Career Change at 30

Career Change at 30 is like giving up your whole life. Giving up a career for another is like giving up a warranty to lifestyle and survival. I was in a lucrative advertising career that was paying me enough to pay for two cars, send my family to vacations and still have some left for some useless spending.

Then, one day, I had gone absolutely insane and quit. I will not detail the reasons as to why I reached that decision. The only thing that matters is that I did. Whether or not I was right remains to be seen.

No, this article is not some inspirational pep talk on how you should believe in yourself enough to resign because the truth is, starting a business is exactly that – a business. It is a risk and it will require a lot of sacrifices.  

I knew that well enough so i did a couple of things soften the blow (soften, not avoid) and ease in better into self-employment.  

Tip #1: Know Why You are Quitting

Be clear on why you are quitting. You will need to revisit it somewhere down the road. I quit because of several reasons:

  • I wanted to pursue my passion which is writing
  • I wanted to be able to do what I want when I want
  • I hated politics and hated the bureaucracy and ass kissin’
  • I wanted to create my own product and brand

These things are important because things aren’t going to go smoothly all the time. When you become frustrated, you need to revisit why you quit your 8-5 in the first place.

Tip #2: Know What You are About to Lose

You day job gives you the lifestyle you have had. It will not be easy to give up the things you have gotten used to. Know exactly what your salary is giving you. Know what it buys you and be ready to give it all up. Quantify everything. If you are earning $5,000 a month, quantify how you spend that $5,000.

Tip #3: I Started With What I Know

When you are starting a business, you need to know your business. In my case, I have been working for the same industry for the 15 years. I know this like the back of my hand. So I stuck with the same industry which happens to be marketing and advertising. If you happen to be in the restaurant business, then stick with it. If you’re into softwares, do that. What is important is that you know what you are doing.  

I know that it seems in contrast with the reason I quit. I quit because I wanted to write but there is also number 2. I need to pay the bills which means I still need to earn money while I pursue my dream. That’s why I decided to get into to digital marketing. It allowed me to manage my own time and do the things I want to do.  

Tip #4: The Unique Selling Proposition

Also, as a marketer and advertiser, there is always one fundamental question that we always ask any client that we deal with: what sets you apart from the rest? What will I do differently that is so great I would be able to compete with other companies that have been around long enough?  

Tip #5: Then I Tested

The biggest mistakes others make is to drop everything the minute they think they have a great idea. I admire the courage and the guts, really but 15 years in marketing, forgive me for being sceptical. You need to test your idea will work.  

But I was still working and there was no way I was going to let my 8-5 suffer. So, I started cutting down other things like night outs and vacations.  I spent those free time to test the business I was going to get into. Eventually, I was able to approximate how much time I need to devote to that new business to enable me to pay the bills and still pursue my dream.

Tip #6: Honesty and Opening Up

I just had to be honest with myself whenever an idea wasn’t working.  It wasn’t always easy which meant I needed to get an outsider’s perspective. It’s not easy to ask people to be brutally honest and it is even harder to accept the ugly things they are saying especially if they are true but I had no choice. I had to be as close to the truth as possible to lessen my chances of failure.

I asked friends to critique my business model and test them. I took the points which I thought was helpful and moved on from there.

Tip #7: The Computation

I computed my monthly expense. That will be my minimum target for my business but I also knew that unless I discover the fountain of youth, it will take me some time to hit that target. That left me with one option, I had to save enough to last me at least one year before I could resign.  

Tip #8: Finally, Do It

Stop thinking about it, stop planning for it. You’re past that. You’ve made your preparations. It’s time for you to gather all your strength and hand over that resignation. Make sure you don’t burn any bridges. You’ll never know when you will need them. End your employment but don’t end your relationships.

So here I am, alone in my apartment at 3pm on a Wednesday. Six months in my historic career change at 30 and I am still not sure if I made the right decision. However, there are several  things I like about what I am doing. Finally, after 30 years, I don’t take orders from anyone and I am writing what I want to write. I am fully accountable for me. I walk alone, I stumble alone, I get up alone. If I fail, I will all be my fault and my fault alone but IF and WHEN I succeed in my career change at 30, it will be my success and mine alone.