I remember it clearly. The day I quit my job.
A few days ago, was the 6th anniversary of me quitting my regular job to try to be an internet entrepreneur.
It wasn’t an easy decision. But it wasn’t a super hard one either.
I had been working in the corporate world for 2 years straight (2011-2013) and it was my first job. But I already knew this life wasn’t for me.
My dream had always been to be an entrepreneur and create a company or create an awesome idea out of my head and sell it to be the owner of my own business.
But things change…
When I graduated from college I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but it didn’t seem very profitable. It was mostly out of passion and it was something I had been doing in the past 4 years to make some extra money on the side but now it didn’t look so appealing anymore.
I was a writer, or a blogger as it’s known nowadays and I liked it. Yet, it only helped me make an extra $100-200 per month and it was good and all when I was a student (extra money for my hobbies) but now that I was out of college I needed to start getting a “real job”.
So, I did.
2 months after I graduated as an electronics engineer I was contacted by a top notch company in the computer field and offered a decent job. You can read a bit more about me here.
It was my first job, and the salary was already twice as high as the average income in this country (Mexico), although just the average of the capital (Mexico City) which is where I live. My parents told me it was a great option and that I shouldn’t think it twice.
I had a couple more job offers at the same time but this one was the best in my opinion as well. I went to the interview and 2 weeks later I got a phone call. I got the job!
The offices were located 2 hours away from where I live (Mexico City is huge with close to 20 million habitants) so I had to dedicate some money to pay rent or drive 4 hours every day and kill myself after a few months.
Luckily at that time one of my best friends was offered a good position near that area and he also had to move over there, so we split the rent and moved to a place that was 15 minutes away (walking) from our offices.
I’m sure we both learned a lot in those positions. I liked my job as it was related to what I was doing before, and also related to one of my main hobbies back in the time (computers and gadgets).
I was giving sales pitches and conferences, building computers for customers, learning from other peeps at the corporative located in California (USA) and even went to visit the factories in Taiwan.
Life was great.
Until it wasn’t…
That’s when I realized that while working for a company with a decent salary was great and most people could make it to their 60s until they retire working like that, I couldn’t stand it.
The company didn’t really have much space to grow in Mexico, and even in the USA I knew people working in the same department as me (engineers) were seriously underpaid if you compared them against sales representative salaries.
At the end of the day, it’s all about sales. More sales = more Revenue and Profit. Companies can’t live out of passion and hobbies. You need profit to keep growing…
I wasn’t in the sales department and I had NO intention to move over to sales as I thought back then it was against my ideals.
Oh boy, I was wrong.
Or at least half wrong. Sales are very important but what I really liked more was Marketing. Mostly technical marketing, which is similar to content marketing.
However, I learned a lot of stuff during the 2 years I worked there and at the end of April I was ready to leave my job (with a 2 months prior notice) and try to became an online entrepreneur.
What was the worst thing that could happen?
Best case scenario I’d start earning more money and build my business or at least work as an entrepreneur with my own rules and freedom.
Worst case scenario I’d churn though my savings and 1 year later I’d be back asking for a new job.
Quitting my job – the ultimate decision
Losing 1 year of your life trying to do something doesn’t sound bad at all. The risk is low vs. the gains you can obtain in the future. I was 24 years old and coming back to get a job at 25 was definitely not bad at all.
I even had some offers during the first months of my entrepreneur life that I knew could still be available after a year if I was interested, so literally there was nothing to lose.
And that’s how I decided it was time to leave my job and start focusing on being an online entrepreneur.
Were you afraid of doing it? Not really
Were you sure you were going to be successful? No, but I’d work my way out of it like I always do. Nobody knows if their business is going to work or not until they try it.
Just remembering the last 6 years so far, I remember doing a lot of stupid stuff, but also some great wins. I have failed several projects but the ones that worked have more than compensated that.
Initially my goal was to focus on SEO and learn the ins and outs to make more money in that industry, but eventually I learned more about email marketing, affiliate marketing, paid traffic, social media, split testing and much more.
I’m always learning and encouraged by new strategies and friends in the industry that I can’t really say if I’ll ever get tired of doing this.
The industry is always changing, always evolving and you need to adapt every 1-2 years to stay at the top of new waves.
To “celebrate” my 6th anniversary I’d like to share with you 4 things I’ve learned so far. Some of them have changed through the time thanks to my experience, but some others remain the same. Hope you can learn from them as well in case you’re in the same path as me.
1. Your friends and family will give you a hard time (90% of the time)
Unfortunately, this is true for most people who want to be entrepreneurs and start their own business coming from a family or social circles where everyone works a traditional job with a fixed salary.
There’s nothing you can do here, but to understand that they have a different mindset. Your parents might believe you are throwing away your career and they don’t want you to take risks.
It’s difficult for them to accept that there’s a different way to do things when they were raised to go to school, get a college degree, work for a company for 40 years and then retire. Internet didn’t exist when they were young. Or it did exist, but for totally different purposes than nowadays.
Your friends might be skeptical as well. You might struggle when they’re climbing positions in their jobs. But don’t get discouraged. It will be worth it if you have patience and the spirit to keep going.
Also, you might receive the typical killer phrase “when are you going to get a REAL job?“.
Don’t get mad at this. People many times fail to see outside their comfort zone so anything that’s different isn’t REAL.
What people fail to realize is that it’s because to other people being entrepreneurs and founding companies that all the jobs are available for people with fixed salaries. Not everybody can be an entrepreneur as there wouldn’t be any workers left to fill the jobs.
And not everybody can be just a worker for a company because then nobody would own the company and there wouldn’t be any jobs available.
However, the ratio between business owners and people who work from them in this world is like 9 to 1, if not lower. Which one do you want to be?
After a while, when your friends and family realize you’re already making money they’ll be less skeptical or aggressive towards your dreams. And hopefully after a few months or years they’re going to start asking how you travel whenever you want or work from home as long as you have a laptop and WiFi available. Keep hustling until they ask if you’re hiring… Enough said.
The only case where I see this doesn’t happen is when the family already has entrepreneurs with their own businesses. In that case they might help you and encourage you to take the plunge.
If you’re the situation where nobody believes in you, try to make friends and network with people who want to build their own business as well. You might find yourself calling them family in a few years.
2. Failures are great, as long as you know how to deal with them
People are afraid to fail pretty much all the time.
- What if I do this wrong and this happens?
- What if I don’t do this on time and we lose the client?
- What if I don’t tell this to my boss and then I get fired?
Even at school, when you do something wrong, you get a bad rating and your parents get mad at you. Failing in this world is seen as something bad, but in the real world failing is just part of learning.
When you own your own business, obviously failures have their consequences, but they’re not as bad as they seem.
When you fail at something, you fix it and make sure to think of a procedure to avoid doing the same error again.
Not only failures help you understand the weaknesses of your business but they help you build a strong armor against them. How could you fix something that you don’t know is going to be broken?
Think of failures as a way to reach the top of success and eventually you won’t be mad when they happen. You might even be happy to realize something’s wrong so you can fix it for the future.
The problem with failures is that we’re so used to seeing them as a negative behavior that many people don’t know how to deal with them. It just takes over your mind and poisons it. When a failure makes you feel bad and lose control of your actions, then you’ve really failed.
But as long as you don’t let your failures bring you down forever, you’re not failing. You’re just learning. Failures help you learn faster than anything else. Embrace failure.
3. Success is an illusion and it totally depends on your goals
First of all, you need to think of what’s considered a successful person.
For some people being successful might be having a good job, paying for their own car, having 2 kids and paying their house mortgage in 10 years.
For others, successful means having a mansion in California and getting a Lamborghini to get out and party every Friday night with beautiful girls.
For some people success is something they just can’t ever feel because the grass is always greener on the other side.
For some people success just means having a life with freedom, doing what they like without having a job they hate.
Whatever success means for you, please understand it comes attached with strings and efforts and you don’t need to mimic others to be happy. You need to set your own goals, achieve them (or smash them if you want) and then set new goals and do it again.
Do it at your own pace, fulfilling your own dreams and keeping you always happy and excited to set your new goal.
Everyone has their own success road. What works for others might not work for you at all. You need to figure it out with time, patience and effort.
You can’t be successful at everything. Focus on 1 thing you like and be good at it so you find your own success.
Going back to the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side“, don’t get caught in this game.
Social Media can be a bitch and it doesn’t help when people mostly post about their trips and positive things over there (it also hurts when everybody is just being negative on FB).
The guy you see traveling in Thailand in a boat? He could be there for a week just to get back at his 9-5 job for the next 6 months and he hates that.
That girl you see always posting about delicious food with her friends in Italy? She could be super successful, or not. You don’t know what’s happening in her life and she could be there but at the same time be super sad because a member of her family just passed away and she wants to avoid remembering it.
That guy who’s always wearing a tuxedo in his selfies and posting about expensive restaurants in his Instagram? He could have just $1,000 in his bank account and not saving anything for his retirement. Maybe he has to pay his loans and credit cards.
Or maybe not. They could all be super successful and happy about their lives. But the thing here is YOU DON’T KNOW because you’re not seeing the whole picture.
We all have shit to deal with and people tend to see “the best of us” when they think about success to make it look simple or easier, but most of the times they don’t see what’s behind it. Ironic because for other things people tend to see the negative of everything…
When people see a successful person, many times they ignore all of the failures behind it, the dedication, the discipline and many disappointments.
Remember success can be an illusion. Use it to your advantage. Use it to get energy and inspiration for new goals. Don’t use it to measure yourself against the rest, especially if you don’t know the whole picture.
4. You’ll need to work your way up, but not forever
When you’re an entrepreneur you’re going to have to double down on your efforts and get results as fast as you can.
If you have a job, whenever you slack off or don’t do something that was meant to be done that day, most of the times nothing bad happens. Unless it was an urgent thing or something super important you can probably do it next day and it will be fine.
At the end of the month you still get paid your salary. When you’re starting to work, whatever you do can thing how much you earn every month.
If you decide to slack for a week and don’t do anything, don’t expect to make the same money as if you were working like a lion. When you’re an entrepreneur many of the things you do traduce into earnings and results. Those can be seen instantly. The more work you put on, the more results you’ll get.
This is good because in a company many times no matter what you do you’ll receive the same salary and maybe a consideration for a promotion next year, but when you’re on your own you can make results change fast.
This can be great, but also a bad thing for people who aren’t disciplined because as opposed to a regular job it can also hurt your earnings. Especially in the first phase of being an entrepreneur, when you have to do everything alone and you’re just starting to figure things out.
You don’t want to be an entrepreneur forever though. If you are, then you’re doing it wrong. You want to build a business, establish procedures and eventually make it independent from you. But in the beginning stage, you definitely need to double down.
There might be days where you want to go out with friends (Friday’s night) or just chill during the whole weekend watching Netflix but you shouldn’t because you need to finish something or you need to put more efforts into your new project.
Sometimes people will have holidays and you’ll need to do something and work half day or more.
But remember, you’re doing this because you have a different path. You probably won’t be able to call it a day at 5pm and disconnect from work like everybody else does. However, the point is to work and build your empire so you can reap the rewards later.
It’s an investment that you need to make for a few years so that you don’t have to work in a job you don’t like for 40 years just to retire at 65.
Wrapping it up – I quit my job and I’m not a failure 🙂
Honestly there’s a lot of things I could say and recommend based on my experience. Advice about investments, advice about money, advice about networking, etc.
But in this article, I just wanted to give general advice for people who are just starting their entrepreneur life. I feel like it’s a good way to remember what I’ve done and the struggle. And it’s a good way to celebrate my 6th anniversary being an on line entrepreneur.
If you like this type of personal articles about entrepreneurship, please let me know in the comments. I’ll try to be a bit more personal and write more in the future if that happens. Perhaps I’ll share my story and my internet failures in the next one.
I’ll be signing off for now and will be back with more content next week 🙂
Are you working online full time or do you still have a regular job? I want to hear from you!