| This 118 message thread spans 4 pages: 118 (  2 3 4 ) > > || |
|I finally quit my day job|
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.
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 :)
You are to be congratulated on sound preparation for taking such a big step! I wish you much satisfaction!
Here are my thoughts on your questions:
1. Develop solid skills for driving traffic, and also a solid, sustainable plan for monetizing it effectively.
2. Being your own boss is a blessing and a burden both at once. You have to be a self-starter, there won't be anyone to tell you what to do or when to do it. You'll need to be good at organizing your own work AND following through to make sure things get completed. Half-finished projects are a huge waste of resources.
3. My biggest mistake was that I should have started attending PubCon's about three sooner earlier than I did. I've made lots of little mistakes along the way but they're all part of the learning curve.
4. It's very satisfying not to have a regular j*b. I mostly work on my own sites, and I do some selective SEO/PPC consulting. I often can't tell whether I'm working or playing.
5. Once I quit I never went back. It helped that I had a spouse with a steady job, though.
Tell us more about your business plan. In general terms, what will generate your income, and how will you market it?
[edited by: buckworks at 8:13 pm (utc) on Feb. 2, 2010]
Congrats! You have done something that takes a lot of courage!
The good news, you have saved up some money for this leap of faith.
I've been on my own for 3-4 years now. My best advice is to not try and accomplish too much at once. Be organized in your tasks and goals. Pick something, one task, and focus on it. The next day, pick another task. Don't jump around too much because you will never get anything done. And in this world that leads to a bunch of sites that don't earn and have no traffic... ;-)
Life on your own is very different. You may miss the social aspect of office life. I did (and do). You can balance it out by getting out of the house once in a while. Take your laptop to work at a coffee shop for a few hours, or get lunch with some old work buddies. Seeing them will help you appreciate the leap you made, and motivate you to succeed.
Some mistakes folks make... they under estimate the time it can take to build up an online business to the point of where it can financially support you. It can literally take years regardless of whether you spend 2 hours a day or 10 hours a day. Throwing more man hours at something doesn't necessary mean you will get there faster. You will need a lot of patience and dedication. I spent years not making a dime. 4 years to be exact. Then I finally started pulling in a few hundred bucks a month. That was 7 years ago. Now I make 2-3 times what I use to make in corporate america from my sites. But it took me 7 years to get here.
My last bit of advice, don't spend too much time on here unless you are researching or trying to get help! I'm backlogged with work right now yet here I am posting on this thread! ;-)
Good luck. And if you find you can't make and need the money, there is no shame in going back to work for a company until you get your business back on its feet again.
Yes congrats, I did the same thing about 2.5 years ago now, there have been some weeks where I had to be very savvy about personal spending but I can say I have never had problems paying the bills.
What worked for me was to keep expenses at an absolute minimum. Then I went after jobs listed locally on Kijiji and Craig's list and other places.
Slowly I build up clients that way. I would even go to places advertising full time web jobs and would check the work load and would offer myself if it wasn't substantial.
My only expenses were a portfolio website and business cards. I did no advertising, other than positioning my website for related local search terms.
After a year I got a yellowpages ad and that coupled with my existing clients had me sooo busy I was turning away work. Now I have a couple guys that do some stuff for me so that when I get bogged down I have someone to pass work to without upsetting clients.
As of today I still only have business cards, a website, and a yellowpages ad and I am still turning away people every few months because the workload is too great.
You took the hardest step already and that is freeing yourself of your day job. It took me 1.5 years of thinking about it before I had the sack to actually quit.
Use whatever fear you have of not being able to pay bills and translate that into finding clients who need your services. For me it snowballed, word of mouth and just being out there looking has brought me a lot of work.
This one meeting I had right after I quit was with a local college that wanted tutorial works made available to students online and we were talking at this sushi place. After the meeting the president went to pay and these girls sitting 1 booth over start telling me they overheard us and they need a website so I got their card and picked up 2 clients from 1 meeting.
It is weird but when you put yourself out there, things have a way of finding you.
I'm at the other end. Corporate shenanigans strangled the company I was with, made it weak and easy prey for the big fish to scarf it up, and they did. So I was kinda forced into it. But I still love it, and have been on my own for about 8 years. I think. It's a blur.
Here's what you're in for.
You are now your own manager. Though this may seem like "everyone's dream", one of the benefits of a reg'lar job is that someone structures for you. While you will simply love the idea of working when you want, in your house slippers, answering to no boss, what may start to happen in the absence of structure is you get a lot less done. Managing yourself is real work, especially since you have a hard time dividing the boss from the worker.
You now have to seriously deal with being your own accountant, and this plays into taxes and the costs of running a business as well. More work someone else always did for you.
The benefits you had you will need to pay for on your own, and they will be much more expensive as a sole proprietor - medical insurance, etc.
You have to be your own marketer, receptionist, and sales person.
The credit issues surrounding business owners are much more challenging. Your bank manager will now look at you a little sideways when you come in for a short term loan. Acquiring new property takes a whole different twist, a tool the lenders can use to turn the thumbscrews a little.
Should things ever go south on you, you won't be eligible for unemployment or government assistance. There is literally nothing the government will do for you unless you lose everything and are completely destitute. Frankly, there are times I wonder what I'm doing, I watch welfare recipients, some mothers of three, driving nicer cars and living in nicer houses on my dime, and living far better than I do.
Overall, plan on working much longer hours with far less pay, even if you kick your rate up, and experiencing stress that is normally owned by someone else.
Sounding like a negative nelly?
I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Congrats! I made the switch about 2.5 years ago. I think it was one of the best decisions of my life. Things have worked out well, I don't regret doing it and I hope I never have to go back to a regular "job".
Honestly I probably work more now that I'm just "doing the web site thing". Reality is I never feel like I'm "done". I always have 100 ideas in my head and not enough time to do them all as one person. At my old "job" I had to put in my 8am-4pm hours and that was it. Now I'm responsible for everything so I work until 2am if I want/need.
The advice I'd give is save up about 1 year's worth of living expenses (rent, heat, phone, etc.). Have it in the bank in case you need it. That could go a long way if the web sites take a dive! Having a hobby or activity that gets you out of the house is good too, for your mental state of mind :-)
Thank you all for your responses. I love this community and think the members and admins are what make this forum what it is today.
I was planning and would have loved to join last year but the cost was too high for me. I just finished paying off all my school loans last year so I was kinda broke at that time.
|My biggest mistake was that I should have started attending PubCon |
I agree! I need to get rid of this addiction! :)
|don't spend too much time on here unless you are researching or trying to get help! |
Thats how I feel when im doing websites.
|I often can't tell whether I'm working or playing. |
Same here,during those long hours of flying and driving all over US all I could think of was new ideas. Cool ideas. But I never had the time to actually develop and work on some.
|I always have 100 ideas in my head and not enough time to do them all as one person. At my old "job" I had to put in my 8am-4pm hours and that was it |
The first response of one the WW admins was: go to the gym on a daily basis! ;) I definitely think that's a must and for the past 2 weeks I've done a pretty decent job :) and hope to continue in doing so.
|having a hobby or activity that gets you out of the house is good too, for your mental state of mind :-) |
Yes, I am aware of that. I started my first site 5 years ago. I had my ups and downs, downs and then downs! hehe... extremely stressful even though I wasn't financially dependent on it. excellent post. thanks for the heads up :)
|It can literally take years regardless of whether you spend 2 hours a day or 10 hours a day. |
Advertisements through third parties such as Google adsense, Adbrite, etc... In regards to marketing, I can send a few thousand visitors/day from my own and other partner websites.
|In general terms, what will generate your income, and how will you market it? |
I do have 3 new business ideas and will start with the first. After development and marketing a little I will start the second and third cause the software/script/coding will be very similar. If it does become very successful within a year, I would love to share the link and the whole story. That is what I am hoping for :)
These 3 new websites will differ from my old ones in the sense that they will be Web 2.0. So I should have visitors posting rather than myself updating content alone. I hope word of mouth helps me in marketing cause I have recently been out of luck with Google and would hate to depend on it again! Due to lack of knowledge in coding, database and ... I tend to disable the comment, registration, posting modules. But now that I have more time, I will try to learn a bit more til I become more confident in giving my users access to Web 2.0 features and see how it goes.
p.s.> I am also planning to private tutor math and physics and also Piano (started when I was 6 ;) and made a very decent amount $/hr last 2 years although the hours werent much). This way I can make some extra cash and its a good excuse to leave my apt for 1-2 hours/day.
Good luck dailypress.
I opened up my own business more than 15 years ago. And just this last year had to shut it down and go work for somebody else. It was a good ride while it lasted.
|In regards to marketing, I can send a few thousand visitors/day from my own and other partner websites. |
That sounds like a good start.
Work just as hard at developing your marketing skills as anything else you do. It's the folks with promotional prowess who turn good ideas into great businesses.
Some advice I got from an investor once. He was inquiring about purchasing one of my websites. I told him my goal for the next 2 years was to double or triple my traffic. He advised my time would be better spent finding new ways to monetize what I had. He was right. I've found new revenue streams that have the potential to increase my earning 5-10 times without increasing traffic.
So don't forget to be creative when it comes to revenue. There is much more out there beyond standard advertising and adsense.
Wow! After 15 years. Good for you. It shows youre flexible. Im really trying to escape the employee life. Ill see what happens.
|I opened up my own business more than 15 years ago. And just this last year had to shut it down and go work for somebody else |
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.
There's something about making a hobby a career that makes it not as fun anymore. The more money I made with my website, the more I had to maintain and work on it, and it lost the "fun factor". When traffic eventually started dropping (more websites, more competition, less advertising dollars) I had to breathe a sigh of relief that I have a steady job with insurance, vacation, benefits, etc. I don't NEED the website and if I did I'd be stressed like mad.
The web is drastically moving away from small websites and the large corporations are eating up the traffic. Google is presenting more users their own pages and other large sites. It gets harder every day to stay afloat as a small business, much like a Mom and Pop store.
Good luck with it. Don't expect an easy ride though, and especially don't expect the future to get any easier.
Good warning Stout.
The OP never really disclosed how he plans on earning money from his endeavor.
I read it as if he plans on doing web development, but now I see that it was ambiguous as to how he plans on making a living from this.
If indeed he plans on trying to monetize from 1 site then I would be a little more alarmed for his chances.
Regardless of how he plans to profit I would say try to find more than one source of revenue. You don't want to spread yourself too thin, but when left on your own you should be working on things that make you money and if you don't have anything to do in that regard then you should be working on discovering other streams of revenue that fit with what you are already doing.
Don't get stuck doing 1 thing. This basically reduces your points of failure. If all you have is 1 site and 1 way to monetize from it, then all it takes is for 1 thing to happen to that site and your income is gone.... with multiple ways of earning, if 1 way fails the others may sustain you until the 1 that went down is replaced or resolved.
Definitely something to keep in mind (what Stout said). At this point keep your head up and confidence high, but just know that 95% (or more) of online businesses fail. The term fail in this case means that they do not generate enough revenue to replace your day job. This was something Bob Brisco (from Internet Brands) was talking about at Pubcon in Vegas last November. It is an increasing more difficult environment to start a web business, and it is not going to get easier. I think from their market research the number was actually higher than 95%... Pretty daunting odds.
But also know that you learn the most from failures and mistakes... so don't get discouraged. Treat every failure as a learning experience and you will hopefully be one of the ones that make it.
I've had my online shop for ten years. For the first three years, I kept working at my day job, freelance ghostwriting, and poured the money into the shop, which is centered around my personal interests. It was great to finally quit the ghostwriting. I was getting burned out. However, I have never made as much as I did when I was ghostwriting, and I work many more hours. I have no benefits or retirement and haven't had a vacation in years. It is a constant struggle to keep up with new developments on the web. I work alone at home, and I have often wondered how someone who was part of team for years could adjust to ordering tasks oneself and always being the sole person responsible for every decision. That said, I feel very lucky that I have not had to get a regular job, esp. in this economy.
My best advice: find a niche you can call your own, diversify your income stream, keep good books, and pay your taxes.
I have to agree with most of the postings here. Now that you are on your own, You have to don many hats. The single most challenging thing would be to manage time.
|norton j radstock|
I agree with Demaestro's thoughts (and the other good posts here) -you do need to diversify to protect your business. I did a longer post on this subject nearly five years ago -most of the points still apply and there are some good replies too -it's at:
Incidentally, I never took up the webmaster thing full time as I have my own completely different business. My web earnings have declined a lot since the heady days of 2005 but I still keep active on it my my spare time -it gives me a lot of confidence in running my main business.
Anyway, congratulations and good luck.
Congrats. I did it ten years ago and it's the best decission I made in my life.
Another tip: if you have money to survive x months, do your plans to obtain money from your websites in x/3 months; market will show how incredibly optimist you (we all) are.
For me the best thing about being self employed is freedom. Freedom to take a vacation whenever I want, freedom to work from anywhere, freedom to rearrange my work schedule around my life and not viceversa.
Mistakes I tend to make:
-take earnings for granted and stop working on my websites
-neglect social life
thank you all for your great advice.
I am up for the great challenge. I am excited, passionate, worried, and worried. But the past few days I have been working longer hours and am enjoying it.
I needed something much more challenging. I am a risk taker and have high expectations from myself.
Yes, I am aware that most businesses fail. Even if I dont reach my goal and run a successful business, I hope at minimum I can enjoy the ride and look at it as a great experience.
A few days past and I don't regret it yet! And I hope I dont regret this decision in the future either even if my business plan fails.
All my friends so far thought it was a stupid decision cause most of them graduated and are still looking for a job. I will only have to prove them wrong to show my decision wasnt as stupid as they think!
And believe me, I am worried but feel that Ive done the right thing and so far so good. Although its not even been a week, Im very optimistic and energetic to move FW.
Almost 4 years of traveling non-stop EVERY week for my boss, I was due for change and a normal life style. I think I have other priorities and need to focus on other aspects of life. Luckily, traveling on business I didnt have to pay for food, blackberry, Rental Cars, Hotels and .... and saved enough to survive. I hope I dont blow up all my savings though, which I worked hard to earn and sacrificed a normal life style for years to deserve.
p.s.> As crazy as it sounds, I already do kinda miss the company (which sponsored my MBA degree and all my travels) and miss my coworkers including my boss! Its always what you dont have I guess! hehe... anyway back to work :)
Diversification is a great idea as long as it doesn't become such a distraction that it keeps you from getting any meaningful work done.
The same can be said for "Planning and Preparation".
I've been on my own for 16 years now. I've seen too many of my friends who wanted the independence of self employment get nowhere because they never got past the planning and preparation stage.
Others were so intent on making the "BIG DEAL" that they went broke trying.
So here's my advice.
Even if it only makes pocket change per deal, make enough of those pocket change deals and you might be able to live pretty well, and it may be what keeps you going while you pursue whatever grander plans you might have.
Good luck and get going!
I love it! Cause I totally agree!
I have a friend who quit 1.5 years ago and is still worrying about the business plan and paper stuff. He had no web experience when he quit. I have multiple websites that have been generating some income for a few years now.
I think having a site up and planning and adjusting while its live is better than spending too much to have some ideal perfect website planned for years before anything is actually done. By that time many factors and things may change.
|All my friends so far thought it was a stupid decision |
There's a crowd of people who did it before and, best of all, you'll never realize it until you discover 'the mean' of networking, entrepreneur, webmaster...
Do a search and you'll find them really near of you; it's like this forum but with faces and feelings and a lot to learn each other.
Welcome to the business. You know, web business is best business.
My advice would be to develop some kind of time management accounting system. I make content sites so I know, on average, how much each page I write should bring in in extra income, how long it takes me to make each page, the average income per page per site, etc. It really helps to focus what to work on.
I have been working for myself since 2005 and continue to enjoy the freedom although I am based in one place now.
For four years I didn't really have a base as such, just a number of places around the world that I called temporary home.
That's the best thing about this business for me, the ability to work remotely. I first moved away from the UK when I was just earning £100 a week, which does not go far here, but in Indonesia, Thailand you can live quite comfortably.
That meant I could work full time on building up my business and not have to spend my savings. By 2007 I was already earning more than my old corporate job in London and managing to save a lot more as I had minimal outgoings beyond hotel bills!
Would I change anything? Probably not.
Well you do work alone a lot in this business and this is something that continues to dog me, but I manage it by going out a lot to work in cafes, employing people p/t to work with me and by having a very busy evening social life.
I am aware that in the world of the web your business is very vulnerable and it wouldn't take too much of a shift to wipe me out. I constantly try and diversify but you never know whats around the corner, same as any business!
So I don't worry too much, worrying is not productive. If my web income finished tomorrow I'd do something else or find another way. One door closes another opens.
So I would say go for it. If you have no ties I'd recommend heading overseas. Still pay your taxes in your home country and do not burn your bridges.
Being able to work from a tropical sunny island and watch the income roll in is something special, especially if you are from a country with crap weather like me!
Quitting your day job is very satisfying. Only complete lack of money will make you go back. Which leads me to my next point. You need to be self disciplined. I personally struggle with the type of website I like to work on, what I like to do, doesnít make money, websites which I really have no interest do make money. So, like a job, you still have do things you donít like doing to make a living.
Terrific advice here. I've been self employed since 1971. One thing I see with the newly self employed is that they seem to have dozens of ideas, but can become hopelessly distracted by them all.
If there's one thing I've learned, it is that completion is paramount. Make a decision to work on one project or website, or whatever and laser focus your attention on completing it and then move on to the next one. You may have to order some priorities. But, completion is what ultimately brings home the bacon.
My best wishes
|Any comments, suggestions and feedback would be much appreciated. |
I agree with all the advice above, specially on focusing on ideas one by one and completing them. Unfinished projects are a problem and waste of energy. It is also very common TO FAIL on managing time and having a real schedule.
I tried years ago what you are mentioning and I want to approach specifically to this point:
|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! :) |
I had (and still have) the skills to do the job as when I tried to work by myself (programming, design and some other things) EXCEPT SALES and management skills. I have developed those skills but SALES is still a huge problem for me. To be successful on a field you not only have to be good on doing it, you have to be good on selling it. That's where I failed. I'm better at it now but I just hate the sales work (meetings, confusing clients, people not knowing what they really want and such). Other than that my only problem was doing work at night, something I really like instead of doing it on daytime.
At least where I live (Central America) is very hard to get the chance to have a meeting with the right people (important companies) and connections are very important. I've seen bad projects being sold to big companies and better projects never made it to the table for a presentation. This is a problem related to sales force.
Other than this, congratulations and I hope you have a good business up and running very soon.
I'm not going to give any advice, there's plenty of it already here. I will tell you though that web site development can be an incredibly rewarding career. There was research in the 1990's that concluded that being a webmaster was the least stressful job to be had. I'm not sure that's true anymore, but it's got to be one of the top 10 least stressful jobs.
If/when you start your family, running an Internet business from your house can be great for your family as well. I've been able to raise one of my kids as a stay-at-home dad before my wife was able to quit her job to work with me and I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Best of luck to you!
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