Stuck in a rat race with no hope in sight? Well, you’re not alone, great majority of the world population is faced with the same predicament, so don’t panic just yet. While there was very little to nothing you could have done about it as a child when you failed victim to the sinister system which aims to enslave us all, the good news is that you can now do plenty. Quite honestly, a mere realization and acknowledgement that you’re trapped in the rat-race is already a success and the first step toward getting out. Nonetheless, if you’re truly serious about breaking free from the shackles that bind you, these are the steps to follow:
1. Make The Exit Plan
Getting out of the vicious rat race is anything but easy, for if it was everyone would do it. The good news is that it is possible and not all that difficult. However, like with any task let alone a complex and arduous one, a fair bit of forward thinking and planning is required. Assuming you are currently employed and have a steady income, you’ve got to take some time and make a play-by-play exit plan which you’ll commit to and follow through until the end.
As you plan your exit strategy make sure you’ve got all the basis covered. Whether you strive for a complete financial freedom wherein you live off the passive income or a partial one wherein you still continue to work but for yourself and at your own convenience, you’ll have to ensure you’ve got your basic needs i.e., food, shelter, clothing etc. covered for 24 months as you transition from a modern slave into a free individual. In addition, think about the ways by which you’ll make a living post rat-race and what if anything is required of you to do in the run up to your exit.
2. Save Money
If you haven’t been living frugally, now is the time you start. Saving money isn’t all that difficult but requires much discipline and determination. The idea is to pay yourself first, no matter what. Every time you receive a new pay check, pay yourself first by putting aside 10%-30% of your total income – depending on your income and current living expenses – and live on the rest of it. Perhaps you’ll have to downsize and reconsider your spending habits. More often than not a mind-set shift is required to adjust successfully to a more frugal way of living. In the words of legendary investor Warren Buffett “if you buy things you don’t need, soon you’ll have to sell things you need.” So be mindful how you spend your money during this period.
Considering that you need to ensure your basic needs i.e., food, shelter, clothing etc. are covered for the period of 24 months following your rat-race exit, the easiest way to determine how much you’ll have to save is to simply multiply your monthly run rate by 24. For added safety, you may want to include an extra month or two of savings and start working toward your coveted goal. As you are most likely going to encounter the gap between your present financial state and future desired state, you’ll have ample time to do various other activities conducive to your goal. Use your time wisely in preparation for your exit.
Conduct a self-inventory with objective to get to know yourself truly and detect your innate strengths and abilities which you’ll depend on to make a living once you escape the rat race. Just because you work as an accountant, architect, bartender, engineer, web developer or a pilot, doesn’t mean your innate talents and strengths are aligned to it, far from it. If you are anything like majority of the world population, chances are that your profession and path in life have been heavily influenced by your parents, society and mainstream media, which simply means that your strengths are most likely not aligned to your current position or a role you assume in a company.
4. Side Interest
Develop a side interest which can bring you additional income i.e., blogging, tutoring, graphic design, web development etc. this could really be anything that you’re passionate about and matches your innate talents and strengths. It is important to act on this quickly and start early while you’re still employed so that you get a hang of it come the quitting time. Once you’ve identified your interest start reaching out to prospects and clients who have the need for your service(s) and try to ‘sell yourself’. Initially, you will find it challenging to win clients over to give you work but don’t get discouraged as it’s only natural for novice ‘freelancer’ to struggle in signing new clients.
Instead, use your time to build a self-promotional platform which you’ll use to attract prospects and clients going forward. You can start with low hanging fruits and leverage the social media e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube etc. Depending on the service(s) you want to offer, select the most suitable social media outlets and get busy building your followers and network. Keep in mind, this isn’t an overnight affair and will take you a fair bit of time to do this right. Be consistent and don’t give up.
In addition to social media platforms, you can set up a blog and start blogging about your industry or services you intend to offer, or simply register on to any one of the freelancing platforms where you can create an account and have access to myriad of freelancing jobs and clients who are there with intention to outsource various tasks or errands they have. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re consistent and don’t give up.
Now that you’ve been saving a part of your income from your day job and have been successfully generating additional income as a freelancer, the big moment of letting go and disengaging from the vicious rat-race has arrived. It’s time to man up and say goodbye to your old self who’s been a follower his whole life and say hello to your new self who’s on the mission to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. Burn all the bridges and don’t look back, for much better and brighter future awaits you. Think, act, be.
What a sense of relief, not having to wake up at the crack of dawn, shower, force feed and fight the morning traffic on the way to a mundane work. Now you get to wake up when you choose, do as much or little work as you please and spend the rest of your day the way you like. All of a sudden life has a whole new meaning. You are free and can start to enjoy life with all your senses. Make the most of it.