What They Don't Tell Your About Taking the Leap to Leave Your 9-5

What they don’t tell you about ‘taking the leap’ is that there isn’t one big, defining leap. It’s really a series of leaps and those leaps start right at the beginning, as soon as you take a leap of bravery to start your passion-fuelled side-business. Next comes a leap of self-belief when you start selling products and after that, a leap of faith when you decide you’re going to go for it and reduce your hours at your 9-5 to part-time, not go back to work after maternity leave and finally to wave the 9-5 goodbye and go it alone.

Here I am, about to leave my job in a few days’ time. I feel like I’m in one of those films where the couple, who were destined to be together from the opening scene, finally get married and walk off into the sunset. The film makes you assume that everything after that is a guaranteed success. No arguments, no awkward moments, no tears. But in reality, we all know that a wedding or leaving a job is just a leap into a new chapter. There will still be challenges, sometimes even bigger challenges than before, there will still be the self-doubt and limiting beliefs to tackle.

What They Don't Tell You About Taking The Leap To Leave Your 9-5 | Josephine Brooks

Here’s why I’m sharing this; wherever you are in your side-hustle journey right now, whatever leap you’re about to take next, just know that it’s all part of the journey. There isn’t one big defining leap that will change everything for you and your business. And that’s a good thing because YOU get to decide which leaps you want to take in the direction of what success look like for you.

So what did that series of leaps look like along the way?

Rather than thinking of it as one giant leap, my business grew in a series of leaps, like a frog jumping from lily pad to lily pad to get from one side of the pond to the other, it did not leap across in one go. (Is that what frogs do!? The metaphor works so let’s go with it).

That first leap

The first leap was when I got the idea for my first side-hustle out of my head and made it into something real. That meant putting my worries about what people would think and whether they’d laugh at me to one side and just going for it. But again, this wasn’t a Big Bang moment, it started with a little blog that no one knew about.

If this is where you’re at try to get brave and experiment with your idea in a low-pressure way. Whats the first step? How could you take a piece of your idea and see if it works or see if there’s a market for it?

Going public

I had a real issue with people knowing about my business, would they laugh or tell me that it was a silly little project. One friend sighed when I got brave and told her about my idea and said ‘but you had an idea before and look what happened with that’. Those kind of comments are the ones that can stop you shouting or even whispering about what you're doing. But, the thing is to grow a business you’ve got to go publish with it, you’ve got to tell the world you’ve got a thing, whether that be a blog, Etsy shop oran instagram account. The leap to go public was an awkward and difficult one for me, and lets be honest, it’s a leap that took a while for me to get comfortable with but since I had growing my business because so much quicker and easier because I wasn’t holding back from sharing what I had to offer.

If you’re in this space right now, I get it, it’s goddamn scary. See if you can make this leaps tiny footsteps. Can you tell your best friend about it or can you share your thing with strangers on the internet (for some reason when I was so worries about what my friends and colleagues would think I was far less worried about the opinions of strangers on the internet).

Pivoting my business

After growing my home decor business for a number of years and getting to a place where it was thriving to pivot my business felt like I was throwing a load of work away. I had to be brave here and leap away from my old business and into the new chapter. And infant none of that work in my last business was wasted, it was all valuable experience that added up to the value I have to offer in my business now.

If you know it’s time for a pivot but you’re feeling reluctant to move away from your current business, get the right support. I worked with a coach to help me work through this and I help lots of side-hustlers work through a pivot in their business now through my 1-1 mentoring work. The pivot leap is the kind of leap where you need someone to talk things over with and bounce ideas of someone who gets it. Similarly you might have a side-hustling friend who can support you through this leap or a supportive family member. Find the support you need and lean on it as much as you need to.

Sunlight shining through a window onto a desk with notebook and glasses

The going part-time leap

I leapt my way along pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone and abilities time and time again until I got to the stage where I needed more time than I had to build my business to where I wanted it to me. The next leap was to reduce my hours at work. I was really fortunate in that after a few months of pushing for it I was given a project at work where I could reduce my hours to four days a week, giving me one whole working day each week to focus on my business. It was bliss, sure it was scary to reduce my income and it was so fortunate to be able to do that but my god was it good. This is where I got my first real flavour of what it would be like to manage my own hours and work from bed if I ever needed or wanted to.

If you’ve reached this leaping point the first step is to look at your numbers. How much less time can you afford to work? Once you’ve figured that out ask your boss if you can reduce you hours and check out my post there for some tips on that. If its a ‘no’ which unfortunately sometimes it is you might want to start looking for part time jobs or looking around for contract/ freelance gigs which might give you a bit more flexibility while you build your business.

Taking the big leap

Finally, my most recent leap was taking my side-hustle full time. But as you can see it was all just part of a series of leaps. It came after all of the work that I’d put in to growing my business, pivoting my business over the previous year, running courses and working with 1:1 clients to build up my experience and prove to myself that my business definitely had legs. Then cam ether big leap that everyone’s interested in. And you know what, it didn’t feel that scary. Perhaps because it was the natural next step in my journey or perhaps because I’d leap-frogged my way to this point rather than coming up with an idea and immediately hanging in my notice. Now that would be fecking scary!

Maybe you’re right on the cusp of taking this particular leap, if so I’m cheering you on all the way and just remember it’s not this huge big moment that everyone builds it up to be, it’s just the next leap in the journey of your business.

As always I’m here and i’m cheering you on like mad!


This post appeared first in one of my Side-Hustle Letters which I send out every fortnight packed with my seasonal musings, exercises and prompts to help you level up your side-hustle and links to resources I’ve recently enjoyed. If you’d like to join my mailing list, just sign up below. 

How to take the leap and take your side-hustle full time | Josephine Brooks
Josephine Brooks