How to Quit Your Day Job

December 16, 2021

You’ve been working your side hustle for a while now and are beginning to wonder… 

When can I quit my 9-5?! 

It may surprise you to hear that I don’t recommend quitting your day job — at least not at first! This is a highly strategic move, and I think it’s possible to grow your side hustle while working a day job.

But, how do you know when it’s time to make the move and transition your side hustle into your full time gig?

I shared some tips on how I turned my side hustle with photography into my current full time job over on TikTok, but I’m today, I’m diving deeper into the steps you need to take to quit your job!

@lishcreativeFollowing your dreams is great….until reality hits. Have a plan first! ##learnontiktkok ##photographytips ##biztips ##behindthescenes♬ original sound – Alisha Cohen

 

Side-hustling to full-time

When I first started doing photography on the side, I became a master at juggling my full-time day job with the other hours in the day. And let me tell you, it was worth it, but NOT easy! I was working on the train during my commute and was routinely falling asleep at my desk every night. I was so excited when I realized it was time to leave my 9-5

Perfect your craft

There are several things you need to do as you jump into the world of full-time entrepreneurship. While you juggle both, focus on perfecting your craft. Use this time to take classes, courses, or even find a mentor at your job who can help you get better or prepare for your future as an entrepreneur. Don’t wait until you work for yourself to do all of this — because you’ll have the pressure of making money. This is the perfect time to learn what you can while you can, so you can hit the ground running later.

Lish sitting at work table

Build your brand + portfolio

Take this time to build a consistent body of work and share it with as many people as possible! I did this through a consistent social media push, which meant sharing new work daily on Instagram. I also responded to Help a Reporter Out requests to secure press placements. I was featured by a few prominent websites (Buzzfeed, Mashable and Domino) before I even quit my day job! 

Press features and social media profiles help to establish your overall brand credibility, which is essential when starting a business and landing new clients. You can add these features to your website, for sections like “As Seen On” or “Featured In.” This automatically builds trust and makes it clear that this isn’t your first rodeo!

You can also focus on building your client base and your portfolio before you make the leap. My #1 tip for building your business is to build an excellent portfolio that can help you find the clients you actually want to work with.

 

Cultivate a network

There’s another reason I don’t recommend jumping ship just yet: The people you know now could be one of your future clients or refer you to one! Relationships are so important — offline and online! 

While you’re still employed, connect with people who are in your same industry and people who are in industries related to yours. You never know when you will need to outsource things in your business or get help in areas you aren’t an expert in! Plus, you never know when someone will need your creative services in the future!

 

Save, save & save some more

Before you take the leap and go full-time with your business, take a look at your bank account! Sit down and really map out your current expenses. Then ask yourself…how many clients or projects per month would you need to replace your income and cover all your expenses?

I suggest that you save up at least 6 months of expenses before you make the move to quit your job! That may seem like a lot, but it will relieve so much pressure right when you start out. You will have bigger months and smaller months as an entrepreneur, and so you want to feel prepared.

Serve clients well

Offering a killer service is going to make a world of difference when you make the full-time jump. Good word of mouth is the most cost-effective marketing strategy, and it starts with:

· Having a great onboarding experience
· Creating clear processes and deliverables (so everyone knows what to expect)
· Having a strong contract
· Creating systems billing, project management, editing, etc.

When you make it easy for clients to send a project your way and get back amazing assets they can use to grow their biz… you can’t be anything but successful!

 

 

Understand the business basics

There are a few things you need to do to legitimize your business! I shared a quick New Business To-Do List on TikTok, but I will give a quick rundown:

1) Pick a company name
2) Start an LLC
3) Open a business bank account
4) Apply for a business credit card
5) Create a website

You don’t necessarily have to do all these things before you go full-time, but you’ll feel so much more prepared if you do.

Quit with class

The last thing you want to do when you leave your job is to burn bridges and leave a sour taste in people’s mouths. Talk to your employer in person and give at least 2 weeks notice. If it feels right, you can also explain that you’re starting your own creative business and that you’d be open to freelancing for them. If it doesn’t, that’s OK! Stay in touch with people on LinkedIn or other social media channels so they can see what you’re up to after you leave.

Alisha sitting at desk with phone in hand

Are you making enough money to go full-time?

There’s one more thing you need to know before you quit your day job: Your pricing. Pricing your services and offers can make or break your success when you go all-in. However, if you’re new to business or just hate math, paying attention to pricing and numbers can feel… well… boring. 

As creatives, we sometimes try to avoid the numbers. That changes now. I want to help you confidently increase your photography, videography, and/or content creation prices! That’s why we created Slay the Flatlay, the course that has everything you need to improve your:

• Content planning
• Concept development
• Shoot planning
• Prop sourcing
• Camera settings
• Lighting
• Stop-motion basics
• Pricing
… and more!

As an added bonus, Slay the Flatlay also includes a plug-and-play spreadsheet to calculate your fixed and variable business costs to effectively price your services and to ensure a profitable business.

Want to increase your prices confidently? It starts with Slay the Flatlay!

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