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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 :)

 

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!

dailypress




msg:4078523
 5:50 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

filbiz, I loved my job at first, but the turnover rate is pretty high for a reason. Employees get burned out from traveling non stop to different places. They get sick of hotels and airports. The loneliness itself was a lot of pressure.

My manager's life was not something I wanted or aimed for. I wasnt sure if all my peers were happy with their lifestyle. I was the youngest in our department.

Being divorced or constantly arguing with their spouse or kids was something I noticed in most of them and that was not a future or lifestyle I wanted.

I felt that I was going to be stuck like the rest of them working there 20-30 years. I had to leave for exactly what you mentioned: I wasnt happy there! even though the money was good and I saved a lot!


ronin, absolutely.

Plus most family and friends around me arent in the web business and have no experience whatsoever and trying to teach them first, then wait for their encouragement and approval is basically fooling myself and a futile effort!

maximillianos




msg:4078585
 7:20 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Plus most family and friends around me arent in the web business and have no experience whatsoever and trying to teach them first, then wait for their encouragement and approval is basically fooling myself and a futile effort!


Most of my friends and family have no idea what I do, and still don't know after I explain it to them. A typical conversation:

"So, who do you work for?"

Me: "I work for myself"

"Well, yeah, but you have clients right?"

Me: "Not really, I kind of just work for myself".

"Who pays you money?"

Me: "Advertisers mostly".

"So you work for them, they are your clients."

Me: "Not really. I outsource that to another company who works with the advertisers. I never deal directly with them."

"Okay, so the outsourcing firm is your client you work for?"

Me: "Not really. It is all automated. I just put their code on my site and it does all the work"

"Ok, I have no idea what you are talking about".

Me: "I know. It is confusing. Let's talk about something else".

;-)

skibum




msg:4078649
 9:17 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Finally got the second foot out of the corporate door here too. The first came loose oh, maybe 5 years ago, the second one is free next Wed. That one was a lot harder to get loose. It'll be a fun ride.

galaxian




msg:4079548
 9:17 am on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is a great thread filled with so many good words and ideas. Wish Dailypress and every other contributor all the very best with your businesses/projects. I've recently joined the forum, and it's nice to be in the company of some old school pros.

Some advice I have to help avoid getting mentally exhausted and overwhelmed (also helps to limit stress):

- learn new skills, but ones which are related to your field of work. The completion of this will satisfy your feeling of accomplishment and will definitely help your confidence
- I find when you keep your skill level current, it boosts your confidence which in turn helps minimize stress and anxieties about doing the actual work.
- keep a todo list, and actually focus daily on working on those items. This also will help your confidence and feel good about getting those things done.

It's all about small steps working towards those goals. I am not the best at following my own advice all the time, but I find when I do these things it really does help to keep me on track and feeling good about myself and my business.

Also lastly, try not to get discouraged or envious when you see competitors doing better. You don't know their whole story, and nor do you know the struggle and other issues they face.

And remember, you may not be the best of the best, but you are surely better than some at certain things. Have pride in yourself, and don't get too caught up in a maze of ideas or trying to do too much at once.

ronin




msg:4079568
 11:00 am on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

try not to get discouraged or envious when you see competitors doing better.


Very important.

The only person I focus on competing against is: myself, last month.

dailypress




msg:4079657
 4:22 pm on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

learn new skills, but ones which are related to your field of work. The completion of this will satisfy your feeling of accomplishment and will definitely help your confidence
Funny how you mentioned that, cause yesterday I started learning a program and it did feel very good. At least this way even if I don't succeed in my web business, I can look back and say I learned something.

Also lastly, try not to get discouraged when you see competitors doing better.
I agree. But its easier said than done. Especially when youre working hard and then see a simple new concept pick up quickly. And the owner of that site isnt much more experienced or smarter than you! :)

I guess one advice I have is: Sometimes no one around you is screwing with you; It's YOU thats making you feel discouraged or down! The world isnt that bad! Sometimes we just focus on the negatives and what we dont have! Sometimes its only all in our head!

Don't let your own brain screw you!

jeyKay




msg:4080682
 6:30 pm on Feb 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I love posts like this. I quit my job, with zero savings but with a head full of determination. That was one year ago. I now live in beautiful British Columbia happier than ever, enjoying the perks of working on my own.

The best advice I can give you: focus on one thing at time and don't ever allow the stress of work get the best of you. There is a reason you quit your corporate job after all...remember that.

maximillianos




msg:4080731
 7:50 pm on Feb 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

The best advice I can give you: focus on one thing at time and don't ever allow the stress of work get the best of you. There is a reason you quit your corporate job after all...remember that.


This is good advice, but has been very tough for me. I actually feel more pressure on myself now than when I was in corporate america. Mostly because I am alone in my business and everything is on my shoulders to bring in income. Where before I worked on a team with other employees, we all shared responsibilities, you "felt" safer.

Reality is I was no more safer then than I am now, but that is a difficult concept to grasp.

galaxian




msg:4081081
 6:47 am on Feb 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maximillianos, I know what you mean. But a good thing to think about once in a while -- visualize those corporate scenarios which used to get on your nerves. Like the office politics, abusive or overly competitive co-workers, and those feelings you used to have about hating working for someone else. At least you don't need to put up with any of that. Think of all the people at your old job who could never survive doing what you do now. It's good to reminisce about this when you feel the pressures.

neostar




msg:4081127
 8:11 am on Feb 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

It seems that Ur passionate to what u want to do or to be done.

dont worry make your own way:

"Nothing Ends Everywhere Else, Every Exit Is Entry Somewhere Else."

"We're Bound To Exists To Do Enything, But For Rest Of The Things We're Free To Do Everything"

Best Regards,
- Rajendra Pondel

Jane_Doe




msg:4081475
 6:20 pm on Feb 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Like the office politics, abusive or overly competitive co-workers


It is nice being able to have a job where you really are compensated based on your own talents. I worked with many super sharp people in the past, but also my fair share of "Wally's" and "pointy haired bosses".

It is cool having a job not a lot of other people have the skills to be able to do.

dailypress




msg:4081483
 6:27 pm on Feb 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

1) Also working for a huge company, it would have taken for ever to move up the corporate ladder. + 2) Now wasn't the best time for hopping around different jobs cause not many companies are hiring + 3) Id like to think of work as a different kind of university where you keep learning...I was at a point where I had a very specific task and that was it. (thats another downside of working for a big company)

Still happy with my decision. Thanks for all the stories and encouragement.

Jane_Doe




msg:4081535
 7:50 pm on Feb 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Also working for a huge company, it would have taken for ever to move up the corporate ladder.


Two thirds of the millionaires in the Millionaire Next Door books are self employed. When you are self employed, there is no upper limit on how much you can make. (Unfortunately there is no bottom floor, either.) Plus, the current tax laws in the U.S. heavily favor people who are self employed versus those who work for a salary, because of all the deductions you can take for pension plans and business expenses.

skunker




msg:4083942
 3:28 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hey guys,
I just turned 30. I worked for myself from ages 24-30. I made great money, and then I made bad money. I told myself that if I couldn't gain financial stability by the time I'm 30, I will find a "real" job elsewhere. During my late 20s, I was able to do many of my bucket list items because I had a lot of free time. These included learning to fly, kayaking the Yellowstone, buying my own acreage out in the country and doing a bit of traveling. This was great, but I always felt like I was missing something. I needed to be around people and I was still single. The self-employment life was hard for me. I found myself working way too much and I started to envy the people that worked from 9am-5pm and were able to shut off their work. I was unable to separate my personal life from my own business. With the economy the way it is, I started to realize how unstable my business was. I sold my sites and recently started working for the Department of Defense as a federal employee. This is my opinion...but I am having a great time and I think that there are some jobs out there that may be better than being self-employed. I was able to snag a job that parallels what I was doing for myself in my 20s..but the perks/benefits with working for the Feds outweighed anything I could imagine. I don't have to worry about medical insurance, retirement, pensions, etc. Many of the guys in my office will retire around age 50! I also get to play with government toys and....go home at 4pm everyday. They let us telecommute, as well. Stability...stability....that's what it's all about for me. My social life got much better, too. I am looking to get married soon.

I liked being self-employed, but I dont' think I could've done it for the rest of my life. I got bored quickly and my health went down hill, despite having lots of time off and being able to focus on exercises. I don't know, it was weird for me. Look into working for the Feds, the stress in these jobs are usually minimal as you're pretty much set for life. The US Federal government is undertaking a MASSIVE new focus in social media/web technology that many of you have skills for.

Good luck!

anand84




msg:4083965
 4:51 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Skunker

I think it's human nature to see things green on the other side. I am sure there are a good chunk of the 9-5ers who would have envied your flexible worklife.

Having said that, I very much agree on the social-life part. It's been six months now since I quit my job to work from home and I think the lack of social life is starting to get to me now..

But it has always been in my future plan to make sufficient money to recruit people to do my work (Here in India, you can recruit freshmen guys with great writing and coding skills for as less as $250 a month)

And, if I am unable to move up to that point, I am going to have a second thought. Shooing them away from my mind for the time being though..

skunker




msg:4083974
 5:31 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

You're on the right track, anand84. Thanks for your comments!

lammert




msg:4083978
 5:49 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

The only person I focus on competing against is: myself, last month.

A very valid point and if you are able to keep focused on this, progress will come.

A few years ago there was a thread in the AdSense forum of member markus007 about his success. He made a lot of interesting points, and one which I still remember is that if a site is growing less than 10% per month you have to look where things are going wrong.

I have translated this rule in an Excel spreadsheet where I store my visitor numbers and earnings of every month. There is a prognosis column based on the +10% per month rule which tells me the visitor numbers and earnings I am aiming for in the coming period. It really keeps me focused because I now know that I don't have to be rich in a few months, but if I will be able to keep the prospected growth the Excel graph tells me which income I could have at a given moment in the future.

10% per month doesn't seem much in the first years when you grow from $1 per day to $3 per day in a year time, but after a few years this kind of steady growth can really give you a nice income.

This Excel sheet not only pushes me in bad months to work harder to get my target, it also allows me to take some free time if growth in any month is harder than expected, thereby preventing that I become a computerized zombie.

Jane_Doe




msg:4084004
 6:57 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

I needed to be around people and I was still single. The self-employment life was hard for me.


I think if even if you work from home and are married with kids it is probably a good idea to join several clubs or social groups.

The only problem with that is that once clubs find out you know how to make web sites then they want you to support their club web sites, which puts you back at home working on the computer by yourself, defeating part of the purpose of joining the clubs.

So my advice is to join clubs and volunteer groups and not necessarily lie, but just not be very forthcoming about what you do for a living. Just say you do search engine marketing or something like that. Or maybe just go ahead and lie and tell them you sell Amway full-time. :)

JS_Harris




msg:4084027
 8:23 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Or find groups that don't care what you do for a living. People can be so horty torty...

dickbaker




msg:4084058
 10:31 pm on Feb 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been self-employed for 23 years. Doing so took a toll on my marriage.

When I first opened my business, my wife worked with me and it was a team effort that brought us closer together. When the business was running fine without her, she took a job elsewhere, and we didn't spend as much time together.

Now, working on a website, I'm at home but working more hours than ever. It's creating a strain on the marriage again.

It's a hard rope to walk.

Green_Grass




msg:4084205
 6:35 am on Feb 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

My wife continuously complains that I do not have any 'Real' friends.

skunker




msg:4084319
 3:56 pm on Feb 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Has anyone seen the documentary DIGITAL NATION on PBS FRONTLINE?

jasonventer




msg:4084356
 5:42 pm on Feb 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

This thread has inspired me to put some time into setting up some revenue streams so that I can quit my day job and spend all of my time working for myself online. That day is still a distant hope, but there have been some steps that I've been needing to take and now I've been spurred into action. Thanks for posting this! On a side note, I just discovered this forum. It's exactly what I've been looking for these past few weeks. What a terrific day!

Jane_Doe




msg:4084395
 7:47 pm on Feb 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Or find groups that don't care what you do for a living. People can be so horty torty...


I think you missed my point.

It isn't about being horty torty. It is about joining outdoor or social groups to get out of the house and off the PC and then having those groups ask you to maintain their web sites - which puts you right back in the house and back on the PC by yourself, having even more web work to do than before you joined the groups.

I have learned the hard way that you might be able to avoid this Catch-22 situation by not letting them know you know how to code HTML in the first place.

phranque




msg:4084503
 12:34 am on Feb 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com], jasonventer!

seppeke




msg:4088460
 5:40 pm on Feb 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

good luck

MrHard




msg:4090430
 5:15 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

but the perks/benefits with working for the Feds outweighed anything I could imagine


I went the opposite direction and used to work for the government before I became self employed. It was stable work/benefits and all those things, but that was precisely why it made me unhappy.

I realized that I would rather take the risk on my own and fail, then stay in the office and retire well at 50. But I got out early enough before my lifestyle had to be supported by the stable paycheck. Lots of the old boys are probably still there not being able to risk any change because their obligations have aligned with their income.

In addition, I was around people who frankly were pretty lazy precisely because the positions were so stable, and one of the things people do when they are bored is become involved in office politics which is not my idea of a social life either.

If I need to vent now I can just come gripe at members of this board openly without fear, and don't have to worry about you putting something in my coffee.

tangor




msg:4098560
 5:37 am on Mar 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

About the only thing we'll put in your coffee is a bit of smokey Kentucky Pick Me Up to brighten your day! Or sugar and cream.

Self employment can be empowering but is not for everyone. Fortunately the web allows those who think they might want to go that route the opportunity to test it while still gainfully employed. One can discover if they have the personal grit to nose-to-the-grindstone without supervision and it is best to learn that aspect of self before burning bridges!

Jane_Doe




msg:4098604
 7:48 am on Mar 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Self employment can be empowering but is not for everyone. Fortunately the web allows those who think they might want to go that route the opportunity to test it while still gainfully employed. One can discover if they have the personal grit to nose-to-the-grindstone without supervision and it is best to learn that aspect of self before burning bridges!


I have tried to teach assorted friends over the years to do what I do and no one has gotten as far as even putting up a single web page, not even a blog of their own. They all want to work from home but they either get too bored, want something where they get paid at the end of the week or they just never really get started.

tangor




msg:4098609
 8:05 am on Mar 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

nose-to-the-grindstone

This is the operative. Few seem to get that these "entitlement" daze. :)

All I can say is that self-employment (43 years for me) is no piece of cake. It is hard work. And I still have three jobs... all self employed: Musician, IT tech, web guy...

Keeps the lights on, food in belly, roof over head (and supports 4 slugs related to me one way or the other I can't shake without making mom upset, but what can you do, kick 'em out?). Mom loves me for being a nice guy. I love my mom. So I deal with it.

I will say that some on this forum have very successful web businesses, but reality also should reign. The vast majority can have success if they work at it, but will not get fabulously wealthy.

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