Being stuck in a job you’re unaligned with but pays the bills, supplies the insurance, and gives you a sense of security is a really hard mental battle to fight and it usually results in a mental health decline. ESPECIALLY if you’re trying to build your coaching business on the side.
A few years ago, I was commuting 5 hours a day to my tech sales job in Manhattan and I felt like I’d completely lost myself. I listened to every single podcast on starting a business and still couldn’t figure out what business to start (fun fact: this is a huge reason why I’m a niche coach now so I can help people find their footing in the coaching world).
I gained weight. Developed horrendous anxiety. My relationships with my fiance, my family, and myself were on the fritz.
I’m super grateful to be on the other side of my 9-5 journey and 1.5 years into my business (thank goodness ), but a lot of my clients + people in my community aren’t there just yet so I wanted to put together some tips for you in case you’re struggling right now.
It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel if you’re unsure of what you do actually want.
What is your goal? Do you need to replace your salary before you can leave? Do you need to wait a certain period of time to leave your job because of a contract you signed?
Get crystal clear on what you want then reverse engineer that goal to put together a solid action plan.
There’s no action without clarity. Dig deep to figure out your next step.
If you find that you’re struggling to figure out what you want to do next, put in some PTO days and decompress. It’s tough to do this digging when your mind is all cluttered from 9-5 stress.
Back when I would listen to every business podcast out there during my 5 hour work commute, I always felt like there was a missing piece.
Every episode was geared toward the type 1 entrepreneur.
A type 1 entrepreneur is the person who has the mental capacity to start and scale their business to match their salary while in a 9-5 job.
I wasn’t that type of person.
Erik and I started an Etsy shop while working at my tech job in New York because I was so desperate to get out of my job and start a business. We didn’t stick with it because I was so incredibly drained mentally and physically.
I knew I needed the rug pulled out from underneath me to make my business work. Personally, I work well under pressure and if I wasn’t underpressure (aka: having a cushy salary direct deposit into my account every 2 weeks to pay my bills), I wasn’t going to my business off the ground.
I’m a type 2 entrepreneur.
A type 2 entrepreneur is someone who needs to be under pressure to make their business work and be able to dedicate 110% of their attention and focus.
Now, I’m not saying pick up and leave your job if you’re a type 2 entrepreneur. That’s definitely not realistic for 99% of the people out there. What I am saying is to get clear on which type of entrepreneur you are so you can put together an appropriate exit plan.
Now that your clear on what you do want, put together an exit plan. This exit plan is going to be your guiding light because it’s your ticket out.
Every single one of you has different responsibilities which means that your exit plans are going to look different.
Do you have kids? Dual income? Health insurance you rely on? Rent? Student loans?
All of those things need to be factored into your exit plan, but don’t let them intimidate and stop you.
If there’s a will there’s a way.
Health insurance stresses a lot of people out when leaving their 9-5 and transitioning into their own business. I use a website called Stride Health for my health insurance. I used to be on Erik’s insurance through his company but it was ridiculously expensive and didn’t cover much.
Stride health matched me up to a plan under $300/month that met my healthcare needs.
Another option you could explore if you have a partner who works a 9-5 is to check domestic partnership health insurance benefits. When Erik was a 1099, he was on my health insurance when I was working my 9-5 and when I was running my business in the beginning, I went onto his health insurance through a domestic partnership.
There is certain criteria you need to provide (I think this may vary per state?). We had to show a signed lease or mortgage together, that we had the same address on our licenses, and a joint bank account.
Give yourself breaks and take your allotted PTO if you’re able to.
Everyone’s situation is different and I totally understand that some people would prefer to get paid out for the PTO, but don’t hesitate to give yourself a mental break.
Take a long weekend every month. Take every other Friday off. Do something to let yourself catch up during the week so you can start enjoying your weekends again and not spending them running errands.
Do what you need to do to protect your energy.
This is a biigggiiee and something a lot of people struggle with (myself included at the time).
How often are you checking your Slack, Teams, email, etc. after 5pm or on the weekend? How much time are you spending replying to emails before 9am?
Draw a line in the sand.
You don’t need to pick up your phone after 5pm or before 9am as much as your boss likely makes it seem like you do.
The more you do it, the more they’re going to expect it from you. Create the boundary and stick to it.
One day you’re going to leave this job and everything you’re stressing about now isn’t going to matter. I can’t tell you how many weekends I wasted in my early 20’s because I’d gotten an email from my boss that I’d overthink for hours, or felt that I had to be working on Saturday’s and Sunday’s to get ahead.
You are in charge of your time, whether your employer likes it or not.
There you have it! 5 coping tips if you’re stuck in a 9-5 while building your business. If you want to read more, check out my latest post on 5 Steps To Getting Your Coaching Business Off The Ground.