One year later...What we've learned from starting a podcast interviewing people who quit their jobs
Why I Quit
It’s hard to believe it has been over a year since we started the “Why I Quit” podcast. Over the past year, we have conducted over 60 interviews, released 39 episodes, learned how to start a podcast, learned how to edit audio/video, and heard amazing stories from incredible individuals. We’ve never done anything like this before so it has been an incredible learning experience. We wanted to outline a list of our takeaways from the process below (so you can learn from us as well):
Every story is different - While every episode had similar themes, every single guest had different reasons for quitting. Some were looking to start a business, others to change careers, and others had personal goals to spend more time with family or travel. There is not one single right answer of why or how you should quit, but each guest provide incredible insight and inspiration into their process. What we learned from each guest is that you need to first understand why you want to quit and then make a plan to make it happen. No plan will ever be perfect, so do not consistently delay the process. However, make sure you fully think through the logistics of how this will affect your finances, your relationships, and how much risk you are willing to take on. This answer will be different based on your own individual circumstances.
The importance of validation - Almost every guest that started their own business started it as a side hustle before quitting their job. If there is one thing that is true, it is hard and stressful to make money as a business. While working two jobs can be stressful, it is a great way of mitigating risk. You can prove that your business venture is profitable while building up your savings to give yourself a longer runway to make your business work. There is more time than you expect on nights and weekends to work on a side hustle. While there are sacrifices in this, you can prepare yourself to reach the point of being ready to go all-in on your idea. With that being said, sometimes people can wait too long to quit. They can keep a side hustle and be too nervous to quit. There are only so many hours in the day and you can only sustain these long hours for so long. So having two jobs can limit the potential successes of growing your own business. It will be different for everyone, but eventually you need to be ready to take the leap and quit your job.
Expectations versus reality - Without a doubt, this was the MOST common theme of every episode. The first year of quitting a job and striking out on your own is the hardest. Everyone has expectations of how much money they are going to make, how many hours they will work, etc, and then there is the reality of the situation. Many times people are quitting their job because they are stressed, working too many, not making enough, etc. However, when you start your own business, most times you make less, work more, and travel less in the beginning. No matter what type of business you have, it will always be hard. So be prepared to set realistic expectations and have a long term outlook to weather the storms. While the reality was always harder than the guests anticipated, all of them still stand by the fact that quitting was the right decision.
The grass is always greener - Most of the time when people want to quit, they focus on the issues or stresses with their current job. Whether you are in a full-time 9 to 5 or running your own business, it will always be hard. Jobs will always be stressful and it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Starting a business just has a different type of stress. You may control your own schedule and not need to ask for vacation days from a boss anymore, however you may not have enough time or money to travel when you start your new business. This goes to the point of thinking in a long term perspective and understanding your priorities. What do you value in a job when it comes to salary, time off, work life balance, type of role, long term goals, etc? You can never have it all in a position. You need to think through what is most important to you and what helps you optimize the type of live you want to live.
Failure equals learning - No guest’s process went as they expected. Every single person failed during the process. The people that started successful businesses or found new career paths were able to learn and adapt from their mistakes. When you are quitting, you never know where the path is going to lead. You need to be willing to fail and eager to learn from those mistakes. Failing is not a bad thing. It leads to new ideas and new businesses. If you are unwilling to fail, most likely you will never end up quitting and trying something new.
Actually quitting is the hardest - Almost every guest talked about how the conversation with their boss was the hardest part of quitting. Most people build a relationship with their company and coworkers, which makes it feel like you are abandoning them when quitting. It was very apparent though that almost every one of these conversations went better than they expected. Most of the time, your coworkers and managers just want what is best for you. Do not delay these conversations because you are scared of what people may think. Just be honest and at the end of the day, your current company will be ok.
Starting a podcast is hard - For anyone out there looking to start a podcast, just know that is is extremely hard. It is very time consuming and the path to monetization can be extremely difficult. So think about why you want to start a podcast. For us, we want to connect with amazing individuals and share their story. There are so many people out there looking to quit their jobs and follow a different path. Too many times people don’t pull the trigger because they are nervous or the quit without the understanding of what it is actually like. Most of the content is from influencers on social media with a “get rich quick” rhetoric. We wanted to change the narrative to focus on what quitting is actually like. We quit our full-time jobs over 7 years ago and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We are not looking to make money of this podcast, we want to connect like-minded individuals and create a community that supports each other through an extremely difficult process.
Finally, a big piece of feedback is to never hesitate to ask for feedback or help. If anyone is looking to start a podcast, quit their job, start an agency, or build an app or website, we are always glad to talk through anything. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the help from mentors and successful entrepreneurs, so feel free to grab a time on my Calendly if you ever want to chat!