I get to talk to so many people every day about money to enable them to live out their goals and dreams. We have dreams of paying off our homes, sending our children to great schools, or holidaying in exquisite destinations.

But do you want to know what the most sought-after life dream is? So many of us want the ability to leave our day jobs when we want. This deep desire can be pinned to inflexibility, bureaucracy, terrible bosses, being overqualified but underpaid, unrealistic expectations, or just a lack of personal purpose.

So, what would your PERFECT day look like if you worked for yourself?

Show notes

  • Money is an enabler for our hopes and dreams.
  • We want a direct correlation of how hard we work and how much money we earn. But it takes time to start a business.
  • Lisa’s six steps to leave your day job:
    1. Have a clear VISION of what your life will look like being your own boss
    2. Co-create your vision with your partner for sustainable support
    3. Reduce your expenses to decrease the income you will need to replace
    4. Find your mentors – surround yourself with people ahead of you!
    5. PAY for what you need – it commits you to the cause
    6. Work in parallel – it is always about the ‘AND’
  • Your vision needs to be so clear that your reality and hopes are aligned.
  • Be mindful of money waste – the more money we earn, the more we should save!
  • Your thinking is the average thinking of the five people that you spend the most time engaging.
  • Take advantage of the modern mentor that are circumstance-specific.
  • Accountability partners encourage your success.
  • Have at least one year’s worth of money saved before you take the leap of leaving your job.
  • What happens if you DON’T make the change? Be brave to be free!

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Lisa Linfield: 00:09 Hello everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth.
In my job, I get to talk every day to people about their hopes and dreams. You see, money, as I always say, is just an enabler of those hopes and dreams. So I guess you could say that my real job is to solve for how we make my client’s hopes and dreams become a reality.
For some of them, it’s around retiring or stopping work when they choose to stop. For others, it’s around affording to send their kids to a good university. And for some, it’s just around how can they be able to take their family to explore the world more often.
But the most common dream I stumble across is wanting to leave their 9:00 to 5:00 and start their own business. There are so many reasons that people want to do this. For some, it’s around more flexibility to spend time with their children. For others, it’s that they have a passion that they want to pursue and that they’re not able to do it in their current job. For some, it’s that they don’t like the constraints of bosses and corporate politics and working in those big fat structures. And for others they want more of a direct correlation between how hard they work and what they earn.
For most people, I guess it’s a mixture of all of that stuff. So I thought that what I would do is put together six steps as to how you leave your day job.
The first thing is that you need to have a clear vision as to what life will be like when your new business is up and running. What will your day look like? What will your week look like? What will your year look like? Where do you work from? Who are you meeting? What are you talking about everyday? Who are your clients? How much money are you making? And most important, what does it feel like? Are you more relaxed, more happy, more excited, more loving towards your partner because you’re not so grumpy?
You see, the subconscious brain cannot tell the difference between reality and vision. It’s why our dreams feel so real. And as we learn from Dr. Abby Metcalf, the subconscious brain processes at 11 million bits per second and the conscious brain only at 50 bits a second.
So to make your vision a reality, you need to have it so clearly that your subconscious brain doesn’t actually get better that it’s not real yet. And that means that you need to include all of the sensors to write it down and every single week rewrite that vision. Then what happens is that the difference between reality and this thing that you’re visioning becomes smaller and smaller and smaller in your brain, and you start to feel and act and behave towards that vision. And what’s amazing is that your reticular activating system or the part of your brain that seeks out opportunities that we’ve discussed so much, will start finding the opportunities to make that vision a reality.
Remember that your subconscious works on concise, clear descriptions and images. It will find that vision if it’s so clear for you. If you still haven’t worked at art and it’s still jumbled, mumbled, it’s not going to find it. But if you are carrying your vision, it’ll happen. And I’m not saying that you have to know exactly what it is you’re going to need to do, but I want you to understand how you’re going to feel and how that life is going to be. And that for me is the most crucial part of this whole thing. Why? Because transitioning is difficult and it gets messy and hard in the middle. So you need to know and feel that it’s worth the effort you’re about to put in.
The other thing around a clear vision that I strongly recommend is that you co-create it with your partner. If you’re going to get to a stage where you’re living in the difficult zone between the 9:00 to 5:00 and between your business becoming a reality, what happens is that you need the support of your partner. And so you guys need to co-create this vision. For John and I, we always say that right now I’m working for our future and he’s working for art today. And because both of us have a vision so strong of what our business will enable, we are able to make the sacrifices that we need. We’re able to work together towards it and he gets so excited at every little step of the way that I have, which is a success in our journey. Yes, it’s my business and my journey, but it’s our journey because we’re both having to work towards that vision.
The second thing is that you and your partner need to understand clearly the impact of not making the change. You do this by answering the question. If I don’t do this in five years time, I will and in 10 years time I will.
For me, the answer came clearly when I got to the end of my daughter’s first netball session in third grade and I had seen her play just one netball match. I realized they end that if I didn’t make a change before my twins got to third grade, which is next year, I would be watching each of them once every three years. It was a huge impact to me just looking at that and it wasn’t that I hadn’t flexibility. I had worked for the greatest boss. I could gone as much as possible, but the reality was I ran a team and if you run a team, you can’t go once a week missing half a day to go and watch your child play netball.
I wanted more than to see my twins and my eldest daughter pay their netball matches, hockey matches, tennis matches, whatever it is only once a year. And if it was only once that I could take off, then I’d only see them once every three years. I didn’t want to miss those precious moments with my little people.
The third thing is that you need to start reducing your expenses so that the income you need to replace is less. What happens to all of us is that the more money we earn, the more we spend. I always say to people you were quite fine at university. Yes, things were tight, but we found a way to live off that small amount of money. What happens every year from university is that your income grows and so do your expenses and you need to find a way to start reducing your expenses. Because if you’re going to leave to start your own job, your own business, your own consulting, or even to stop working for early retirement, you need to know that you can live of less income, especially as it all starts to get up and running.
We started cutting our expenses two years before I left corporate. My personal experience is that it’s a bit like peeling an onion. The first layer of expenses was really obvious and quite easy to do and it didn’t really make much of a difference to our life, but it wasn’t enough. And after a few months, John and I sat down and went through those experiences again and then started to make some tough decisions as to what we should be doing because each layer of that onion you peel a lot harder than you need. So it really is something that you need some time to get to a lower level of expenses.
And each time you cut an expense, you need to increase your automation of payments into your savings or investment accounts. Why? Because I promise you if you cancel whatever it is, your satellite television connection or cable TV connection, you’re going to find something else to spend that money on. So you need to start automating it into your savings pot to start building up the reserves that you need for that transition period.
What I tend to find is that the minute anyone cuts one set of expenses, they find a way to spend it somewhere else. So you need to, what I call, take money off the table and never allow it to get back into your account and start adjusting your life to the new level of expenses. One of the fascinating things that happened when I did this was around conversations with my kids. With being a double income earning family and we had adjusted our loving into that level of income, and so our children had never really grown up with too much restraint. We’ve never been very consumerist. None of us are big spenders. So it wasn’t that we were living this lavish lifestyle, but what did start to happen is conversations which went Jace, we can’t afford that. Now we’re going to have to wait and save up for your birthday. Or we can’t afford to do that every year. We’re going to have to do it every two years.
And so it has been a fantastic side effect of this whole transition for us is that we are raising children that are much more conscious about what things cost and much more mindful about wasteful expenses. And once you’ve started reducing your expenses, you start to be much more aware of your money and start to question whether you really need that because the question becomes is that worth the freedom of my vision? For me, there wasn’t much that was actually ever with the freedom of that vision.
So tip number four is to start finding the mentors that you need to start your new business. So many people will tell you the people you surround yourself with every single day will be the level of thinking that you have. There’s that old saying, which says, your thinking is the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So if all day you’re surrounded by lovely people in the corporate but who have either no intention of leaving because they love their jobs, or alternatively, they’re the people who spend their whole day bitching about them but still will never leave, you’re not going to be fed the ideas and inspiration, the motivation and encouragement to do what you need to change your life.
And what amazes me so much about so many of the interviews that I’ve done over the past couple of years is that when I ask people about who they mentors or who their inspiration was and how does it come to you in terms of the work that you do, so many of them do not talk about the old traditional mentors that we used to have. Someone in business or corporate, parents, parents friends. They talk about the modern day version of mentorship, which is there are people who have online Facebook groups, who have written books, who have ways of accessing them.
Because in the old days you would read a person’s book and that would be all. So you’d be inspired for a week or two and then it would disappear. Nowadays you read their book, you join the Facebook group, you follow them on Twitter, and you continue that mentorship and thinking. They continue to encourage you in your thinking. When I started, I found mentorship groups in every single thing that I wanted to learn, and some have remained a “mentor” for a season and some have remained a mentor for a long period of time.
So it leads me into the fifth tip I have for you, which is that you need to pay for the courses and accountability coaches you need. None of us learn what it takes to launch a new business. And one of the things that I’ve noticed is that when I pay money that hurts, I commit to doing the work. When something is free or easy to swallow in my existing budgets, I don’t do the work. And I found that with the courses that I offer and the things that I do. But when I’ve invested significantly to do something and I will do the work, I will keep up with the course and watch the replays if I miss something.
What it also does is act as an accountability partner, someone who will hold me accountable to do the things that I need with respect to either launching my business or growing my business. I’ve mentioned that right now I’m starting the journey of writing my book. I know with that, all that it’s going to take, in terms of my life right now. I am absolutely very busy. I both run my day job of my wealth management business and I run Working Women’s Wealth. I’m a mom of three children and I’m exhausted so I will not be able to write this book if I rely only on my willpower. Not because I’m weak and make excuses, but genuinely because there’s a lot going on.
What an accountability partner means is that your brain digs deeper than it can by itself. What I actually talk about is leveraging your fear of failure if you’re having a group accountability. Or if it’s one on one, there’s almost a need to please and you don’t want to disappoint the person by not having done your homework for the week. So for me, I know that if there’s anything I want to do, I need to invest significantly in it.
When I started out on this journey of financial planning, I went to university to get the degree I needed. After that I found mentors to help me set up my business. I took Pat Flynn’s course on how to do podcasting when I wanted to start podcasting, and I also did a course on online marketing and one that taught me how to build online courses. When I wanted to start building my brand, I did a PR course on that.
In each of those courses I got access to online Facebook groups that were closed, so not open to everyone out there and only open to those who had paid for the courses. What that generally tends to do is because courses are expensive, I used to get access to people who were as committed to changing their lives as I was. And so I found like minded people who were also slaying dragons who helped me to slay my dragons. Be that little technical things like I didn’t know how to get the microphone to work or be it just inspiring me to keep going when I wanted to crawl under a table and give up. They are the people who encouraged me. They are the people who kept me going.
And as they launched, whatever it is we were doing, so as they launched their podcast, firstly, I knew it was possible because I’d seen the questions that they were asking and if they could do it, then I definitely could do it too. But also because it helped me to feel that I should hold myself accountable to doing that which we all set out to do. And it is truly been a life changing learning that if you want to get something done, you’ve got to invest in getting it done.
My last tip is work in parallel and this is the hardest one. All of that is easy to do compared to that parallel thing of doing your day job and starting your new adventure because life does not go away. It doesn’t disappear. You still have to do everything that you already did before. I don’t know about you, but I find normal life exhausting.
But I can’t begin to tell you how helpful it is. Firstly, because it takes time to build a business. It takes time to set up your Facebook pages and your LinkedIn and get your company registered and open a bank account and do all of that stuff. It takes time. And if you stop your earning and suddenly you do that, that’s time that you’re not making any money, but you’re also not earning any money. And that puts you under an enormous amount of stress.
And that’s the second point. You need to build up cash, both to invest in your business and to cover your salary when you stop working. I strongly advise that you have at least a year’s worth of cash saved up by the time you go full time into it so that any money you start to make, you either can save or reinvest back into growing your business. That year of runway reduces the stress and pressure. And what ends up happening is that because you’re already starting to make money because you’ve been paralleling your business for a while, that year actually ends up lasting longer.
But when businesses or banks or guru say that it takes three years for your business to kind of get out of the danger zone, that has been my experience. My wealth management business broke even a lot earlier. It started to be cashflow positive around a year. And for me that’s fantastic. It was a lot earlier than the three years. But my side hustle of Working Women’s Wealth still hasn’t become cashflow positive and will probably take that full three years before it happens. So if you are under additional financial stress, you’re not going to achieve that sense of freedom that you want so much.
It also helped me transition because I dropped from full time work to half day work or part time work. So what it meant is that I actually had to resign from the role that I was doing and take on project based work within my company. But what it enabled me to do is to become, I guess, a consultant in nature in that I went from transitioning from running teams and people and belonging to having a management team to being a half day, ultra focused part time worker. And what I would do is work in my business in the morning and work half day in the afternoon or the other way around, whichever the work needed me to do. But it also helped me to transition psychologically.
I always loved being part of the action part of a team. I always loved my work in corporate. It wasn’t that I hated my work in corporate. I wasn’t one of those that was going away from corporate. What I wanted was to go to a life of more flexibility and more meaning and to make more of a difference in the world. So by the time I left I was really comfortable in working by myself, in self delivering. I kind of left that whole team environment slowly and gently, so it wasn’t really a kind of rip in my system.
Next month I feature Jacqueline Brown. She started her own fashion business in 2011 and is only now moving full time into it. There is a huge thing about timing and timing in terms of both building the demand for your services and your platform. And part of their platform is the social media that’s going to drive the people into your sales funnels.
also am in a month’s time featuring Sarah Price. She’s a wonderful woman who is currently in the middle of that transition. One of the things she talks about is how hard it is to split her focus between her current day job and this passion. Why? Because our nature is always to go after the thing that is exciting and energizing and our future freedom and our future projects and working in the passion of what we love doing means that it makes that day job even more harder to rock up and give up your best.
But that’s where reconnecting all the time back to your vision is so important because I remember six months into my half day work really wanting to move on. I guess my brain and my heart had moved into my new business and I felt it really difficult to stay in that half day job. But because I had accountability partners and because John was also an accountability partner, they helped me to stay the course and to really keep going for that extra six months, which in the end has made so much difference in terms of my cashflow. I would’ve been a lot more stressed than I am not and I don’t think I would have been able to invest as much in Working Women’s Wealth if I didn’t have the savings that I had saved up.
So it is worth it in the end and it is just part of that journey. I love Robin Sharma’s quote, which says, Change is always difficult at first, messy in the middle, but beautiful in the end.” I absolutely can relate to that. It was difficult starting up my business. It was very messy while I was working both in my day job and starting my business. But right now, two years down the track, it’s so amazing to have a business that I’m passionate about, that gives me energy and that keeps my business moving forward. But that I know I’m building and growing something for myself and my future.
So work backwards from your vision and know that your own business or retirement, stopping work, requires you to plan in order to be able to leave that 9:00 to 5:00. It doesn’t just happen. If you do nothing now you will have nothing in 10 years time. But if you start each day working half an hour on it, in 10 years time, you’ll have that new business, that flexibility and energy and money that you so deserve.
I remember my key moment that I’ve shared with you before was both when I was first resigning from my full time job. But secondly, a year later when I stopped working in my half day job. I went into the HR person to deal with those things you do do. And she had these cards on her table and she called them her HR tarot cards. But in actual fact what they were was random coaching questions. You shuffled it like a pack of cards and you drew out one.
And the one that I drew up both times completely randomly was the one that said what would you think about this decision in 10 years time? And I knew the answer to both of those. It was crystal clear. I’m so glad I took the plunge.
So if you’re wanting to start a business and don’t know where to start, only twice a year do I open up my course The 16 Week Side Hustle. It takes you from having absolutely nothing to launching in 16 weeks and covers every era you’ll possibly need. And the reason why it takes 16 weeks is because we assume that you’re going to be doing something in your full time day job. You just have to give three hours a week and we can help you to set up that business.
I’ll be opening the course in September. So if you’d like to learn more about it, go to workingwomenswealth.com to register your interest and we’ll send you all the details when the course launches next month. Take care and have a great week.