The common narrative online is jobs are bad, m’kay.
There’s some truth to this but I think a lot of nuance gets missed. It’s fine if you don’t want to work a job forever and get told what to do. The real art is transitioning from one to the other.
Going all in online is stupid
The 4-hour workweek crowd encourages us to quit jobs and figure out the game plan later.
We all have bills to pay, though, so this is a terrible idea. Making something work online isn’t easy. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure it out.
If you just make the jump because a guru told you to, it’s no better than jumping off a bridge and hoping to have a nice swim in the water below.
What worked for me was taking it slowly.
Start after hours to get a headstart
There are a few times you can work on an online goal.
- Before work starts in the early morning
- After work starts and the late evening
Everyone is different so choose the option that works for you. I chose all four because I’m a madman.
The point of working on your online goal after hours is to experiment and figure out what’s going to work for you. This requires the collection of data.
- What ideas resonate?
- What’s your best content?
- What are you most interested in?
- What has a chance of making money?
- What do strangers on the internet want from you?
You can’t answer these questions without practice. Practice after hours to get clear on what you’re able to offer the world.
A risky step worth thinking about
There’s another time you can work on an online goal: during work hours.
It depends on your job as to whether you want to do it. In my last job, I had a dumb boss who exploited me every chance they got. So I had no worries at all cheating on them with a side hustle.
You can buy a privacy screen for your devices if you want to hide what you’re doing. Just say “I’m protecting customer data.”
Most managers will fall for it.
I also liked to use meeting rooms and quiet places inside the office building to hide away and work on my after hours project. Corporate life can get real lazy and most times you’re not working at full capacity.
This is the slack in your schedule to take advantage of. It’ll help you work less on your own time which can be used to relax and think deeply about your broader plans.
The slow transition into online heaven
After a year or so, hopefully, you’ll have some traction.
Ideally you’ll have made your first $20 online and have started to figure things out. Once a little money starts to hit your bank account it’s time to start the exit plan.
I went from 5 days down to 4. I vowed to get the same amount of work done and still be available for emergencies on my day off. I also let my employer know I was flexible to change my one day off a week to a different day if an important meeting couldn’t be missed.
They loved it and said yes.
To get a fast yes I explained how what I was doing online would make me perform better in my current job.
“Customers are gonna love what I’m doing online. Plus, it’s gonna make lead generation so much easier. Imagine all the new customers we’ll win.”
Your job is to sell them dreams to get their permission. If you don’t want to reveal your online goal then just blame it on family.
“I need more time with mom and dad. Soz.”
You gotta do what you gotta do to make this happen. Get the day off any way you can.
Don’t waste the day off
Now you have one day off a week it’s time to get serious.
Most employers will pay you 20% less for the day off. So you’ve got to make up for it with the online empire you’re building.
Double down on what’s working. Wake up early and hammer the work out. Don’t be afraid to charge for what you do or ask people for money. You either get paid or end up back at 5 days a week.
That should be all the motivation you need.
Dare to do this
From 4 days a week of work, see if you can dial it back to 3.
If not, apply for part-time jobs that will allow it and change jobs. The goal is a job that will support your online empire, not the other way around.
By now you know this is probably going to work. You’re just de-risking the build phase a little bit longer until it’s time to go full-time.
Making the jump
The day you decide it’s time to go full-time online will be scary.
What helped me is this: “You can always get another job.”
There’s no shortage. Employers will always want worker bees to come and build their vision while paying you less than you’re worth to profit from your labor.
It’s good to bet on yourself. It’s good to test your discipline. It’s good to see if you can survive as a lone wolf. You’ll have more regrets *not* doing it than you will trying and maybe failing.
When I took the leap and quit my job I had no debt, wife, or kids. Now I have all three. It’d be harder for me to do it now.
If you’re lucky to have few financial commitments, then it’s good to try and make a living online as soon as you can.
It can still be done when you’re older and have a family, you just need to follow the 5,4,3, 0 days at a job formula. And make sure your savings are decent and online income is somewhat proven.
Bringing it all together
More and more people will work solely online for themselves.
One-person businesses are a new trend that won’t stop and they give real freedom. They also require you to take full responsibility for your actions which most jobs do not.
Whether it succeeds or fails you’ll become smarter going from part-time creator to full-time creator. If it doesn’t work the first time then repeat the steps a second and third time until it works. It’s the best way to learn.
Future online empires are built after hours. Start.