TRJ Blog

I Quit My Day Job, Now What?

As I approached the last few days of October, which were the last days left for my 30-day notice, I was thinking of what I will do next. To be honest, I was getting a little bit nervous about the idea of not having a salary by the end of the next month. And although I only pay for my own expenses and no one is depending on me financially, I still felt like this was a somewhat risky step, but as is the case with taking risks, you measure the possible losses and the possible gains, and, in this situation, the possible gains to me weighed a lot more.

Now I clearly knew what I did not want to do. But what is it that I do want to do? If there were no obstacles and no conditions and I could wake up tomorrow and do anything I want, what would that be?

Well, I wanted to write and design and read books and be free of the day-job monster! (Did you hear that? that’s the sound of freedom!)

And, beside that, I also want to find a way to use my brain. Yes, that may sound weird, but it was something I realized during my existential crisis discussed here, that nothing I do ever requires me to use my brain. The type of jobs I have been doing since I graduated college were all routine jobs, ones you can do on autopilot. And I had this feeling that this brain that studied physics (which I hated every step of the way), complex mathematical equations, and electronics and coding, deserves a little better treatment; it at least deserves a try.

So what I wished for was to not have to go to work to have an income, to feel some sort of financial security. I wanted to do work that I love and enjoy doing, which may not necessarily pay me well at first, instead of doing work just because it pays me well.

And simultaneously while considering those things, I was spending my free time making designs for my Redbubble store (more on that later) and I noticed that I was actually making some sales. That brought the question to my attention: Can anyone actually live off that kind of business? 

And after some online research, I can say the answer to that question is, yes. Some people do make enough sales every month that can become an actual source of income, but I also found that this is not the case for most other people. And for someone to reach that level of sales, a lot of other factors contribute to it. (There will be more on that topic in a later post).

Now I sort of had an idea that there are ways to make money online because I worked on Appen and Lionbridge for a while in the past and so I knew that this was possible, but what I didn’t know, or more like never thought of, was the fact that you can make money from money. Or that you can make money while you are not necessarily working. The concept that you should make your money work for you and not the other way around.

I never thought about investing my money, for example. I thought this was something for those business people with suits and ties and lots of money inherited from their rich families or whatever. When I first read about that, I thought, I’m a middle-class citizen from a middle-class family who studied engineering and works in customer service, what do I know about finance or business management or even money? Absolutely nothing! At least, until then.

What I’ve learned as I started to read more on the topic is that you do not need to have a degree in finance or have a business background to know how to manage and make money. Everyone can and should learn how to manage their finances to not only make ends meet, but to be able to go beyond that, to be able to have savings, to be able to have financial security in their life, especially if they have other family members depending on them.

I spent days and nights, searching and researching, reading articles, buying books, watching videos because I wanted to know if this is something that is actually achievable, that there are others who managed to do what is to me just some wishful thinking. 

And after some time I decided I will go for it. I believe it is not impossible and it is not wishful thinking anymore. I can see now that it can be done. Will I be able to do it? Well, this will be my little big experiment. It will take a lot of time and energy not just to work but to learn, but that’s what it takes, otherwise I would be wasting another year of my life and some humble amount of savings on something that I’m not even 100% aware of. 

There are bazillion articles and videos online telling you about another kabillion methods of how to make money. But the question here is not how to make money, it is how to make money in a way that brings more money, how to be smart about it. And if you don’t have enough knowledge and information, you will not be able to do that.

Another thing is how to do that without turning into a money-making machine, because that is definitely not why I started. So, how to actually enjoy the process?

Without passion, you don’t have energy.

Without energy, you have nothing.

Warren Buffett

In my opinion, one can do so by implementing all the skills they have (for me that would probably be, research, handling customers and… English? pretty unimpressive set of skills, but we’ll see how far that gets me.) along with all the activities you love and enjoy (for me that’s writing, reading, and design) and then find a way to use those things to make money.

The money you make from those little skills you enjoy and love is so much different from the typical salary you get at the end of the month doing some mundane job. I know how that feels because the few dollars I got from my design sales were the most precious money I have ever received. I am the happiest person on earth when someone buys something with my design on it. That kind of money just feels amazing. (Or maybe those are just my creative cells overreacting a bit.)

In the next blog post, I will discuss what I started with in terms of online and offline business and how I chose the kinds of business to start with and why I chose them.

Till then, happy days!

Who Is Ray?

I’m starting this blog as a way to track and document my very unsettling and skeptic journey of achieving financial freedom and starting my own business (and, you know, becoming my own boss!).

The reason I use words like “skeptic” and “unsettling,” and I would go as far as saying frightening and insane, is that I don’t personally know anyone who’s ever done this before. At least not someone who didn’t initially have a huge sum of money (because they come from a rich family or so) to start with. Everyone I know follows the typical “active income” lifestyle: a day job and a salary for the hours they worked at the end of the month and that is it. And most of them live a month-to-month kind of life.

So, I am certainly taking a huge leap of faith here!

But before I take you on my journey, here’s a brief background about me first.

I’m a telecommunications engineering graduate who never really worked as one. I graduated in May 2015 with the decision to pursue a career as a writer instead. I thought the hardest thing about that decision was to face my parents with the fact. Boy was I wrong! That was probably the second easiest thing I’ve ever had to do. 

The hard part though was to actually pursue the career. Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit in a certain crowd? If so, that makes two of us!

In the brief 4 months of me taking online (because I couldn’t find any off-line) writing courses to polish my skill, I started to feel a lot like an impostor on that field. For two main reasons really: 1st, everyone in those courses was an English speaker who lived in an English speaking country; 2nd, none of them was an engineer.

See, my plan was to write a novel and publish it and become a published author and while I do that, I would find myself a day job as a writer/copywriter. And God only knows why I ever thought that this was going to be that easy.

First reality check was when I realized that where I live people do not need my skill. As you can clearly see, I write in English, and that is not my country’s 1st language. So, an English writing job that is basically for fiction readers is not something you would run into that often (in my case, ever!).

And don’t get me wrong, I do love my 1st language, but for some reason I have always felt more comfortable expressing my ideas and thoughts in English. I enjoyed English literature in school and the more I read the more I was encouraged to write. Perhaps this ease that comes with writing is for the sole reason that it is NOT my mother tongue. If I were just as fluent in German, that would have been the language I write in. (And there was a brief moment in time when I actually did.)

Anyway, so when I realized that the fact that I love to write stories in the English language was the kind of thing you say in an interview to sound more educated, creative, and thoughtful, but not the kind of thing that would actually land you an interview, I started exploring my options.

Sadly, I couldn’t find any job in my field of study (telecom engineering) that didn’t require a prior experience of some sort. That was when the customer service genie opened its wide arms to my unemployed potato head and I got my first job as a customer care agent for a telecom company (the irony!). 

I spent 10 months in that customer care job, during which I joined the 2015’s NaNoWriMo for the first time and wrote the first draft of my very first novel, as I was still hanging on to that dream of becoming a writer one day. (And, in case you were wondering, the draft is still untouched to this day.)

I then left that job for an opportunity to work as a scientific copy editor at an English research publishing company/online magazine. I figured that was a step closer to my initial dream and as close as it gets to my dream job. And let’s just say that feeling was amazing while it lasted! But 6 months into that job, I realized it was too boring for my brain cells. 

Fast-forward to April 2018, I would land another customer service job at yet another telecom company (when fate is clearly sticking out its tongue at you).

September 2018 was when I decided that this was no longer what I want to do with my life. I no longer want to be a customer care agent, this was supposed to be a temporary thing until I actually find a job I want. But now it felt I was just wasting my days, approaching my 26th year alive with absolutely zero accomplishments, zero goals, zero boxes ticked off my bucket list (which I started in high school, but in my defense, there are some unachievable stuff in there, like owning a home on an island before 30. What was I thinking?)

So, it was kind of an existential crisis in a way. I left my 30-day notice that month and, despite what everyone said, I didn’t care if I didn’t have a clear plan yet. All I knew was that this was not what I wanted to do with my life, and that was enough reason for me to quit it.

The few days following my quitting the job, while still unclear about my next step, I received 3 other customer service job offers 2 of which were really easy to reject, the 3rd one was a tough no; but something else happened too, I ran into this video Getting A Job Is For Losers by Rich Dad Channel on YouTube, and that was when it hit me; I realized that what I really needed was to not need a job. I was more drawn to the idea that I do not necessarily need to work for someone else to make money, the idea of being financially independent, of having an income whether or not I worked for 45/50 hours every week.

That’s when I started to research on this more and figure out other ways to have a source of income. And throughout the posts of this blog I will be experimenting with all the ways I find and share all the tips and methods I run into that would help me (and hopefully whoever reads this) achieve that goal. *fingers crossed*