How to Escape the 9-5 Grind: How I Did It in 4 Months (2024)

Do you dream of quitting your day job and living financially free?

Then, you’re in the right place. Here, I’ll share my step-by-step process on how to escape the 9-5 and achieve financial freedom. (These are the exact same steps I took to quit my job in 4 months.)

Sound good? Let’s dive right in.

Ways to escape your 9-5

Want to escape your 9-5? You’re not alone.

62% of Americans want to quit their corporate jobs (or already have).

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And although becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most common methods, it’s not the only way.

Let’s look at the different ways you can escape your 9-5 and see what works best for you.

Starting a business

There’s a reason that one in six Americans want to start their own businesses and that number is growing.

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Becoming an entrepreneur gives you freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to do work you’re passionate about.

And you can build up your business on the side of your corporate job. That way, you replace your income before you quit for a smoother transition.

There are many business models to choose from, including:

  • Coaching/consulting
  • Digital products
  • Online courses
  • E-commerce

The business model I recommend for people who want to quit their day job is coaching or consulting.

This type of business involves advising and guiding people on how they can achieve their goals.

And the reason this business model is a good starting point if you want to escape your 9-5 is that you can get started with the skills you already have. You don’t need much money to start (you don’t even need a website).

I used this business model to quit my own job in four months. By translating what I had learned about digital advertising in my 9-5, I used my skills to start a digital advertising consulting business. (But more on that later.)

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Thinking of providing a done-for-you service instead?

Let’s talk about freelancing.

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Freelancing

Freelancing means that you provide a service for businesses or individuals for a fee.

This is a great option if you want to make money for the same skills as your corporate job but with more flexibility.

As a freelancer, you can set your own schedule, create your own packages, and even choose your clients.

Some freelance business ideas include:

  • Video editing
  • Social media management
  • Translating
  • Graphic design
  • Virtual assisting
  • Voice acting
  • Writing

For example, Kat Boogaard is a freelance copywriter:

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But here’s the thing about being a freelancer: You need a lot of discipline to get your work done.

If you like the structure of a 9-5 but want more flexibility, remote work is a great option.

Read on.

Getting a remote job

A normal job comes with things like long commutes and schedules that don’t work for your life.

With a remote job, you get the flexibility you want without losing the security of a 9-5.

And remote work is becoming more common – with over 30 million Americans working remotely at least some of the time.

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So how do you get a remote job?

You could start where you are. Speak to your company about going remote or hybrid (working from home some days a week).

And if not, look at job boards like We Work Remotely and FlexJobs for new opportunities.

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Investing

Investing is one of the most popular routes to financial freedom…but it’s also the slowest.

Take the FIRE movement. FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is about cutting back as many expenses as possible and investing your salary so you can retire early.

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It’s a nice idea but not realistic for many – especially if you have a family.

You have to limit your life a lot which makes achieving financial freedom less fun, as multiple former FIRE followers have shared.

But what about investing in real estate or stocks?

Both of these have the potential to make you enough money to free you from your job, but they take time to build.

And you also need capital to invest enough.

Bottom line: Investing can be lucrative but it’s much higher risk and slower reward.

That’s why I personally think entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to quit your 9-5. And that’s what we’ll explore next.

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6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

How can you escape the 9-5?

To escape the 9-5 with the help of a business, you need to:

  • Find the right idea
  • Research your market
  • Start building your business
  • Find the right time to quit

Let’s dive into each point in detail.

Find the right idea

Question: Why do you want to escape your 9-5 and build a business?

Is it because you want…

  • To spend more time with family (like me)?
  • To control your schedule?
  • More financial freedom?
  • To have more impact?
  • To transition into a different career you’re more passionate about?

In short, what is your “why”?

For example, let me tell you about my “why.”

In the space of two years, my sister almost lost her sight, my Dad had major heart surgery, and my Mum was diagnosed with cancer. As a close family, this was devastating. And it was even more devastating that I didn’t have enough PTO to be there with my family when they needed me.

I wanted to guarantee I could be there for them in the future. So I needed a business that would give me the ultimate flexibility and freedom, AKA a “Freedom Business.”

Examples of Freedom Businesses include:

  • Freelancing
  • Coaching
  • Consulting
  • Online courses

These are great first businesses for escaping the 9-5, because you can use skills you already have and charge by the package.

That way, you can maximize your profit and earn the money you need to quit your job sooner.

In fact, it only took me four months after starting my digital advertising consulting business to quit. While I had a lot of business building experience before, many of my students have gone on to quit their jobs within months or a year.

Now it’s your turn.

Make a list of all of the skills you’ve built through your day job, hobbies, and life experiences.

What do your friends, family, and colleagues come to you for help with?

For example, my corporate job was working with big clients on ad campaigns. So digital advertising consulting for small businesses was a natural niche for me.

I talk more about choosing a business idea in this video:

Tip: Contrary to popular belief, the niche you choose doesn’t need to be a “passion.”

There’s a lot of advice out there that says “follow your passion” to help you get clarity on your business idea.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be interested or even passionate about your business idea.

But the point of your business is not to fuel your passions – it’s to improve the lives of your customers.

So I tell my students to focus on the “mission” over “passion” if they want to quit their jobs faster.

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Another common myth is that you need to invent the next Amazon to be successful.

That’s completely false. A service-based business can reach multiple six-figures in revenue and impact thousands of people, helping you quit your job much faster than a new startup that requires a lot of funding, risk, and a constant hustle.

If you have a valuable skill that can transform the lives of your clients, that’s the idea to run with.

But finding your business idea is just the beginning.

You need to know if it’s something people want and can be profitable.

That’s what we’ll talk about next.

Action steps:

✅ Make a list of at least 10 sellable skills you have

✅ Choose one or two ideas to research further

Research your market

Many new business owners skip market research, especially if they have chosen an established niche.

If it’s working for other people, why wouldn’t it work for you… right?

Here’s the thing:

Market research can help you understand what your ideal clients need and how to stand out.

It’ll also give you more time to validate whether it’s the right idea for you.

For example, I didn’t start with digital advertising consulting.

My first try was with Excel consulting, which I quickly learned I wasn’t excited about.

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My next idea, career coaching, was closer but still wasn’t quite right.

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When I turned to digital advertising, I knew I could create amazing results for my clients and enjoy that business, which is why my business grew so quickly.

So how do you validate your idea?

Simple – search platforms like YouTube, Google, Reddit, and other social media and answer these questions:

  • Are there similar services to yours?
  • Are your services relevant to the industry you want to focus on?
  • Are there people asking for the services you want to offer?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re on the right track.

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Then dive a little deeper.

What are the specific pain points you see come up within your niche?

Is this an area you could help with given your experience?

This is how you create a service that stands out from the rest.

Action steps:

✅ Research your competitors and online groups to see if there is a market for your services

✅ Talk to potential customers! Ask people in online groups or in your network to hop on a quick market research call

Start building your business

Here’s a common unwisdom: You need a website to start a business.

Well, I built my business to six figures without a website.

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Because honestly, your clients don’t care about your logo, or branding photos, or copywriting.

They care about the value you can bring them.

So how do you find and book those clients?

The easiest way is to go to where they already hang out online (and offline).

Here are some effective marketing strategies to get clients:

  • Post valuable content on social media that will resonate with your target market
  • Reach out to potential clients on LinkedIn and offer them a free coaching or consulting session
  • Guest host on podcasts in your niche
  • Guest post on blogs and publications in your niche
  • Let your personal and professional network know about the services you offer
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Now, you might be wondering, “Where do I find the time to do all this?”

You don’t. I recommend you start with one marketing strategy and build from there.

And yes, that also means mastering just one social media platform.

Having laser focus will help you create better content and see better results – even if you only have 20 minutes a day to work on your business.

When you’re more established, you can work on more long-term strategies like SEO, paid ads, and email marketing.

But for now, focus on the things that bring in sales and ignore the rest.

Next up: How do you know when it’s time to quit?

Action steps:

✅ Choose one marketing strategy to get your first client

✅ Take consistent action – post social media posts, pitch podcasts, and so on every day

Find the right time to quit

So you’ve started working with clients and your business is earning money.

Is now the time to escape the 9-5 for good?

Look: I know it’s tempting to quit your job right away.

That’s the sexy entrepreneur story we see so often.

But the truth is many people who burn their bridges and walk out as soon as they get a good business idea end up back in a 9-5.

Why? Because they didn’t build their business enough to keep them going without a stable paycheck.

So when do you know you’re ready to quit? I call this framework the 3-2-1 rule:

  • 3 – Have at least 3 months of consistent sales in your business
  • 2 – Make at least 2X your expenses from your business
  • 1 – Save 1 year of living expenses
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If you have one or more of these things, your business is way more likely to succeed.

But that’s just the money side of things. What about lifestyle?

See, I managed to make six figures in sales in my digital ad consulting business before I left my job…but I had no life.

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Yes, it meant I could leave my job faster but I don’t recommend this to my students today.

What I recommend is setting up a system that brings in clients consistently.

As a broad overview, you want to set up a conversion sales system that:

  • Attracts clients to your website or social media
  • Gets potential clients on an email list
  • Sends subscribers automated content that builds trust
  • Encourages people to reach out to you to work with you if they are the right fit

After perfecting this system, you’ll know exactly how many leads you need to generate to reach your monthly sales goals.

To learn more about creating a system, check out this video:

Action steps:

✅ Map out how much money you’ll need to quit your job (whether that’s based on your salary or having enough savings)

✅ Once you get your first clients, set up systems that help you get more clients to your business

Next steps

There you have it! That’s how to escape the 9-5 and achieve financial freedom.

If you want to become an entrepreneur and quit your job this year, you need the right strategy.

And that’s what I share in my free PDF on how to build a six-figure online business.

Get it here:

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