it out after. Don’t get me wrong – one big message I would share is that it will all work out in the end. You can always get another job, so you will always manage to make a living, even if temporarily it’s not doing what you want to do. However, all of the stress that came from not having a plan could have been avoided. I wish I had focused on two things:

  1. HOW I was going to make money and
  2. WHAT my business mission was going to be. 

Those two things would have given me a focus. Instead of trying to learn Facebook Ads or how to make a perfect website or how to write perfect copy (all of these are important, but not right at the start).

If I could do it again I would have written down WHY I was running my business and WHAT my mission was. 

I created this business to show women that they don’t have to settle for their day job. I wanted to show them that if they weren’t happy they could choose to do something about it and that if they weren’t being valued or recognised at work then they could take all of their amazing skills and create something for themselves that they are passionate about and that meant they could live life on their own terms. My business mission is to free as many women as possible from their jobs that make them miserable, feel un-valued and that they just don’t feel invested in.

Getting clear on these two things way back then would have enabled me to start a simple blog and share valuable content to help these women. 

I would also get clear on HOW I was going to make money. So what could I do right then that I had the skills to do that could help these women and allow me to make a living. Teaching them what I’d learned from my own journey through workshops, courses and 1:1 coaching was where I needed to put my focus.

However, I spend way too long working on the behind the scenes part of my business and didn’t do anything about making money for the first year or so! An entire year where I wasn’t clear on what I could offer and how I could help these women.

HABITS: Right from the start I would have created a morning routine full of personal development and self-care. I would have done this EVERY SINGLE DAY to build up my resilience and to look after me. After all, if I’m not in a good place in my head who is going to run the business properly? 

I would also have developed habits for my business. Creating regular content and having a weekly schedule for when I share this, how I would promote it and how I would get it out to the people who need my help.

Doing this right at the beginning would have given me a huge head start on building my email list and social media following for when I had something to launch.

PERSPECTIVE: I hated my job so much that I was so desperate to leave it. It was a struggle for me to go there every day and I felt like I was wasting 8hrs a day that I could be using for my business. 

In fact what I was doing was being paid to do a job I had agreed to do, which gave me the money to pay my bills while I worked on my escape plan. I couldn’t see it at the time, but my life would have been a lot less stressful if I could have made this mindset shift back then. Maybe I wouldn’t have come home so drained every day, and maybe I would have had more energy to put into my escape plan and I would have gotten there faster?

A final thought…

I hope this blog post has given you a little insight into just how messy it can be to leave your job to run your own business! Whatever your journey looks like it’s ok! 

I did it the long and hard way without any guidance or anyone to show me where to put my focus. I could have done it SO much faster with the right support. 

So my bonus tip for something I would have done differently is:

INVESTED IN MYSELF: At the start of my journey, I found it hard to justify spending money on myself or my business when I wasn’t earning much money. It felt really scary to think of spending big amounts of money on courses or a coach – because how did I know it was going to work? How did I know it would definitely help me?

I once had a coach tell me that I would never be a success on my own – that I couldn’t make it without her. Needless to say, I didn’t pay her to be my coach! In fact, I removed myself from everything she did.

This shook me and I doubted other programs and people for a while. But what I have learned is that investing in yourself to learn those key things is invaluable. Just make sure they are the right things for you at that time.

For example, I wanted to start a membership site, but not just any membership site, I wanted to make mine an awesome experience for people and I wanted to make sure it made huge transformations in my members’ lives. So I invested in a course called TRIBE. This course is awesome and it completely restored my faith that there were people out there who really wanted to help others and that they would go above and beyond doing it.

Since TRIBE I’ve invested in a course to teach me how to write better copy and a course to help me do ‘proper’ launches for my membership. Both of these have been awesome too.

So my lesson here is to invest in yourself – don’t be afraid to spend money to learn the things you need to learn. But just make sure its the right thing for you to learn at that time and that the person teaching it is genuine.

How can I help you?

*Are you still looking for your passion and purpose aso that you can choose a business idea and get started?

Then check out this blog post

*Are you struggling with your day job and need help to get through it until you can leave? 

Then check out my FREE 9-5 survival kit It’s full of things you can do that are quick and easy that will make your time at your day job so much easier and less draining.

 *If you want to be part of a community of women who are all navigating crappy day jobs while planning their escape through starting their own business then come and join us in our Facebook group.

Anything at all that you need help with hit the little chat bubble over there on the right and I’ll help you as much as I can 🙂

Laura x