When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

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hervens
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When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by hervens » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:17 pm

I've been a long time reader, however this is my first post.

Please help me solve this dilemma...

I'm 27 years old, single, work as a software developer for a large firm making 60k/year.

After years of trying and failing, I launched a website 1 year ago which grew to the point where it's currently earning 2X my current salary.

The business is semi-automated, and takes about 10 hours of my time per week. Revenue is consistent, and growing, although I do admit there is some uncertainty for the coming years. My short term goal is to launch more websites and projects in order to further diversify my income stream, as well as improve on the existing one.

The problem however is I’m finding my corporate job increasingly boring. It's getting harder and harder to wake up at the same time each day and come to work when I tell myself I could have the flexibility of staying home and work on much more exciting new projects and websites for my business.

When I first started having some success with the website, I told myself I would quit after it got to the point where I was making as much as my full time job... I reached that... then I wanted to see proof of increasing revenue, and at least 6 months stability... I reached that... then I wanted a $50k emergency fund... I reached that.

Is there ever a right time to pull the plug? I am being simpleminded for wanting to quit a stable job with good benefits in order to pursue a goal that I think about day in and day out?

My GF supports me on this, but my mom doesn't. Curious to hear the opinions of the members of this forum.

runner3081
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by runner3081 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:54 pm

2x your salary on your side gig.

Congrats, make the jump.

Keep being creative and looking for other business opportunities you can work on in the those extra hours of time you have now.

My only concern would be health insurance.

Traveler
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by Traveler » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:02 pm

If I were in that position I'd jump ship and work on my own thing. You can likely always find another corporate gig without too much effort.

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unclescrooge
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:22 pm

I would jump ship at 1.3x of FT job.

That way you've covered your health benefits/401k matching too.

So, yes. It's okay to "retire" from your FT job.

seligsoj
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by seligsoj » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:02 pm

Can you share what your side website business is? That is great money!!

harvestbook
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by harvestbook » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:06 pm

I'm a fool and I did it the moment I was making more than my day job and also looked at the growth and thought, "Wow, these are the kind of numbers that a bank would loan on." Not that I ever needed it. There's nothing like being your own boss, except maybe being fully retired. Go for it and don't look back.
I'm not smart enough to know, and I can't afford to guess.

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BL
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by BL » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:56 pm

Since no one is dependent on you, this may be the best time.

You need to be so determined that no one can stop you. If you have too many doubts, it may not be a great move. Glad you are thinking it through, though.

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rocket354
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by rocket354 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:04 pm

I just want to preface this by saying I am someone who absolutely abhors jobs and corporate culture.

Years ago, I had a "side gig" that resulted in my making many multiples of my FT job salary. I quit to pursue my side gig and had a lot of fun. But then that dried up and suddenly I was 5+ years removed from relevant experience and searching for work. That was not a fun time (I'll spare the details, but it coincided with the GFC).

I had to resort to hourly-wage jobs and going back to school, this being in my early-30s. I've gotten back on my feet, but I just encourage you to think through what options you will have if this personal business doesn't work out, or if you get sick of it. Since it's a website it sounds like you may have relevant experience to leverage if your path changes down the road, but just make sure you have considered that angle before you make the leap.

marstaton4
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by marstaton4 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:26 pm

If you have a good job now and your side job is only going to take up 10 hours a week why not stay there until you have a reason to leave? Perhaps look for another full time job that you like more. It sounds like you should be making a nice chunk of change and I assume you also get full time benefits such as healthcare and PTO. It sounds like you could be investing quite a bit with all of the income you're making now and build in a larger safety net.

I left my full time job a couple of years ago to pursue some freelance work and it has worked out very well but I have a lot of down time and I get bored. I also miss the social aspect of having somewhere to go 5 days a week.

Sounds like you're in a great position either way. Good luck!

mgensler
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by mgensler » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:35 pm

I left my full-time job when the business signed a lease for space. That year, I made 4x my salary.

BeneIRA
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:46 pm

You quit your job when your time is what is holding the business back. It is only taking 10 hours of your week. I would keep the job because at this point, you can spend another 5 to 10 hours a week doing your side projects and can see if they will work out. You had one hit, but it's not a guarantee everything will be a success, as you have seen. I would start spending another 5 to 10 hours on side projects, use up your PTO and see what it would be like to work on your side business for 50 or so hours a week. I am going to guess you don't need that kind of time commitment right now. I am definitely hanging onto my job for right now. When your side company reaches the point where it is requiring time from you in order to grow and your time is all that is standing in the way, then quit your job.

Also, health insurance is expensive. You probably have decent benefits at a large company.

alex11
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by alex11 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:57 pm

My situation started very similar to yours, so I'll share my thoughts.

I started running some sites about 10 years ago and after about 3 years I hit about 2x my work salary from my online business.
This crept up to 3x, 4x and the last few years has been over 5.5x my work salary.

This side biz alone is enough to cover living expenses by about 6x. I am also at about a 3% withdraw rate from investments, but, as much as I hate to say it, I am still grinding away at the "regular" job.

The reasons I have not left yet:
1. Health Insurance.........8 Years ago, it would have cost me a few hundred dollars a month, but this changed rapidly! Even though I have/make the money to pay this, I would go crazy shelling out almost 20k a year in premiums, for what I consider terrible health insurance. Deductibles on this are about $7,500 per person. Keep in mind, you will also be on the hook for 100% of your dental costs.
2. I am able to balance both..........some sites, based on design, and once established, run themselves. So, although I stay busy, I am able to still work and run the business. This saves me about 17k in insurance premiums, plus I still get the salary from working. I can max out my 401k and my SEP IRA.

The reasons I would not leave yet if I were you:
I think the reasons above apply to you, but one thing to consider........ I don't feel one year is long enough to fully establish an online presence. If you're like most sites, you rely a lot on Google to get traffic and possibly even monetize the site. Google is constantly changing it's ranking algorithm, so you're placement today, may not be there tomorrow. If you're monetizing via Adsense and don't follow the rules, they can close your account and more than likely, you will never be reinstated.

My Advice..
Keep chugging away at both...... For the first few years, I worked, then I came home and worked. On weekends I would spend from the time I woke up till the time I went to bed working on the biz. This may have been overkill, and took some sacrifice, but it has paid off more than I could have ever imagined.
If you see a future with your girlfriend, perhaps at least wait until you're married and she has access to health care for you and the family.

One more piece of advice......No offence to "seligsoj", who above asked you to share what your website/business was........DO NOT SHARE YOUR BUSINESS AND INCOME WITH ANYONE! It's obviously okay to come on here and say you make 120k, but don't say I made 120k by running my "how to train a dog" site.
I made this mistake early on with a few very close friends, and even a relative. I had 4 of these people, who had no computer background at all, go out and attempt to make sites to compete with mine, and even asked me for tips on how to do so. I don't think they realized they were doing any harm, and none of them were able to finish their project, but it taught me a valuable lesson. Unless you need to talk about the site in order to make a sale, keep those lips sealed!
Good Luck!
Last edited by alex11 on Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:21 am

hervens wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:17 pm
I've been a long time reader, however this is my first post.

Please help me solve this dilemma...

I'm 27 years old, single, work as a software developer for a large firm making 60k/year.

After years of trying and failing, I launched a website 1 year ago which grew to the point where it's currently earning 2X my current salary.

The business is semi-automated, and takes about 10 hours of my time per week. Revenue is consistent, and growing, although I do admit there is some uncertainty for the coming years. My short term goal is to launch more websites and projects in order to further diversify my income stream, as well as improve on the existing one.

The problem however is I’m finding my corporate job increasingly boring. It's getting harder and harder to wake up at the same time each day and come to work when I tell myself I could have the flexibility of staying home and work on much more exciting new projects and websites for my business.

When I first started having some success with the website, I told myself I would quit after it got to the point where I was making as much as my full time job... I reached that... then I wanted to see proof of increasing revenue, and at least 6 months stability... I reached that... then I wanted a $50k emergency fund... I reached that.

Is there ever a right time to pull the plug? I am being simpleminded for wanting to quit a stable job with good benefits in order to pursue a goal that I think about day in and day out?

My GF supports me on this, but my mom doesn't. Curious to hear the opinions of the members of this forum.
I think you're well past the point where you can jump if you want to. I would say that point is when either your side gig can pay all your mandatory expenses or when it appears if you were putting full time hours into the side gig that it would replace your main job income. Obviously, the less stable the business income, the higher the point where it makes sense to bail.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:34 am

alex11 wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:57 pm
This side biz alone is enough to cover living expenses by about 6x. I am also at about a 3% withdraw rate from investments, but, as much as I hate to say it, I am still grinding away at the "regular" job.

My Advice..
Keep chugging away at both...... For the first few years, I worked, then I came home and worked. On weekends I would spend from the time I woke up till the time I went to bed working on the biz. This may have been overkill, and took some sacrifice, but it has paid off more than I could have ever imagined.
I have had a similar experience, but I don't stay for health insurance, I was buying it myself either way as the main gig was also self-employed. I'm not sure I could go back to being an employee. The last time I did that I was sent to the Middle East for months at a time but I hear most employers aren't like that.

Having a side gig blow up like this is one way to find out if you really like your job or not. If you like it, you'll keep doing it. If you don't, you won't be there long.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

hervens
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by hervens » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:18 am

Thanks a lot for the responses.
The opinions are quite mixed. Some think I should go, others think I should stick around a bit longer, which in a way puts me back in square 1 since that was the original dilemma.
seligsoj wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:02 pm
Can you share what your side website business is? That is great money!!
Unfortunately, doing so could reveal my identity. However I've launched quite a few small websites and online businesses in the past, so if your're in this field and have some specific questions, feel free to send me a pm.

On paper, the best decision would probably be to keep my full time job, and spend all my nights and weekends working on my side business. However, one of the reasons I spent so much effort in the past working on those websites is so I could eventually quit my corporate job and enjoy the flexibility of being my own boss. Ever since I finished College, work has always been a bit of a stressor for me. I feel as if my personality doesn't quite fit with the corporate lifestyle (I'm somewhat introverted, need of constant novelty/change/autonomy). If I were to get $1 million today, my letter of resignation and 2 week notice would be in by the next day.
alex11 wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:57 pm
My Advice..
Keep chugging away at both...... For the first few years, I worked, then I came home and worked. On weekends I would spend from the time I woke up till the time I went to bed working on the biz. This may have been overkill, and took some sacrifice, but it has paid off more than I could have ever imagined.
If you see a future with your girlfriend, perhaps at least wait until you're married and she has access to health care for you and the family.
Thanks for the advice.
I think that's what I will end up doing. Hopefully one day I''ll reach the point where I'm able to relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

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Tamarind
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by Tamarind » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:35 am

You can absolutely quit your day job. I would, if I were you, with three provisos.

Before you go, make a plan for your business. Set goals and establish projects that will keep growing it. The thing about web businesses like yours is that the income stream can dry up very fast, so you need to have the next idea or three developing all the time. Know in advance what will prompt you to pull the plug and look for a new job if it goes south.

Reserve a little time for keeping your skills up with things not relevant to your business so that you will not be at a disadvantage if you need to go back to being an employee. Better yet, take contract development work regularly to keep building that resume.

Set up a solo 401k if you haven't already. Sock away as much of that great income as you can now and don't get used to living on more than $60k.

Finally, if you don't quit to go full-time, at least look for a new day job.

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whodidntante
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by whodidntante » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:05 am

When you are making so much money AND it's taking so much time that your job becomes a limitation instead of a positive. Otherwise I think you keep your job. Congrats on your success. Small businesses are often feast or famine, so do a SWOT analysis and think about threats to your business and your business model.

SimonJester
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by SimonJester » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:26 am

Another possibility carefully approach your day job and see if you could cut back your hours, perhaps go part time and still keep your benefits? More and more companies are not providing benefits to part time workers so they may not go for it but might be worth finding out...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

blinx77
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by blinx77 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:13 am

The other thing you need to keep in mind is how you are doing financially.

Once your portfolio has exceeded 25x expenses, you can reasonably consider early retirement and never full time again. (Lots to unpack there, so don't do it until you read up, but that's a basic introduction. Valuations are stretched right now, so you may want an extra margin of safety right now, but you also already have one -- if the markets go south, you can rebuild a buffer using your entrepreneurial ability.)

The closer you are to that number, the less financial risk you are taking by quitting the job and focusing on the business. If you still have a pile of student loan debts, I would just do both and make hay while the sun shines. If you are already at 10x or 15x expenses, you have a much bigger safety net to do something that for others might be risky.

Lowering expenses is as or more important than gaining income in this calculation. (If you can sustainably reduce your cash needs by $1,000 permanently, you can reduce the amount you need to save by $25,000.) Check the forums at https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/ if you are curious.

Bacchus01
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:36 am

Do you have an actual business plan beyond “throw up some websites and make some money”? What is the sustainable long-term plan?

Secondly, is this an all or nothing proposition? Can you cut your hours at your day job? Go part time? What is your total compensation including benefits? Don’t discount that.

Are you banking time at a megacorp that could get you contacts you need for your other business? Are there training programs you can take advantage of at your day job that will help you in your independent business?

It seems like you got more lucky than planf. Entrepreneurship and creativity is fun and rewarding for you it seems, but how will you turn that into a career?

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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by CppCoder » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:24 am

hervens wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:18 am
On paper, the best decision would probably be to keep my full time job, and spend all my nights and weekends working on my side business. However, one of the reasons I spent so much effort in the past working on those websites is so I could eventually quit my corporate job and enjoy the flexibility of being my own boss. Ever since I finished College, work has always been a bit of a stressor for me. I feel as if my personality doesn't quite fit with the corporate lifestyle (I'm somewhat introverted, need of constant novelty/change/autonomy). If I were to get $1 million today, my letter of resignation and 2 week notice would be in by the next day.
I was undecided which way I would weigh in, but this paragraph convinced me that you should keep the corporate job. I know, sounds counterintuitive, but bear with me. I read your paragraph as indicating that you still have room to grow and learn from a corporate environment, at least the right one. If you intend forever to be a sole proprietor in your side business, it may not matter. If you intend to turn your side business into a business that employs others, then keep the corporate job and think of it as business training. You'll need to change your mindset, though. Instead of thinking about the job from an employee perspective, start thinking about it like a student. Take classes if they offer them, especially the soft skills and management classes. If you have good management, try to learn business strategy and personnel management from them. Try to get a position that exposes you to your controllers organization so you can see the company's finances. Lastly, force yourself to interact more with others. I'm also very introverted, but being in a corporate environment has increased my comfort level in working with others and giving presentations to large audiences. Ultimately, if you want to grow your business beyond yourself, it's the people/business skills that will make or break your company. Also, you may find your current job isn't so bad if you stop thinking about it as work. Work is less stressful when you know you have other financial options, which you clearly do...

hervens
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by hervens » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:56 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:36 am
It seems like you got more lucky than planf. Entrepreneurship and creativity is fun and rewarding for you it seems, but how will you turn that into a career?
CppCoder wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:24 am
hervens wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:18 am
On paper, the best decision would probably be to keep my full time job, and spend all my nights and weekends working on my side business. However, one of the reasons I spent so much effort in the past working on those websites is so I could eventually quit my corporate job and enjoy the flexibility of being my own boss. Ever since I finished College, work has always been a bit of a stressor for me. I feel as if my personality doesn't quite fit with the corporate lifestyle (I'm somewhat introverted, need of constant novelty/change/autonomy). If I were to get $1 million today, my letter of resignation and 2 week notice would be in by the next day.
I was undecided which way I would weigh in, but this paragraph convinced me that you should keep the corporate job. I know, sounds counterintuitive, but bear with me. I read your paragraph as indicating that you still have room to grow and learn from a corporate environment, at least the right one. If you intend forever to be a sole proprietor in your side business, it may not matter. If you intend to turn your side business into a business that employs others, then keep the corporate job and think of it as business training. You'll need to change your mindset, though. Instead of thinking about the job from an employee perspective, start thinking about it like a student. Take classes if they offer them, especially the soft skills and management classes. If you have good management, try to learn business strategy and personnel management from them. Try to get a position that exposes you to your controllers organization so you can see the company's finances. Lastly, force yourself to interact more with others. I'm also very introverted, but being in a corporate environment has increased my comfort level in working with others and giving presentations to large audiences. Ultimately, if you want to grow your business beyond yourself, it's the people/business skills that will make or break your company. Also, you may find your current job isn't so bad if you stop thinking about it as work. Work is less stressful when you know you have other financial options, which you clearly do...
Reading the 2 comments above was hard for me to stomach, because they might be very true at some level. My success so far can be partly attributed to luck. I was lucky to have found a niche with low competition and good potential and I took advantage of it. How easy and how fast could I launch another semi-automated web business making $100k+/year? I'm honestly not sure.

Yes, part of the reason I want to leave is so I can have more time to spend on my projects, but secretly I'm also hoping to run away from the corporate world in exchange for an easier life with more flexibility and less stress.

The business concept is quite simple: I spend a few weeks researching and testing different niches around the web, where there seems to be low competition (or low quality competition) and good upside potential. I then launch a website and marketing campaign to fill that need, which might take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. I'm not sure how well that would translate into a long term business plan. If you were to ask me what my long term goal is, it would be to own and manage multiple high traffic websites in different niches, and maybe even open a small office one day with a few software developers/designers and sales people.

I will talk to my boss about the opportunity of part time work. But first, I have to be sure that keeping my position for a few more years really is the best course of action in my case.

trojans10
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by trojans10 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:59 pm

Curious. Does your website generate revenue from affiliate sales? ads? product sales? membership? Interested to just hear the revenue model. Used to do a lot of affiliate marketing - I was in a similar position. I was on pace to make 10x my salary of 60k. After 6 months, my niche was blocked from running ads. Glad I kept my job and saved everything I made.

Freefun
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by Freefun » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:52 am

Congrats on your side biz. I liked the story about Bezos regret minimization framework and try to apply it myself-

http://awealthofcommonsense.com/2016/10 ... framework/
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

Bacchus01
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Re: When is it ok to quit your job and run your business full time?

Post by Bacchus01 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:58 am

hervens wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:56 pm
Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:36 am
It seems like you got more lucky than planf. Entrepreneurship and creativity is fun and rewarding for you it seems, but how will you turn that into a career?
CppCoder wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:24 am
hervens wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:18 am
On paper, the best decision would probably be to keep my full time job, and spend all my nights and weekends working on my side business. However, one of the reasons I spent so much effort in the past working on those websites is so I could eventually quit my corporate job and enjoy the flexibility of being my own boss. Ever since I finished College, work has always been a bit of a stressor for me. I feel as if my personality doesn't quite fit with the corporate lifestyle (I'm somewhat introverted, need of constant novelty/change/autonomy). If I were to get $1 million today, my letter of resignation and 2 week notice would be in by the next day.
I was undecided which way I would weigh in, but this paragraph convinced me that you should keep the corporate job. I know, sounds counterintuitive, but bear with me. I read your paragraph as indicating that you still have room to grow and learn from a corporate environment, at least the right one. If you intend forever to be a sole proprietor in your side business, it may not matter. If you intend to turn your side business into a business that employs others, then keep the corporate job and think of it as business training. You'll need to change your mindset, though. Instead of thinking about the job from an employee perspective, start thinking about it like a student. Take classes if they offer them, especially the soft skills and management classes. If you have good management, try to learn business strategy and personnel management from them. Try to get a position that exposes you to your controllers organization so you can see the company's finances. Lastly, force yourself to interact more with others. I'm also very introverted, but being in a corporate environment has increased my comfort level in working with others and giving presentations to large audiences. Ultimately, if you want to grow your business beyond yourself, it's the people/business skills that will make or break your company. Also, you may find your current job isn't so bad if you stop thinking about it as work. Work is less stressful when you know you have other financial options, which you clearly do...
Reading the 2 comments above was hard for me to stomach, because they might be very true at some level. My success so far can be partly attributed to luck. I was lucky to have found a niche with low competition and good potential and I took advantage of it. How easy and how fast could I launch another semi-automated web business making $100k+/year? I'm honestly not sure.

Yes, part of the reason I want to leave is so I can have more time to spend on my projects, but secretly I'm also hoping to run away from the corporate world in exchange for an easier life with more flexibility and less stress.

The business concept is quite simple: I spend a few weeks researching and testing different niches around the web, where there seems to be low competition (or low quality competition) and good upside potential. I then launch a website and marketing campaign to fill that need, which might take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. I'm not sure how well that would translate into a long term business plan. If you were to ask me what my long term goal is, it would be to own and manage multiple high traffic websites in different niches, and maybe even open a small office one day with a few software developers/designers and sales people.

I will talk to my boss about the opportunity of part time work. But first, I have to be sure that keeping my position for a few more years really is the best course of action in my case.
I certainly didn't mean to imply you didn't have any skill in it. By every account you certainly do.

The question becomes how do you scale that? What's the plan? One thing years of business has taught me, although I'm not an entrepreneur like yourself, is that if you are taking above-market returns someone else will figure it out and go after you. Take it as long as you can, but eventually you'll fall back to market returns. Are you planning to build and sell the business at some point? Do you have a plan for this? Do you know how to value it and how to transact it? Will you just milk it until it dies while you take on another approach? How will you maximize return? This is what I mean by you got a bit lucky. You've managed to use your skill, but are you maximizing the total return? Or is making $125K+ enough?

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