Progress Report: Commencing Countdown…

escapeI’ma take your freelance work.

I’ma take your freelance work.

No, for real, ask your blogging friends: Do they need my services?

~(admittedly) awful riff on Thrift Shop

 

I’ve been very careful and logical about this whole transition-to-freelancing thing.  I’ve slowly been stepping down the day job, building up the freelance biz, juggling and hustling and working my little tail off to get myself to the place where Calling It Quits could (*cue angelic choir song here) become a doable and feasible reality.

And I’ve done pretty darn good so far, if I may say so myself.

I’ve kept food on the table.  I’ve kept the biz growing—much faster than I could ever have hoped for.  Things like doing the dishes may have become a standing joke of cosmic proportions in our household, but I’ve been doing what I need to to see that my little family of 4 (one husband, 2 dogs) is provided for while mommy launches her dream.

But eventually, any goal reaches its tipping point.  And now is that tipping point.

On hand #1, we have a steady, reliable office job that pays me weekly and helps to keep things like groceries and electricity flowing into our house.  It limits the time I can spend on my dream, yes, but with a mortgage and a family to look after, Responsible Me feels the need to keep these things coming.

On hand #2, we have a freelance biz that keeps growing and growing and has now reached the point where it needs more “me time” or it will level out until I may as well not have launched it in the first place.  I can say “Meh, this close enough,” or I can say, “Yes, dream I’ve worked my arse off to realize, I am willing to give it the final go.”

Guess which hand is tipping?

The Exit Strategy

So, no, those of you wondering if my last cryptic post meant I was quitting the day job—you’re weren’t entirely right.  But you were awfully damn close.

I haven’t given my notice yet, but I have, after many long discussions with myself, my husband, and the fates (who are all very encouraging) decided that I am officially launching my exit strategy.  The countdown has begun.  Fasten your seat belts, return your seat backs to their full and upright positions, and hold on, kids.

‘Cause shit’s about to get (even) real(er).

For those of you playing along at home, here are the factors that led to my decision that the ultimate Quit of Quits is within reach, and the steps I’ll be taking to make sure it is:

1.         As aforementioned, I have hit the wall.  There is no longer enough time or enough Cordelia left to spread between my office job, my freelancing, and managing my household single-handedly.  (And by “managing,” I mean managing to keep juuust enough clothing clean that my husband and I don’t have to leave the house naked.  That, literally, is the full extent of chores I am able to keep pace with around the house in the spaces left in my now 60-70 hour work weeks.)

I have a few new freelance projects in the application phase, and if I get them, I will definitely be past capacity.  But even if I don’t, there is nowhere for my biz to go but backwards unless I start clearing out more lifespace for it.  I have enough faith in my skillz and my hustle that, once said lifespace is cleared, I am confident I will find a way to bring in the extra work needed to keep it going, keep it going, keep it going full-time.  (I’ve made a similarly scary leap before, facing the exact same uncertainties, and it led me to here.)   And, I know enough to be also hedging my bets (see below).

If I don’t leap now, I may as well call the quits on my freelancing, because it can’t go any farther in its current state.  (And neither can I.)  And if you’ve been reading this blog…well, at all…then I think you know I am incapable of letting that happen.

2.         I am selling my car.  To fill the budget gap while I work to bring in extra business, and to cover any slow months starting out, I am selling my faithful 2004 Hyundai Elantra (“Mortimer,” in case you were wondering) to give myself a fall-back fund.

Being a one-car household is doable for us because the only places I drive anymore are to work and back.  On the weekends and in the evenings, the husband always drives us in his car.  Should something happen where I need to get somewhere while he’s at work?  I look forward to walking more, actually.  And if I need to get farther than my legs can take me, I will take the metro.  Plenty of people make the sharing-a-car-thing work, and I’ve always kind of envied those people their frugality.

Should this sale go through before I’ve officially left the day job, I can, thankfully, catch a ride into work with Cordelia’s Mom).

3.         In November, my credit cards will be paid off.  I have done penance for my unspeakable stupidity as a young woman long enough.  In November, I will be credit card debt free, and we will have an extra $420 in our monthly budget. At that point, the husband will enroll to pay down his cards, likely reducing the amount we spend per month on his payments (and making us a card-free household by the ages of 35!).

Have you heard my spiel on why you should never sell your future to debt?  Read it again.  I could have gotten to this point of freedom years ago if it weren’t for mine.

4.         I am using my vacation days now.  One, because I might as well use ’em while I’ve got ’em; and two, because I am in desperate need of a couple weeks to catch up on life and sanity in general.  It will also give me a chance to try out a week of having my time for my own and to make a real push towards getting some new clients on board for the official exit.

5.         Did I mention I can hustle my little tail off?  All this considered and done, we’re still going to be a short of our current income once my notice is finally given and the Quit is Quitted.  But, I am nothing if not a Hustler 4 Life, and therein lies the ultimate reason I am not as frightened as Responsible Me maybe ought to be about this leap.

It didn’t seem likely that I’d make a real go of this blog, given the sheer size of the blogosphere and the fact that my writing had lain dormant for years.  But here we are.  It didn’t seem likely I’d gain enough work from this blog to go down to Freelance Fridays, then part-time at the office gig—but I did, and so far the Cordelia fam is still fed and clothed and kept warm.  I truly believe that opportunities come to you when you make room for them, especially when you’ve proven time and again that you will work like ever-loving hell to get and hold onto them.

I will never let us get to the point of being in trouble.  I can always pick up more part-time work to fill in the gaps if needed, and I will do whatever it takes to keep us clothed and fed and kept warm.  But, oh-so-much more importantly in the world of fighting for your dreams, the reason I’m making this leap in the first place is to enable me to give it my all 100% of the time.  And if I’ve gotten this far slogging through 60-70 hour weeks, oh! the places I can go when I don’t have 25 of those hours tied to a desk with my brain turned off.

The places I can go when my brain and my time and my soul are entirely mine again…

Now Is When the Future Starts

Please excuse a little turbulence as we make our descent, but be assured that we are within landing range.

Yippee ki-yay.

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  • Congrats on taking the next step! You can totally do this!

    Chrysta

  • OMG giiiirl. How does it feel? I was waiting for this post after that cryptic one! This is the ultimate quit!

    • Um…it feels scarey exhilarating awesome terrifying confusing meant to be and long overdue.

      How’s that for a summary? 🙂

  • Cordelia’s Mom

    I’m so proud of you, but I do have a question. Once you’ve quit the 9-5, will you then rename your blog from “Cordelia Calls It Quits” to something like, “Cordelia Keeps Going, And Going, And Going”?

    • Hahaha. Nope, once I make that final Quit, the blog will be over as it will have served its purpose.

      (Oh god, can you imagine??)

      Technically, it could have been called “Cordelia Keeps Going, And Going, And Going” this whole time. It will be CCIQ still, as I will continue to call quits to various bits of nonsense and time wasting once I become a FT writer. There will never cease to be nonsense to call quits to.

  • Melinda Gonzalez

    Pretty cool moment! I think once you quit the business will pick up a whole lot. The universe tends to open up like that – you have to let go of something to get something else. Good job I know it must have been hard work getting to this point!

    • “The universe tends to open up like that” – I agree wholeheartedly, as I’ve seen it time and time again. It will meet you when you tell it you’re ready for the next step, and it will provide (if you help it along with some hustle).

      The hard work does not end here, my friend, although now, at least it starts to become more fun. 😉

  • You’re awesome, and I know you have this.

    Once you have the equivalent of full time to devote to freelancing, then you’ll really be able to scale up those earnings.

    • That’s my theory (and desperate hope). 🙂

      I had the same fears of “what will happen can I make it?” when I went down to PT at the day job, and that took care of itself very quickly once I made the extra time for it. I have no doubt the same will happen when I go to doing this FT.

  • This is absolutely awesome and I couldn’t be any happier for you. I know that the official “Quit” hasn’t happened yet (side note: I loved your mom’s question in her comment), but with this latest step, there’s little doubt that it will happen for you in 2013. In a world where way too many people talk a big game about going after their dreams, you’re walking that talk (literally, if you miss the metro and hubby has the car at work) and making it happen. You have been an inspiration to me since I found CCIQ in 2011, and 2 years later, you’re still ruthlessly assaulting my cerebrum with posts that inspire me *exactly* at the time that I need it. I’m thinking that it might be time for some big changes on my end to make my dreams a reality too. Congrats my friend, and fellow hustler–you know that I’m rooting for you!

    • I, much like yourself, have little patience for talking a big talk. I prefer to soldier on and update people from the trenches as it happens (although occasionally a “you can do this, make it happen!” pep talk in advance is called for).

      I am extremely curious to hear what *your* big changes are! I am honored to have such a worthy traveling companion (slash-compatriot) on this journey.

  • Sarah Russell

    Hells. to. the. yeah. Quitting is scary as s***, but it sounds like you couldn’t possibly be in better shape to do so. I’m guessing you’ll be surprised by how quickly your freelancing career grows once you have the opportunity to dedicate yourself to it full-time 🙂 Congrats, and feel free to hit me up if you ever need “yes, you can do this” pep talks!

    • I may be taking you up on that frequently! 🙂

  • Another up-side to selling the car ~ no insurance-gas-maintenance costs. Unless you’re “cabbing it” everywhere, the monthly total of metro tix and shoe-leather is inevitably less than the cumulative (and near-invisible) costs of just owning that iron horse.

    Best wishes and Good Juju to you! 🙂

    • Very true. There are lots of expenses that go with car ownership I can save on.

      Appreciating the good juju…I am in dire need of it!

  • Woohooooo!

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  • That is so awesome!! Congratulations!! I hope to be where you are within one year.

    • It IS possible! I never would have thought I’d have gotten this far a year ago, and yet, here I am!

      • One of the most difficult mind-set-changes to make is from “I can’t” to “Maybe…”.

  • BetseeM

    Keep it up! I love your exit strategy. Instead of quitting on a whim, you are being methodical about the transition. I am kind of going through the same thing, though I’m not as far along as you. I’ve never owned a car… I bike everywhere! I live in Chicago where it is flat, so it’s not bad at all. I can’t imagine squeezing the cost of a car into my budget. Yikes!

    • I wish I lived in a city where I could walk/bike instead of having a car. Unfortunately, living in the ‘burbs makes at least one car a bit of a need-to-have for our household. I’m a huge walker, but I can’t quite swing a 2-hour walk to the nearest Target. 😛

      I seriously advocate the “be smart about it” strategy of exiting your 9-5. At a certain point (or certain points, if you’re stepping down gradually like I did), yes, you will need to make a bit of a leap. But if you build a foundation for yourself and have a safety net in case of emergencies, it will make that leap at least a little less scarey and major-life-change threatening.

      Best of luck in your own journey!!

  • Elizabeth Sheppard

    What great news. I can tell you have worked very hard for this! I want to wish you the very best of luck. I will be following your progress. Give yourself a BIG pat on the back.

    • Done. 🙂

      Thanks, Elizabeth. It’s been hard, and will continue to be hard, but as with anything worth having, the work has been (and will be) worth it.

  • Nikki Rae

    Awesome! This is the first post I’ve read of your blog and I LOVE it. Reading about positive people accomplishing their dreams is like word porn. Did I say “I love it”? I LOVE IT! Look forward to reading more.

    • Thanks, Nikki! Happy to have you on board! Feel free to make yourself at home here…Oh, and I will totally be stealing the term “word porn” from you, if you don’t mind. 🙂

  • That’s very exciting to hear! You’ve made so much progress since I learned about you and your blog.

    I heard someone say “Take a leap of faith and the net will appear.” I’m sure your net will be there for you.

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