Do you want to escape 9 to 5, but you don’t know how to make it happen?

In early 2013 I decided that I’m not going to waste my life as a walking dead banker. I’ve had enough.

I knew from day one that I don’t fit the banking environment. But it took me some time until I was ready to cut the crap.

I needed to figure out first how to get a business running while working in my 9 to 5 job.

Here’s what I’ve learnt!

Start Out Today

When I started my first “business” in 2012, I did everything wrong. I founded a corporation with a co-founder before we had a single paying customer. I programmed a fancy website before we had validated our idea. And when my partner chickened out, I didn’t have the balls to do it alone.

It was painful, but I learnt an invaluable lesson for my second business: You don’t need to found a corporation. You don’t need a fancy website. And for sure you don’t need a logo or business cards.

Start out and add value to someone’s life. That’s it. Work around all the unnecessary crap.

  • You want to be an artist? Create remarkable art and offer it on eBay.
  • You want to be a published author? Write a kick-ass book and self-publish it on Amazon.
  • You want to be a consultant? Reach out to people and offer free consulting.
  • You want to be a lifestyle entrepreneur? Start a legit blog and create a digital product.

You don’t need any fancy stuff. You can start creating value today. You might be a bloody nobody in your industry. But nobody can stop you from producing value and finding customer. Be ballsy and get your name out there!

Failure is Part of the Game

Are you scared that you might produce failures? You don’t need to be scared! Failures are part of the game.

I fail every other day with things that are new for me. Every entrepreneur I know fails at least once in a while with new tasks.

It’s aggressive trial and error. Or better: aggressive trial and optimization.

You make failures. You learn from it. You do it better the next time.

Accept that you will produce failure after failure as a beginner. It’s better to produce these failures while 9-5 is covering your ass.

Nothing bad can happen to you. You don’t believe me? Think about the worst case. What is the worst that can happen if you stay away from unnecessary crap and focus on adding value?

Let me help you: nobody wants your shit and you need to step up your game until it’s good enough.

Walk the Walk Before You Talk

While developing my exit plan, I made a huge mistake. I talked with everybody about my desire to leave banking. As a reward I received discouragement and doubts.

Talking about your plans is a dangerous play. Neither your colleagues, nor your friends will understand your plans.

Keep the door closed for negative and discouraging feedback. Walk the walk before you talk.

Start creating value today. Find your first customer. Earn some money. And then you can talk about your achievements.

If you can’t execute your plan without external advice, talk with an expert. An expert is a person who has already walked the walk; a person who is busy living the life of your dreams.

Prevent Breaking Along The Line

Leaving 9-5 behind will kick you in the face at least once in a while. It will be tough and stressful. It’s your duty to protect yourself from going bananas.

A daily morning routine will keep you healthy and vital. It won’t take you longer than 60 minutes. The benefits will be overpaying.

Take A Cold Shower: Taking cold showers will wake you up and blow your brain fog away. No matter how long you train cold showers, it will never become a pleasure. Doing it anyway will boost your discipline and willpower. It´s the perfect start into a new day.

Meditate for 20 minutes: Mediation is the single best tool to control your thoughts and emotions. It will train your brain to be present in the moment. It will calm your mind. And it will make you unreactive to whatever happens during the day.

Vegetable Shake: Shit in, shit out. Your diet has a major impact on your mental and physical well-being. A vegetable smoothie is an easy way to cover essential nutrients. Use different dark green vegetables, and some fruits for a better taste. I use Brussels sprouts, broccoli and some mango.

Read for 20 minutes: Read books from people who have already walked the walk in your industry. You will learn invaluable knowledge. You will gain the right mindset. And you’ll realize that your plans are not out of this world.

Stretching / Body weight exercises: Do some stretching and body weight exercises to end your routine. It will set a great rhythm for the day. And it will energize your body.

While working 9-5, I was performing this routine first thing in the morning before I went to work. It was a brilliant start to a new day. Today my daily routine includes about 15 activities.

Don’t Waste Valuable Time

Be aware: The following advice will not qualify you as employee of the year. But if you’re planning to quit anyway…

Use every free minute during your workday to research your industry. Reach out to people in your industry (use the web portal of your email provider, not your company account). Write and edit documents in Google docs. Be creative and do what it takes.

You don’t need to feel bad about it. As long as you still produce results, nobody gets hurt. All of your colleagues are wasting time surfing and reading the news. You’re just using your free time differently.

If you have the opportunity to work from your home office: go for it. Finish your daily tasks asap. Produce decent results to fly under the radar. Work the rest of the day on your own plans.

The Right Time to Quit

I quit before I had earned a single dime from my second business. I never cared about failing or taking risks. But that’s me.

You have three options:

1. Quit tomorrow

You’ll figure shit out. Your mind will produce. You will do what it takes to survive.

2. Quit after you’ve earned your first $

Start producing value, find your first customer, sell something, quit and scale. If you can find one customer, you can find ten. If you can find ten customers…

3. Quit after you can live from it

Produce value, find your first customer, sell something, scale it to a decent income and quit. It’s the slow but safe path.

It’s up to you!

You are the only one who knows how much pressure and risk you can take.

Summary

Working 9-5 is a tremendous opportunity for you. Use 9-5 to make your exit happen. Start creating value today, get your name out there, find your first customer, make failures and learn from it. The day when you’re ready to quit will come soon.