I’d really like to quit my full-time job so I could practice for a really important symphony audition that’s coming up, but considering today’s job market, I’m afraid to take the risk. What should I do?
– Violinist, Los Angeles, CA
The bigger question within your question seems to be: “How do I transition out of my day job, so I can work full time on my art?” This is a challenge to many Creatives.
Here are three really important factors to consider before you take the leap:
1. How much monthly/yearly income will you need to be able to sustain your lifestyle?
2. How long will it take you to get your career moving in the right direction so that you can sustain that comfortable lifestyle? 6 months, a year, longer?
3. Do you have enough funds saved to cover your basic living expenses while you’re making the transition?
So, let’s explore your options:
Option A: Quit your day job as soon as possible and throw yourself head first into becoming a full-time musician. This is what most Creatives dream of doing, but it’s not really feasible unless you’re willing to make huge lifestyle concessions and aren’t adverse to risk-taking. Likewise, you’ll need to live off your savings account (assuming you have one) until you start making regular income.
Option B: You stay at your day job, and continue working on you creative career on evenings and weekends. The biggest drawback to this option is that making progress in your creative career will take much, much longer. And unless you’re really disciplined and focused it’s easy for the other demands in your life to take-over. Also, you need to be realistic about how much you can get done in the space of a day. We all need sleep!
Option C: (My favorite option) Work your day job part- time and work on your Creative career part-time. As your Creative career develops and you begin to bring in more income on a consistent basis, completely phase out the day job. Note, you may have to leave your current day job and exchange it for another day job that allows for flexible hours. This may sound like a lateral move, but it’s actually quite clever. Think about it. You wouldn’t need to quit your day job in order to practice for that big upcoming audition if you could simply ask to be scheduled for a few less hours to accommodate your practice schedule. With this option, flexibility affords you a bit of the best of both worlds. You still have steady income while you build your creative career, but you also have the time and energy to do the work required to reach your career goals.
The final point I’d like to make is that it’s not enough to quit your day job and hope that everything works out. You need a plan. Leaving your job before you’ve taken the time to think everything through sets up a situation where even though you may have more time to focus on your craft, you end up being unproductive because you’re so stressed about making ends meet.
You need to be both optimistic and realistic when deciding how to transition into working on your art full-time. As with most things in life, having a solid plan is a key factor that will determine either success or failure.
CLICK HERE to watch a great YouTube video/podcast by guitarist Tom Hess on how to move from working your day job to a full-time music career.
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Subject Line: Fresh Rx