Tuesday 24 September 2019 5:09 am

Seven steps to quitting your job and creating the life you want

Marianne Cantwell is a career-cage escapee and the author of Be A Free Range Human: Escape The 9-5, Create A Life You Love And Still Pay The Bills (Kogan Page, 2019). See more at beafreerangehuman.com.

As summer becomes a distant memory and the commute gets more crowded, you might be daydreaming about leaving your job forever. 

At this time of year, lots of people are secretly tempted to quit office life to create a “be your own boss” career that suits their personality and the life they want. However, while many dream of this life, in reality they are put off by thoughts of needing a complex business plan, big funding, and a lot of spare time to make it happen.

The good news is that you don’t need a big fancy idea, a lottery win, or piles of funding to pull this off. Here’s some advice on how to find your right direction, quit your job, and go “free range”.

Create the vision

This isn’t the time to jump into another type of work that sounds good in theory but doesn’t fit you in reality. So take a fresh piece of paper and take a moment to draw out a picture of the life, work and future that you actually want. 

Do a ‘you audit’

When you’re your own boss, you are the biggest asset in your business. So knowing what you bring to the table (beyond your CV) is essential. 

In a “you audit”, you look at what you bring with your personality, strengths, and those things you just can’t help doing. For example, if you are an empathetic person, and realise that most of your “big wins” have happened when you connect one-to-one with people, write that down. 

Create your perfect idea  – don’t just search for it

Instead of looking for the one perfect idea, custom-make one to fit you. 

There are so many ways to be your own boss. You can have a portfolio career where you get paid to do more than one thing, you can design services that you deliver to clients anywhere in the world, you can share your skills in online courses, or even create physical products. 

Try out an idea over a week 

Are you trapped in endless researching? Analysis paralysis is the biggest idea killer. A smarter way is to get practical and simply try it out.

For instance, if you want to help people improve their public speaking skills, don’t spend a year “researching some more”. Instead, get four people and teach them how to do this for real. 

Taste the free-range life

Can’t quit your job tomorrow? Be like Nicole Est, who got in touch after reading my book. 

Nicole was a senior executive at one of Europe’s largest retail and tourism groups – she wanted out, but also knew that she couldn’t just quit immediately. Instead, she took her 45-minute lunch break each day to work on her plan. 

Today, she lives between surf destinations around the world running a business from her laptop, and credits those lunch breaks as the place where it all started.

Get practical

Be clear about what you need before you quit. Figure out exactly what you need to make the break. For example: “I will quit as soon as I have three clients on the books, and six months of salary saved”.

Now, this isn’t a “one day” dream, it’s something real to work toward.

Set a date – and do it 

The stories you see of people who quit their jobs for a life on their terms did not come out of a blinding flash of inspiration and one grand launch. 

They started with simple ideas, tried it out for real, and built from there into something that you can’t even imagine today.

So where do you want to start?

Main image credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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