What’s holding you back from transitioning into a full-time online role? After talking to many people who want to work from home, I’ve learned that financial security is a huge stumbling block. Maybe that’s where you’re getting stuck, too?
There’s something comforting about knowing your paycheck is automatically getting deposited into your account every other Friday. And the idea of walking away from that for something uncertain is frightening. Especially if you don’t have a secondary income to fall back on, or a large emergency fund ready to help you bridge the gap.
When you aren’t sure how you’re going to pay the bills without a reliable income, ditching your 9-5 for an online gig doesn’t seem wise. But, you’re so sick of your job that you don’t know how much longer you can take it. The hours, the commute, your co-workers…everything is just piling up and you are done.
So, how do you find more financial stability in an unstable online world? Here are five tips to help you take the leap of faith and transition into a full-time online role.
1. Map Out a Plan
There’s no one “right” way to transition to full-time online work. Everyone arrives at this junction coming from different places, and with different needs.
Before you do anything, you need to sit down and think this through. What does your transition look like? While I can’t answer that question for you, I can guide you. Here are some common paths that people take:
- Start a side hustle. Many people continue their full-time job, and then squeeze a new business into the fringes of their day. They get up early. Or stay up late. They work on their business during their lunch hour. Then when they’re ready, they take the side hustle full-time.
- Go part-time. Other people want to pour more time into their business right away. But they don’t want to cut their income completely. So, they go part-time. If that’s not an option at your current job, is there another position you could take?
- Take an online job. Even if it doesn’t pay what you want, is there a stop-gap job you could take to help pay the bills while you look for something better? Just because you take an online job doesn’t mean you are stuck in that role forever. So look around and scour the job boards (like FlexJobs) to see if there’s something that can help you transition.
- Research, then go. There are also people who spend time analyzing the market and prepping their online work. They are confident that there is a market for their business and that they will succeed. And then they take the plunge and just move full speed ahead into their new venture. Often, I hear that the fear of failure and the need for money really provides motivation for those who took this path.
You can always try different options as you chart your course. The path is rarely a straight line. You know what your family needs and what your limitations are, so take the time to think through different options and envision how it could work.
Then, decide what you will do. Write down your path and start taking action.
2. Cut Your Expenses
When you don’t have a stable income coming in, you must cut your expenses. You may need to get creative and temporarily cut things that you’d prefer to keep. Short-term sacrifices can lead to long-term gains as your business grows.
Here are seven quick ideas of how to cut your expenses:
- Make a meal plan. Without one, you’ll waste food (and energy as you try to figure out what to cook). This will also help you prepare a shopping list, which can cut your grocery bill. I have been using eMeals for the past two years to help me meal plan and grocery shop.
- Stop eating out. Eating at home is cheaper. And healthier…so pack your lunch and embrace the kitchen for breakfast and dinner. Enlist your family to help and make it fun so it doesn’t feel like a punishment.
- Cut the cable. You can pour the time you used to spend binge-watching stuff into your business.
- Buy used. If you know where to look, you can often find what you’re looking for without paying full retail. If possible, buy used.
- Evaluate your expenses. How often are you shopping at Costco? Are you going to the gym enough to justify your monthly dues? Take the time to look at every expense–especially memberships–and cut the ones you no longer use.
- From simple car repairs to home maintenance, you don’t always have to pay someone to do things for you. As you try your hand at things, you’ll learn new skills and get better at tracking down useful YouTube videos that can help.
- Switch providers. You don’t have to be loyal to your car insurance company just because you’ve been with them since you were on your parent’s insurance as a teen. If another company can offer you better rates for the same coverage, it typically makes financial sense to switch. Shop around for all of your insurance and utility providers when possible.
There are loads more ways to save money, but hopefully, this list will give you some inspiration. The less you spend, the less you have to earn and the less pressure there is when you make the jump.
3. Make a Budget
Now that you’ve cut your expenses as low as you can, it’s time to get a clear picture of your financial reality. How much money do you need to live on each month? Calculate how much you need to:
- Pay your bills (rent, car payments, student loans, credit card payments, insurance, cell phone, electricity, etc.)
- Buy food and medicine for your family
- Cover your transportation expenses
- Pay for any business expenses you’ll have
- Buy the essentials for your family (clothing, school supplies, diapers, etc. – remember essentials are needs, not wants)
What’s your bottom line? That is how much money you need to generate each month to make ends meet. Of course, at this rock bottom level, you won’t be investing or saving for a rainy day.
So, you don’t want to stay here long. But, knowing what number you NEED to survive can be encouraging. It’s often less than you thought.
4. Have a Backup Plan
What happens when everything goes wrong one month and you realize you won’t make enough money? You need a backup plan. These are short-term, temporary measures you can take to help you fill the gap until you get your income back up.
You need several other ideas on how to generate extra cash. This way you can boost your income any given month. Your backup plan could include:
- Walking dogs
- Writing a couple of blog posts
- Substituting in a classroom (if you meet the requirements for your district – many don’t require a teaching certificate due to shortages.)
- Cutting and selling firewood
- Driving for Uber
- Teaching English online
- Using money-making apps
- Selling things
- Renting out space on Airbnb
Think about what you enjoy doing and how you can use those skills to get an influx of cash. Write your back-up plan down now, so if you need money you won’t have to waste any time trying to think about what to do.
Knowing that you have options can help alleviate some of the fear surrounding leaving your full-time job for an online role.
5. Speak Some Truth
If you’re struggling with making the leap into full-time online work, you may need a little help with your mindset. Speaking truth can help.
Here are four important truths you must know:
- Stable jobs aren’t always stable. Many people unexpectedly get laid off, even after decades of faithful work.
- You can always get another job. Is it really not working for you? At any point, you can decide to throw the towel in on your online business and get another job. It doesn’t have to be forever.
- There’s more to life than money. What is your time worth? What is your mental health worth? A job that is sucking the life out of you is not worth any amount of money. You do not have to stay there forever – you are not stuck. So, go find freedom in the online world and remind yourself that cutting your expenses is worth what you get in exchange.
- You can do this. You may need a little help from others along the way, but you can earn an income from home.
I hope these five tips helped you to see a path leading to working from home. You really can do this, and I’ll be right here cheering you on as you do.