I made the decision to quit my full-time job over three months ago. I was not happy at work and I wanted to give myself a chance to launch The Part-Time Artist business. In my book, I explain the pros and cons and why I didn’t follow my original plan (I intended of quitting in June instead of January). I thought that working from home was going to be like a long holiday, but it turned out to be quite different.
These past months, I’ve discovered some consequences of this decision. Some positive, some negative, most of them completely unexpected. And I thought that it would be interesting to make an article about this.
So here are some things that happen when you quit your day job to become a full-time artist.
You Get Lonely
I knew this was a risk when working from home, and it did happen to me. The transition between my busy day job and staying at home all the time was difficult because I suddenly felt completely alone. I’m lucky that I have a partner who also works from home, otherwise I would have spent days seeing and talking to nobody, and it would have been worse. Loneliness is a problem for many entrepreneurs, especially if you are an extrovert like I am.
But fear not! The best thing you can do to make this transition smoother is to have a plan. Make a list of people you can see when you feel too lonely. Work in a public space from time to time. Use Skype to speak with people far away. Keep hobbies that will put you in contact with people.
The good thing is that the transition only lasted for 1-2 months. Now, I’m much more used to staying at home and seeing less people than I used to. You get used to a more quiet life with less interactions. I still have bouts of loneliness, but I now know what to do if I feel like that.
You Don’t Know Which Day It Is
Recently I Skyped with a friend from Belgium and she mentioned her plans for Easter. I was blown away! I totally didn’t realise that it was Easter! When you work from home, you miss the usual cues and social rhythms that other people get from being at work.
Weekends are not really a thing either. I try to have my Sundays off for my own sanity, but otherwise they are days like any other. Weeks tend to pass much quicker than when I was working too. In general, I don’t know which date it is. It’s weird!
Your Home Gets Dirty Quicker
Now, this is annoying! Since you spend much more time at home, that means that your home gets so much dirtier! I’m not even kidding. Dishes pile up twice as fast as they used to, it seems. And I need to clean my desk much more regularly.
The counterpart to this is that I need to do much less laundry: no uniform to wear, no “double wardrobe” (one for home, one for work). So it’s not all bad!
You Gain Weight
This might be just me. My day job used to be very active. I used to go up and down stairs all day long, because I was working in a theatre. I was getting A LOT of exercise on a daily basis.
And now, the most walking I get is between my bedroom and my desk. As a result: I gained weight. While I never had to exercise for weight reasons before, I now have to make time for it regularly.
You Can Plan
Holidays, conferences, getaways, birthdays… With my job, I could never plan anything because I worked random shifts, including weekends. And going on holiday for more than a week was discouraged. This has completely changed now that I work from home!
I have recently booked a 2-week travel for the first time in years. I’ll take my laptop with me because I’ll still have to update the blog and the podcast, but I love the freedom of being able to work from anywhere. I can say yes to invitations most of the time, without having to wait until my shifts are communicated to me. I organise my work around my other activities, instead of the other way around. As a result, I feel like I have a better balance in my life.
You Worry About Money – A LOT…
This is the BIG hurdle for me, because I’m currently not making enough money to survive with The Part-Time Artist. Of course, I had planned for this, with a consequent amount of savings. I am also soon starting a casual job, and I am getting more freelance work. So I’m not in a bad situation, but it doesn’t prevent me from worrying. A lot. All the time.
It is very hard, I’m not going to lie. If you decide to become an entrepreneur, you have to expect that money is going to be a worry, at least at first. And this stress is very difficult to alleviate. I sometimes panic and find myself searching for a full-time job on LinkedIn, before reminding myself that I still have time. I might have to go back to working full-time at some point, but only if I have no other choice.
… But in General, You’re Less Stressed!
Aside from money stress, other stresses are much reduced! There again, it took me time to fully relax. My job was so stressful by the end that I had developed several health issues, and they didn’t go away immediately. Stress had a bad impact on my mood, on my body and on my relationships. It took a long time to feel safe and less “on edge”.
Nowadays, I’m much more relaxed and happy. It’s like waking up after a long sleep where I didn’t feel like I was acting like myself. I laugh a lot, I have tons of ideas and I feel much more creative. Even my anxiety has decreased!
Your Productivity Increases
When I quit my job, I was worried that I was going to spend days doing nothing. That I was not going to be able to motivate myself to work every day, when the TV and the bed were in the same room. Well, I was wrong! It only took a couple of weeks to get used to the new work rhythm. And now I can say that I am much more productive than I was at work.
When I’m at home, I’m not constantly interrupted like I was at work. I also don’t need to deal with commute and I can work during that time instead. And I am SO passionate about what I’m doing that I sometimes have to stop myself because it’s midnight and I really need to go to bed. Otherwise I would work all night long!
Do you want to quit your job? What are your expectations? Or did you quit your job recently? Let me know in the comments!
Céline is an author and podcaster passionate about helping fellow artists reach their potential and live a happy, balanced life.