I’ve just read a truly inspiring post by Jonathan Mead over at Paid To Exist titled “How to Quit Your Day Job“. I recently discovered his blog and I’ve really enjoyed the content he and his team put out so far. If you intend to quit your day job and haven’t yet read this post, I suggest you do this now before continuing to read this article.
I’ve decided that I intend to quit my day job for some time now, and I have formed some more or less defined ideas in my head about how to proceed in order to achieve this goal. But having now read Jonathan’s article, it seems obvious that I need to transfer these ideas into a more tangible, physical form in order to let my intentions materialize inside my head.
What follows is a very specific course of action with goals and milestones which will culminate in my self-employment. By making this plan public I’ll have the added benefit of being held accountable, as well as being able to properly track and document my progress. Accountability is a very strong tool, you should always use it to your advantage.
In my post “Goals & Expectations (and some Self-advice)“, I stated that I intend to be self-employed within five years. As the post has been published for a little more than a year, and considering that I started my current job on May 1st, I will now commit to a specific date:
I’ll have plenty of time to prepare this day and to build my business so that it can support my family. There’s no valid excuse for not making it!
Of course, should the opportunity present itself to accelerate things and leave my day job sooner, I’ll have achieved this goal ahead of schedule.
While still working my day job, I’ll use the income that my new business (the Office No More blog as well as all the products and websites I’ll develop) earns in the following way:
- As long as the income is below $1’000 / month, I’ll reinvest 100% to accelerate growth;
- When I’m above $1’000 / month, as long as I have any debt besides my housing loan, I’ll use 50% to repay this debt and reinvest the remaining 50% to accelerate growth;
- After having eliminated any debt besides the housing loan, I’ll put 50% of the income aside as savings and reinvest the remaining 50% to accelerate growth.
My income conditions are as follows:
- My monthly income from my business must roughly equal the income from my current day job;
- My savings must exceed 3x the expected monthly expenses.
This should give me a large enough safety net. So, with these conditions, let’s calculate what the planned time frame could look like.
Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in having an interactive version of this spreadsheet to fiddle around with the conditions…
This is only a very simple simulation, so it won’t really reflect what my actual progress will be like. My income won’t grow as consistently, you should rather picture it as being a series of jumps and plateaus… Nevertheless, this kind of simulation gives me a good feeling for the interaction between the different conditions I’ve set myself, and has shown me what percentage I should save to get a large enough safety cushion.
This simulation also shows me that my agenda is easily achievable if I manage to get consistent results and progress. As long as I am as consistent in taking action, all should be fine!
Although the projected income does not match my current income from my day job, I will have eliminated any debt repayments until then, so it should be feasible to comfortably live on this income. Some bootstrapping lifestyle gurus will of course tell you that this kind of income is already more than enough to make a living, but they don’t seem to have confronted Luxembourg’s property prices yet!
Primary methods of generating income
I will start by only earning affiliate income through my hub site and several niche sites to get some cash-flow going. I have already built quite a few niche sites, and they will serve as case studies here on this blog to experiment with different monetization techniques. Affiliate income is very low-risk and you don’t need to invest in lawyers or tax accountants to get going.
I have two sites that I will soon introduce as case studies, one about dog food and one about furniture and appliances. As these are not monetized through AdSense, I’ll be able to publicly reveal the URL so you can look behind the scenes of a real website.
When there’s some cash coming in, I’ll reinvest this money into products and services that I can sell. These may be information products that I sell here on this blog, or mobile/web apps that serve a specific need I have identified. I’ll always make sure to keep the different products properly partitioned so that they may later be sold off if an opportunity arises.
I have already planned a series of products that I intend to sell through this hub site. They will be rather small, practical and low-cost information products, and I will offer one of them for free so that you can get a feel for the quality of the product. Stay tuned for more on this at a later time!
When I have a large enough dependable side income through these revenue streams, I will start looking for a virtual assistant, most probably through Chris Ducker‘s highly praised Virtual Staff Finder service. As I am still working a regular day job, time is my most valuable asset, so it will certainly pay off to outsource all the menial tasks so that I can concentrate on the things that really create value for my business. I see a lot of people trying to make a living online that never get beyond the stage of micromanaging a few small sites for some pocket cash. I don’t want to fall into the same trap, so I’ll trade money for time any day of the week.
After having some products to offer and a few people on my email lists, I’ll also start looking for possible joint ventures. Okay, this term has quite some negative connotations in the internet marketing world, but the simple truth is this: the more you work with other people and build relationships, the faster you advance with your own business and the more leverage you get with your endeavors. It would be foolish indeed to try to take on the world on your own! My goal in this regard will always be to create win-win-win situations, where both partners as well as the buyers will get real value out of the deal.
By May 1st, 2016, when I will be self-employed, I’ll have achieved the following goals:
- I’ll have published case studies on at least 4 niche sites. That’s roughly 1 site / year;
- I’ll have created and started selling at least 3 different products (at least 1 of them will be sold through this blog);
- I’ll have hired at least 1 full time virtual assistant;
- I’ll have launched at least 2 joint ventures.
Okay, I’ll admit this already sounds like a rather daunting task list, but I am certain this is completely feasible if I only commit to it. I have not set any website specific goals like a certain number of page views or subscribers, as these “vanity metrics” are not really advancing your business. It sure is nice to see that your reader base is growing, but in and of itself they don’t contribute much to your bottom line. I will completely focus on goals that provide value and accelerate growth, and I am sure that the analytics will eventually reflect this progress.
As I now have pretty clear goals, I will start planning the execution up to my first milestones. My efforts have been really unfocused so far, so I expect this to greatly improve my effectiveness.
For every goal I have set, I will identify the Next Action that is necessary to get nearer to its achievement. If you don’t know what this means, I recommend you read Getting Things Done by David Allen. I don’t recommend using this whole system, as it is quite complex and burdensome, but some of the concepts like the Next Action are really powerful. Then I’ll make sure to concentrate most of time on working on these Next Actions. This will guarantee that I make constant progress on the goals I’ve set.
I would be stoked to get some feedback on these goals, and I really recommend you to do this kind of exercise too if you still lack some specific achievable goals and milestones. I will periodically review my progress on these goals and I sure hope you will hold me accountable for everything I just committed to!