This was initially posted on July 17, 2014 about a month after I left my full time job to become a full time blogger.
I’m going to miss Cake Day.
As I get ready to pack up my desk my mind races but settles on this one event. Each month my employer celebrates birthdays with cakes.
This month is my birthday month so I had a chance to help choose the two cakes that the entire company will eat. Unfortunately, I will miss the opportunity to celebrate June birthdays.
There is really no one else to blame. I made the decision.
I decided to leave my relatively safe, well paying position for the unknown.
As of 5pm on June 13th, 2014 I will become a full time solopreneur.
I wrote the excerpt above a few days before my last day of work.
I am no longer a 9 to 5 employee.
The decision to strike out on my own was a tough one. I knew that I was not meant for the cubicle life before I even started my career.
However, I made it a point to get comfortable with it because I had bills to pay.
Credit cards, student loans and a car payment were all on my mind along with my cell phone bill and living expenses.
So instead of starting a business with savings, I had to get a job to dig myself out the financial hole that I created.
The first year at my new job was great.
The work was new and challenging, I was learning so many new things and it felt good to conform.
You know when someone asks you what you do? I could happily state my job title and then follow up with the explanation.
Most cubicle workers have the same interaction. It goes a bit like this.
Cubicle Worker 1: What do you do?
Cubicle Worker 2: I’m a Database Systems Analyst.
CW 1: Oh. What is that?
CW 2: Well, I blah blah blah….
There’s no point in going into the full job explanation because we all know that’s about where we all stop listening.
Anyway, I actually liked that exchange.
It was better than saying, “Hey I’m unemployed.”
The second year was even better, financially speaking. I had paid off my car loan and I had made a significant dent in my credit card debt.
I had also been contributing to my employer sponsored 401k and receiving the matching bonus.
I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
That’s when things started to change a bit.
You see, I had been working on my blog in my spare time. I started Young Finances after I graduated college, before I could find a job.
I graduated in May and it took me 11 months to land a position. In the meantime, I was working odd jobs and my blog.
I wanted to use the information that I had learned about finance in school. I planned to teach investing and personal finance; just the basics.
And when I say basics I mean the stuff that I wish I had known pre-recession.
So as I’m working my blog part time, I start making a bit of income and I think to myself how cool it would be if I could do this full time.
I knew I had to show consistent sustainable income before I considered it.
I decided to set a date after reading this post from Paula over at Afford Anything. Paula is a dear friend and I enjoy reading her posts on gaining freedom from the cubicle.
She mentioned setting a ‘damn deadline’ as part of her Four Step Guide to Escaping the Ordinary.
So I gave myself 2 years. 2 years to finish my debt payments and save a solopreneur cushion. I aptly titled my budget, ‘2 Years to Freedom’.
I knew that without debt and with a bit of savings, I could really make the business take off. I also knew that I needed more time to make it happen.
The good and bad of having a great job is the time required. I was working 9 to 10 hour days and sometimes 12 hour days.
In February, I planned to go full speed at the business. I worked on my blog at lunchtime, after work, and each day after work.
I set up a social media schedule, wrote and promoted blog posts and updated old affiliate links.
I knew that if I could make more money focusing my free time, then a full time income that matched my job income was entirely possible.
And you know what?
The experiment worked!
February was one of my best months in terms of income.
Now that I knew what to do, I started to outsource what I did not have the time to do.
And I kept saving.
And I kept paying down debt.
Finally, it was time to make the decision. It happened a bit sooner than I was expecting but I knew the time was right.
On the luckiest day of the year and 5 days before my next birthday, on Friday the 13th, I left my well paying job.
That means I officially retired from the working world at the age of 30.
So what’s next?
Well now comes the hard stuff. I have to work without a boss checking in on me periodically.
I have to work without the guarantee of a paycheck twice a month. And I have to make it happen on my own, without a full team of co-workers.
And I’m ok with that.
Each day I can wake up and plan my workday. I can decide to start two hours late because I wanted to sleep in before hitting the gym.
I can stop working at 2 if I want in order to catch a midday movie or go grocery shopping
I can wear what I want. In fact, I bought my first pair of solopreneur pants. They’re super comfy. That’s my new work uniform.
It feels really good and scary at the same time.
I don’t have the benefits of cake day, or other social events that my company had planned for the year.
But what I do have is a location independent career.
If I want to spend two weeks in Costa Rica, I can do that. I can work wherever my iPad and Internet connection takes me.
Having that cake day each month was nice but it just kept me away from what I really wanted to do.
Now I can make my own cake, and once my income surpasses that of my previous job, I’ll feel comfortable enough to eat it too.
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