There’s been a lot of talk about startups–young people quitting their corporate jobs to embark on a less certain future. A future that, admittedly, includes perks like office beer fridges, flexible hours, casual clothes. It sounds like a great idea certainly, and many millennials are going the way of the startup.
There’s something about quitting on one’s own terms that is inherently romantic. Leaving an 8-5 office in favor of a passion project seems like the best thing a young person could do to secure a career they’re committed to–one they can grow with. But it’s more complicated than it seems and worthy of more than a little consideration.
The case for quitting
There are a lot of reasons to quit a job–inadequate pay, incompetent supervisors, unimaginable boredom. For many, the monotony of writing newsletters and formatting reports in a windowless office is too much.
We spend a large portion of our lives working, and unhappily employed Americans outnumber happy ones two to one. That’s a lot of unhappy people in the workforce. But quitting a job you hate for a potential job you won’t necessarily get isn’t exactly a great choice either.
But the struggle is real
Say you quit that terrible job–unemployment can be depressing, demoralizing, and even scary. If you’re trying to find a job in a brand new field, it’s even more difficult. While you may have experience in one area, you’re lacking in another, which makes it difficult to hire you.
While joining groups to help you network and beefing up your application materials is a good idea, it often isn’t enough. Young professionals are either under qualified or over qualified for the positions they’re forced to apply for. When you’re unhappy at work, it can be difficult to remember that another job might be even worse.
People struggling with unemployment often fall into depression too, making matters worse.
Sometimes, quitting the 8-5 leads toward the path of entrepreneurship.
Some things to think about before you commit
If you’re thinking about trying to go out and make it on your own, we applaud you–it certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s a lot of long hours and hard work and ultimately, it may not even pay off. Before you embark on such a journey, consider the following:
You’re going to be under a lot of pressure. Sure, your job will put pressure on you. But there’s also your friends and family. They’ll want to know how your business is doing and they’ll expect you to succeed. And if you don’t, you’ll feel like you are disappointing them. You likely aren’t–but the pressure is real.
Your relationships are going to suffer. Being a business owner takes a lot of time, and most friends/partners aren’t going to embrace it with open arms. Your relationship dynamics will change. You might feel alone–not everyone is going to understand the complex things that happen when you’re a business owner.
Before you commit to entrepreneurship, make sure you have a decent savings. One of the problems with running your own business is that your income is completely dependant upon its success–you’re the one responsible for bailing yourself out. You’ll encounter fees and costs you didn’t even know existed. With money problems comes extra stress which leads to a lack of sleep which leads to–well, you get the idea.
Maybe you’ve heard the rumors about how many hours a day entrepreneurs work–it’s all true. A popular phrase in the industry is “I quit my 40 hour per week job to work 80.” And it’s true–get ready to give up sleep in favor of work. Perhaps its because of the excitement you’re feeling and the wealth of new ideas. Perhaps it is because you feel the growing necessity of your constant engagement.
Finally, consider your goals and how you’ll know if you’ve met them. The danger of entrepreneurship is that your way of defining success may change, making you feel like a failure. But success looks different to everyone–and it doesn’t always center around work.
An alternative solution
It’s easy to get frustrated with a traditional job, and we’ve all been there. It’s also easy to become overwhelmed with a new entrepreneurial opportunity–many have been there too! We don’t necessarily think it has to be one or the other–with a little creative problem solving, you can pursue your passion projects while earning enough to live the kind of life you always wanted.
Find other sources of income
Here’s the thing–there are a lot of people making money doing things outside their traditional day job. Whether it is to pay off student loans or save for a house payment, young people are learning to make money with relative ease.
Invest in real estate
The best way to make extra money (the money you need to start a business or simply leave your day job) is by investing. There’s no safer investment than real estate, which makes your money work for you.
If your debt is mortgage debt, it’s doing its job. We’re not talking about living in the home you own, either. If you’re able to generate income by renting out an income property, you’ve got constant cash flow–whatever you make from your business is extra and can go right back into the business.
Embrace the sharing economy
An interesting thing has happened in our economy thanks to the recession. People have begun to embrace the culture of sharing taught to us as children. They’re renting out their homes on Airbnb and sharing cars with their neighbors. It’s a great way to save money and an even better way to make money–a great way to supplement a new business or project.
While the security offered by a full time job (insurance, vacation time) is great, it certainly isn’t for everyone. If you find yourself unsatisfied by that type of life, there’s no shame in trying your hand at entrepreneurship–but plan it out by backing up your income with a little bit of passive money. Investments can be great partners to business–try your hand at it today!