281: How to Quit Your Day Job and Run Your Own Business

15 Minutes Read

It's a dream many people have for themselves: to leave their corporate job and build the business they're meant to create.

And while it may be alluring, the path of entrepreneurship is also filled with pitfalls and challenges that need to be managed, lest they destroy those beautiful dreams of yours—which is, let's face, a common outcome for many people who make that same leap.

In today's episode of the podcast you will learn some of the mindset tools and support systems that will help you successfully navigate that transition in your own life.  You will discover:

  • Why having a "runway" or "nest egg" saved up isn't enough to be successful, and what differentiates entrepreneurs who make it from those who don't
  • How to adjust from being part of an established team to suddenly being responsible for everything without getting overwhelmed
  • How to ensure you aren't making the leap harder on yourself than it needs to be, while also generating more energy for your business


If you want support clarifying the vision and values of your business so you can grow, Grow Smooth for Lean Businesses will help you with every aspect of your Success Spiral. Learn more and sign up here.

The episode where Shannin Williams describes her process of leaving behind her 9 to 5 to go full time with her business is here.

Work one-on-one with Erin or Steve to help you make the leap in your business here.

Listen to this week's episode on Apple Podcasts here

Listen to it on Spotify here

Full Transcript

Steve Haase  0:02  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where business owners like you learn tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges, you are listening to episode number 281, how to quit your day job and run your own business. Here's the deal. If you don't want to quit your day job you don't have to. This episode, however, is all about thinking like an entrepreneur. We're going to talk about some of the specifics of how to make the leap. We've helped many of our clients do that a lot of people come to us because they've seen us do it in our own way, and want to have their own path forward for doing it. But some of the things we're going to be speaking about are relevant to you, even if you love your day job, and want to continue building that whether it's as the leader of a team, the owner of a company, this is not about burning down things you love. This is about creating your next lantern on the mountain of your vision. So as someone who has pretty much almost never had a day job, I'm gonna invite Erin to start this one out. Hello,

Erin Aquin  1:08  
Erin. Yes, that's kind of true, isn't it? I've had I've had various smatterings of have day jobs. I've worked in corporate offices. And I've worked for small businesses. And, you know, when I was a kid, I worked for grocery store, I've worked for a metaphysical store, I actually was a really good employee. But I am one of those people who likes to have a lot of different projects on the go. I think that's kind of an entrepreneurial bone that I tend I have. So I have been a very happy, productive successful worker within other people's businesses, but ultimately, working for myself on my own projects, building my own company, and doing things my own way, was always a little bit more enticing, and I love being an entrepreneur. The other thing I want to just start out with is I think sometimes, people hear the joyful entrepreneur like me, someone who really wouldn't have it any other way, I do actually think I'm living the dream. We have an amazing lifestyle. We get to go for walks, we get to take vacations, as we want to we, you know, we do very well financially and have a lot of space. We were telling explaining to our children just the other day that that one of them was complaining that I wasn't playing with them at like 430. And I said, You know what, a lot of kids don't see their parents before dark, they get dropped off to morning care, because their parents have to get to work by nine o'clock. And they don't see their parents till later at night. I said, that's a really unique thing. I know you're not used to me working when you're at home. But some days, like today, there are some things I just want to clean up before the end of the day. And you're seeing me work. And I just want you to know how unique and special this is kind of in my defense to one of our kids who really did not care and was not impressed are satisfied with that answer at all. But I think sometimes people hear about all the positive parts of being an entrepreneur. And they think about their themselves in their nine to five job if they're not totally happy. And they sort of fantasize about this thing without really realizing that just because I as an entrepreneur, love my life and love my lifestyle does not mean that this way of living and working is for everyone. So I want to start by just bursting your bubble right right away and saying that, just because an entrepreneur might make more money might work less hours doesn't mean that's always going to be the case. And doesn't mean that that is just some easy thing. Sorry

Steve Haase  4:07  
about that bubble. It's always unfortunate when that is popped. But honestly, it's true. As often, if not more often, entrepreneurs are working longer hours for less pay. The joke is I stopped working 40 hours for someone else so that I could work 80 hours for myself. And sometimes that happens. And if you are not prepared for that to be the case at any point, that might not be the leap for you to take. Also, when you become an entrepreneur, the cushioning around you becomes much less when you're in a corporate environment. There's someone to handle payroll and HR and marketing and sales and on and on depending on what your role is. As an entrepreneur, there is not it is just you. So if you'd like that cushion that it provides Being in a day job, being in a corporate environment, then, you know, you might need some toughening up before you take on the role of entrepreneur where all of those things are on your shoulders. And I mean, the asterisk around that is that when you're in the corporate environment, that sense of security, safety or cushion, it's pretty much pretend. I mean, we've all been watching the news, any one can be cut at any point for almost any reason. So the idea that, well, I'm safe here, the money is steady here, it's predictable, is actually not true. It's an illusion. So part of being a successful entrepreneur is being willing to free yourself from those illusions and realize that it always is up to you to create your destiny, as it were. And so if you want that challenge, if you want that call to adventure, then making that leap to entrepreneurship, could be right for you.

Erin Aquin  6:05  
Yeah, it's really interesting, I think that this is something that maybe is unique for a lot of entrepreneurs is, you maybe are like, this is kind of was my story, it's like, you kind of see through the illusion of safety, of being in someone else's business. You know, I have been lucky enough to be very close to some people who I have worked for, or who had been a contractor in their business for, and I have seen, you know, what, uh, what then I saw of the businesses were really operating on and how, at any moment, they could close their doors. And so where many people think having a nine to five job is like steady and safe and predictable. I actually found myself having more anxiety, putting my livelihood in the hands of a company, another business owner, a board of directors, or someone who could like just find my work irrelevant at some moment, or my salary too high and just decide to like, drop me. So for me, it was like seeing through the false sense of security that I think a lot of people have, and realizing that for me to ever feel secure in my own business, and also to feel fulfilled, and actually create the structures that I wanted to work in and provide a service that I wanted to provide, I had to create that on my own. And it doesn't mean there's no pressure, there's constant pressure. But it's learning how to be resilient in the face of that. And to just kind of handle that handle that rollercoaster ride a little bit more. So if you're still with us, and you're thinking, Okay, sounds good, I too, don't want to rely on someone else's company or someone else's rules. I want to create something in the world that I don't see. And I really am passionate about it, and I have the resources and I'm, I'm ready to, to get messy. I'm ready to do it, how you actually go about quitting that day job and moving into running your own business. There are there are many ways to do it. But I think the people that we have worked with who have been most successful, have found a way to create some kind of like what noose called a cushion Steve, like some kind of a financial cushion for that transition time. It has resulted in some of our clients working both in their day job and on their business until the business became viable in a way that felt sustainable for them. And, honestly, I think that's a really, that's a really tough point, it's a really tough thing to do, because you are kind of working two full time jobs.

Steve Haase  9:04  
And while that's not the only way to make the shift, it's certainly a good one. It's going to require more time, it's going to require more effort, because you know, like you said, Erin, you're basically working two full time jobs. But the the benefit there is that when you do make the shift, you'll know that you're coming into something that's working. And there's a lot to be said for having that confidence, when you step into running your business full time, that it might not be enough to pay all the bills every month and kind of flowing steadily, but at least you have a sense that it is working. Another way to make that transition is to simply have saved up the cushion that you want, you know have your runway of six months, 12 months, 18 months, whatever it is for your living expenses, and then just go full time on your business. It's good in terms of focus to do that. But the downside It is you're gonna have some months potentially where there's not a whole lot of action, there's more kind of building behind the scenes building up momentum, getting the word out kind of creating the thing that's going to be the economic engine. For someone who's used to seeing that paycheck hitting on the first and the 15th. Every month, having that go away, can be a bit nerve racking. And if you're not ready for it to be a 12 month, even 18 month process to start to see some of those fruits, it can start to feel like maybe you made the wrong choice, as as you move along. And, you know, aren't getting the spectacular results you had hoped for when you made that big leap. This

Erin Aquin  10:40  
is why I say business is a spiritual practice. Because you I mean, ideally, you're going to think about that question, you're going to say, Okay, what if you sit down with yourself and you say, Okay, we're gonna have a heart to heart with me? Would I actually be okay? If I invested this entire cushion? My six month cushion my 12 month cushion into my business and didn't make a penny? Your honest answer to that will probably tell you if you're running or not. Now, it doesn't mean that you need to be 100%. Fine. Like, yeah, I'd be skipping through the through the daisies. If I didn't make a penny in a during my runway window, and I ran through my savings, and I was out of money. No, no one's going to be happy about that. But I think that so much, there's so much mindset work that actually would be helpful for people to do before they make that transition. That, unfortunately, most people don't do. I'm thinking about one client who has been on the show and shared her story. And her story is in our book, so I'm allowed to talk about it. But one of our clients, Shannon Williams, I was working with her. I've worked with her for years. But when we first began working together, she was working a full time job. And she was building her online business, and her online business was very successful. But the mindset work and the mindset shift that she had to really take on and she did it beautifully, was being ready to let go of what felt like a more shore thing more a more steady thing, even though her online business was incredibly successful, like she was building something that I think that many entrepreneurs only dream of. And she was doing that within the first few years of her online business while working a full time job. But what I think she did, which was so smart, is she brought all of those concerns, all of the internal strife she had about it to coaching and dealt with it. And I think unfortunately, what most people do is they, they save up the cushion, they make the leap, and they don't support themselves with the internal work that needs to be done before. And during that first period of time. Because when you move into running your own business, you are hopefully going to be doing something that you love. But chances are it's going to come with a very steep learning curve that you never had to deal with in your nine to five job, chances are in your nine to five job, you are not the marketing director, the salesperson, the accountant, the CEO, the admin support the customer service director, maybe you did one of those things. But chances are you probably didn't do all of them. And so you're going to be in this position where not only are you trying to make the business work and have it hopefully be profitable, before that cushion runs out. But you're also going to be learning and doing things that probably don't feel comfortable, that aren't easy that you might be are interested in doing. And you're going to find out that the grass is not always greener, at first, especially in your business and making it sound so horrible. It isn't it isn't horrible. It's just that I think many people make that leap, believing that they're going to spend most of their time doing something they love and they don't actually realize that there's a whole company of support that is needed. That will largely require your most of your time and your effort at the beginning. And

Steve Haase  14:46  
I really can't underline this whole mindset side of things enough. You're going to be if not on your own, certainly more on your own than you were in a corporate structure. Maybe you'll have a business partner, but even then that will be a new high stakes, high intensity relationship to navigate. Which, if you haven't done that before, is going to be new to you a whole new dynamic. And you know, with Erin and me, we were already married, we already knew each other. And yet, there were many dynamics to navigate in, suddenly doing business together, relying on each other to create something of value in the world, economically. And so it's, it's a whole different facet. And if you're just, you know, solo operating kind of lone wolf style, with all of that, you're kind of playing entrepreneurship on hardmode. Right, not having a coach in your corner, not having some kind of a resource other than just your conversations with your business partner, is ill advised, let's just say, and that's why we have always had coaches, since the very beginning, not just because this is our business, but because it helps us do better in our business with each other with ourselves really making that space, to have grace when we quote, unquote, screw things up, or know how to work together in really productive, creative, fun ways. So, you know, we're just gonna go ahead and say it, you should work with a coach. And if you're called to work with us, we do have openings for new clients. We also have our program grow smooth for Lean teams, which will help you with each of these areas of becoming an entrepreneur, from time management to decision making, crafting your vision and values, which, if you think you know, that stuff are just big companies, you're wrong, when when you are small, it's especially important to know what matters, how do you work? How do you make decisions, if you don't have that in place, you will not have as much energy as you otherwise could have behind your business, to reach your customers to bring your team together as it grows. So we'd love to have you at grow smooth, you can learn more at besuperabound.com/grow. And what's interesting is as you start gaining momentum in these early stages, you then need to start building out some of the structures of the organization that you may have left. So it kind of turns into a bit of a, what we call it the success spiral. But you'll find yourself kind of traveling in a loop as you build your business build your success over time. That

Erin Aquin  17:45  
is the reason why we always suggest that people get some kind of support, whether it's coaching with us, or working with another coach that you love. It is really key to have that vision those values, super, super clear. So that when you're building your success spiral, you actually are building a company you do want to work for, I think, unfortunately, what happens is sometimes entrepreneurs, as they become successful, they find that they have kind of replicated a company with rules that they wanted to leave in the first place an old an old workplace that they didn't love, because it's the only thing they know. So I think it's a really a creative chance for you to build your organization in your own way, which is really special. Okay. I'm curious, we started this episode with talking to the person who has had the least amount of time working for other people. I want to talk to the person who has probably the most amount of time working for having a day job, let's call it Steve, what was sort of something that happened when you moved from working within a larger organization to being part of a lean business, like Superabound? What was the shock? What did you learn? What would you suggest for other people who maybe are brand new entrepreneurs? For

Steve Haase  19:15  
me the shock and the opportunity, were kind of the same thing. And that was how much there was to figure out. When you're at a bigger company. There's lots of smart people all around you figuring out so much about the business. Whether it's how to message the product, how to position the product, how to get it out in front of lots of people how to generate leads so that you can sell to them. There's a whole crew devoted to making that happen. And so you don't need to question are they doing it right? How is marketing doing? I mean, unless you're the CEO, in which case you Like, okay, how is marketing doing, how's sales doing How's customer success doing? If you're not the boss who has oversight of all those things, you kind of just trust that they're doing well, you might have insights you might have debates over, you know what direction to go, what things to experiment with. But fundamentally, someone's on it. And if you're at a great company, they are really on it. And so you can ride that momentum that they're creating, to, you know, if I was on sales teams, you ride that momentum to sell better. I've been on Customer Success teams, you ride that momentum to help your customers when people are creating an updraft in the business that you can benefit from. And you don't have to worry, is it effective? Are we going to make enough money? Is this whole thing going to fail? You know, those are the questions of a startup. If you're in a five person team, and you have an idea for marketing, you can just say, hey, marketing person, what do we think about this? And then they can try it out. That's the leanness of that lean team. And when you start your own company, that becomes your responsibility. And so, you know, you might feel strongest in sales. But you're still responsible for how strong is the marketing message? How much of an updraft are we creating, with our campaigns and with the ways that we're interacting with customers and getting the word up? And so I think one of the biggest challenges is not constantly reinventing the wheel. Like when you've done your marketing work for the month or for the week, don't question if you've done it well enough, let it run, learn your lessons, come back to it as you would if you were a discipline CMO, rather than a scared new business owner who is afraid that, you know, the lights are going to turn off at any moment. So that would be my main thought there is be disciplined. And, you know, almost consciously put on your hat when you are looking at each area that needs to be managed in your business. That's

Erin Aquin  22:19  
so important. And I think the only things I would even add to that, it's, it's another reason when you are the one who's generating the updraft, you're not just like getting sucked up in it with your 2000 person company where, you know, there's some epic party at the end of the year for hitting your targets, when you don't have that, and you are the one who is generating the updraft and responsible for so much. This is why we we maybe I maybe I'm a broken record, but I'm gonna say it anyway. This is why we talk so often about tending your inner flame and the power of self investment, you must be well, in all the areas that matter in order to have the energy not only to try and to fail, but also to be creative in the face of that, to find out what didn't go well and how we're going to fix it next time to show up again tomorrow with fresh energy, and to wear the many hats of an entrepreneur or have someone on a lean team. Lean teams are amazing. But often people are going to be wearing multiple hats on a smaller team. So that self investing is so important, I hope that you will make sure you are investing deeply in your own energy, your own wellness. And the other piece is looking at the challenges, the ups, the downs, the twists, not through the emotional lens of a brand new business owner who's afraid. But as though you are the CEO, the CMO, CTO, whatever CFO, as you are an executive and a steward of your business, you will grow as a person as you grow with your business. And we would love to help you do that. In our program grow smooth or as a VIP clients. If you're at that stage of growth, where you could use that VIP one on one support. Check it out at besuperabound.com/consultation where you can learn all about our suite of programs for business owners. We hope that this has helped you. We hope it hasn't scared you too much. But we hope that this has been a realistic episode where you can see that if quitting your day job and running your own business is something you really do feel passionate about. You do with your eyes open, and you make sure you have support beforehand, and during that transition, we would love to be that support for you. And we'll talk to you again soon.