The Leap from Employee to Entrepreneur: Quitting Your Job and Reclaiming Your Freedom

“If you’re going to take on this lifestyle you can’t have an employee mindset.
You’ll end up broke or bored– trying to sustain the lifestyle by scrambling for remote work”
Jon Myers

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According to Wiki, “Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business, typically a startup company offering an innovative product, process or service. The entrepreneur perceives an opportunity and often exhibits biases in taking the decision to exploit the opportunity.”

In the last 10 years, however, we’ve gone beyond the formal meaning of the word and have taken things to a whole new level.
Today people quit their jobs with the sole purpose of traveling the world while working remotely on something they love. Or they move to the other corner of the world to meet like-minded hustlers and start building a business from scratch, while living on their own terms.

Others prefer to stay at home, change nothing about their life except for this- they work whenever they want, can take a break or a holiday at any time of the year/month/week/day and don’t need to answer to anyone.

That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship.

The world out there scares newbies sometimes and may sound quite serious. But it may be something as little as being a freelance writer that can help you pay the bills until you come up with a bigger idea or are ready to take the next step and be more risky.

One thing is sure, though. No matter what kind of entrepreneur you dream of becoming and regardless of the way you’re going to make money, it will always beat working a 9-to-5 job.

Being self-employed means living life the way you want. While regular jobs are compared to a rat race.
Let’s see why:

Why Entrepreneurship is Better Than Day Jobs: The One Ingredient That Makes All The Difference

I realized that working for yourself beats working for someone else in every possible way many, many years ago.
And I – like most people – didn’t come to that conclusion myself, but with the help of many people’s success stories I read about.
It all started (officially) with the launching of The 4-Hour Workweek. That’s when people understood how to actually take action to get closer to the ideal lifestyle with the practical advice Tim Ferriss gave.

He covered everything – from becoming more valuable at your job and convincing your boss to let you work from home one day of the week, to quitting and becoming location independent.

From then on, things have escalated quickly. People tried it, failed, shared their experience and most of them tried again and again until they succeeded.

Then the lifestyle design and location independence blogs were born. People who’ve quit their jobs and moved to Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines or elsewhere, shared how they did it and gave step-by-step guides.
Including tips on how to deal with the lack of support, which city to live in, how to travel for almost no money, how to make passive income, take your business to the next level, and make six figures online monthly.

And all that is possible. Having a family isn’t a problem either. Many digital nomads have turned their online businesses (or just do what they’ve always been doing, just remotely) into the family business and take their children with them. There’s plenty of information to read about each area of this lifestyle.

You don’t have to travel, of course. Not everyone can do it. But the point is that you can, if you decide to.

For a start, you need to understand that entrepreneurship will always be better than any day job. Even if it may not seem like that all the time depending on the circumstances.

Here’s what Tynan says about it:

“If you paid me fifty times what I make now to work at a regular job, I wouldn’t do it.

Over the past few weeks I’ve informally asked some of my other entrepreneur friends how much they’d have to be paid to work a normal job in their industry. None of them quoted any reasonable figure. Some of them didn’t want to answer the question because it was so uncomfortable to think about.

If you have a job, you might think that the grass is always greener. But you’re wrong. No one on this side of the fence thinks the other side is greener. With a quick Google search, I could find you tens of thousands of blogs where people talk about how much they hate their jobs and how much they’d love to start their own business. I dare you to find entrepreneurs, even poor ones, who wish they had their old jobs back.

Not because you’ll make more money. You may or you may not. Not because it’s less work. It’s probably more. It’s worth it because you have something so valuable that most of the world can’t even conceive what it might be like to have: freedom.

I would never get a job again. There’s no better way to completely decimate your freedom, which I rank as life’s crown jewel. If you offered me a billion dollars to be in an office, I’d take it. And then I’d quit after earning a month’s salary so that I could have my freedom back.”

This may sound a bit aggressive to some people (employees), but in reality it is independence, freedom, growth and happiness.

The only ones who deny that are those who haven’t tried it, or those who’ve failed. But this failure is a result of not being patient enough (as it may take months/years for a business to take off), not trying again and again until you find what works, not following some basic rules, not being strategic and ready to take risks, etc.

But one thing will never change – people crave freedom and until they have it, they will never be truly satisfied with their life.

And the opposite of freedom is being stuck in a 9 to 5 job you don’t like. Even if you do, you’re told to do it when you don’t feel like it, in an unpleasant and unproductive environment, making someone else rich but yourself, and most probably not having the chance to show your talent and improve.

Your Time is More Valuable Than All The Money You’ll Ever Make

Here’s what Dan from Tropical MBA has to say about the 9 to 5 job:

“In 2007, in a beige cubicle in California, I used a spreadsheet to determine that I controlled about 20% of my waking hours. The other 80% were determined by my job and related activities– from commuting, to mending clothes, to checking emails in the evenings.

I didn’t have too many options with the 20% that I did control. My location, and thus my home, was also determined by that job. I spent little energy thinking about what to do with the time I did control (although I did fantasize about traveling a lot). I mostly just stayed at work longer– a case of the (time) poor getting poorer.

Many entrepreneurs continue on with the “9-5” way of organizing time long after they’ve left their day jobs. We trade 40 hour work weeks for 80. We structure our businesses and working days like the jobs we once knew, and serve clients who expect as much.”

He makes an interesting and important point here.

Often the 9-5 lifestyle (which is not only related to our job but has become a mindset) is unconsciously being continued even after we’ve left our jobs and have changed our life completely.

The answer lies in mindfulness – evaluating your life and business, being honest with yourself, deciding what you want to change. And reclaiming your time – that’s the most valuable possession of yours and the main reason you left (or are about to leave) your day job.
Once you have all the time, you also need to carefully plan what you want to do with it. Then organize your day and structure it around your work and the things you love doing.

I don’t say work less. Actually, all entrepreneurs work a lot more than the average employee. But that’s what they want to do. They’re hustlers, they mix their work and free time and that’s how the idea of making money while lying on the beach on a tropical island was born. And it’s absolutely possible if that’s the way you like it.

So how exactly should you spend your free time?

Dan continues:

“For 9 to 5 knowledge workers, the question of “what should I do with all my time” asserts itself with urgency only at a few critical moments in adulthood– when one graduates from school, when one retires, and if lucky, when one achieves FU money.

The answer in all three cases is often (at least initially): take time off to travel! The same is true for a large percentage of new location independent entrepreneurs. When many of us first hit the road, we borrow structure from our days as travelers. We book the trips we dreamed of in cubicles.”

Another way to do it is what Mark Manson advises in 33 Things Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Should Know:

“Monetize your free time.

A big complaint of a lot of people who want to start businesses is that they don’t have enough “free time.” Between work, hobbies and social obligations, they have maybe an hour or two a day to sit down and hammer out that new business idea they’ve been sitting on.

No, no, no, wrong, wrong, wrong. If it feels like you’re giving up your free time to work on a second job, then you’re screwed before you even start. Take what you love to do anyway — basketball stat analysis, home gardening, furniture carving, whatever — and simply monetize that. That’s your most obvious starting point. That way you’re not giving up any free time, you’re expanding it.”

What do you think?

PS, there’s a second part to that post: The Mental Shift from 9 to 5 to Entrepreneurship.

Image by Nate Bolt @Flickr

Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

4 Comments

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  1. It’s really scary to leave the security of steady paychecks, paid vacations and other benefits. But it’s part of the thrill of becoming an entrepreneur. What separates the winners from the losers in the business are those with passion, perseverance and a positive attitude. Here are some more points to ponder for those still thinking of switching from employee to entrepreneur: https://www.theselfemployed.com/start_ups/employee-entrepreneur-checklist . Thanks for the great article Lidiya!

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