Author Topic: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!  (Read 2356 times)

EEBookDesign

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About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« on: November 15, 2016, 02:21:48 AM »
OK Iíve decided to do it, Iím going to quit my job and start for myself as a freelancer! Itís not a very mustachian thing to do money-wise as my job is very cushy and comes with a nice big salary, but I just canít handle the commute/pointless time-wasting meetings/boring colleagues anymore!

We figure we can survive about 2 years on our savings without making any money at all, before weíd have to start worrying about money. We have a very basic lifestyle and could easily survive on a low income job so we are not too worried about the future. It helps that we donít live in the US so we have social securities like affordable health care and a state pension.

In order to maintain our current lifestyle me and my partner would each have to earn about 1000 euros a month, which seems doable. My partner is already bringing in his share and now it will be up to me to do the same.

I currently work as a production technician where I publish scientific books. The part of my job I like best (and am best at) is doing the book design, so lay-out, cover, front and back matter, proofreading etc. And that is the part I would like to explore on a freelance basis. Iíve been doing it for about 6 years so have plenty of experience and technical know-how.

I am (near)fluent in 4 languages so I was planning to advertise all over the world. I might explore specializing in the niche of scientific publications because that is what I do now, plus these type of publications are a lot harder to lay-out due to hyperlinks, references, complex tables etc. so there might be more of a market for my skills.

I have 3 kids who now go to private school but they will be moved to (free and excellent) public school starting September. Because of this I will quit my job around June so that we dont have to move the kids to another school in the middle of the year.

I am not allowed to have an income next to my current salary, but I am looking for ways to expand my portfolio before launching my business. I have thought of 2 ways to do this. 1) laying out some books that are in the public domain and 2) asking people in my network if they have a finished work that they would like to self-publish and that I can lay-out for them for free including cover design/epub. This way Iíll have something to show to potential customers.

Apart from reading a lot about my field and about how to start my own business while on my commute (train), and preparing my portfolio/thinking about what I want, I will not have a lot of time to build my company before I quit my current job (full time job with long commute + 3 kids).

My questions to you here:
1. If you have any advice/criticism/tips/websites/knowledge that you would like to pass on to me please do
2. If you have any finished books that you would like to self publish and you were thinking of outsourcing the lay-out donít hesitate to contact me, and maybe I can do it for free in return for including your book in my portfolio
3. Did any of you quit working to start on your own? I would be really interested in your experiences
4. Any questions you would like to ask me, things I should consider that I didn't mention in my post?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I canít wait to start this new chapter in my life, but at the same time am a bit scared and can use all the advice I can get!

VladTheImpaler

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2016, 02:51:44 AM »
Can you began freelancing on the side, while keeping your current job?

I would moonlight your freelancing as long as possible until you build up demand for your services in your pipeline.
You have 3 kids, so if the whole thing goes belly up it effects the whole family, not just you.

EEBookDesign

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2016, 03:06:52 AM »
Thank you for your comment!

Sadly I can not moonlight because according my current contract I am forbidden to make money on the side. The second problem is that I do not have time to work a lot on this project until I quit my job. So I will either have to risk it (which is what I'm going to do most likely) or stay in a job situation where I am not happy, counting the hours everyday.

Because of MMM we bought a cheap and small house, and we have a little apartment that we rent out, this and the child support we get from France (where we live) means that we only need a small income. We are well educated and I dont doubt that we will be able to find jobs again if this doesnt work out, but if that happens it will definitely be a huge step down from the job I have now.

EEBookDesign

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2016, 06:47:40 AM »
You do point out the question that has been bothering me: is it selfish of me to quit a well paying job in exchange for (minimal) financial insecurity just to be happier in my day to day life? Considering that I provide for a family of 5. Right now my partner is working from home on his passion so he is def. very supportive of my decision.


VladTheImpaler

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2016, 07:07:59 AM »
Quitting your well paying job is not a small decision and should not be made hastily. Trust me, I am speaking from experience. Make sure you have a plan B and plan C in case freelancing doesn't pan out.
Honestly, it sounds like you might be bored and burned out at work.
Maybe you just need a vacation?

Here's an interesting article about following your passion:

http://time.com/3503383/career-advice-following-passion/


Whatever you end up doing, I wish you all the best and hope you succeed.

EEBookDesign

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2016, 07:14:06 AM »
Thanks! I'll read the link you send me

Yes I am bored out exactly! I did just have a 3rd child so was home for about 6 months. So can't really go on a long holiday at the moment LOL. I would love to hear more of your experience!

Plan B is to move to an even cheaper place a bit further out so we really almost need no money to live.
Plan C is to move back to my country of origin where, with my work experience, it's easy for me to get a nice job (I've applied in the past just to see what my options were and was always immediately invited).

HoundDog

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2016, 10:09:43 AM »
I say go for it. It seems that you've considered the risks and they aren't all that ... risky.

I don't know much about your specialty ... have you been able to connect with other people who do it on a freelance basis? It they're doing well, then you should be able to do well, since you have experience. I would like to quit and go freelance, too.

wanderin1

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2016, 12:48:12 PM »
OK Iíve decided to do it, Iím going to quit my job and start for myself as a freelancer! Itís not a very mustachian thing to do money-wise as my job is very cushy and comes with a nice big salary, but I just canít handle the commute/pointless time-wasting meetings/boring colleagues anymore!

It sounds like you want to quit because of the amount of time you have to spend doing things other than the technical work you love. Just be aware that freelancers trade one kind of ďotherĒ for another. No more time-wasting meetingsóbut plenty of time marketing and keeping the books. No more boring colleaguesóbut inevitably some unpleasant clients.  If you are ready to make this trade, I suggest a couple more things you can do before you leave your job:

Get familiar with the administration and record keeping youíll need to do as a self employed person. (Where I live in the US, I can get this info from local and federal government websites and offices) Lots of new freelancers neglect these areas and it creates more work and costs money later.

Get familiar with the processes of seeking, landing and following up on projects. Do you know how to write a proposal? Have you decided what youíll charge and how youíll bill?  There is a learning curve on all of these.

Talk to people doing this work freelance. I realize it may be tricky, given that the industry may be small, youíre still in your job and prohibited from outside work. But if itís possible, I especially suggest you talk to someone who is well established. They can share lessons learned, and may even be able to pass work on to youósince many successful freelancers have lots more work than they can do.



WyomingGuy

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2016, 01:50:46 PM »
Best wishes to you.

I once left a high-paying corporate job to start my own business. Based on that experience, I offer the following. In comparison to working for somebody else, setting up your own business may result in: (1) lower income; and (2) more work. You also may find that "working for yourself" isn't the panacea you thought it would be. The brutally honest fact is that most entrepreneurs fail. Or fail repeatedly until they succeed.

Burning through your savings while you experiment with setting up your new business will also set back your retirement goals.

It doesn't sound like you have a well-developed, specific business plan. Instead, it sounds like you have some ideas, and you lack the time to further plan for your new business venture between now and when you launch. If the goal is to maximize chances for success, I would never launch a new business without a very detailed business plan.

Launching a new business in the self-publishing space sounds brutal, though I concede to not knowing the business. My impression is that anybody can self publish anything, so why would I pay you? Have you done market research on how that would work? It sounds like part of your plan is giving away work, at least initially.

There are social services here in the United States, too. Some folks -- state employees such as teachers, for example -- typically have pensions. We also have Social Security. We have Medicare and Medicaid, too.

Bottom line: your plans don't sound like a path to FIRE, if that is your goal. If your goal instead is leaving a miserable job, keep doing what you are doing.

EEBookDesign

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2016, 06:54:55 AM »
There is some good advice in the comments above, thank you!

For a start, yes I know that in the US there are social services too, I guess I dont really know the specifics. For example where I live I'll have a pension (more then enough to live off) starting at age 62. Also until the kids are about 18 years old I'll get 450 euros a month in child support. There is free healthcare, and for example full time day care for my baby costs about 160 euros a month. All this social security makes it easier for me to think about taking a financial risk. I am 35 at the moment. My goal is not necessarily RE (though I would love that too), but more to be happy in the things I do everyday. If I would be hit by a car tomorrow at least I want to know that today I wasnt wasting my life, waiting for better times. Of course that's not how life works, because we need to plan for the future. But I feel that right now all my energy goes to something that I dont love, all the while I'm too tired in the evening to enjoy spending time with my family.

I do think that I have to spend some time and effort making a proper business plan and talk to freelancers doing what I want to do before I can quit my job.

Yes anyone can selfpublish nowadays, but there is definitely something to be said about a professional lay-out and cover (just like paying for an editor is worth it). Plus I have a lot of experiences with difficult publications, like programming complicated Tables in EPUB CSS etc. I think there is def. a market for this (even my current company outsources the publications that are made from another department).

I did also start a market research. I realise that giving away my work for free sounds like a strange idea, but I think it will work out well. I can get some contacts, and sort out the basics like: what do i need from my future clients, how long will a project realistically take etc. Plus i can build up my portfolio in the mean time. The only way to do that is unpaid as I am not allowed to earn next to my current job. I do think it;s better to do this while I'm still working and not starting when I am already unemployed while burning through my savings...

Thanks again for all the advice in the previous comments. I'm open to all suggestions! But yes leaving a miserable job is def. my goal over FIRE.




Prairie Gal

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2016, 05:45:17 AM »
I am also considering leaving a decent paying (not high paying) job to go into business for myself. It is a scary proposition, but my happiness and mental health is worth it.

Good luck with your decision.

EEBookDesign

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Re: About to quit and start for myself, advice welcome!
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2016, 12:35:01 PM »
Good luck with your decision to you too Prairie Gal! Let me know how it works out!