As I mentioned in my recent post about taking time off, I’ll be leaving my job in May 2012. It does seem kind of weird to be talking about this since I haven’t really started yet (that’s later this month), but I’ve always planned to peace out of New Haven once my girlfriend finishes her grad program at Yale.
I’ve got some grand plans in the works (with more announcements to come soon), but I plan to leave my job and never look back to the working world. I’ve decided I’m going to give it a go on my own as a freelancer. But that’s not something that I could just do on a whim. I consider myself somewhat fearless when it comes following my dreams and defying conventions, but I am a bit of a planner too. Here’s what I’m working on so I can comfortably make the transition:
1. Paying off all my debt. Luckily for me, there’s really not much to pay off. Thanks to an education award of $5,200 once I finish up AmeriCorps, I’ll have only about $3,000 left of college loans to pay. I’m confident I can get that get rid of that debt by the end of 2011. I’m free from any kind of consumer debt, which feels great already! Having no debt allows me the flexibility to take some chances and not have to worry about making payments when income may be limited.
2. Saving aggressively. Okay, so I haven’t actually started doing this yet, but I’ll get right to it starting with the very first paycheck. My ultimate goal: Save $10,000 by May 31, 2012 and save it strictly to sustain myself after I leave my job. I’m not sure yet if my new salary alone will allow this, but I’m also ramping up the freelance work on the side to supplement. I want to save this much so I can devote all my time to my SEO freelance work without pressure to earn a lot of money up front while I transition out of my job. I think achieving this savings goal is definitely doable if I maintain my current lifestyle (maybe with just a minor upgrade). I already got rid of my car, which will be a huge source of savings for me.
3. Learning new skills and developing income outside of a job. I just recently signed on for Location Rebel, and it’s exceeded all my expectations. I’ve tested many (paid) courses before this, but this is, by far, the best and most applicable to me. Plus, out of all the bloggers out there, I relate most to Sean Ogle and definitely hope to live a life as awesome as his someday soon.
The key with Location Rebel: I’m already learning new skills that can earn me side income. While I’ve chosen not to go after just money right now, I know that there’s plenty of work I could take on if I needed to simply find a temporary source of income.
4. Expanding my network. I’m now trying to attend as many conferences as I can afford to. I just came back from WordCamp Boston a few weeks ago, which was a great time. I’m signed up to head to the Financial Bloggers Conference in Chicago in October, and I’m already stoked that basically EVERYONE in the personal finance realm is going to be there (seriously, name a big name and s/he is going). I’m already eying the World Domination Summit and SXSW 2012, so I’ll be heading out to those if I can find ways to afford it. Plus, I have my Meetup group for making location connections, which has been great so far, too.
5. Preparing mentally. While I’m only just getting started in the entrepreneurial world, I know there will be many ups and downs. I’ve already experienced that with Money Spruce. There have been days that I’ve known everything will turn out great, and then there are the days when I feel like I’m getting no where and want to quit. I don’t expect other ventures to be much easier or different. Luckily, there are a lot of sources of encouragement out there. I’ve been building up confidence to test the unknown, and I’m a big fan of the “what’s the worst than can possibly happen” scenario. None of the “worsts” seem bad to me, and the upside of succeeding is really great motivation for giving this a shot. I’ve got great support from my girlfriend and family, too. To top it off, I’ll have my savings along with a lifestyle that’s fairly frugal.
The Future of Money Spruce
I’ve thought a lot about different directions I could go with this blog. I never wanted it to be a personal finance blog with posts on general topics with no real focus. But now, I have my own objective: “Personal finance for leaving the working world and becoming location independent.” That’s the basic idea (although I might need to work on that tag line a bit), but all my future posts will relate to that in some way. I’m going to be planning, researching, and generally getting excited for that, so I hope you’re up for the journey with me.
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photo by: leesean