Self Care September 10, 2020

Quitting My Day Job During a Pandemic

Nick Fogle @nickfogle

I know there are Indie Hackers out there struggling financially. You may be juggling multiple jobs, dealing with huge debts, and struggling to see the big picture. This post is for you.

It took 3 years of working a full-time job (in addition to @wavve) before I could afford to work on Wavve exclusively. If you're currently working a day job while bootstrapping your business, don't despair. I'm living proof that regardless of what you might hear, it's totally possible.

I was able to leave my day job at the end of May, and June 1 was the first day of my adult life (I'm 33) where I had total freedom over my work. There's always been this looming financial pressure to find a job, secure a new contract gig, or conform to an employer's expectations and schedule. Not anymore.

Many were surprised to learn I was still working a second job when Wavve was doing so well. It's a good question. My Wavve income surpassed my day job salary over a year ago. So why did I wait so long to leave?

Like many founders, I had a bunch of financial obligations weighing me down. I had a family, a mortgage, and student loans ($250,000 😬) to worry about. It would've felt amazing to scale back to just Wavve as soon as the income made that a possibility, but I had this giant debt hanging over my head for years. I realized that I could grind it out for another 12-14 months, and I'd have two large sources of income to get totally out of debt.

I managed to pay it off in about 10 months. The sacrifice was totally worth it. Now that I don't have this giant debt looming, I'm able to enjoy more freedom as a founder. There's a lot more to this story, so if this resonates at all, be sure to read my detailed post here - https://nickfogle.com/bailing-water.

  1. 14

    Suddenly I feel extremely grateful and fortunate to live in a country where going to university does not involve that kind of debt. Thankyou Nick.

  2. 5

    Oh wow, that student debt! 😱

    Thanks for sharing. I feel often people don't share these kind of things as there is so much pressure these days to have 'work life balance'.

    1. 3

      For years I was embarrassed to share my situation. I was worried it would make me look irresponsible/ stupid for getting into such a financial bind. Now there's data showing this sort of debt is far more widespread than many realize... something like 2 million student loans with a six figure balance right now.

      1. 2

        Couldn't agree more. Feels totally embarrassing as an adult to have so much student debt (despite it being so common). My 18 year old brain didn't understand how crushing 70k of debt could be.

  3. 2

    The experience was often lonely. For my twenties and early thirties I worked almost every night and weekend. I missed out on beach days, trips with friends, weddings, alumni events, put a home purchase on hold and delayed having children much longer than we wanted.

    Not everyone could handle this!

    Truly inspirational and well-done!

  4. 2

    Fantastic post. Congrats on such an amazing accomplishment! As someone with a lot of student loan debt myself this was very inspiring. Also congrats on leaving your day job to focus on your biz!

    1. 1

      That's great to hear and thanks for the kind words! There are millions of us struggling with giant student debt burdens, but people just don't talk about it. And when they do, it's super negative and there's not much practical that comes out of it.

      Now that I'm on the other side of that mountain, I want to help others conquer large sums of student loan debt. I've putting the finishing touches on an ebook right now, and you can download the first version here if you want - https://gum.co/RZPSo.

      Not trying to make money off of it, so you can pay whatever you want to download. I'm hoping to send out an updated, more polished version this weekend.

  5. 2

    WOW, What a good inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

    I too started my own venture this june and had to get back to a day job by August as financial involved made it tight to stay afloat without extreme financial pressure.

    Just when I thought, May be I am doing it wrong -- here you are.

    Congratualtions @nickfogle. To freedom!

    1. 1

      So glad my story could help. You're definitely not doing anything wrong. Hang in there.

      🍻 and to freedom!

  6. 2

    Congratulations Nick 👏. Your story inspired me a lot.

  7. 2

    Huge congrats. And the "Bailing Water" story is a huge inspiration. Thx for sharing.

    1. 1

      Thanks for taking the time to read it! It's a long one, but I wanted to share all the gory details because I know I'm not alone in some of those struggles.

      1. 1

        Absolutely. The entire story is a great read, but specifically we have a daughter in high school and are in the mud with school planning (pay as you go + scholarships, no student debt). It's a big under taking, and your story is a refreshing reminder that student debt is not the answer, and there are other ways and options.

        1. 2

          Best of luck in figuring out the right move for your daughter and definitely the right call to do whatever you can to help her avoid student loan debt. If I'd had someone sit down and explain the impact of 8% compound interest on six-figure student loans, I would've run for the hills.

  8. 1

    Inspiring! I am 15 months in to day job + startup. Going nuts, but can't quit due to financial obligations. Plus, no safety net. Good times.

    1. 1

      I know the feeling! Keep at it even when it may not feel like you're making progress. Know that eventually all the hard work will pay off.

  9. 1

    To think I actually got paid to study. Thanks for sharing your story, Nick. And congrats for getting out of that debt with a successful business 🚀

  10. 1

    Discipline is freedom

    This story embodies that. Congrats on your freedom :)

  11. 1

    Damn this is so inspiring! 💪🏻💪🏻Congrats!!

    It's good to know that this is definitely possible. Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. 1

    Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

  13. 1

    That's awesome, congrats!

  14. 1

    This is huge! Congrats! 👏

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