It is perfectly alright to love the job you do for someone else because you want to pay bills and have a sense of stability. But if you find yourself feeling like you’re trapped in a rat race, you most certainly should escape it. And in a way to never get sucked back in!
But first, be sure of what you want to do. If at least one of the following sounds like you, you are probably ready to take the leap.
– You dream of a life that demands more than living from paycheck to paycheck
– You have ideas that you can’t execute as long as you work for someone else
– You know you are capable of shaping a better work-life balance for yourself
– You don’t want to be stuck doing uninspiring work for others
If you agree with one or more of the points listed above, you may want to consider self-employment or entrepreneurship, depending on exactly what kind of life you want to lead. If you are convinced that you are ready to break away from the rat race, here is how to systematically do it.
- Acknowledge that you aren’t a rat, but a smart human being.
Write down 3 affirmations, physically on paper every morning, and begin your day by feeling good about yourself. This is a process that helps negate everything negative ever directed your way in a toxic work environment and eventually turns into a self-affirming habit to keep you going.
- Define your ‘why’
Give yourself strong reason(s) as to why you don’t want to be a part of what you have been doing for so long. It could be ambition, it could be frustrating. Find your biggest motivation and put it down on paper in BIG BOLD WORDS. Keep that as a reminder in a place where you can see it often because you will need to go back to it time and again when things don’t seem easy.
- Pay yourself first
If you only earn to meet your expenses, no wonder you’re stuck in the rat race. Instead, determine a particular amount to pay yourself each month. Then, list down all the unavoidable expenses such as rent and bills. If there isn’t much left to cover your bills after you’ve paid yourself, it is only motivation to step up your game and find ways to make more.
- Cut off credit
Look at the big picture and realise that you may need to make some small sacrifices initially to get everything you want someday. It is easier to purchase everything you desire on a credit card when you have a stable paying job. But the initial days after you quit the rat race could render you financially weak. Prioritize your expenses. Make a list of essentials before you shop. Strike off each item on the list when you buy it and don’t purchase anything extra. Learn to live a frugal life.
- Save money
Getting out of the rat race can be rough on your pockets. So first, create a monthly expenditure budget. Save money to cover at least 6 months of your expenditure along with some money for unprecedented emergencies. Write yourself periodical reminders to save money if you must. It is best to acquire some assets that can earn you money while you prepare to transition.
- Acquire assets
This is the real secret to escaping the rat race. An asset is something that can earn you money while you sleep, with no further effort from you. Invest in stocks or buy real estate to start with. You could also choose to invest in a business if you can afford it. The assets you acquire could perhaps accumulate value over time for you to be able to sell for a huge profit someday. Until then, look for something that can give you returns each month, at least as much as your pay check did.
- Pick up a side hustle
Before you can make money work for you, you still need to work to make money. Take up work you can do on the side. It could be a freelance gig. Or you could become a consultant for something you specialise in. Write down everything you are good at and evaluate what you could monetize on. Try and choose a skill that adds value to your own life to keep you motivated.
- Invest your money
You know it’s a rat race when you can only add a certain amount to your finances periodically. Investing helps multiply it, which is how you eventually escape the rat race. But before you go all in, study the market, make notes and be aware of all the risks involved. Make an educated guess to make money work for you.
- Learn to outsource
If you plan to start your own venture, learn to delegate. Otherwise, you’re simply replacing your 9-5 with a 24×7 job. Don’t do a job in your own business, unless your purpose is only to become self-employed. Hire people to work on your vision if you want to become an entrepreneur. Hire the best, preferably those better than you, and let them do their job with no interference.
- Don’t look back
Every day isn’t sunshine and rainbows, even if you don’t work for someone else anymore. You may have some tough moments, days, or even weeks. Don’t give up. Remember why you quit the rat race in the first place. Write yourself a letter on a good day and open to read it when you’re feeling low. Have the will to keep moving forward. Peek into the rearview mirror if you must, but don’t look back.
Aspire to live a life you are satisfied with. Begin by inspiring yourself every day. Maybe you will inspire the world someday!