Well, by the time this post goes live, I will have done something semi-revolutionary (for me):
I quit my job!
Now, unless things went worse than expected, I’m probably still employed. I’ve never NOT given a two week notice, and this is no exception. Whether or not they’ll want to keep me for two more weeks though, I just can’t know. This should probably be a surprise to my boss, as I’ve given no indication of leaving and things are stable and prosperous at the law firm. BUT, it had to be done, and now it is.
“So what the hell are you going to do then?”
Ok, stick with me here. I’m starting my own business. It’s going to be a consulting/service provider type thing, with me as the only employee for the near term. It is called Holland Web Marketing, LLC. I’m going to provide web management services for the restaurant and food service industry. Basically, I’ll take over maintaining and managing your entire web presence for your restaurant: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Opentable, etc. I will act as your restaurant’s face on the web – interacting with customers, building client bases, engaging the community, and managing what is said about you on the web. I can also provide consultancy services as needed – anything from updates to your website or social media profiles, to social media strategy, to damage mitigation on sites like Yelp.
Initially, I can’t really charge a lot for my services. I’m basically trying to bridge two worlds that I operate in here – the restaurant world, and the web. My close friends have been hearing me talk about wanting to be “location independent” for quite some time. This is my act of burning the ships so that I can’t make excuses any more. Eventually, I hope to be able to make a decent living from a few different facets of this project: a few clients each paying me better that $1000/month for my services, teaching/speaking/training others to do what I do, and passive income from information products I put out about using online marketing for restaurants. I could also see myself expanding the business to include other small business niches, such as outdoors equipment, winery, or the hospitality industry on a larger scale.
Since this career path takes me from the realm of employed to self-employed, my income needs will be a little different. I’ll have to pay for my own taxes and health insurance now, for example. But my gas costs and lunch costs should decline, as those were both a product of working in the suburbs. My earliest goal is to hit $5000/month in income, regardless of source. I don’t need nearly that much money to get by, but it is the goal I am going to shoot for. I hope to go on a road trip with my friend Sean in May/June, and if I can get to that income level by then, I will be able to afford the road trip. So that’s my goal: $5000/month by June.
For those of you scared for my general health and well-being, I do have a couple of things going for me. I have one client to start with, at $500/month. I also have a chance to work at a bar Friday and Saturday nights for the foreseeable future, giving me another $800+/month in income. I might be able to do some of my previous job freelance, and I know some people that could use my help right off the bat. So I should be able to at least stay afloat till June. The goal is $5000/month, but if I can at least manage to stay afloat until then, I’ll consider it a success. I also bought a bunch of ramen, so I’ll at least be able to eat.
“Ok, but why?”
To understand why I’m making this change now, I need you to think long term with me. Obviously, in the short term, the best choice is to stay at the law firm. It pays well, full benefits, nice workplace, flexible hours – what’s not to love? I’m going to take a drastic cut in salary, one that I really can’t even afford. Despite my outer-facade of fiscal responsibility, my finances are generally a mess. I have stupid debt, a luxury vehicle (read: not nice, just out of my actual price range), very little savings, and no assets. Ouch. Of course, the prudent thing to do would be to cut my current expenses, stay at the law firm, and make gradual progress to financial freedom, and THEN make a jump in careers.
Alas, as everyone I know always says when they make these types of decisions, “There’s never a good time to _________.” It’s true, of course, although there are better or worse times. This may be a worse time in the short term, but it doesn’t matter much in the long term. What I want to get to is 2-5 years down the road if I focus on it. Knowing myself, the above scenario of personal responsibility would never take place at the law firm. The longer I stay at the law firm, the longer down the road that goal goes. So if I stay at the law firm one more year, then that goal is 3-6 years down the road. I’ve wanted this same thing for 3-5 years now, so I would already be there if I would have never hesitated.
So what do I want that I’m not getting at the law firm? What do I mean by “location independent”? I can use the aforementioned planned road trip as an example. Sean and I want to go on a 2 week+ road trip out east to see New York City and Washington DC, both our first times. At the law firm, I could technically make this work if I stretched it over some holiday weekends and gave myself no recovery time. In my ideal world, with my new business, I’ll be able to make this vacation work by working while on vacation – minimally, but focused. And that doesn’t bother me in the least – I’m happy to work for a few hours per week while I’m on the road if it means I can be on the road as I please. If I did this trip while still at the law firm, it would use up all of my vacation time, and I’d have to resort to lying about sick days to take a day off here and there (don’t judge – you do it too). With my new business, I don’t even want that to be my last trip of the summer, much less of the year! And next year – get this – I want to try to go to Africa, which would be outside of the realm of possibility if I continued to work at the law firm.
Of course, my more astute readers can point out all sorts of problems with my analysis. I make plenty of money at the law firm, I just spend it too quickly, and that is why I don’t get ahead, right? Not to mention I could start this on the side, and grow it until it can replace my income. Why aren’t I going after something more traditional? Why don’t I go back to school for a degree that can get me a good job?
Know thyself, readers. I’m 30, and I’m going to just go ahead and follow my heart here. The ships have been soaked in gasoline, and by the time you read this post, I’ll have thrown the match.