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I finally quit my day job
dailypress




msg:4072949
 7:29 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dear all WebmasterWorld members and friends:

It had been a while that I was thinking of leaving my day job to do the website thing full time. The past year, things got worse regarding my website traffic and its revenue. On the other hand my job security as well as pay increased at my full time job.

What did I very recently do? I quit my daytime job and now want to work for myself.

I saved enough to survive for a while and would like to finally do something Im really passionate about. And that's online business and websites :)

I have an Electrical Engineering degree and an MBA but worked for a Fortune 500 company in the Aerospace field. Traveling almost 100% for the company I made excellent connections at other smaller aerospace companies. And quite frankly, not to sound cocky, I think I was good at what I did so if I ever need to go back, I am sure I can find a job. The problem is, im not interested to go back. I'm more interested in websites than Aerospace, and I never gave myself the chance to pursue what I was really passionate about. But nows the time to research, learn and do it full time.

So as you can see I dont have much computer programming skills however, started installing scripts and building websites with DreamWeaver a while back (in college). Through trial and error and reading WebmasterWorld as well as other forum posts I learned quite a bit and am ready to move forward full force! :)

Now I know a little more on CMS specifically speaking on Drupal and in addition to my websites I have a few new website ideas that I would like to pursue.

I wanted to get some advice from the ones who took a similar path. Any advice would be appreciated.

So here are a few questions that I had in mind:


1. What steps I should take and what path I should avoid?
2. What do you think are the main challenges ahead? financial, emotional, ... And solutions or recommendations if any?
3. What mistakes did you do or simply just recommend avoiding?
4. How satisfying was your decision of quitting your day time job and finally working for yourself?
5. Once you quit, did you ever go back to becoming an employee again? How was it? Was it depressing /different/ or simply satisfying to be able to pay the bills again? How long did you give yourself and when did you finally decide that you had to go back? Before you were running out of all your savings or after you spent the last dollar? ;)

Any comments, suggestions and feedback would be much appreciated.

Regards,
DP

I'm young and single. It was now or never! So I'm taking the risk and will do my best!

You can obviously have your own opinion but comments like: What the hell were you thinking of quitting a decent job during this recession are not welcomed. Cause its not gonna help. I already made my decision and already quit! And honestly it took me about a year to finally find the balls to do it and make this critical decision in my life. And I obviously thought it through thoroughly. :)


p.s.> BTW, loving the new WW options such as the Editor. It was about time. Thanks "WebmasterWorld Webmasters" & Admins :)

 

nomis5




msg:4075512
 7:33 pm on Feb 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am so glad I made the move, it was the best thing I ever did. Here's my two pennyworth.

First, be extremely, very, very wary of others (and that includes family) intruding in on your core working time. Set times of the day when you will be working and only deviate in dire circumstances. Give yourself some pre-set holiday times and stick to them rigidly. Do this at the outset and your friends and family will accept it. Fail to do that and you'll end up running round doing non-work stuff before you know it.

Second and last, set yourself some tasks that must be completed by the end of each week. Do those first and then let all those ideas that buzz around your head occupy the end of the week.

The very best of luck to you Dailypress.

albo




msg:4075514
 7:42 pm on Feb 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Congratulations. Remember the paperwork.

Your health/stamina is very important. For health:

(1) Remember NOT to neglect coffee breaks and NOT to work 12-hour days 7 days a week !important.

(2) Remember not to treat ALL consultation as uncharged time, and NOT to promise always to be available at "a moment's notice".

After 2 years I found I had to turn'em away: just too busy. I'm a touch typist, but, still...

Be of good cheer. Laugh often.

Israel




msg:4075531
 8:36 pm on Feb 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hey, Good Luck, Daily!

One important point that was mentioned a few times is insurance - both medical and disability.

Granted you have youth on your side, but things happen....

Make sure you have those two areas covered regardless of age and current good health.

******************

In 2004, I was already doing well online. However, symptoms of a pair of unavoidable illnesses that would eventually disable me were hinting at my future fate.

My very good job wouldn't tolerate an older man who showed evidence of physical infirmity. "30 days to ship up or shape out", they said. Out of pride, I regigned and devoted myself full-time to consulting jobs and web work.

There have been a lot of "ups" but also long periods when I am out of the game completely.

However, my only regret is that my wife has had to keep her lousy job for the health benefits, of which I've milked most every dollar! There is also the promise of a modest pension holding her there.

Still, that keeps me working hard so the day will come when I can guarantee that I can cover health insurance as well as keep ahead enough so we need not go into life savings come the next crisis (like more surgery later this month).

Otherwise, I think this works out better than if I had gone on government disability. You can't make disability payments increase but the growth potential is near unlimited when you work for yourself. I also get to retain some pride. My wife can speak of me with more pride this way too.

******************

Go for your dream buddy, just make sure these "what ifs" are covered.

Israel

Back to work now. Can't spend time posting on forums, sorry!

JS_Harris




msg:4075554
 9:56 pm on Feb 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

1. Don't hesitate or overthink things, follow your passion and continue learning from results.
2. Don't assume it will be easy, in fact competition gets harder every single day.
3. When you find your groove don't assume you can rest on your laurels.
4. When you're in the money save some of it for when the inexplicable happens and it's not coming in anymore.
5. Have fun, when you stop having fun it's turned into a day job again.
6. Write prolifically, 75wpm minimum without mistakes, and buy a 2nd keyboard for when you wear this one out.
(speed helps write posts like this in 20 seconds flat so it's not really a major waste of time :-).

edit:
I have an Electrical Engineering degree and an MBA

Don't get upset when you find out that a site beating you in search is run by a passionate 12 year old junior high student. Degrees may help you with writing content since you know your stuff but they play no role in getting natural search traffic... the 12 year olds energy gives him/her the advantage because they'll rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it's just right and never get tired of it, in fact they probably daydream code while they're in class learning math. See #1 and git-er done. Irony: the front page story on Forbes as I write this is Millionaire Highschool Dropouts...

wheel




msg:4075575
 11:15 pm on Feb 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wish you well!

For every person in here speaking up about how great an idea this is and how it's worked for them, there are many more who have failed.
But, try and find one of them who regret doing it. Bet you can't. Going it alone is an overwhelmingly positive experience. Success or failure is almost secondary.
bouncybunny




msg:4075668
 4:53 am on Feb 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well done on making the move. I was pushed into self-employment through redundancy, but I had been preparing for it for a while, so it was on the cards anyway.

Just some random thoughts from my experiences.

After about ten years, I'm getting to the point where I would quite like the stability (relative of course) of a 'real' job and even the routine would be quite nice. Of course its a grass greener situation.


I found that variation is the key. I deal with clients, but also do the Adsense thing. I have also tried to branch out into new areas, some happily, others less so. It's amazing how working for yourself can sometimes be as tedious as a real job - tax, sales etc. But at other times, when it's sunny and I can take the day off and go to the beach, well... wouldn't swap it for the world.


Either way, good luck with it.

filbiz




msg:4075739
 11:06 am on Feb 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello Dailypress! I want to clap my hands on your decision and the many advise that I learned here in this forum. We have very similar attitude and the things that happened to me in the past. The only difference is I was forced to quit my job (retrenched) because I planned to quit my job two years later. But I was still thankful that I was forced to quit because I learned that I can stand for myself.

For three years I'm making a living thru the web with it's ups and downs. Great tips are already in this topic so I can't think of anything better. The thing I can only add is "Someday will never come" so start now.


"The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy." Malcolm S. Forbes (1919-1990)

johnnie




msg:4075749
 11:56 am on Feb 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great thread. Best of luck in your endeavours.

Remember this: hard work is everything here ;)

dailypress




msg:4075820
 4:08 pm on Feb 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

thank you very much guys! its good to hear from the more experienced ones. Great advice here. Ill always refer to this post :)

ronin




msg:4075926
 8:40 pm on Feb 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

The most valuable piece of business advice anyone ever gave me was a long six years before I ever went into business for myself and a good four before I ever dreamt of the idea.

It is this:

Whatever you sell, ensure it is, each time, something that you make once and then can sell over and over again.

ie. don't sell haircuts, sell prints of photos you have taken

The core principle here is that the last thing you want to be exchanging for money is your time.

Lorel




msg:4076020
 11:42 pm on Feb 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been a professional web designer for 10 years and volunteered my services before that and have slowly built up a large portfolio of clients, which I think is of the utmost importance. I had to occasionally rely on help from family the first few years but the last few years I have so much work I turn down at least one job per day (even in this bad economy), and I don't advertise at all, and I don't rely on AdSense for income either.

I'm mostly self taught although I did take a few Internet courses while attending college about 12 years ago to get a BA in English.

I learned HTML the hard way, writing it by hand. I also came on the scene during the website hijacking scare many years ago and learned through trial and error how to avoid/correct those problems as well as experience getting involved with bad hosts and domain scams and wrote plenty of articles on the same as well as many other topics, and those are what drew, and still draw, a lot of clients today.

I will never go back to working for someone else.

My most important advice for you would be to learn to write HTML by hand so you don't have to pay for upgrades for Dreamweaver and other expensive software (it puts out too much code bloat anyway).

I would also advise you to run an honest business and try and satisfy each client as much as possible so your business grows by word of mouth. Then once you get enough clients for a portfolio you should be able to only work parttime, and, as someone else said, take a vacation occasionally. I love my work so much I need to take that advice myself.

johnser




msg:4076268
 11:20 am on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Like the OP, I'm also an electrial engineer. But I always preferred the sem side of the web rather than web dev. (Terrible with colours!)

I realised in 2001 that there was no such thing as a "secure" job - just the illusion of it. My future depends on me / my ambition / my behaviour.

Some pointers I've learned the hard way.

1) Have a different physical space for work & home. When the novelty factor wears off, I found that work & office being the same place was mentally exhausting.

2) I'd no commercial / business experience. It's cost me thousands in stupid mistakes to gain some experience. Get your paperwork sorted promptly by someone capable if you're not good at doing it yourself.

3) Focus on what you're good at. Not outsourcing the rest kills your energy levels.

4) Another poster above said to focus on completing 1 project at a time. This is critical and I've fallen into the trap of starting lots of projects at once to see them all fail. Slow, small steps.

5) You'll get ideas every day. Most of them will be rubbish if my experience is anything to go by! Write them down and if they're still good in 1 month, plan, think and cost them through carefully before executing.

6) Don't be accessible 24/7. I work 10-7ish Mon-Fri and try and avoid work on the w/e's. I particularly don't speak to clients outside office hours. I also have learned to relax without the computer / technology around.

7) I know 2 guys who are also Elect Eng's who recently sold their companies (millions) and are now very happy (or at least sorted for life!). I reckon we've maybe a secret advantage due to logical training ;)

8) I'm not sure I'd be able to get a job having been self-employed for nearly a decade. But I do know that I've enough brains and willingness to work hard that I won't starve - come what may. That knowledge gives me confidence.

9) If you're willing to work hard and are positive and creative, you'll be fine. Just think & cost ideas through well!

The very best of luck - and keep on smiling when things are looking very bleak as they inevitable will on occasion.
J

wheel




msg:4076409
 5:00 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I realised in 2001 that there was no such thing as a "secure" job - just the illusion of it. My future depends on me / my ambition / my behaviour.

That's very true.

Being dependent on yourself to earn your own income is safer than depending on someone else to pay your income. Most people see this as the other 'way around - but they're wrong.

edacsac




msg:4076425
 5:21 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Congratulations! I am so jealous (in a good way). I wish you the best success!

I've been trying to get to what your starting for over 10 years now, and I'm not getting any closer - even though I have over 3 years LE saved in bank and have developed serious skills.

The most valuable piece of business advice anyone ever gave me was a long six years before I ever went into business for myself and a good four before I ever dreamt of the idea.

It is this:

Whatever you sell, ensure it is, each time, something that you make once and then can sell over and over again.

ie. don't sell haircuts, sell prints of photos you have taken

The core principle here is that the last thing you want to be exchanging for money is your time.


That is profound and confusing at the same time.

Let me just add, that you are the man for having the guts! I'm sure the rewards will be great.

anand84




msg:4076460
 6:25 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

@DailyPress

Wow...Except for your Electrical Engineering degree(I'm the mechanical type!), everything else sounds like my story. I quit my job in August last year at a time when I was not making much from my websites as well..I quit trying to check out for a year..

Guess what, in the time I have been at it full time, my traffic has increased five-fold! Ok, it was off a smaller base and is still long way from being a reliable full time income..but it helps quitting your job..

Regarding what you should do, well, I somehow found a freelancing job..I now write for a moderately popular website..Spend around 2-2.5 hours a day writing for them and make more than enough money to focus the rest of the day on my own website ventures..

Good luck and keep us posted..

dailypress




msg:4076558
 8:30 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

thanks :) Will keep you guys updated although I will have to ask one of the admins to NOT close this thread so I can post later on in a few months.

And believe me I will share whether or not I succeeded or failed. Im a honest person and not ashamed of admitting failure :)

Almost a week past and im happier each day with my decision. :)

Let me just add, that you are the man for having the guts!
Well just quitting to show that you have the guts wouldnt be smart right? I'd like to think I have it planned out. It does require taking risks but a calculated risk is the way to go. I dont know everyones situation here, financials and whether or not they have other responsibilities like supporting a family or not. I think it all depends on the individuals situation so not sure if I can recommend it to anyone or not.

But I will say, that during this tough time of being lucky to be employed, I was 50-50 for a while and it took me several months to finally make this move.

I did not discuss this with my family and told them after the fact cause I knew they could persuade me to move either direction in this decision. I did give them hints that I was going to leave my job and that this was a big decision and that I would need to think it through. I am glad and fortunate that they supported me although deep down I know they wanted me to keep my job especially that this web business hasnt made me much money the past few years doing it part time.

Im either crazy or too optimistic! hehe ;) time will tell :)

thanks again for all the comments and support and advice and feedback.

anand84




msg:4076780
 6:03 am on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I did not discuss this with my family and told them after the fact cause I knew they could persuade me to move either direction in this decision.


Why is it that every move you have made seems like my own story! LOL

buckworks




msg:4076783
 6:34 am on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

a calculated risk is the way to go


Yes.

either crazy or too optimistic


... or maybe some of each! :)

My grandmother was in her eighties when she told me that looking back on her life she had few regrets about doing things that turned out badly. The things she regretted were the things she should have done or wanted to do but for some reason didn't do them, or didn't even try.

My grandmother would say to stay focused, stay organized, give it your absolute best shot, and have some fun along the way!

Digmen1




msg:4077404
 3:06 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Daily Press
I wish you luck, but I do not agree with all the other posters.
I think you have made a bad decision.
You do not seem to have any plans.
How are you going to make money ?
Writing websites for other people ?
Loading their content ? (you say CMS)
Writing articles ? (you English needs a bit of work)
Running your own ecommerce site ? selling what ?
Sellgin on ebay ?
Being an associate ?

The web forums are full of people that want to make money and a living on line. And every new one makes it harder for the rest of us. The web is now "mature" it is not the wild frontier it was say 5 or 10 years ago.

Your expertise is in the aviation industry, how does that translate ?

I think you should get another day job, while you research more and plan what you want to do, or you will soon burn through your cash.


Kind Regards
Best Of Luck
Digby

CainIV




msg:4077443
 6:03 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I disagree with the last post. Not everything in life is calculated rational steps. For the sake of adding something unique to the already great information and advice provided,

I quit my day job, teaching music, 8 years ago, to start up my own marketing company. I wanted to separate the notion of music from making money, so that music was free again for me.

I left knowing that I would succeed. Which is the segue to my point:

Believe
Intend
Expect

And although you will experience a lot of new and interesting bumps and curves in your adventure, you will succeed.

loner




msg:4077553
 12:02 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Your questions should probably have been asked before you left your day job, but what's done is done- I say this from the same experience. Manage your time well, stick to business, think and be positive and stay away from socializing on forums. Get what you need and get back to work.

I've made some horrendous errors, but overall, working for myself the last 15 years have been the best years I've ever had.

Best regards and good luck.
Gottago ...

Green_Grass




msg:4077557
 12:29 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great motivational stuff here.

To be realistic , one must consider that for every one success, there might be a hundred failures. It is important to learn from failures. Stay focussed, take the rough with the smooth and keep the goal in sight. Keep dreaming, dreaming is important, it enables you to think BIG.

maximillianos




msg:4077724
 4:48 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Good advice Green_Grass. I've failed far more than I've succeeded. I've had countless website ideas where I've developed them up over months only to reach a point of failure when my efforts cannot get them going. But the few successes out of the hundreds of failures have been huge successes. Which is what keeps me going.

My wife is extremely supportive of me as well. She encourages me to try things that might fail, because she knows what I'm capable of.

Having support from your family is priceless.

anand84




msg:4077803
 6:16 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I believe the 80/20 rule always hold true; be it the number of websites from your collection that make you money or even the articles inside one website that make the most money..

MrHard




msg:4077843
 7:26 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Usually what happens when you start your own business is that you announce it to everyone you know.

You then have to deal with all kinds of advice, pressures and expectations that are not your own and which end up influencing your decisions.

If 95% of online businesses fail you need to be comfortable doing things your own way, and not the way everyone else is doing it.

Hate to say it, but many don't like the idea of someone leaving the mold, and will convey this in strange ways which seek to damage your confidence.

dailypress




msg:4077959
 9:52 pm on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wish you luck, but I do not agree with all the other posters.
... Im not a webdesigner so no, I wont be building websites for clients. My plan is to monetize traffic through ads. Ill let you know the details later. I do appreciate your honesty. :)

Your expertise is in the aviation industry, how does that translate ?
It is, but its not what Im passionate about.

I probably should have went to school for Computer Science or Computer Engineering and got a job in programming rather than doing Electrical Engineering and working for an Aerospace company. But that was past...

If I do reach the point of spending all my savings without generating income by a specific deadline I gave myself, I will take the appropriate next step.

Trust me, I know the risks and I am aware that most businesses fail. I've been repeating that in my head every night for the past few months until I made my final decision on leaving last week.

Your questions should probably have been asked before you left your day job
I wasnt looking for advice on whether to leave or not.
I had already posted in another thread about a 1-2 years ago mentioning that I wanted to leave my job and go full time on the website business.

Usually what happens when you start your own business is that you announce it to everyone you know.

You then have to deal with all kinds of advice, pressures and expectations that are not your own and which end up influencing your decisions.
Absolutely agree! I noticed that on day 1 when I was excited and told my close friends.

But then explaining and justifying my move took too much energy from me so now I only tell people who ask, and ask about my job. Why voluntarily tell people when you know they're gonna question your judgment.

Im single therefore can say: It's my life, I make decisions, and I'm responsible for any mistakes I make and unfortunately I have no one to blame other than myself! :)

back to work!

trinorthlighting




msg:4078098
 2:13 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

The best advice I can say is to get out and interact with real people. Sometimes sitting at home all day long and talking on the phone and not actually seeing people will wear on you a bit. I think I will take the advice of taking my laptop to the coffee shop as was mentioned.....

dailypress




msg:4078115
 3:05 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

thanks. Yes. Since I have traveled non-stop for almost 4 years, I am not used to staying home at all. I also feel that I am more efficient at coffee shops.

filbiz




msg:4078166
 6:27 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Digmen1 is very rational and he is right all along if you will look at it on an "employee" point of view. Getting a job is a sure way to make a living but the question is do you like your job? are you willing to go with it until your last breath or are you willing to sacrifice to seek happiness? I think what is very important in life is for you to be happy. And happiness is doing what you really like the most.

ronin




msg:4078184
 8:31 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

But then explaining and justifying my move took too much energy from me


Right. It's good that you recognised this very early. I did too and then spent the whole of my first year of my business (definitely much more difficult than the years which followed!) not talking to friends and family but being basically reclusive and just getting the damn thing to make enough money that I could pay my bills each month without stress.

I think start-up entrepreneurs want to talk to friends and family in an attempt to hear some encouragement. Sadly, there is much less encouragement out there than one might hope for. (Because, as MrHard mentions, many people don't like the idea of someone striking out their own... it reminds them too plainly that they are still on their hamster wheel).

I had one very close friend who is very pro-business who I used to have dinner with once a month and chat to about my new business. He was encouraging and I was very grateful for it. To everyone else I just kept my ideas and thoughts to myself and kept plugging away at the project.

Habtom




msg:4078190
 9:24 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

...spent the whole of my first year of my business (definitely much more difficult than the years which followed!) not talking to friends and family but being basically reclusive and just getting the damn thing to make enough money that I could pay my bills each month without stress.


ronin, your suggestion makes a great sense to me!

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