What is a Jump Date you ask? It’s the day you decide to take a leap of faith and commit to your talent, intellect and skill as a source of income. It is an exciting but scary day, because everything depends on you and your ability to brand yourself and network. It is the day that you tackle your fears and enjoy your new found freedom. But before you can become your own boss and create your own schedule, here are some key things you must do before leaving your job.
Discuss with your partner-
If you are in a serious relationship or married let your partner know your dreams and your plans of execution. Making sure you and your partner are in accord as you plan your exit strategies. Freelance can be difficult because sometimes money is flowing in and other times…not so much. When the checks are slow coming in, or not coming in at all, it can be trying for even the most supporting spouse. So planning and communicating together is important when pursuing this dream.
Calculate how much you need to live on for the year-
Calculating what you need to live on each month is an important step that should be done with your spouse. This will ensure that nothing will be forgotten and your household will continue to function day to day. Not only should you track monthly expenses, but you should look at a bigger picture: what you need for the year. That includes paying taxes.
Practice Living on a budget-
Practice makes perfect so take a few months and practice living on a budget. Living on a budget takes a lot of self-restraint, especially if you are a person who is naturally a spender, like me. It is not an easy task but practice will certainly make you better and will help you understand the more important things in life. Freelancing has its rewards, but sacrifices are required, and budgeting is one of those sacrifices.
Save 3-6 months of income-
One of the best ways to prepare for creative freedom is to create a reserve of 3-6 months of savings. This will keep you from panicking and allow you the creative freedom to choose jobs that you enjoy and desire. Another thing that will increase your odds of success is to pay down any unnecessary bills such as credit card debt. Paying down your credit card debt will help stabilize your income, which allows you to focus on paying the essential bills.
5. Look in to private health insurance, life insurance and short term disability
When you are employed by a company, your health and life insurance, short term disability and taxes are automatically deducted from you check; when you leave that responsibility becomes yours. Research private health insurance and compare it to what you have now. Before you actually apply, consider getting a self-evaluation done to see if there are any problem areas in your health. Hopefully the results can determine if your health issues can be fixed with proper dieting and exercise. These results can better prepare you when you’re applying for life insurance. The healthier you are, the better your rates will be.
6. Work on networking
Your talents and personality are your biggest assets but if nobody knows how awesome of a person you are, or how skilled they cannot refer or hire you. Start meeting like-minded people, show them how funny you are, or how knowledgeable you are in your field. When you are good at something, there are very few people that can compare to what you do. Talent and skill are few and far between and when talented people find someone with both, we hold on to them for dear life.
7. Make sure you have a client before you leave
As much as we would like to believe that if you build it they will come, that is not always the case with freelance. We must work harder to achieve success, and that involves actively looking for clients. Build up a client base while you are still working your current job. Yes, you may be tired and work longer hours, but it will pay off in the end. Begin building strong relationships with potential clients now. It will make the transition easier. Make sure you have client work set up before leaving your job. This will help you begin with good habits and a routine when you start working from home. Starting out with a workload and a schedule will help put your spouse at ease. When client work is slow, take advantage of that time and work on what makes you happy, stay inspired. This will ensure that you are always creating something you love, which in turn will keep your name out there, and this widespread visibility will continue to get you recognition and great clients.
8. Have Fun
The most important step in all of this is to have fun. Sure we have to stay disciplined and get out of our comfort zones, but the reason we move on with our lives is because we are seeking happiness, and freedom, creatively, financially and socially. If you are not going to have fun doing what you are doing, then it may be better for you to just stay where you are and try to find happiness there.
Setting a jump date is not about being impulsive. It’s about being prepared and staying focused on the task at hand. There is never a perfect day to quit your job and follow your dreams. However it is important that you prepare accordingly and lock a date in your mind. Have all the steps in place so you can effectively execute your plan and reach your goal.