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Need an exit strategy for your 9-5?
Then don’t go anywhere!
Because in this article I’ll show you exactly how you can plan your 9-5 exit strategy in 8 steps.
When I first started telling people in summer 2020 that I’ll quit my job in summer 2021 I got one of two reactions: either they said: what? But you have such a good job, isn’t this super risky?
Or they said they think it’s really cool but secretly thought I wouldn’t do it anyway. I know that because they told me later when I actually handed in my resignation letter 😉
This is my own 9-5 exit strategy that you can basically just copy/paste. Before we get started, first a quick word of caution and a quick overview over my story:
A word of caution
This strategy is a risky one but it’s well-calculated risk. So, I’m 99% sure that my strategy will work out very well and I’ll soon be able to replace my 6-figure income.
However, this strategy is geared towards people who are in their late 20ies or early 30ies who don’t have kids and have a solid income that allows them to put some money aside each month. Plus, it’s ideal if you’re longing to finally travel the world!
If you’re in a tighter situation with a very low income or people depending on you, then please be very cautious and calculate your risk very carefully before you’ll take the leap!
I’m a lawyer by trade and I have a cushy 6-figure job at an insurance company. Most lawyers struggle to get their first job and I actually got really lucky because I could stay after an internship and probably got the best job I could ever get.
Seriously! For being an employee, this is probably the best job ever!
However, I already knew before starting this job that I wouldn’t get old as a lawyer. I just didn’t really enjoy the kind of work and I just couldn’t see how I’d be able to still my travel hunger in such a position (I loooooove traveling!).
And having the best job ever just made that clearer. If I didn’t feel fulfilled in this job, I wouldn’t be in any other.
The solution for me was a different one: I wanted to have my own business.
I’ve always been a high achiever and I absolutely don’t mind working hard in order to achieve my goals. But I want them to be my goals. I want to be able to decide what I’m working on and who I’m working with. And ultimately, I want to decide when I’m working and how much income I’ll bring in.
I quickly understood that all of that is possible if you have your own business. So, I started to try out different side hustles in 2018, started my other blog Dogpackr in the beginning of 2019 and just dabbled a bit. That was until the pandemic hit. I knew I’ve just gotten a once in a lifetime chance to finally build the business of my dreams.
Now, it still took a few more months but in summer 2020 I decided that I’d give myself one year to make it work. And I’m telling you, I’m right on track! I’ve officially started my coaching business in January 2021 and I got my first 3 clients in 3 weeks (making 5k).
Because I have a 6-months’ notice period, I actually already handed in my resignation letter. So, I’ll officially be done in July 2021! And then, my partner and I will go travel for at least 6 months. I can’t wait!
Okay, so as you can see I know what I’m talking about, I’m basically about 8 months ahead of you right now when I’m writing this in March 2021. Now, let me show you how I’m making this exit strategy happen and how you can do the same!
If you’re ready to dive deeper, also make sure to download my free 9-5 exit strategy roadmap workbook. This workbook displays this strategy much more in-depth and you can start implementing your own strategy right away!
1. Figure out what your vision looks like
Alright, let’s start with the mindset once again. I absolutely don’t recommend just quitting cold turkey without knowing what you want to do instead. This can work if you’re super flexible but it’s not part of this strategy.
So, before you start planning, take out your journal, block off a few hours and allow yourself to dream.
What’s your vision? Where do you want to be in a few years from now? What does your dream life look like? What kind of lifestyle would you like to have?
Write all of it down and imagine it as vividly as possible.
This will pull you towards it like a magnet. Whenever I struggle in my business, I think about my dream life and what I’m doing all this work for. This always immediately pulls me right out of my rut and back into action. I have such a strong drive to make my dream become a reality that it’s almost impossible not to work!
You need to create this strong of a vision!
2. Set specific goals for 5 years and 1 year from now
Next up, we’ll start breaking your vision down. If you’ve allowed yourself to dream really big (which is awesome), it sometimes gets almost intangible. This is why I recommend creating a 5-year goal and a 1-year goal.
Start with the 5-year goal and write everything down you want to accomplish within that time frame.
Then, write your 1-year goal down. Part of this goal should be to quit your job, at least if you’re following this strategy.
Now, what I want you to do is to imagine that it’s one year from now. Write your goals down in present tense as if you’d already achieved them. Then think about how you’ve achieved them. Think about every step you needed to take to get to what you were aiming for. This can act as your road map.
As soon as I’ve started doing this I even exceeded my monthly goals!
If you’d like to learn more about goal setting, here are a few related articles:
3. Set a date for when you’re going to quit
Alright, now you know where you want to go. Now it’s time to give yourself a deadline. Because without that, you’ll probably find lots of excuses not to quit after all…
What I recommend is to set the date about one year from now. This will give you plenty of time to get everything organized.
The way I did it is to tell as many people as possible about this goal of mine. This way I could get some public accountability as people would keep asking me about it. That made it far more real and sort of a non-negotiable.
So, even though I didn’t 100% know if my business will bring in enough to replace my income, I handed in my resignation letter in January 2021. Remember, I have 6 months’ notice period, so I just had to make that decision.
4. Create a savings plan to have cushion for at least 6 months
What makes this strategy bullet proof is that you’ll install several safety nets. The first one is to create a savings plan that will allow you to live for at least 6 months without any income. If you plan to travel after quitting your job, this will be super easy as you can live on a pretty low budget.
My savings plan is to put $1000/month in my savings account for 12 months. This means I’ll have $12 which will allow me to live off of $2k/month for 6 months
5. Reduce your workload if possible
Now, this is gold if you can do it. I actually already started with an 80% workload when I was hired full-time as an in-house lawyer. And boy, that extra time is so valuable to work on your business.
So, if there’s any way you can make that work while still having enough money to also save a little, I highly recommend doing it.
But don’t worry, that’s not a must. It’s also totally doable next to a full-time job.
6. Start building your business
Now, we’re getting to the really exciting part: start building your business.
You obviously don’t just want to quit your job to hang around all day. Your dream is to build something big, something on your own terms that can change people’s lives. Am I right?
The best way to build a business in my opinion is to start out as a coach and then later package your knowledge in a course.
That has a number of advantages: for one, you can charge high ticket right out of the gate and therefore easily make 4 or 5 figures early on. Plus, you’ll get to know your audience inside and out which is a great starting point to package your knowledge up into a course. And building a course is just the best way to create a business that’s brining in money passively. But that’s just later down the road.
The other reason I recommend starting with a coaching business is that you can do it from anywhere in the world and you don’t need to worry about inventory etc.
Now, you can absolutely do this on your own. But if you want to take the fast track, I highly recommend getting a coach that can walk you through each step and share their own experiences.
I’ve made 5k in my first month of officially launching my coaching business. If you’re ready to make your dreams a reality and leave your soul-sucking job behind and achieve similar results, then schedule a free strategy session right now!
7. Create a running list for things you need to get done
Now that’s another really important part of your 9-5 exit strategy: have a running list on your phone for things you need to get done.
As soon as I can leave my job for real, my partner and I will go traveling for at least 6 months! So, we have to organize quite a few things before we leave.
So, on this list you’d find things like: quit our apartment (3 months’ notice period), organize health and accident insurance, organize a space to leave our stuff etc.
8. Have a plan B, C and D
And my last tip is to calculate your risk as well as possible. So, quitting your job and replacing your income with your business is obviously plan A. But I highly recommend having at least a plan B in case something goes wrong.
The best option is to have multiple backup plans in place, though!
As mentioned earlier, I’ve put money aside so that I could live on the road for 6 months. Traveling is a lot cheaper than living in Switzerland, so I calculated 2k per month. This is based on my experience of traveling solo for 6 months in 2015. You can definitely live on less when you’re backpacking. But that should be a safe budget.
Plan C is that I also have an investment portfolio that I actually don’t want to touch because it will hopefully start generating passive income pretty soon. But if everything goes wrong, I still have money in there that I can withdraw.
And plan D is to travel for longer since making 2k/month is much easier than making 6k/month which I’d need to live comfortably back home in Switzerland, as I do it now.
So, as you can see, this is a pretty waterproof plan and I highly recommend you do the same.
Start putting 1k/month aside if you can. This will keep you going for at least 6 months if everything else goes wrong. Maybe also check in with your parents to see if you could live with them for a certain period to save money. Just think of all your options and create several back up plans.
Alright, this is my bulletproof 9-5 exit strategy!
As you can see, quitting your job and starting your own coaching business is perfectly doable if you give yourself enough time. I highly recommend setting yourself a 1-year time frame as this will give you some pressure to kick your gears in. But it’s also enough time to create a savings plan and put your other backup plan in place.
If you’re serious about quitting your job and starting your own business, then make sure to download my free 9-5 exit strategy roadmap workbook. This workbook displays this strategy much more in-depth and you can start implementing your own strategy right away!