5 things you need to do before you quit your job to follow your dream


"What do you mean there’s only five?! There’s a whole heap of stuff I need to do before I can even consider quitting my job: finish this project; get more experience in your mundane job; wait for my pay rise (it must be coming this year…); get some savings; have a business plan, fund and register my business; be interviewing or have been offered a new job; talk about quitting to everyone who will listen…" Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s what I told myself too before I actually did it. But do you know what all those things are? EXCUSES. They’re just you stopping yourself from starting to do the very thing you actually want to do more than anything, and that’s just crazy. So whether you want to move sector, change career, start a business, work abroad, all those things you keep telling yourself you need to do first, or wait for, they actually only really boil down to these five things:

  1. Make a budget. This is key, right because you need to be able to live. I get that. But make a real budget – how much is rent, food, essential toiletries, travel and a little bit of spending money (think coffee and breakfast out, not clothes and expensive perfume/aftershave)? What’s the minimum you need? Do an inventory for a week, if you like, on how much you spend on all the unnecessary crap you buy. You’ll be amazed at how little you need to live off each week if you cut out all the ‘nice to have’ stuff. Factor in how much you currently have in your accounts – current and savings – and work out how long that will last. Remember you’re on a notice period too so that’s x amount of dollar and you’ll likely get paid some holiday pay (yay to being too busy to take a holiday)!
  2. Figure out what kind of part-time / freelance / supplementary income works for you. Because yeah, we can’t just not earn ANYTHING. What skills do you have you could freelance with – check out Upwork, Fiverr, TaskRabbit – all platforms where you can make money by the hour using your expertise. Think about tutoring, transcribing, consulting for a friend’s or family member’s business. What are your passions? Can you work at a local café, restaurant, gym, juice bar? What do you LOVE and wouldn’t mind spending a couple of days a week doing while you land that dream job or start that business or move abroad?
  3. Fake it ‘til you make it. Start having conversations as though you have already quit and put yourself out there: ‘Oh I offer freelancing in x area’; ‘yeah I’m going to have some time and would be interested in that project’. Apply for jobs on online platforms and start DOING them! Advertise your services on peer forums. Check out the local café / restaurant / juice bar and ask if they’re hiring. Update your resume so it’s appropriate for the ideal job you’re after, not the one you have now. Use your spare time wisely to invest in your soon-to-be real alternative career.
  4. Seek out people in the industry, sector, career or part of the world you want to be in and absolutely milk their knowledge. Reach out to them: email, Instagram (you’d be amazed how many coffees I’ve had in Melbs via Insta), Facebook, call – just ask if you can pick their brains. People LOVE to do this, on the most part – they want to help others succeed and give them advice they wish they had known when they started out. You never know who they might put you in touch with and what it might lead to!
  5. Believe in yourself. This one’s tough. But it’s crucial – if you believe in yourself and the decision you’re making then it makes it so much easier to make decisions from a place of confidence, not fear. The world has a funny little way of always working out and you maximise that when you really BELIEVE in what you’re doing. Now considering you’re currently working in a job you [insert appropriate word here:] hate / tolerate / feel apathetic towards / wish could be replaced by robots already, then believing that quitting and following your passion is the right thing to do is at least easier than believing that you must spend the rest of you career at your current desk…. If you’re doing steps 1 to 4, then some of the financial fear (because let’s face it, that’s what’s got us stuck, really – not being able to pay the bills / mortgage / rent / food bill) should start to dissipate, especially when you start point 3.

Now you can start telling people you’re going to quit AND that you have a plan for how to make it work. Ultimately you’re never going to be ready – there’s no such thing and thinking so is keeping you playing SMALL. You’ll learn as you go and there’s nothing wrong with that, what’s important is you’ve started to take steps towards what you want and therefore things will start to happen for you. Because YOU are making them so.

I’m not advocating that everyone should quit their jobs immediately and it will all be fine and dollar-making luxury (it’s likely going to be a grind to start with), but I am calling out your BS excuses you’re giving yourself because if you want it badly enough (and only you know the answer to that), you will do it. No questions. No excuses.

And worst case scenario, if it doesn’t work out: you go back to what you were doing before and repeat steps 1 to 5 with more of the 5 this time – you haven’t really lost anything. Take a risk people, it might just be the best risk ever.

BlogSteph Slackcareer, change, startup