Author Topic: Share your story of moving from "dreaded day job" to going out on your own!  (Read 881 times)

Nick_Miller

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I could really use some motivation today.

I'm in the (long) progress of trying to build up my creative writing income while still working a FT job and helping to support my family (my wife also works). We earned about $150K last year; $100K from me, and $50K from her, although she also carries our health insurance and gets a $6000/year car allowance.

Anyway, I am focusing on bringing my "writing boat" closer to my current "law boat" income-wise, so that at some point I can step from one to the other without drowning in the murky depths.

Can anyone share a successful story of moving from "dreaded day job" to doing your own thing, even if it took a few years to make the transition?

SC93

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Wow, mine was so long ago I don't even remember the day. I do know I rushed it and it worked out but for what you want to do, I'm with you.... bring the 2 boats together before you take the step in to the next boat. Don't rush it, but don't take forever.

Hirondelle

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PTF - currently trying to start up a little business and would love to hear others' stories.

TheFixer

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Wifey & I were doing our dead-end McJobs, like normal people do. But I was playing with my old-car hobby just about every day. My cars started getting noticed because they actually worked well, instead of just looking nice. People started paying me to make their old junk work better than new. Every weekend & most evenings was full of working on stuff for other people. Then I was calling in sick & using vacation time to do what had turned into a healthy side gig. Finally, there was no more vacation time and a choice had to be made. Either go the dead -end McJob on Monday, or stay in my workshop doing something that I really enjoyed.

I left the Mcjob is 1996 and never looked back. The first few years were occasionally tough because there were lulls in business, but now it is a never-ending stream of work. I just pick the most interesting and/or lucrative projects and tell the others "Sorry, we're all booked up for the foreseeable future. Check back with me in a year or so."

My wife got laid off from her McJob shortly after I quit, which was also tough financially, but she found a part-time job and we managed to squeak by.  This was way before MMM or ERE, but we had read a little book called "Your money or your life", and realized that if we minimized expenses, we would not need nearly the income that we thought was needed for a 'normal' high consumption lifestyle, plus we'd get to be home and do more fun stuff together.  In retrospect, my only regret is that we took the idea of minimizing income to meet minimized expenses to a linear conclusion. If we had reduced expenses by 60%, but reduced income by only 30%, we'd have a higher net worth and be that much closer to true FI.  On the plus side, we haven't exactly been "working hard for the man" for the past 20 years.

Dunno if that's what you're looking for, but that's (a small part of) my story.



SC93

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Great story! So what all do you fix, just cars or other things? Do you fix antique cars or regular every day cars?

TheFixer

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Great story! So what all do you fix, just cars or other things?
The business grew side by side w/ the interwebz. Initially it was word of mouth in the relatively local area, with people trailering in their vehicles. Then I noticed that the induction system was always trouble for DIY and some perfeshenul mechanix, so I started doing mail order repairs of those components. Word of mouth on the burgeoning forums of the late 90s-2000s kicked that into high gear, so now I try to minimize project vehicles and make the simple (no scope creep) mail order work the primary focus. I keep thinking this will dry up soon and I better be ready to make a lateral move into another market, or worst case go back to a McJob. But I've been thinking that for 20 years, while gross income and net profit steadily climb, year after year.

TLDR: I mostly do mail order rebuilds of smaller components, but still fix cars on a limited basis.

Quote
Do you fix antique cars or regular every day cars?
I only work on "toys", an imported car from mid 1950s-mid 1980s. No daily drivers.



bwall

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Quote
Do you fix antique cars or regular every day cars?
I only work on "toys", an imported car from mid 1950s-mid 1980s. No daily drivers.

Air cooled 911's by any chance?

SC93

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Nice job TheFixer.

nara

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I was working various full-time jobs in my field for many years --usually switching companies every 2 years due to boredom and lack of job satisfaction. At my last full time job 6 years ago, I was commuting 70 miles a day in traffic each way plus commuting all over once I got to work! I thought I was such a hard worker. An unexpected job loss forced me out of that miserable position and I swore I was never going to work for another company again. I had no savings and had been living paycheck to paycheck. With the help of food stamps and credit cards, I slowly built up my own business.

I started as an independent contractor at first. Which were the best years of my life because I was making more money per hour than I ever had and had tons of free time to enjoy life. After I recovered from my burn out, I started working more hours and exceeded my income each year quickly making more than at my last full-time job. My business grew to the point, where my husband left his full-time job and we both ran the business together. We discovered FI and really started thinking about our future, which led us to decide to take leaps with our business. We rented our first office space and quickly expanded two more times. We hired several full-time employees.

Although our profits have exceeded our wildest expectations and we are on a fast track to FI now, I am far more stressed than when I had ever worked for another company. I can't just "quit" gives my two weeks notice and walk away from this job as I had done with so many others, because I have a lease and employees and clients who rely on me. The burden feels enormous and there is zero work life balance. My days are spent working and my weekends are spent working and even at night I have trouble sleeping because all I do is think about work. I am not sure if the money or the fast track to FI makes this all worth it. But I do have to tell you... there is a point where being on your own is absolutely amazing! But it's a balance and if you get sucked into too much work and too much responsibility.. working for someone else begins to sound so much better.

SC93

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There is no balance because you do not draw a line. You can draw a line and you must draw a line and do not cross it. I know the feeling.... I was there for many years. I doubt it is great on your marriage. Even with my business today, I sometimes get caught up but then I catch myself and back down. It's for your own good.... you must do it!

Yes, you have employees and if you truly worry about them then do not put them in the position to be looking for another job when this kills you or makes you sick. It does happen all the time.