You’ve got a side hustle and are dying to work from home on your business full time. Quitting your job has been a dream, but you also don’t want to be careless about the whole thing and not be prepared financially to make the transition as smooth as possible.
So, how much savings do you really need to have before you quit your job to be a stay at home mom?
I wish someone had told me the answer to this before I put in my notice last year. Honestly, it’s best to have about six months of expenses saved up before you quit your job.
Unfortunately, I didn’t really know how much I should have saved up, and I just sort of guessed based on expenses and how I hoped my business was going to take off.
I decided that three months of savings was surely enough. That’d give me time to get my business really cranking.
But I didn’t foresee any of the things happening that did, and it almost had me looking for a job again just as soon as I’d left mine.
Thankfully, I was able to recover and continue working on my business while staying home with my son, but the already challenging venture of being a work at home mom was made even harder just because I didn’t have enough savings.
To help you be as successful as possible, I’m sharing the lessons I learned from my mistake so you can be better prepared than I was.
Why Should You Have Six Months of Savings Before You Quit Your Job to Stay Home
You’re coping with the transition to being a work at home mom
As an ambitious entrepreneur, I wanted to really believe in myself and my business, so I was convinced that I was going to quit my job, dive head first into my business and my revenue was going to skyrocket.
The reality looked quite different for me.
Transitioning from working a 9-5 to working from home came as a huge shock to my system.
After working for years in an academic setting, I suddenly found myself adjusting to life as a work at home mom where I had to set my own schedule, work with a toddler around, hold myself accountable to get all tasks complete, and cope with the reality that my money wasn’t guaranteed anymore.
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All of these adjustments threw me for a loop, and I wasn’t as successful in my business as I’d envisioned. I basically maintained the level I’d done as a side hustle while I tried to figure out how to really view it as business and scale it as a work at home mom.
This meant that I was already using my savings right out of the gate which wasn’t a good sign.
Business ups and downs.
Every business has some seasonality to it with some seasons generating more money than others. When my reselling business was a side hustle, I didn’t really notice this as much since it was just something I did on the side.
I knew about the infamous “summer slowdown” but that’d never really happened to me before. Probably due to the fact that I often listed more in the summer rather than the winter, so for me, it was always an increase in sales.
When I went full-time, however, the summer slow down became very apparent. I was listing more but sales weren’t really taking off.
No matter what your business is, there are going to be fluctuations in your money. Having six months of savings will give that buffer for those months when your business doesn’t generate as much money as you were planning.
Growth of your business is important.
This is something that took me a while to wrap my head around, but I wish I had learned this much sooner.
Your business needs to grow as much as it can; even if you’ve been running it as a side hustle for a while.
As a full-time business, it’ll need to grow even more.
If you don’t have enough savings and need to take the money your business is generating, then your business can’t grow like it needs to.
I heard the analogy from Brooke Castillo that your business is like a baby. You wouldn’t expect a baby to start doing chores and paying toward rent. You feed it and nurture it until it can take care of itself.
I definitely took from my business before it was ready and almost lost my business because of it.
For my ebay business, I needed money to buy new inventory, buy shipping and inventory supplies, and pay the ebay fees.
Since I’d already burned through my savings, I was taking most of the money from my business instead of putting it back into it. I wasn’t able to buy much inventory which meant I couldn’t increase my listings and my business was stalling out.
Finally, I realized this was happening, thanks to reading the book Profit First, and I was able to build my business back up to a healthy state while also taking enough for my salary.
Unforeseen events can happen
You can have a great plan for how you’re going to grow your business and manage your expenses, but honestly, you never know if something major is going to happen that takes away your focus or your money.
For me, this was my mom’s cancer progressing faster than I’d imagined. Suddenly, I was spending hundreds of dollars extra a month traveling to see her and paying for things to help her be more comfortable in her last days. Only 3 months after starting my business, she passed away and my business wasn’t prepared for me to just not work.
Thankfully, I’d prepared a bit and had taught a friend how to run my ebay business. While having her there saved my business from going under, it meant that all of the money I was making was going to her for her services.
Now obviously, I hope nothing like that happens in your life, but we aren’t in control of any of that. What we are in control of is how much money we have saved up for any rainy days that come our way.
Having more of a savings built up would’ve made this unexpected event easier to manage for sure.
Having savings creates a sense of security
Having a healthy savings account can help relieve some of the money stress that comes with running your own business.
I’ll never forget the feeling when I realized that the end of the month was coming, and I wouldn’t just see that money deposited into my account like it always had for years.
It quickly sank in that my money was now a result of my business success. Even though part of the reason I wanted to be an entrepreneur was to create more income, it was a bit startling to realize that my money was 100% from me.
I had a bit of savings, but at that moment, I definitely wished I had more to feel more at ease. I was committed to making my business work, but when selling stuff online, there’s a component of it that’s out of my control. Having a larger savings would’ve helped me feel less stressed about making those sales and simply focus on growing my business.
When deciding whether it’s time to quit your job and start working from home, you want to be as prepared as possible to give yourself the best chance of being successful.
There are technically two options here: 1) Your side hustle generates enough money to support you and to grow or 2) You have an adequate amount of savings built up so you aren’t depending on your business until it’s ready.
The first option sounds feasible, but with all of the things I mentioned above, you really don’t want to be taking the money from your business if you can help it.
There are obviously exceptions to this and everyone’s situation is different. If you’re like me and wanted to leave your job even if your business wasn’t making a ton of money yet, then you’ll want to have six months of savings built-up to give your business room to grow.
Here’s a recap of why you should strive to have six months of savings before you quit your job:
Coping with the transition to working from home
Business ups and downs.
Growth of your business is important.
Unforeseen events can happen.
Having that savings creates a sense of security
I hope you found these lessons helpful as you prepare to leave your 9-5 and become a work at home mom. Having a healthy savings will increase your chance of being successful as a mom entrepreneur, and I’m here to help you achieve that.
To help you take a good look at your finances so you can prepare to quit your job, I created these printable financial assessment sheets. These will help you easily evaluate your expenses and income so you can determine just how much savings you need to have.
Just tell me where to send them so you can get started.