Tired of the soul-sucking 9-to-5 job? You can prepare to ditch it for good. Here’s how to plan your escape.

Less than a year ago, I quit my job.

I didn’t quit working. I just quit working for someone else. I feel as good today about that decision as the day I left.

The best part about quitting my traditional job was watching the cycle of emotions my friends and family went through after I told them I quit.

Their eyes opened wide when they heard the news. This was followed restrained winces, as they considered the loss of steady income, health, and insurance, security, two weeks of vacation a year. All those things we expect from a job.

Then, as if on cue, they’d drift into a daydream and pondered quitting their own jobs.

If you dream of a life of employer independence, you too can leave the 9-to-5. Here are five keys that helped me take that major step:

Sticking to what I know.

One of the main reasons people say they can’t quit their day job and start their own business is that they don’t know what to do. Don’t think too hard about it and get stuck in analysis paralysis. Stick with what you enjoy, are already doing, or are good at doing.

Listen. If the universe is pulling you in a certain direction, go.

My and my husband’s careers have been in finance. Despite this, when got together we had a combined total of $51,000 in credit card debt. We applied our theoretical and practical knowledge to pay off our debt and turn our net worth around.

We enjoy finance, investing, and financial planning. Because of our experiences and our desire to help others with their money, we’re using our personal and professional experiences as the foundation of our business.

We put ourselves out as writers, speakers, podcasters, and experts on personal finance and we’re now helping others and, in turn, growing a business that let me leave the 9-to-5 grind. David’s not far behind me.

We saved money.

Before I quit my W-2 job, we added an additional $10,000 to our existing emergency savings account.

We did this by cutting back on non-essential spending and putting it into our emergency savings account with no bells or whistles. We don’t have debit cards or checking writing on this account. We don’t connect it to other accounts for outgoing electronic funds transfers (EFT). This money is hard, though not impossible, to access. This reduces urges to spend this money on whims.

We’ve resumed some of the habits we used to pay off our $51,000 in credit card debt. This includes only buying groceries that are either on sale or for which we have coupons. We cook at home rather than dine out. Cardboardeaux has replaced Bordeaux because it’s cheaper per bottle and stores longer.

All of this is temporary and we know this is temporary. We can live frugally today to grow our business because we lived frugally yesterday to pay off our debt.

Hustling harder than ever.

Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

I used to think I worked hard at my W-2, but I worked just hard enough to keep my boss happy.

I’ve never worked so hard in my life as I am now on our business.

With each day, the 9-to-5 is getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror, but to say it’s been easy would be disingenuous.

There’s a meme of an iceberg I frequently share on Facebook. Ten percent of the iceberg is above water and represents the “overnight success” that people see. Ninety percent of the iceberg is below water and represents the work no one sees: waking up at 4:30 am, working until midnight, on weekends, and holidays.

There are times that I’ve questioned if this is worth it. When I hear about rush-hour traffic jams, friends stressed about their bosses and disappointment with nominal raises, I’m reminded that it is.

I prepped.

There were steps I took before I decided to actually leave the 9-to-5.

I researched and updated my health insurance, acquired life insurance, and created a plan to consolidate my employer-sponsored 401(k) with my personal broker.

We talked with our accountant about what my W-2 and 1099 employment status changes would mean for our personal income taxes. We created a week-to-week budget that accommodates our drop in regular income.

Being thorough and meticulous before I quit has made temporarily cutting our income in half a little easier.

I took the leap.

Finally, I took the leap. Many people struggle to make big and seemingly scary life changes because they’re waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect time. As Voltaire said, “better is the enemy of the good.”

Many people struggle to make big and seemingly scary life changes because they’re waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect time. As Voltaire said, “better is the enemy of the good.”

To be fair, I delayed my original termination date by 90 days because my employer asked me to complete a project on which my team was working. I considered delaying my termination again because the economy showed signs of weakness. The problem is we can always come up with reasons to stick with the safe and familiar.

Some people might say we should’ve saved more than that extra $10,000. Others might say I should’ve waited until after the last presidential election ended. Still more might say leaving, at all, was foolish.

Despite all the reasons I could’ve manufactured, I leaped and I don’t regret it.

If your dream is to leave the 9-to-5 behind, too, these five steps may help you. I challenge you to be thorough and meticulous before you take such a leap, but I also challenge you to not get paralyzed by fear or analysis.

As Zig Ziglar said, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

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Do you want to work abroad and live your life from anywhere in the world? Sarah Li Cain shows how you can live this flexible lifestyle.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

On today’s episode of Adulting.tv LIVE!, Harlan and Miranda are joined by Sarah Li Cain from High Fiving Dollars. Today we’ll discuss what it takes to travel beyond your home, see the world, and enjoy living and working outside of the United States.

Sarah Li Cain is a financial storyteller who weaves practical tips and strategies into her work so that those trying to change their money mindset can see themselves in the starring role. You can find her over at High Fiving Dollars where she answers readers questions or spilling her guts out on her latest money experiment.

Watch the video above or listed to just the audio by using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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Trying to figure out what to sell online? An online sales business can change your lifestyle.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Today, Harlan and Miranda are joined by Steve Chou from My Wife Quit Her Job. On this episode of Adulting.tv LIVE! we will discuss finding the best product to start an e-commerce business. Selling products online can be a great way to earn a living.

Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses. He currently works for a startup company in the Silicon Valley.

Watch the video above or listen to just the audio by using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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Hustle Away Debt strikes a good balance, and the author shares what he learned from experience.

Over the next several months, I’ll be reading and reviewing a number of books that can help you with your finances, career, work/life balance, and all the facets of life that comprise #adulting. Welcome to the Books for Adults series.

While I’m not 100% on board with the self-improvement genre and gurus as gospel, I do believe that they offer some insights or tricks to make life easier or provide a “hey, I never thought of it that way” moment.

Up first for review is Hustle Away Debt: Eliminate Your Debt by Making More Money by David Carlson. David is the founder of Young Adult Money, and the book (and the site) is a result of the approach he and his wife took to pay off their massive student loan debt. He maintains that it’s not always possible to cut expenses but it is always possible to earn more money.

This extra money, derived from side hustling, is what you can use to ramp up your debt repayment or savings.

However, this isn’t just a “you need to side hustle” book. For those who’ve already decided they want to, or those who are on the fence, it reads like a comprehensive handbook or manual. Not only does the book provide an objective view of side hustling, covering both the pros and cons as well as dozens of easy to implement ideas, it provides a roadmap for how to start a side hustle.

The author guides you, step by step, even giving helpful information and instruction on the back-end tasks like taxes, improving your 9-to-5 performance, and seizing opportunity.

For those who are overwhelmed by the idea of a side hustle, this book breaks it down into small, simple steps. You can probably start a side job doing something you’re already doing!

But he also recognizes that having a side hustle isn’t for everyone and asks that you look at your motivations and circumstances for starting one. You might realize it’s not a good fit and that’s fine.

While the book comprehensively looks at both sides of side hustling, the best part is David’s tone. He strikes a balance between motivation and encouragement without making the reader feel like having a side hustle is something they absolutely, 100% need to do; he admits there are benefits to a full-time job that a side job cannot provide.

For the reader who doesn’t want to surrender working full-time, that’s helpful to hear. Beyond that, David asks the reader to look at their finances. Rather than berate or condescend to the reader who might be in debt, he accepts that it’s a fact for many people, including him and his wife, and provides a plan for taking control of their money that doesn’t involve selling everything they own, giving up their Dunkin Donuts coffee, or living a spartan existence.

Books like this, when they’re derived from personal experience, provide more value to the reader than books from experts who’ve never been there. There’s a level of understanding and practicality that you don’t always find, especially when you feel like the author is talking to you instead of at you and with a tone that doesn’t insult your intelligence.

These are the important Adulting takeaways.

  • Before starting your side hustle, define your “why.” Without your “why,” it’s almost impossible to sustain.
  • It’s possible to turn anything into a side hustle, even if you’re stuck at a desk 40 hours per week, if you use a little creativity.
  • Side hustles provide diversified income, can help protect your finances in the event of a job loss, and can help you get ahead.
  • A side hustle does not have to convert to a full-time job; in fact, there are benefits to a full-time job a side gig cannot provide.
  • There are tangible and intangible benefits to side hustling including time management, learning to prioritize, and skill building.
  • Look at all facets of your circumstances (for example, time, relationships, employment, finances) before deciding to side hustle then determine what kind you should implement.
  • Side hustles do not have to be permanent. They can provide a temporary boost in income for debt or savings and, once you’ve achieved those goals, you can let the side hustle go.
David Carlson

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Time doesn’t just show up for free. If you want time for your side hustle, you have to make it.

I hear this all the time:

“I really want to start a side hustle, but I don’t have time.”

It’s true that some of us really don’t have time for side gigs. After all, we’re busy people. We have real jobs and families and a desire to, at some point, to live a little.

But you might be surprised at how much time you do have. Here are some strategies to use to make time for a side hustle:

Track your time use.

The first thing to do is track your time use.

When I feel like I am running out of time, I start tracking my time use. Usually, the problem is that I’ve let unimportant things creep into my life, or I get distracted.

Keep a diary of what you are doing, and how long you spend doing it. You might be surprised at the patterns that emerge.

According to the American Time Use Survey, adults spend close to three hours a day watching TV. I’m always surprised when I track my online activities and discover how much time I spend just surfing.

If you want to make time for a side hustle, start with how you’re using your time now to see where you might find a place to cut back on some of your unnecessary activities.

Schedule side hustle time.

So often, we don’t make time for a side hustle. Instead, we say we’ll do it when we have time. Just waiting to see if the time appears is a surefire strategy to ensure that you’ll never have time for a side hustle.

You’ll increase your chances of having time for a side gig if you actually schedule the time. Wake up a little earlier. Instead of watching TV for two hours in the evening, schedule an hour and a half to work on the side gig.

Think of where you can carve out time during the day to dedicate to your side hustle and schedule it into your day.

Use the weekend.

I know, I know. We all love our weekends. It’s a break from work. However, if you want to make time for a side hustle, you need to give something up.

You don’t have to use the whole weekend for your side hustle, but it can be a good time to get something done with your side gig.

When I have things I want to do, I try to work on them during Saturday morning. My son has his own extracurricular activity and it’s a perfect time for me to hit something hard while I don’t have other obligations.

Figure out what works best for you. Saturday morning? Sunday afternoon? Whatever. The weekend is the perfect time to … make time for a side hustle.

Schedule a workcation.

Consider your real job. Do you get time off for vacation? If you want to make time for a side hustle, you can kick it off with a workcation. Take a vacation with your day job, and use it to work on your side hustle.

When you don’t have to focus on your regular job, you have a little more time to work on a side gig.

Of course, you can’t be constantly taking time off to make time for your side hustle. However, you can get a lot of good value out of a bit of time off to really dig into the side hustle.

A workcation can also help when you aren’t taking time off your regular job. When my son sleeps over at a friend’s house, I sometimes book a room at a local hotel. That change of scene for one night and the next morning really helps me focus. There’s something about getting out of the routine that provides you with a chance to work on a side hustle.

It’s totally worth it to get a hotel room for one night if that helps you focus up.

Ask for help.

Do you have a support system? If so, ask for help. Sometimes, when I need a little more time to work on my projects, I get help from my parents, or from my sister, in taking my son for a couple hours while I really get down to it.

We help each other.

Look around to see if you have a support system that can help. You might even have a life partner who can help you out.

I know a couple who helps each other with these gigs. They saved up an emergency fund. Then, he kept working while she worked to make her side gig a full-time reality. After a while, she gained traction. However, she wouldn’t have had time for the side gig without the full buy-in of her partner. He helped make it possible for her first reduce her hours at work, and then quit altogether.

If you can get help from your support system, it’s a little easier to make time for a side hustle.

Bottom line.

We all have challenges. I know I don’t do as much as I would like in a lot of areas. However, part of that is because I don’t make time. Use one or all of these strategies, and you might be surprised to see that you have more time available than you thought.

Are you working on a side hustle? When do you work on it? What’s your best way to make it happen? Let us know in the #Adulting community on Facebook or leave a comment here.

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Do you have to start a side hustle to achieve financial independence? Here’s a practical look at the realities of starting a side gig.

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According to CareerBuilder, 29% of workers have side hustles. Chances are, if you spend any time online trying to figure out how to make more money, you have heard of a side hustle.

Indeed, a side hustle can be a way to earn a little extra cash. But it’s not the magical cure that many hucksters claim. Before you jump into someone else’s idea of what it means to make money, remember that “hustle” means “scam.”

You can do well with a side gig, but you need to be careful about how you proceed.

Concepts

  • Why are side hustles so popular, anyway?
  • How technology makes it easier than ever to make money with a side hustle.
  • Examination of how a side hustle can migrate into a lifestyle business.
  • Difference between a side hustle and a hobby.
  • A look at the history of side gigs and how they’ve changed over the years.
  • Downsides of a side hustle.
  • Understanding the impact a side gig can have on your life.
  • How to know when it’s time to give up on your side gig.

Use our “do nows” tips on figuring out if a side job makes sense for you. We also have ideas for helping you figure out exactly how which side hustles make the most sense for you. Our latest listener question addresses how to get a S.O. involved with your gig.

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Resources

Millennials and side gigs
Income and the “American Dream”
Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Are you listening to the messages from the universe telling you it’s time to move on? Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your purpose for years.

Four years ago, I was working for the Miranda Priestly of financial services.

She didn’t disagree with you, she “violently disagreed” with you. Her colleague, my senior, confided in  me, “Your boss is difficult.” My forced grin showed I agreed.

Up until I worked for her, I enjoyed my career in finance. Over two years, it went from enjoyment to depression to desperation. When I started looking forward to weekends only to hide in bed, I knew things were bad.

My last performance review with her was Fatal Attraction meets The Twilight Zone. She was saying things that weren’t true and dismissing the truth. In a flash, I felt adrenaline take over my body and realized that I was being pushed out. Nothing I said or did would change my fate.

I was destined to either quit or be fired. I chose the former. I went into her office and resigned. The best part was when she asked what I planned to do.

“Nothing,” I said.

It was the best way give her the middle finger without giving her the middle finger.

Had I paid attention, I would’ve know it was time to quit my job 13 years earlier.

The whisper.

When I moved to Denver from Philadelphia after college, I felt I needed to look like an adult.

Appearing like an adult, to me, meant decorating and furnishing my apartment from floor to ceiling in Pottery Barn.

The reason I moved to Colorado was to snowboard. This meant I needed new snowboarding clothes and equipment. These things were expensive and I had no money for them.

I rapidly acquired over $30,000 in credit card debt. Before I knew it, I also acquired the shame and regret that often come with debt.

One day, Oprah Winfrey hosted author Gary Zukav on her show to discuss his book, The Seat of the Soul. Zukav talked about how the universe gives us messages to learn our life’s purpose. He talked about how we often experience moments or spells of struggle and in those struggles is the message.

I thought, “It’s not ironic that I’m in financial services, telling people how to manage their money and buried in $30,000 worth of debt!”

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I decided to turn my negative situation into a positive situation by helping others with their financial mistakes. I found my purpose. I was excited.

The inside voice.

I grew up in a time and a place when it wasn’t okay to be gay. While my straight friends and peers were having their first boy-girl flings, I was stag. While my college friends felt sexually liberated, I was sexually repressed.

When I moved out on my own, started my career, and was financially independent, I made up for lost time. Part of how I acquired my debt was living the high life on evenings and weekends. I didn’t miss a single happy hour, dinner or weekend of clubbing with my new, queer community. Feeling uninhibited after a lifetime of inhibition made for an exorbitant cocktail when mixed with first paychecks.

Shortly after I found and forgot my life’s purpose, I found my life partner. When we first met, we were in puppy love and spent and lived without consequence.

A year and a half later, we went from ludus love to a combination of philia and eros love. We disclosed to each other our financial situations. We wondered why our peers were getting married, buying houses and having children while we were living in a friend’s basement apartment. We were digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a financial hole both metaphorically and physically.

Between the two of us, we had $51,000 in credit card debt. To add in irony, my partner also had a career in financial services. Like me, he was helping people manage their money when he couldn’t manage his own. To make a long story short, we created a financial plan and paid off our debt in two and a half years.

We knew it was no coincidence that we were both in financial services and made the same financial mistakes. We decided to use our personal and professional experiences to write a book to help others become and stay debt free.

We were starting to live our life’s purpose.

The outside voice.

Then life happened. We were financially liberated and moved from our basement apartment into a condo on the 12th floor of a high-rise with a view of Downtown Denver and The Rocky Mountains. We went from rarely seeing the light of day in our basement apartment to being the last people in Denver to see daylight.

Our knowledge of living debt free helped us save more and spend smarter. We strategically used credit cards to acquire hotel points and airline miles so we could travel extensively.

Our newfound happiness made us better employees and our careers moved on and up. We’d forgotten about our life’s purpose and settled into our life. We’d have sporadic stints of writing our book, but not with the fervor of people living their life’s purpose.

Writing a book is hard and we settled for easy.

The scream.

Eight years later, I was one of those people who was perpetually writing a book. By then, the universe had given me many messages and opportunities to fulfill my role in life. I didn’t listen.

The universe then assigned Cruella de Vil as my boss. I spent the next two years holding onto the familiar and seemingly safe for dear life.

Even though we had the financial resources to let me quit and even when I desperately wanted to quit, I refused. I fought for the scary because the alternative was scarier.

The listening.

It was just before my 40th birthday. I was finding happiness in planning my birthday party. I chose the perfect location. I ordered a cake from my favorite pastry shop. I invited my closest friends and family.

By then, the universe was done. When I felt that adrenaline infuse my body and I realized that I was being pushed out, in that moment I learned I had no option but to live my life’s purpose.

I went home that evening feeling calm and relieved. I couldn’t do what wasn’t doable. I talked with my husband, who knew I was depressed and masking my depression with a birthday party. We quickly agreed it was time to do what we were meant to do.

I quit my job.

The fulfilling.

Shortly thereafter we finally finished and published our book. We got serious about blogging. We turned our hobby into a business. Three years later our business is on its way to providing us the life we want to live and is helping live better lives.

If you’re trying to figure out your life’s purpose, whether you should quit your job or stay where you are, my guess is the universe already told you.

Listen before it screams.

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