In a society that seems to breed self-made entrepreneurs daily, many are saying farewell to corporate ladders and trading in the 9-to-5 for personal passion projects. You may be aspiring to be the next dabble-in-everything CEO or just taking on an endeavor you never had the time for. But quitting your day job may actually pay more in the long run.
Since childhood, we have been given rules and directions by our parents, elders and teachers. Taking on your own project not only transfers the control back into your hands but allows you to be your own boss. Whether it’s designing a line of socks like Rob Kardashian or launching a network à la Oprah, your passion dictates the project. The hardest part is simply starting.
Tracy Garraud, a former VIBE magazine editor, had to find the courage within herself to say goodbye to her love of print and start up her own line of greeting cards. Sweetest Taboo is her card-boutique brain child that offers a selection of boldly-written cards for untold love stories. She realized that relinquishing her job title meant going for what mattered most. “It wasn’t so much of an epiphanic Oprah moment,” she recalls. “I was confiding in a very good friend and he simply said, “Why not just quit?” I think it was then that I realized the value of your life isn’t measured by your fancy ass job title per say, but by how you live.”
The hardest part about a new beginning may be letting go of the past. Saying farewell to your colleagues and former boss can be intimidating but in order to handle your “two weeks notice” with style and grace, Tracy advises using the sandwich method. “Praise, Bad News, Praise,” she said. “Always end off by how your job thoroughly prepared you for this moment and that you hope to make your boss proud.”
As for racking up the funds, understand that you need to keep the lights on and pay the bills. Partake in small side jobs to keep your account from going negative and split your assets accordingly. Build yourself a safe cushion before you completely do away with the stable paycheck. Doing what you love doesn’t mean sacrificing how you live.
The ends are just as important as the means of making your passion project a lucrative reality. Being financially savvy and building thick skin are valuable assets to have not just in business, but in life. It’s the type of hands-on experience you can’t get from being confined to a desk. Even if your products don’t become hot commodities as quick as you had hoped or the line isn’t around the block on opening night for your new venue, sometimes the most passionate people get knocked down before they knock out.
“Nothing is actually a failure, just a lesson,” she said. “You can’t be great without knowing your flaws and learning from them. There’s always room for a comeback, so long as you understand that you can only connect the dots looking backwards.”
So if you find yourself dragging your feet down a corporate brick road to a dead-end Oz that you don’t believe in, it may be time for a solo career. Many people take on the office life because there’s security in a three-walled cubicle, but it could become your own prison cell if it’s a position that lacks the stimulation, creativity and growth you crave in a dream job. When you build your own business, the doors that open are solely yours to go through.
The most important question to ask yourself is if not now, then when?