Want a change of direction in your work? You're not alone. In fact in my experience it is completely normal to resent your job at least some of the time. You spend more time working than doing anything else in life (except for sleeping). In essence you are giving your life to the company you work for. Add to that a long commute, some unpredictable overtime or a difficult boss and those feelings are multiplied by 100.
But some people do what they love? I hear you say. Well let's start by looking at some of these common dream fuelling statements.
The fact that we have coined a phrase for this adds weight to the dream pushing. A Gig Economy, is where short-term contracts or freelance work is more prevalent than permanent positions. I was a contractor for many years before this became popular, so I would like to share with you some thoughts on how to make this work. Do you have a skill which people need, which you could charge for on an hourly/ daily basis? Now this could be anything. You might be an amazing PA. Graphic designer. Website builder. Content writer. But you do need a skill.
There are many websites springing up offering people at an hourly rate. Be aware that these "labour mills" as I like to call them are open to anyone. You will have to put in a lot of time and effort writing proposals and could be competing with someone who lives in a country where £4 an hour is a fortune. Good for a bit of money on the side but hard to make a living out of if you do not have a specialist skill.
Successful freelancers have their own professional looking businesses and websites. They typically get work through a mixture of networking, word of mouth, recommendations and targeted advertising. Building a portfolio of quality work and references as they go.
"I work 2 hours a day on a beach with my laptop"
Yes let’s talk about Gurus and people trying to sell you "their dream". Most people love the idea of being their own boss, travelling the world with a laptop and making a million $ working for one hour a day. In real life most of us have some family commitments such as ageing relatives, children and mortgages. I know someone who moved to paradise and the stark reality is deprivation, higher crime rates, poorer standards of education, natural disasters.. the list goes on.
Me? I like to go out and leave my back door unlocked. I like the NHS (for all its failings). I like getting a Starbucks on my way to the office. Take heart in the fact that change IS possible. Learn from the people who inspire you. You can do it.
But don't live through someone else's dream. Chances are they are going to charge you for it too.
Tricky. I myself want to start another business. In fact I've had several in the past. Some of which were a catastrophic failure. I've got two words for you "HARD WORK". I'll bet money on the fact that Tim Ferris does not work a four hour week. In fact I would bet he works A LOT. In the beginning you will be the MD and the office admin. You will need to grasp marketing, accounting, sales, legal and a host of other things. It is the most rewarding thing you can do, but please don't think that there are business owners out there who are not working all day every day. Chances are you will work more than you ever did as an employee and probably for a lot less money in the start.
Just do it
Another old favourite. The thing we have to realise is that, yes, a lot of people do just up and quit and start their own businesses. How much do you know about them? Are they mortgage free? Did they get a huge redundancy pay-out? Do they have a wealthy partner who is supporting them? Yes there is crowdfunding. Yes there are bank loans. But you need to be able to make a living without stressing yourself to death about it failing.
Do what you love
Now I love animals. In an ideal world I would have a sanctuary and rescue whatever I could. When I'm a millionaire.. then I will do this. Right now, where would I even get the funds to support the animals, let alone myself and my mortgage? I also love watercolour painting. I'm shit at it. But I love it. Gardening, love that too. If what you love is the most important thing to you and money is not a concern then you should do it. People fighting for their causes they make the world better. Make sure that you are choosing this type of happiness over all your other comforts.
Still want to quit? Then read on...
Could you change your current job to make it better at least in the short term? Probably. Having brave conversations with your boss is hard, but most companies are sympathetic to people's work life balance. If you don't ask then you will never know. Could you reduce your working hours? Do four days instead of five? Could you work from home one day a week? Could you start later and avoid the commuting chaos? Could you get a different role within the company?
Try and articulate what are the actual things are that are making you unhappy. Get it very clear in your own head. For me it's been the 3 hours a day of commuting which bothered me the most.
So you've decided that you can't make your current role work. Best piece of advice I've ever had is that it is MUCH easier to get another job whilst you are still employed. Try and avoid the "tantrum quit". Also never, ever EVER threaten to quit, hoping that they will beg you stay and offer you a better deal. I have seen this backfire so many times. It's passive aggressive and people don't like it. These days most people are quite replaceable. So unless you are being made redundant or fired then you must PLAN TO QUIT.
Plan to Quit
Planning to quit. Spend time thinking about what you deep down want. Too many people think that job interviews are where you go to sell yourself to a company. Wrong. Job interviews are a mutual discussion of whether you are right for them and they are right for you.
If you can plan to quit, then you may never need to be in a desperate position where you have to take any old job to get some money. Planning to quit means considering your skills/ training, finances and desired lifestyle. Let's expand on those a bit in the next section.
Get your ship in order. Ideally pay off any debts you have. Save up a small nest egg which is enough to pay your bills for a few months. Renegotiate your mortgage? Your energy company? Your rent? Do you really want to quit your job only to find yourself even more unhappy with mounting debts? If you want to start your own business try doing it on the side for a while.
Now this is important if you want to go freelance. You might look at what other people are charging in your planned freelance world and think to yourself that it seems like a lot. You could do it cheaper to get experience? Go away and write a proper business plan. Think about all your related costs for the service you will provide. You won't work 365 days a year so factor in holidays/ sick days. Office costs. Accountants. Business Insurance. Stationary. Marketing. Pensions. Then work it all back to come to a number that you need to charge per day, which gives you an annual salary you can live off. I guarantee that if you do this right you will be shocked at how much you actually need to earn.
Skills and Training
Could you do a course in the evenings, or on Udemy? Could you get some weekend work to build up your skills in the desired area? Consider that it might be worth staying a bit longer in your existing career or job whilst you build up skills and confidence.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to think about what it is you want. I realise I am sounding like a dream squasher so far. But there is no point in floundering from one unhappy job to another if it is not taking you closer to your desired lifestyle. You don't need to live on a beach. It might be enough to get up at 10am and walk the dogs every day, then have lunch with friends or go to the gym. Could you move to a cheaper area, closer to nature and with less outgoings? Could you grow your own fruit and veg and become self-sustaining? Is spending time with the people you love more important to you then slaving away to pay the bills? Ok so some of this is my dream but it's not a bad or unrealistic one.
I've said this in many blogs, the most important thing is the people you surround yourself with. Want to be an entrepreneur? Then make friends with similar people who will motivate and inspire you. Tell your friends and family what you want to do and why and explain that you might need their support. Make friends with your neighbours. In fact always try to help other people if you can it will train you to accept help in return. Fight your fears. Join a group for public speaking. Or stand-up comedy or whatever you need to do.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, these are just my thoughts. Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something. I fully believe we can all achieve the changes which we really want. It is a matter of taking action and making that commitment. You can do it.
Love Dav x