4 Vital Lessons I’ve Learned Since Leaving My Job

  • September 24, 2009 by Guest Writer
  • 16 Comments

This is a guest post from Glen Allsopp of PluginID. Glen is just 19 and yet has already earned much success and respect as a blogger and web entrepreneur. He’s a great example of someone who defines his own unique life path and works hard to achieve it.

flash-new-shoes

I quit my job in February 2009 after working for an internet marketing company for almost a year and a half. I had been building websites for around 3 years prior and after a lot of trial and error, was finally earning enough to replace the income from my job.

The last 7 months have been nothing short of amazing. I get to wake up when I want, go to the gym when it’s quiet, and even book 6 month holidays (without praying to have a job when I get back). And if that’s not enough, I spend my time in an industry full of awesome people and one with unlimited income potential.


While it’s great, and I absolutely love what I do, there have been some very important lessons to learn on the way. Without a lot of life experience behind me at the age of 19, the last half-year has been both exciting and scary at the same time. Today I want to share the lessons I have learned so anyone hoping to get in a similar situation or people who are self-employed can hopefully benefit from my experiences.

Bank in the Bank

Without a doubt, the most important lesson I’ve had to learn is to bank in the bank. By this I simply mean that you shouldn’t be focusing on how much money you have or can spend, until it’s actually sitting in your bank account. I make a lot of money via affiliate marketing, so can log into multiple accounts online and see how much I am expected to be paid.

In some cases, I would spend money before I actually had it or feel safe about paying bills because I knew it would arrive. I received a nice shock one month when some of the leads (buyers) I had sent a company were marked as fraud and I ‘lost’ thousands of dollars. Thankfully I was able to recover, but one time I might not have been so lucky.

No matter how you make your money, wait until it is actually sitting in your bank before your spend what you don’t have.

Never Stop Goal Setting

In any economy, never mind the awful financial situation the world is in right now, leaving your job has to be one of the ultimate goals. Of course, that is leaving your job and replacing it with some form of self-generated income. Once you’ve climbed this massive peak though, it can be easy to sit back and relax.

I have enough money to live on my own, have a few holidays a year and party with my friends, so it’s easy to remain content. If you do that though, you might even find the thing that is making you money now takes a turn for the worst. It took me a few months to realize that if I don’t constantly set big (but achievable) goals for myself then I just stagnate.

Now I’m focused on things like:

  • Making ‘X’ amount of money per month
  • Growing the biggest blog in my niche
  • Working towards helping other people quit their jobs as well…

…and so on. You definitely have to incorporate challenges that motivate you when there is no boss to answer to.

Pay Yourself First

If you’ve read any financial books, you may have come across this lesson before. It implies that instead of focusing on your bills, and groceries, and other places that your money goes, make sure that you give yourself a good salary before paying for anything else.

The premise is that if we just focus on getting bills out of the way and settling with whatever is left in the month, we won’t go very far. Instead, if we have the money we need and then have to really hustle for the rest of it, we can make much more.

For example, if I asked you to raise $5,000 this month which could not be borrowed, you may think you couldn’t do it. Yet, if your child / partner / parent was in hospital and needed $5,000 for surgery, then you would very likely find a way.

Take Responsibility

I was a fairly successful freelancer for 2 years before I started building my own profitable websites and products. This means that I was working for myself but instead of having a boss to answer to, I had lots of clients. There were times when I didn’t have much work to do and I would cruise through my tasks, sometimes happily leaving things until the end of the month before starting on them.

Of course, just like banking in my head, this soon caught up with me. Just as you’re responsible for your own mission to leave the rat race, you’re responsible for what you do to stay out of it. If you slack off because you don’t have a boss or a 7am alarm clock, then you might find yourself begging for your old job back.

Working for yourself and working on what you love is absolutely fantastic, but you must take responsibility for what you have to do to remain successful and not get carried away with the benefits this lifestyle can provide.

Over to you: If you’ve left the rat race already, what lessons can you share?

Glen Allsopp writes for PluginID on the subject of Personal Development. He also covers topics like Personality Development in his aim to help people be who they want to be.

photo by Éole


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David Turnbull September 24, 2009 at 1:47 am

I’m all for setting goals, but I don’t think contentedness is always a negative force. Continue striving for greatness for sure, but at times it’s best to just sit back and realise that you’ve “made it”, and all your future success is just a sweet bonus. Be satisfied, and understand that you don’t need more, but more will arrive because you love doing what you do.

I agree with everything else wholeheartedly though. :-)

Glen Allsopp September 24, 2009 at 5:28 am

Hi David,

As I’m sure you know, with any advice, there are going to be exceptions. I personally thrive on having things to work for and know a lot of others who do as well. Of course, not everyone is like that though.

I agree that it’s nice to sit back and relax now and then, and certainly do that. I want to point out that I don’t set goals because I think I haven’t achieved enough or need to ‘fill my cup’ but because I thrive off of it.

Gordie Rogers September 24, 2009 at 2:27 am

Glen, you’re really only 19? That’s cool man. Pay yourself first is the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year. I first heard about it in Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.

@ David Turnbull
I like to live by the philosophy, “Always happy, never satisfied”. But I agree that it’s cool to take stock of what you have achieved from time to time. It’s good to live in the moment.

Glen Allsopp September 24, 2009 at 5:28 am

Hey Gordie,

It is a great book and I mentioned it here in the post!

Thanks for the comment

Tristan Lee September 24, 2009 at 4:43 am

Hey Glen, thanks for these tips. I liked the tip never stop goal setting. I think it’s not the always the ulimate goal we have that motivates us, but the progress of achieving all the small goals in between that leads us to the ultimate goal that motivates us a lot more.

Colin Wright September 24, 2009 at 5:41 am

Great stuff, Glen!

Something that I’ve learned since starting my first freelance-style business back in college is that people will pay you for just about anything if you can show its value to them. I started out buildig Flash websites and designing branding packages for local companies in my college town, but as soon as I realized that I could also be doing illustrations for their newsletters, consultations on their email marketing and photography for their next event, my entire worldview shifted and I stopped thinking of myself as a ‘designer’ and started thinking of myself as an ‘entrepreneur,’ ready and willing to make myself versatile enough to handle any profitable job.

Suneel September 24, 2009 at 5:43 am

“Pay Yourself First”

I missed this all this while and I had been wishing I knew what I had been lacking. Now I understand that there has to be some sort of motivation for the person who is doing all these things in order to make him and his fellows happy.

Surely the happiness projects when you are happy and content yourself. Thanks for the point.

Dan September 24, 2009 at 5:46 am

When I count online earning I only count what makes it into my bank account, I do this mostly because so often you can make sales but not reach a payout threshold. I’d never considered the point you make but it makes my happy to know I’m doing the right thing, even if I didn’t know I was to start with.

Jen September 24, 2009 at 5:48 am

Hi Glen
Good to hear your tips, this is what I am working towards but aware of being responsible and realistic so some good reminders. I’m trying to be as responsible as possible now setting deadlines, getting up early etc etc too so it becomes a habit.
Well done!
Jen

Oscar - freestyle mind September 24, 2009 at 6:46 am

Awesome article Glen! I like it because they are all practical and valuable advices. Thanks for sharing with us. Tweeted and Stumbled!

Nate September 24, 2009 at 7:01 am

Hey Glen!

Really nice post here. I really like the part about never stopping your goal setting. That’s really important. I’ve been thinking, and discussing with others lately, that when you are just content, things can start to go bad. Always striving for something more keeps you interested and always advancing. This really fits in with what you had to say.

Brian September 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Great post, Glen! Hopefully I can add some lessons in the near future – today is my last day as an employed person!

Rasheed Hooda September 28, 2009 at 8:05 am

I love the article, Glenn!

You have done great for yourself. I wish I had the wisdom you have when I was 19.

It is great that you want to help others leave their jobs too. I believe that’s where the financial freedom comes from, when one is working for oneself.

Nate September 28, 2009 at 8:20 am

Wow…19 years old. You should be very proud of yourself. I was nowhere near as focused as you are when I was 19.

Kudos on making time management and goal setting one of your top priorities.

Continuous goal setting is a must if you want to push yourself and move forward. Just having vague goals or ambitions such as “I want to start a blog this year,” or “I want to make more money this year” is not enough.

The key is just as you state above – make goals that are specific and measureable.

Examples:

– I want to be earning $1K per month by June of this year.
– I want to grow my affiliate income by $500 per month every month this year.
– I want to lose 15 pounds by the end of the year

I have my goals written down and I’m constantly reviewing and revising them. It’s been a big productivity booster for me and it looks like it has been for you as well.

Congrats on your success!

billy m. September 30, 2009 at 9:49 am

question:one of your goals was to get everybody to leave their jobs. if you get everybody to leave the “rat race” and become self-employed internet entrepeneurs working for themselves, wouldn’t that just create another rat race? if everybody left their jobs and started to do what you did, wouldn’t that create more competition and thus another rat race where everybody was trying to achieve the same goals? their is always going to be a rat race, its just a personal preference of how you want to go about it. yes, i know realistically not “everyone” will take your advice and take the plunge into self-employment, but the world wouldn’t work if everybody pursued a life of getting 6-month vacations, wake up when they want, and worked when they want. the gym that you go to wouldn’t be open when you wanted! the truth is the world needs entrepeneurs like you who bring amazing creativity, passion, drive, to the world. yet the world also needs the steadfast, reliable, 9-5 person who delivers my mail, the principal and teachers who teach our children year around, the car repair mechanic who has to keep his shop open 7 days a week to pay bills. my point, every job is important and has worth. what, where, when you work isn’t important. its how you work and what are you working for, that is the real questions that everybody has to answer.

David Turnbull September 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Ah, that’s what I love to hear. Thanks for the clarification. :)

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