You don’t need to quit your job to make

Steph Smith on February 14, 2019

You can read this article, along with my other posts here. "I want to debunk the myth that originality requires extreme risk-taking and persuade ... [Read Full]
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Excellent read I love how you challenge your reader in a cerebral way. My favorite part was how you challenged the dichotomies of how we view our lives in a compartmentilzed way. The discussion on how much “me” time people generally have between work and sleep also spoke to me rather loudly. For my part, I’ve been working 45-50 hours a week and using my “me time” to finish my college education and complete a coding boot camp online. I appreciated that you came to a similar conclusion about working and pursing other goals on the side. In a lot of other blogs I’ve read people encouraging others do make their dreams happen and all the cliche blah blah blah that goes along with it. You give readers a practical and logical system to help those who might be saying to themselves “holy crap how am I going to do all this!”


Wow, thanks Andy! I really tried to make this post concrete and not a vague personal development post that you see everywhere. I'm so glad it resonated with you!

I think dichotomies are probably the biggest blocker in some way, shape, or form in people's lives. Congrats on finishing your education and the bootcamp. You are already actually doing (instead of saying) so much more than most people.


Excellent post. I have only one question, and it is regarding personal priorities:
Where would you fit family time?
You wrote that you are no longer in a relationship, but if you have a family, you cannot ignore it.


Thanks Silvestar! Since I work remotely, I spend most of my time on the road. When I am home, I stay with my family, and when I'm not I make sure to stay in touch with them.

For me, family is definitely important and you'll notice a "Tier 2" commitment (see chart), although I could admittedly do better there.


I have a child that I have to raise, and I work remotely (but from a single location). That means I could only have one spot for personal improvement. Do you think that is enough to succeed?

I think so, if that is what you want!

I think the whole takeaway is that anyone can accomplish what they want, if they want it enough. It's okay if you don't want it enough and it's also okay if it takes time. The key is aligning your goals to your behaviours, and over time the compounding will be on your side.

Yeah, it takes time, I agree with you on that one.
Again, congratulations on the excellent article and thank you for sharing it and for answering the questions. I especially enjoyed the 1.01³⁶⁵ = 37.8 formula part.

Thanks so much! I agree - formulas are super powerful in demonstrating some of these concepts! 📈


You don’t need to quit your job,
if you have a hobby (I think this is particularly due to the fact that in its current state, making is not my lifeline.)
or if you are a wizard who can type ones and zeroes for 40 minutes (check Wozniak's interview in Founders at Work).

If we are not geniuses but still want to make money out of the thing we are making then what?

Somehow people have forgotten that just because it's 201x,
You can't have your cake and eat it too.

You can't have

  • a demanding job,
  • relaxation time and
  • a serious side project.

Other permutations as yours for example (not a serious side project) - are entirely possible and what millions of people are already doing.

And I'm pretty sure that you haven't experienced burn-out or health issues connected with prolonged time of mental over-extension and stress which is really, really mention-worthy in such an article. ( You would have if you did)


While I agree with some of the things you're saying, I think it's premised on one of the things that I'm trying to disprove: a "business" doesn't have to be a unicorn.

A question I have for you: when does a side project turn into a "business"?

Thanks for the suggestion on Wozniak's interview. Will definitely check it out.

And regarding burnout, you're right I probably haven't experienced the worst forms of it, but I think that lessons can be taken from the article still ring true - choosing to work on things that you enjoy and optimizing your time can result in a better life.


You are right, that perhaps too many people associate "business" with unicorns (1 bn $ startups). I am not among them. What about building an app or a service that is very niche and will turn you into just a millionaire?

To answer your question - when you intend for it to bring financial benefits to you.

I would've agreed more with your last words, had you included at least one other dimension to optimize (e.g. energy).


Now you tell me! I literally quit my job yesterday... 😂

You are right though, you definitely do not need to quit your job to be defined as an entrepreneur and while some risk is good, risk is still risk and you don't want to be naive when deciding what risk you are willing to take.

For me, I had been working on my product for a few years in my spare time, so doing 40hrs of programming at my job to do another 20-30 hours of programming for my product during the week - probably nearly to the point of burnout. Now that I have left, I can dedicate all my time into building my product.


Haha someone else had the same reaction when they read it 😅(twitter.com/DTLawhon/status/109540...)

Thank you though! I think that's the main takeaway - you don't need to live a narrative just because everyone else says so.

If you have legitimate reason to want to quit your job for better things, that's totally fine as well.


Very well put and a good read. One small question: in stating
"There is also a misconception that in order to build a sustainable business, you need to spend an extortionate amount of time to get there.", did you mean to say "extraordinary"?


Thank you! Ha, I've actually heard this from one other person. I intended to use extortionate in the sense that it has a cost and it's too high. But since you're the second person to be put off by that usage, I'll switch it. 😊


Not really put off per se, but the proofreader gene in me kicked in :)


I agree. In the end, it's all about what you want out of life, and how much you are willing to put in to get there.

Personally, I am a programmer in my day job with several constructive hobbies such as writing, reading, video editing and drawing. I'm also learning Japanese in my 'me time' and I love watching anime.

I often get asked by colleagues how I get around to so many things in a week and my answer is: I avoid distractions, now more than ever. I deleted Twitter, Instagram and a whole bunch of other social media things off my phone because those are quantity over quality. I also have a schedule which I follow. It's just a list of things I want to have done in a day which means it is flexible, but it works for me.

Another thing I tell people is to try to live as close to work as possible and to optimize your commute i.e leave earlier or later in order to avoid traffic.

Admittedly I need to get more sleep... and I sometimes need to use my Saturdays to catch up...


Yes, exactly! Thanks for sharing your approach. I also find that social media is an absolute time killer - I'm still working through finding the best balance there.

I also agree with the point on commuting. It's insane how much time and energy goes towards that for most people (it's mentally exhausting!).

Congrats on finding what sounds like a great balance for you.


Thank you for saying all of this. You choose what is important to you and honestly all the time is me time. Choosing to work while building is a strategy that you choose; not watching TV, etc. the same. I hope you use your time wisely and efficiently, I hope you achieve your goals, and I hope you do so with minimal burn out. Stay hungry and healthy!


I like how you put it: "all time is me time". You have a choice with everything that you spend your time on. Thanks for the kind words!! 😊


After reading this and then the comments, I feel like some people are taking this at face value as if Steph is suggesting this is how it has to be for everyone in order for it to work for everyone. Just because Steph prioritizes certain activities in certain tiers with certain hours doesn't meant that schedule will work for everyone. But it's an example that prioritization is key. Do you have a goal and truly only 1 free hour per day? Use that hour to work toward your goal. Prioritize it. I have a chronic illness and have to prioritize rest in tandem with my work schedule. But I still manage to study for at least 30 minutes per day. On average I study 8-10 hours per week because I commit more time on my days off and on my "good days". The point is to do what works with the time you have and make it a priority.


/In order to sustain a full-time job and creating projects, I’ve had to remove distractions. For example, I don’t watch TV. I don’t commute. I am currently not in a relationship. These were all active choices./
I was always wondering how some people think like this because I probably have different values. Do your really make you so happy? Because for me, for example, having close relationship is important and, I would say, being happy in relationship boosts my productivity and motivation to work, so I could spend more time working. Is it not like that for you? Why do your project have such high priority that you would even ditch relationship for them?


It's not that I don't value relationships more than my projects or "success", but I try to be very thoughtful about who I invest my time with.

As I mentioned, I don't expect to my out of a relationship forever, but I will not just enter one to fill the gap or just to "be in one". My last relationship ended for other reasons, not because of my projects. But now that I have found projects that I love working on, I am even more mindful about the tradeoffs.

On another note, I see relationships fitting having the same compounding effects where you really only see a lot of value from relationships that you invest a lot in over time. I definitely value those relationships, but don't see as much value in investing in relationships outside of that.


"With approximately 16 hours of the day allocated to work and sleep, every individual has approximately 8 hours to allocate to "me time""

Hahahahahahahha. You don't have kids.

If only I had 1 hour a day where I wasn't working, caring for little people, or doing household chores I could take over the world.


Great post!. I agree with post entirely and will incorporate some of the ideas as I grow as a developer and entrepreneur.


Thanks Tremaine! Wishing you well on your journey.


Awesome I really love your article cause it talks about focusing on having a full-time job and doing something on the side. Thanks a lot of writing this article I love the book by Adam Grant.


Thanks so much, Max! I also love Originals. If you haven't read it, his book Give and Take is even better, in my opinion!


Fantastic article!


Thanks Brian!


Steph, very thanks to share your point. You make me thought about my real goals.


Thank you!


This is a next-level post and sums up a ton of things I have been thinking about these past few weeks and months. Thanks, Steph.


Wow, thank you Daniel!

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