You’ve caught the entrepreneurial bug.
You find yourself daydreaming of working from home in your pajamas, making your own schedule, and deciding who you get to work with and what you get to do. And, most of all, how much you get paid for it.
Mid-afternoon errands, when there’s no lines. Working in coffee shops and from road trips.
Fulfilling your creative dreams. You are ready!
Except you aren’t sure how to make the leap and leave the security of your sweet, predictable, steady paycheck behind. Not to mention health insurance. You would have been gone months ago if it weren’t for the health insurance.
I get it. I remember. I’ve been there.
It was 2003. I was pregnant with my second child. The breadwinner in our family. And I had to go! But I was scared to death to give up my steady income and the darn health insurance.
Back then, I didn’t know about the process I’m about to share with you for strategically letting go of your paycheck in a way that makes it all feel truly possible. I leapt on a wing and a prayer. But you don’t have to do that.
First, get super clear about how much money you need to make to have the life you really, really, really want at four levels — the “minimum to be happy,” “preferred if you could afford it,” “no limits,” and “now.” (For more of a description of the four Money Map levels of income, including a tool to help you calculate these numbers, see this article on using the Money Map to design your life.)
Make sure that at all four levels, you factor in the cost of health insurance. My family of three’s health insurance currently costs about $350 a month in Colorado for an HSA-style plan with a big deductible.
Then, consider where you are with your paycheck and health insurance now, along that spectrum. Maybe your income currently allows you to live your preferred lifestyle. If so, note that. If your paycheck and health insurance just support you to live your minimum to be happy life, note that too.
Next, consider all the things you could do in the world that would be of value to others and allow you to earn your minimum to be happy.
Write them all out in a list.
Pick one of those things from the list and go out and get someone to hire you for that thing. If you have no idea how to get hired to do that thing, good. Note that and invest some of the money you’re getting from your paycheck now to learn how to package up your services and get hired.
Once you’ve learned that, you can transfer that knowledge to any service. So don’t worry if you don’t know yet exactly what you want to do, just pick anything off the list you made. Get hired at least a couple of times to do that so you can learn how to earn money as an entrepreneur.
When you know how to package your services (no matter what service it is) and get hired by someone to do that, you never have to rely on a steady paycheck again. You’ve got the keys to the kingdom.
Now, you can try new things, make your own schedule, decide what you want to do and who you want to do it with.
You can quit your job and never worry about going broke when you know how to package up a service and offer it to others in a way that has them say, “Yes, I want that.”
Finally, get clarity on how many of “that” you need to sell, or how much of “that” you need to get hired to do, in order to earn your minimum to be happy number. Once you have reached this number, you can adjust your pricing and packages to move on to your preferred if you can afford it number.
If it feels overly simple, that’s because it is, really. Once you see the path, it’s simple to follow it. That doesn’t mean it will be easy.
Each of the steps that I’ve outlined will likely take you down a path of confusion, uncertainty, and self-doubt. If you can just keep coming back to the idea of the minimum you need to be happy and all the ways you can serve to earn that amount, you can and will remember that you have the key skills of an entrepreneur. You can always rely on your own ability to create exactly what you need from nothing, whenever you need it.
And now you are on the path to financial liberation. Welcome.
Ali Neely is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.