Don’t Quit Your Day Job

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The majority of the women we meet and teach at The Blogcademy are just starting their blogs or businesses and most of them simultaneously hold down a full or part time job. Most of them tell us that their ultimate goal is to quit these jobs so they can focus on working for themselves. While we encourage them to do that when they’re ready, we’re also keen to share with them the huge benefits of working a day job while pursuing their dreams.

You won’t be stressing about money

You’re never going to be at your most creative when you’re stressing about money. Having a day job that pays the bills and puts food on your table really takes that pressure off your baby business. Stressing about money is never fun, so I’d encourage you to hold onto that safety net for as long as you can!

When I got to the stage where I felt like I wanted to quit my job as a TV producer Gareth (ever the voice of reason) said that I should really wait until I was earning the same – or more! – from Rock n Roll Bride as I was my day job. At the time this seemed like a huge benchmark to aim for (I am forever impatient) but in retrospect I am so glad that I followed this advice. Far from stifling me, having a job that paid the bills allowed me the freedom of growing my business without the pressure of worrying about money.

It was also a lot easier for me to reinvest in the business with any (however small) profit I was making from it. Spending money on my branding for example was a massive game changer for me and really helped step up the appearance of being a ‘professional blogger’. If I was solely relying on what I was earning from the blog at that time I would have not only have gone very hungry, but the blog wouldn’t have been able to progress as quickly.

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It makes you a time management wizard

It’s amazing what you can achieve in a relatively short amount of time when you really focus! Let’s be honest, most of us ‘full timers’ probably spend half of our working days being productive and the rest of it on Facebook or watching endless cat videos on YouTube!

If you are time poor, make sure you schedule in a set time when you’ll be working on the business. It could just be as little as 20 minutes a day, but if you sit down and know you’re going to crack on with it, I promise you’ll be surprised at just how much you can achieve.

You can be pickier with who you work with

As your time is so limited and you’re not relying solely on the income you’re making, you can be much more choosy about who you decide to work with. Being a bit more selective with your clients means you can decide to only work with the kinds of people that you really want to. You can focus your energy on attracting your ideal client more than ever.

You can be the tortoise, not the hare

Growing at a slow and steady rate is not a bad thing. We might all be incredibly impatient and want to be instantly successful, but realise that overnight successes often turn into one hit wonders. Growing slowly enables you to not only be sure this is really the business for you, but enables you to learn as you go and means that any mistakes are not as catastrophic as they could be.

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So stop thinking that you haven’t ‘made it’ yet because you haven’t quit your day job. Realise that you’re making a smart and solid investment in your future by still working elsewhere and that not having to rely on one income (which in the beginning is likely to be pretty piddily anyway) is helping to grow your business and is often the much shrewder approach in the long run.

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30 comments

  1. Absolutely perfect timing. I really needed this right now and am constantly wanting to be my own boss right now- but realize that it’s important to have real life experience and living wages while I pursue my dreams. Thanks!

  2. I’m always asked “why don’t you quit your day job?” My answer is always the same, “I like a dependable paycheck, health insurance and my 401k.” Yes I make a profit from my online sales, but I know how sales can fluctuate and I still need to pay my bills.

  3. Ugh! Thank you! Have been feeling a bit naff about keeping working on other projects while building my Wedding Photography business, and this post has made me feel so much better about the (smart) decision. Having a steady income while I concentrate on finding the right clients to work with is so important to me. It was “quit the day job or start taking head shots!” which I have NO interest in doing at all and would create the complete wrong message for my business!

    Hope your all having a lovely Festive season! xx

  4. Great post i find ithard to do two jobs but what you have said makes a huge amount of sense and i know having money to invest has really helped me move forward and nearer to were i want to be.

  5. Zarina

    Thank you for writing a post that completely cheered me up!

    I have to return to my “day” job on a near full time basis from my maternity leave, which wasn’t my original plan and even though I had told myself all of the above points to a lessening degree, I was still feeling down hearted. Now I have a goal, until I’m able to earn the same as the day job I’m going to concentrate on making it my perfect business.

    Thanks for making me feel better xx

  6. Great post, as always Kat. These are all very good reasons not to give up the day job and, I admit, are all ones that have gone through my head whilst debating my own situation. I’m a trainee Paramedic and have been for the last 5 years and two years ago I started up my own little wedding photography business. I’ve very slowly been plugging away at the business, building up a portfolio, working on things like my style, my workflow and slowly building up a good word-of-mouth reputation but I’m actually starting to feel like I’m at the point where my day job is stopping my progress with the business. I’m keen to go part-time once I’ve gained my Paramedic qualification so that I can dedicate more time to the photography but my hubby worries about this, saying I won’t have enough work to make the money up. It’s a really difficult situation and has caused a few arguments between us of late, but we’re no closer to an answer as yet. But I’ll definitely remember your arguments here when making my decision!

  7. Kate burns

    Thanks, this is just what I needed to read. I am frustrated hanging onto my day job, but as my new business is making handmade chocolates, it’s definitely the way I need to go. I’ve a timescale in my head,but have been trying work out if I’m crazy trying to do it whilst working full time, but you have reassured me that having the financial safety net is worthwhile.
    It’ll be a long time before my chocolate business could earn even half of my current salary,but your article gas helped cement my plans to hang in there, even if I don’t like my day job much, and bank and save and keep paying the bills.
    It will all turn out eventually for all us creative types!
    Thank you

  8. Hi Kat
    Wise words, totally agree I run my wedding planning business but don’t earn enough from it to quit my day job. It’s hard going and sometimes trying to motivate myself to do another hour or so my blog after a 9 be day is extremely hard but I wouldn’t swap it for the world x
    You are a great motivator and looking forward one day to attend the blog academy x

  9. I’m a wedding florist and I unfortunately had to quit my job before I started my business properly. It was in the same field and I would have been in breach of my employment contract if I had done both simultaneously…

    In order to eliminate some of the problems you mention, my husband and I made sure we had a good stash of money in the bank to help us pay the bills before I quit, but it was difficult having to wait until we were financially ok before I got on with it. The business was two years in the planning before I could officially launch and start taking bookings! Frustrating to say the least, but I am not good with risk and feel better that we have a safety net in case I don’t earn anything for a while.

  10. I agree that you should certainly learn your craft and do your groundwork before leaping headlong into chucking away your day job – and also at the very least, have built up cash behind you/be in a position you can take a pay cut whilst you build your business.

    However, some businesses which are face to face client based, like wedding photography, are undoubtedly more difficult to work around a day job. People will want to speak with you and meet you during hours which are suitable for them, which may not fit into the limited hours you can offer them. And remember, there are many hours of editing and office work to fit in – clients won’t take kindly to being second priority behind your day job, not for such an emotive and important part of their wedding day. I’d recommend that you use your ‘outside your day job’ hours to get valuable experience as a second shooter, do training courses, whatever it takes to build up your experience and skill level to the point that you know you can offer paying clients exactly the right level of service and experience before kicking off as a fully branded wedding photographer.

  11. Just the sort of post I needed to read right now thanks Kat!it’s been almost a year since I decided I wanted to do wedding photography,I work full time but am going to carry on slowly chipping away for as long as it takes,until that moment when I can afford to become a full timer.and I will do it because I’ve found my passion,although I’m realistic I knowing it may take me a while! After reading your post I am further inspired to carry on slowly…

  12. Very inspiring post. This comes at a great time for me as tomorrow is my last day in full-time career employment. I have taken the plunge to concentrate on my business more but have also got a part-time job to pay the bills and allow me those all important pennies to invest in my business. I was worried this would make me look like I didn’t take my business seriously enough but this post has assured me I’m doing the right thing for now! Thank you :)

  13. Thanks for this post Kat!

    I’m excited for the day when I can 100% be my own boss, but I know that doesn’t come overnight! In the meantime, those bills ain’t gonna pay themselves and I can keep tortoise-ing away and building on my ideas at the same time :)

  14. Thanks for this post – I think in my circumstances it is definitely better to keep the day job until I am earning equal to or more than what I earn in my day job.

    It might not work in all cases, but seems really relevant for someone who has dependents (I have a two year old boy) and can afford to put a little time aside each day for their ‘second job’ :)

  15. So true it’s great to know my bills are covered by the day job & college bursary. But I also know that I love being creative so I can continue to create and stay afloat :)

  16. It’s good to hear this when there are so many people out there implying that you aren’t doing it right until you quit the day job. Right now, as an entertainer, I would rather be able to keep investing loads in my business with things like ongoing training and costumes than have to live on the breadline and stagnate as an artist. I’m lucky that most clients want to book me outside of working hours, and my day job employers are willing to be flexible. When I get to the point where the day job is stopping me taking on more work, I’ll probably go part time, so there’s still some reliable regular income coming in.

  17. As always, thanks for this post Kat! I’ve been struggling with the idea of being a full time blogger and quitting my day job, but what you’ve advised just now is a prized-gem! Clear and authentic, your advise is spot on. Just what I needed to know to clear my head. So, thank you!!!

  18. Thanks so much for writing this post – this is very much the situation I’m in at the moment, and I can see from the other comments that I’m not alone! It does sometimes feel as though the day job is taking time away that could be spent on the business, but it’s also helped me to become better at what I do and given me more choices.

  19. Totally agree, but need to reread this article on my bad days, it’s very inspiring, certainly make me feel better that I am still working and growing a new business, it will all be worth it!

  20. Thank you for writing this Kat, I spent this year building on the expectation that I’d be going full time next summer. I then realised that most wedding photographers keep their day job, and there’s nothing wrong with staying part time until I’m absolutely ready!

  21. antonia clark

    This my first ever comment on a blog! I have recently given up my voluntary charity work/project in Tanzania, of which has been my main focus and challenge for the last 6 years of my life, so I can now embark and concentrate fully on my ‘alternative wedding photography’business. I have decided after years of advice that charity begins at home that im now going accept this and fully fledge myself to my own career (of which I put to the back burner) In order to do this, I have recently started a job as a breakfast waitress in a busy city centre hotel working from 7am to 12pm. This will allow me to have the security of knowing that all of my outgoings are covered and I have every day from 12pm for mwa! Combined with my New Year resolutions, I’m looking forward to making progress from changing my life around. Thanks Kat for all the advice you give, I’m currently getting my head around blogging and social media stuff after being buried in village life in Tanzania for so long. All the best for 2014!

  22. Hi Kat,
    Thank you for your post on this topic … very relevant to where we are at. We were all geared up to take the full time plunge recently but pulled back a little and decided to hang on to our day jobs a bit longer. Started to question if we lacked courage but have since realised we made the smartest decision – both in terms of business growth and financially. Have a great 2014.

  23. Hi Kat,

    As a small business owner I find your biz posts to be a rich mix of self help and guidance so thank you very much!

    Could I enquire as to how long it took you too quit your day job and what finally tipped you over into full time blogger? My apologies if you have written about this before, Im an avid reader but I simply cant remember.

    Thank you

  24. Post author

    Sophie Holloway – I was blogging consistently for about 2 1/2 – 3 years before I went part time at my day job, and between 3 – 4 before I was able to quit completely. It’s definitely not a quick process but remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint! I quit my job when I was earning more from the blog than I was from the day job! I was probably more cautious than a lot of people might be, but I knew I DEFINITELY did not want to have to go crawling back because I needed the money!

  25. Thanks Kat, patience is certainly a skill I have struggled to master in the last 3 years but its inspiring hearing from other business owners about their unique journeys. We want to do create something that lasts our entire professional careers so we’ve decided to grow that seed carefully. Thanks again for all your great posts. Big love lady!

  26. This was just the post I needed to read as I am about to launch my new site today for Getting 2 I Do. It has been a long time coming and I was just speaking about the idea ” Slow and Steady” to a friend this week over dinner. She kept reminding me it’s okay to take it slow and while I may be eager to have this business take off so I can really “dive in” full time without my day job, right now focusing on the small steps toward growth and expansion is key and necessary. Thanks for this reminder just when I needed it!

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