Before you get too comfy in your current position you want to remind yourself to keep your eye on the ball. What I mean by that is, the only one who’s going to look out for you– is YOU. Where do YOU want to be in your career? Think about your current job and ask yourself if you’re starting to outgrow it. Our brain is a sponge and it’s important to gain as much knowledge and experience as we possibly can from our coworkers and bosses– but there comes a time when the student becomes the teacher and it’s time to move on.
Whether you decide to go fully remote or not, turnaround time for any job is around 2-3 years. You want to continually learn and grow within your industry, collaborate with your team, learn from the best in the biz, and gain as much value as you can until you’re at the top.
I have 3 questions for you. Where exactly do you want to be in your career right now? Where do you see yourself in a year from now? And where do you want to be working physically while you achieve these goals? If you’ve never thought about it before, get your notebook out and start brain dumping. Feeling a little lost with this idea? Read 7 questions to help uncover your career path, plus a helpful cosmo-style worksheet. If you’re nodding your head yes it’s time to start preparing to leave this job behind you, then read on because this article is for you:
Do your research
Doing your research is always the first viable step. In this case, it’s research on yourself as well as job opportunities. Are you looking for something that comes with routine and structure like a 9-5? Maybe you’re past all that and want to give freelancing a shot. Or, how about letting your true entrepreneurial self come out and play. Not sure yet? Dig into the different types of remote worker styles.
If it’s a remote 9-5 that you’re after, then start your job search. More interested in giving freelancing a try? Then let’s figure out your freelance specialty. Entrepreneur? Start with thinking about your vision, and a mission as to what your unique offering could be. I always suggest starting with a side hustle first. You want to learn how to take full advantage of online marketing before you go out and purchase a domain name.
It’s also okay not to know, this is why doing research as the first step is so important. Look around at all the remote job listings as well as freelance gigs. You may end up working part time for one company, and freelance to a couple clients at the same time. There are lots of possibilities that we just don’t know yet. So make sure to keep your mind and options open.
I want you to keep track of all the job opportunities you find. Categorize them into jobs you’re qualified for right now, ones that would be a reach, and ones that you’re not qualified for but still peak your interest. This will help you understand what kind of candidates and skillsets companies are looking for, as well as the possibility that it may be a good idea to take an online course and refresh your skillset–or maybe even change careers. I have a complete guide to give you everything you need to find a remote job, including a remote job tracker to get you started.
Look at the calendar and ask yourself when you’d like to leave your current job, and start your new one. One month? 3-6 months? I typically like to work inside a 3 month timeframe. They’re easier to stick to, not too long, and not too short.
Managing your time is the key to success. Do what works best for you, just make sure you give yourself an honest and achievable goal.
Now, what do you need to accomplish in order to meet this deadline? Don’t stress yourself out with this task, it’s not as overwhelming as you may think. Anytime you’ve ever had to clean your room, you see a big daunting task at hand. Cleaning out the closets, doing laundry, organizing shelves, checking under the bed, dusting each nook and cranny– it’s a lot. But if you can focus on one task at hand before moving onto the next, you’ll be able to accomplish more than you think, and on time.
Think of watching yourself starring in a movie. What’s the BIG picture here? I know it’s not sitting where you are right now forever so we need to stay focused. What tasks do you need to complete each month out of the three to succeed? What about each week? Start making those checklists, it’s going to be the best way for you to brain dump, and release your ideas and turn them into actionable steps.
Give yourself a timeline, and make yourself accountable. DO NOT procrastinate. Do not turn your 3 month goal into over a year. I am standing up and cheering you on. Keep your eye on the prize, and together we’ll get you there! Just make sure you mark it on your calendar!
Now carve out 4-6 hours a week (if you can afford more, then do more) and get busy! Think about anytime you previously changed jobs and the preparation you did ahead of time: same thing applies here. You’re going to refresh and rebrand your online presence in coincidence of your job hunt.
When I prepared my transition between two agencies, I worked for months updating my portfolio, website, and resume. I had extensive pin boards of inspiration and gave myself 3 months to have a new and improved website up, new personal branding, and matching resume.
If you’re looking for a remote 9-5, spend your time carefully crafting your online presence, starting with your LinkedIn followed by your resume, and website. No matter what industry you’re in, having a website is your place to showcase your personality and work samples. No need for fancy code or design, there are loads of easy to use websites that come with templates with drag and drop capabilities.
This is what made it also seamless for me to get freelance work, a beautifully polished portfolio. It’s a good rule of thumb to actively check out new remote jobs and freelance gigs that become available each week. Keep a list of jobs that you qualify for, as well as not qualify for but seem right up your alley. My guide gives you all the social media channels that push out daily job listings.
Grow a following
If you’re heading towards the entrepreneur route you’ll need to build an audience. It doesn’t solely have to be on social media, but it’s the best way to start. Pick your poison: LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Youtube, or start a podcast. It’s time to start flexing those online networking muscles! We’re at a time where no matter what industry you’re in, online marketing is going to be your friend here.
This is essentially where you’ll find your audience and how you can start building an email list and turn them into buyers. You can play the long game here. Just start thinking about what your specialty is and how you can serve the world with your expertise. I’ve got a great cosmo-style career worksheet to get you started, and an article to figure out your freelance specialty, which is very relatable to the entrepreneur. Freelancers need an audience just as much as entrepreneurs do to bring in clients.
Look at your finances
Like any new venture, your finances do play a part in it. This is when you start to look back at your bank account and ask why you HAD to buy that $250 dress plus the $100 on dinner that came with the evening. It’s time to start saving up! While you’re quietly preparing to leave your job and still get paid, start pinching those pennies and save up! How many vacation and sick days do you have left? Can you cash them in? Better yet, use them as a work-cation so you can focus on your next big endeavor.
How else can you save extra in these next 3-6 months? Is it time to purge your apartment? Consign some clothes? Sell some furniture? You want to start looking at all the ways where you can make some extra cash AND start preparing to get out of your apartment and ease into the minimalist life of a digital nomad?
Start thinking about your future nomadic life. What bills will you be able to get rid of? I’m hoping you answer with your car payment, cable bill, oh and RENT, your rent is soon to get a lot less expensive. This will help you understand what you’re about to pull the plug on and understand what your new nomadic life will cost on a monthly basis. Check out everything you need to know about remote jobs, I dig into all things spending and saving.
Leave on the right foot
You want to finish your last job out strong. Give ample notice, train your replacement, and don’t slack off. These last two weeks aren’t to be treated like the last two spent senior year of high school, you want to make sure you part ways on a positive note.
Trust me, it’s S-C-A-R-Y giving your notice. When I gave notice at my corporate job I was terrified, sweating, and every-kind of nervous. Remember to breathe. It’s totally okay to leave your job, and it happens all the time. Your boss, included, has been there. And if you already tried to level with them working remotely (I have an extensive guide on how to pitch your boss a permanent remote role) then chances are they knew this was coming.
Express gratitude towards your mentors, write them each a letter, and go out for drinks with your colleagues. When I left my agency, I single handedly wrote a note to over 20 people on the back of a brochure that I designed, basically everyone at some point got involved in, was absolute hell, that turned into a success. My leave behind, so to speak– and the perfect writing material for everyone to remember me by, as well as express how thankful I was to know them– and 7 years later we still meet up for drinks when I’m in town.
Keep a good relationship with your ex Boss
They may even be willing to let you keep your job on a remote level, part time, or even freelance for them. I actually freelance for my last agency from time to time and it’s a perfect little gig. You already know the ins and outs of the company, coworkers, and workflow.
Better yet, your boss may have some leads for you as far as freelance goes, or put your name in the right people’s inboxes for all networking of all sorts. Get your boss’s opinion on your newly updated portfolio, website, and resume, I certainly did. Your boss is the perfect person to get an opinion on your newly improved online presence. Think about how many potential new hires he had to go through before he picked you as the perfect candidate? I still e-mail old creative directors from time to time to get a second opinion– so keep that relationship with your boss a good one!
Be sure to leave a good impression as you walk out those revolving doors forever. Maintain your productivity and motivation to prove that you’re a professional and accountable to finish out your last projects. Don’t let it fall onto your coworkers plates! This will be a huge burden on everyone and make a negative impression on your character, work ethic, and really overall just an asshole move if you ask me.
You never know where you’ll meet your colleagues again, potentially partner up in business, or one day work for you. Keep your connections close, you never know where future opportunities will arrive!