A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating Your 9-5 Exit Strategy

When I sent out my end of year reader survey a few weeks back, I asked my readers to tell me what they wanted to accomplish in 2016. A lot of people mentioned a certain income amount and even getting a new business started, but most said they wanted to leave their full-time job. While I don't see anything wrong with a full-time job nor do I think full-time entrepreneurship is for everyone, I was ecstatic to see that so many people were ready to take the leap and OWN their freedom!

I quit my full-time job over two years ago when my anxiety got the best of me & I literally had a breakdown while sitting in my cubicle (you can watch my full story here). Although I didn't have much time to really plan out my exit strategy and I don't regret a single bit of my journey, if I didn't have to choose my sanity over a paycheck, I probably would have done things a little differently and actually planned out my leap into entrepreneurship. For those of you who are ready to take the leap, today I wanted to share a few things you should take note of and make sure are in place before going for it!

CREATE A SOLID BUSINESS MODEL

Before you go out here waving around your two-weeks notice in the air, make sure your business model is clear, solid and ready for growth. My buddy Regina sums it up the best...

It’s a plan for the successful operation of a company that includes identifying revenue sources, clearly explaining your products, knowing who you’re selling to and why they are willing to pay you, laying out your expenses and how much revenue you need to bring in, understanding your profit margins for everything you create, and knowing how to attract and convert prospects to customers.
— Regina of ByRegina.com

Basically you need to know what you're selling, why you're selling it and exactly who you're selling to and also how you can consistently make them aware of you and what you have to offer.  

DO THE MATH

The biggest worry most of you will have during the transition into full-time entrepreneurship is figuring out how to replace your full-time income. The best way to make this transition as easy as possible is to take a good look at your numbers.

1. How much do you need to bring in in your business in order to cover personal and business expenses? Will you be factoring in your spouses income?

2. How much are you currently making making in your business and what do you have to do reach your income goal? Release new products? Raise your prices?

QUICK TIP: I highly suggest sitting down with a calendar and planning out your product, launches and content for the next three months. This helps to keep your income consistent and gauge exactly how much you'll be bringing in.

SAVE & CUT BACK AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

The number one question I get asked the most is "How much did you save up before quitting your job?". Like I mentioned before, I had no intentions of quitting when I did but I did have about two months of bills saved up (I also splurged that on a trip to Miami shortly after quitting but that's another story for another time). Still, I would suggest saving up as much as possible before quitting but having a cushion can become a crutch so you still need to work your ass off as if you don't have a savings account to depend on.

And if you want to save more, that also means cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Those 300+ cable channels that you have, how about cutting it back to 70. Instead of purchasing those new shoes, put that money into savings or using it on something that will help further your business. I know it will hurt but instead of taking two vacations, how about cutting it down to one and just opt-in for a nice stay-cation at home.

HOW WILL YOU SUBSTITUTE YOUR WORK PERKS?

And by work perks, I'm talking about things like health insurance. Are you able to join your spouses health insurance plan? Or will you have to pay for a plan on your own? Did you know that it is now required for even those self-employed to hold some type of medical insurance policy? Thankfully, you can find affordable plans through healthcare.gov. I know we don't plan for things to happen but medical issues can pop up at anytime so it's best to be prepared in the event something does happen.

INVEST IN PRICIER TOOLS WHILE YOU HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB

You know what the bright side of sticking around that job you dislike for a little while longer is? The fact that you can use it as a way to fund your business. I mentioned before that you should save up a little to have a cushion for when you take the leap but the last thing you'll want to do is blow that money on a large business expense. While you have the extra money coming in, go ahead and make those upgrades while you can while the money isn't too tight. Spending money on something that will help better your business is probably the only time I will allow a few minor splurges :)

ALSO READ: HOW TO GET OVER THE FEAR OF INVESTING IN YOUR BUSINESS & GET YOUR MONEY'S WORTH

CREATE A ROUTINE

The first couple of months after quitting my full-time job were the hardest for me because I was so used to being told when to come into work, when to leave and when to take breaks. I mentioned after I quit that I flew to Miami for vacation shortly after, well I also spent about two weeks at home doing nothing as well. Yes, becoming a full-time business owner gives you the freedom to create your own schedule but the last thing you want to do is to become lazy and comfortable. Whether you decide to work nights versus days or 5 hours versus 11 hours, you need to make sure you're making the most out of your time and also being productive over busy.

ALSO READ: TACKELING TIME MANAGEMENT AS A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR

CREATE SOLID GOALS & YOUR EXIT DEADLINE

To make sure your exit strategy doesn't take a lot longer than it should, set a few actionable goals for what needs to be accomplished before you leave and a deadline for when you want to be out. Let's say you want to be able to put in your two weeks notice in 5 months. Then you know that you have 5 months to make sure your business is bringing in a consistent income and enough to cover your expenses. And you also know exactly how long you have to save up a cushion and make any major purchases for your business. You would then need to sit down and break down each month. What will you have to launch and how much will you have to make each month? Having a goal, a plan and a deadline is critical to making sure the transition is as seamless as possible.

I must also say that taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship is terrifying, nerve wracking and a bit crazy but is honestly also one of the best feelings you will ever experience. Also, don't expect everything to be perfect. Everyone's situation is different. Some people are laid off and have no choice but to dive into their business full-time. Others may make the transition a little slower and go from working full time to working a part-time job while running their own business full-time. My escape plan was a bit untraditional but sometimes taking the leap and adjusting your sails on the way down is necessary.

I'D LOVE TO KNOW, WILL YOU BE PLANNING YOUR EXIT STRATEGY SOON? IF SO, HOW ARE YOU PREPARING? 


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