The Ultimate Guide:
How to prepare to leave your 9 to 5 job without feeling scared or overwhelmed
Corporate 9 to 5 jobs aren’t for everyone. There are so many reasons you could want to leave your 9 to 5. Maybe it’s not professionally satisfying or challenging enough for you. Maybe you down right dislike your day job and the only reason you’ve stuck around is to make ends meet.
Perhaps you want to have the freedom to be your own boss - work when you want, for who you want from wherever you want! You could even desire a higher earning potential. When you leave your 9 to 5 and pursue something you have a burning passion for - this is all possible. When you become your own boss, there are no limitations to what you could achieve.
It is possible to ditch the 9 to 5 without feeling confused or overwhelmed so you can start doing something that you love full time. Wake up every morning raring to go and go to bed at night feeling accomplished - how does that sound?
Don’t let your desire for independence and fulfillment become a bottled up dream. Most people who realize that they’re unhappy in their corporate job simply accept the fact and remain miserable for the rest of their working lives. 40+ hours a week is too long to be miserable!
I’m here to tell you that it is entirely within your reach to leave your 9 to 5 without feeling confused or overwhelmed. There is a better way to live and you deserve to be happy! No matter if you’re starting from scratch or have already dipped your toe into the online business world, leaving full time employment can be daunting for the best of us. Here are the eight steps you need to follow to Thrive Without The 9 to 5 and ditch the day job! Amazing plans lead to amazing results.
1. Create a business plan
What is a business plan?
In its simplest form, a business plan is like a roadmap. It outlines the goals you want to achieve and goes into detail about how you plan to achieve those goals. Business plans don’t need to be lengthy dissertations, they can be short, sweet and to the point. A business plan can include the following:
An executive summary
Information about your products and services
List of company milestones
Information about members of the business
A financial plan
You don’t need to go into as much detail as this, but you can if you wish to. A business plan, at its core, is a plan for how your business will work and how you’re going to make it succeed. You can start off with a simple business plan and then revise and grow it organically as your company grows.
Business plans are not something to be feared. I understand the idea can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be anything formal. Try thinking of a business plan as a way to help you Thrive Without The 9 to 5. It’s a map that will help you stay on track and get you where you want to be.
Who needs a business plan?
Both start up and existing businesses need a business plan. Some reasons for creating a business plan are to define a new business, to support a loan application or to set goals and define how you’re going to achieve those goals. When you come to writing your own business plan, keep these key points in mind to make your business plan the best it can be:
Be as specific as you can
Make the plan to fit your businesses needs - there’s no right or wrong
Define your goals and how you’re going to achieve them
Communicate clearly so there’s no ambiguity
2. Establish your online presence
Claim your space online
Any online business needs a website to be able to truly Thrive Without The 9 to 5. If you were a local cafe, you’d rent a shop - right? It’s no different with having an online business. Your site is your store front. Your website is going to be one of the primary places that people discover your business. You can use your website to tell people about yourself and what makes you unique, educate them on your amazing products and services and tell them how they can get in touch with you. Your site doesn’t need to be huge to start off with. You could have a simple, one page site to get you going and then grow it organically as your business grows. The bottom line is - having a site will help people discover you.
Social media can be a minefield… What platform should you be on, how should you use it and how shouldn’t you use it!? Although it can be complex, social media has the ability to skyrocket your online business so you can Thrive Without The 9 to 5 - this is not something you can afford to neglect. If you’re overwhelmed by social media, just start with one platform and then when you’re more comfortable, dip your toe into more networks. Different social platforms will serve you better than others depending on what type of online business you have. Here’s a quick rundown of the main platforms you should consider:
Facebook - with 2.23 billion users you should definitely consider using Facebook
Twitter - 69% of users purchase from small businesses because of something they see on Twitter (source)
Instagram - gets 10 times more engagement than Facebook (source)
Pinterest - users of this platform love to buy things they’ve pinned
LinkedIn - for B2B marketing and other professionals
YouTube - the second biggest search engine after Google!
3. Create your irresistible offer
Offer creation is where so many online business owners and freelancers fall down. The reason for this is because they create offers that they love instead of creating offers with their target market in mind. We’ll get on to market research in a bit, but first, let’s look at how to create your irresistible offer that’s going to enable you to Thrive Without The 9 to 5.
In the online space, you might often hear the term ‘Value Ladder’ - but what is this? All of your offers aren’t going to be the same. You should have a free, intro, core and premium offer. As you go up the ladder, the value increases. You don’t need to create all of these offers at once - you can create them over time as your business grows.
How to create your irresistible offer
I would recommend that you start by creating your intro or core offer. This is what will start to bring in revenue. Your free offer will help you with capturing leads in the future when you want to create a mailing list for your business. Growing your mailing list is important, but you might need to invest money into your free offer so generating revenue should be your main concern for now. Your premium offer can be created when you’re more established in the online space and have more confidence to go after the bigger ticket gigs.
For your intro and core offer to be irresistible, they need to solve a problem for your target market. If you are starting a Virtual Assistant business, what can you offer that will free up other freelancers time. Do you have a skill like bookkeeping that will take a chore off of someone else’s plate? Is your target market new mothers who are exhausted because of a restless newborn? You could offer an hour long 1:1 intensive to help them see what can be done to soothe their child to sleep. Irresistible offers always revolve around solving a pain point for someone else.
4. Start an online community
Community is everything in the online freelancing world. Being a freelancer can be lonely at times. You’re not going to an office to work and socialize, your working world is online so establishing a community is vital. If you want to Thrive Without The 9 to 5, you won't be able to do it alone. An online community is fantastic for many things:
Helping you to stay motivated and positive
Helping you to find answers and advice
Being able to learn from those further on in their freelancing journeys
Making some valuable connections
Finding work and people to collaborate with
Spreading your name and message
There are some truly fantastic communities online and you need to be part of at least one to help you succeed in this crazy online world. You might not feel comfortable starting your very own community to start with, but join some well established ones. When you’ve made some valuable connections with other members, invite them to create a kind of MasterMind community with you.
MasterMinds are like communities but work best with no more than 15-20 people involved. They’re supposed to be more intimate to encourage meaningful and valuable connections and discussions. MasterMinds are a great place to share your ideas, get feedback and be held accountable for implementing those amazing ideas.
5. Do your market research
Knowing your market is vital for any business. You need to know who your business is going to be selling to and how to target them most effectively. It’s no use throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks - you’ll end up wasting valuable time, money and resources. You’ll need to start by defining your ideal client (also known as an avatar). Ask yourself questions like:
Who are they?
What’s their name?
What’s their day job?
How old are they?
What are their hobbies and where do they hang out?
Are they married or single?
Do they have children or pets?
Having a clear idea in your head about who your ideal client or customer is will enable you to Thrive Without The 9 to 5 because you’ll be able to target the market you want to serve and tailor everything about your business to attract them.
Doing your market research and knowing who your target market consists of will help your business to succeed because you’ll know what kind of branding and messaging will attract your target market.
You’ll be able to figure out where they hang out and market in those places. It could be certain online forums, a specific Facebook group or even a local coffee shop. Knowing who it is you want to serve and help with your product or service will allow you to hone in on their pain points and create your products and services to alleviate their suffering.
Your target market should be at the center of all your business decisions so having a clear idea of who they are and how you can help them will ultimately help your business to thrive.
6. Change your mindset
Changing your mindset can be hard when transitioning from a corporate 9-5 into full time freelancing. Not just for you, but for friends and family too. The change in mindset won’t be immediate, it will take time but it’s something you need to master if you want to Thrive Without The 9 to 5. You are no longer an employee working for ‘The Man’. You are your own boss which is a dream, but a dream that takes hard work nonetheless.
Being your own boss gives you a lot of freedom, but a lot of responsibility as well. Just as you would go to work from 9-5, it’s probably a good idea to get yourself into a routine when you first start freelancing. You don’t have to work from 9-5. You could work from 7am-11am have two hours for lunch and then continue working from 1pm-3pm. Establishing a routine to start with will help you shift your mindset.
Having a separate ‘office’ space will also help your new freelancer mindset. It will help you and your family to understand the change. You might be at home more, but when you go to your office, they need to understand that you’re working and cannot be disturbed. Working from the sofa can be great sometimes, but it can also cause so many distractions. When you transition into freelancing, being aware of the mindset issues within yourself and your family and setting up the appropriate precautions like ‘work time’ and ‘work space’ will help you to shift your mental attitude and ultimately succeed.
7. Create a freedom fund
Increasing your savings is perhaps the most important thing you need to do if you want to Thrive Without The 9 to 5. I don’t want to be negative, just realistic, and you certainly want to prepare for the worst just in case there is an absolutely horrible month of income or any unexpected expenses arise. A “rainy day” fund will help keep you afloat while you work towards a steady income. Financial experts suggest a three-to-six month cushion of living expenses. That will give you peace of mind as you venture into the world of online freelancing. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re trying to enjoy professional freedom is making ends meet.
Before I made the switch, I went through every single one of my bank statements, analyzed my transactions and cancelled as many standing orders as I could. Did I really need a Netflix subscription when I wouldn’t have time to watch it anyway? Reduce your living expenses as much as you can for the time being and get out of any debt you might be in. Credit card debt and loans are not going to help you as you make the switch from 9-5 to full time freelancing.
Increase regular earnings
If you have a side hustle, try and generate as much income as possible from your side hustle before taking the leap. Getting clients on retainer deals and other means of monthly payments is a great way to start generating some regular income for yourself and your soon to be freelance business. This will give you some peace of mind while you continue to work on growing your business. The very nature of freelancing is a little unpredictable, and that’s where your savings will help you out in the early days.
8. Fast track your success
Invest in yourself
Investing in yourself is perhaps the number one thing you can do to skyrocket your freelance business. Even though I’m a business coach, I have always been a firm believer of this and that will never change. Since I became a freelancer, I have invested plenty in courses to continually help myself learn and grow into a better service provider. I also invest in the tools I use to help me achieve the best results, such as Kajabi and ConvertKit.
Invest in a business coach
Before I invested in a business coach for myself, I was very reserved about spending that kind of money but I knew I wanted to take my business to the next level. Hiring a business coach kept me accountable and gave me proven strategies to implement everything I had taken the time to learn. My business well and truly took off from that moment forward and the money I had invested in a coach was returned multiple times over.
Why should you invest in a business coach
You should invest in a coach to help you Thrive Without The 9 to 5 if you want to grow your online business. An online business coach will help to give you clarity on the steps you should be taking to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Business coaches can also help you with any mindset issues you might have such as money blocks, low confidence, comparing yourself to others and so many more. Speaking from experience, my business coach was also one of my biggest advocates. She referred me to new clients, cheered for me when I had successes, and helped to guide me when I needed it.
Accountability is also something that a business coach can help you with. You may have a ton of great ideas that never seem to come to life because you’re not holding yourself accountable. Your business coach will typically give you assignments to complete each time you meet so that you’re continually working towards your goals and working to make your business grow.
How to leave your 9 to 5 job without feeling confused or overwhelmed
There really is no excuse for you not to take action right this moment. Make a positive choice to change your life for the better.
No more struggling to get out of bed and go to work in the morning. No more lacking motivation. No more wishing you had a way out of this corporate suffering.
It is within your power to change your working life for the better. Never has it been more possible to take something you have a passion for and turn it into a profitable venture. You deserve to be professionally happy and satisfied. You deserve to have freedom, fulfillment and a higher earning potential. What are you waiting for? Are you ready to Thrive Without The 9 to 5?
Do you want to look back on your life in 30 years and think “I wish I had enjoyed my working life more” or do you want to be thinking “Damn - I’ve enjoyed my career so much that it doesn’t feel like I worked a day in my life!”. I know what I’d rather!
It is 100% possible to Thrive Without The 9 to 5. That way of working is becoming increasingly outdated and unsuitable to women's lifestyles. No more excuses.
Let’s make a plan to ditch the 9-5 for good. Stop clutching at straws, making rash decisions and following mediocre plans that only disappoint and disillusion. You deserve to be happy and have a career you love - so let’s do this!