What are the paths you could take after quitting? Well, what character do you want to be? The first step in every RPG ever made is character creation. A sneak-thief with a heart of gold. A bezerker obsessed with collecting cheese wheels. A wizard who only plays naked.
When you quit and leave the corporate world... it's kinda the same. You're entering unfamiliar territory, the world of self-employment. You're an Outlander.
But here's the cool part: you do get to choose who you want to be. And boy are there options.
Here are some commonly seen "archetypes" you could turn into that represent certain combinations of skills and attributes.
Using a combination of technical skill, business sense, and sheer determination, the Indie Hacker builds software and services to sell, ideally on a subscription basis to generate recurring revenue.
Can build almost anything with their bare hands that someone will pay for.
May find out too late that when you build it, they, in fact, do not come.
Using their existing skills to quickly pivot to short- or long-term contracts, the Contractor is an unemployee who works on their own schedule, typically through an agency, sometimes under salary or independently billing by the hour.
Provides some stability of income with longer-term contracts and options for part-time or full-time work.
Without a specific niche or differentiator, Contractors may be treated like arrows in a quiver a company chooses to shoot at their problems, drawn at random and discarded quickly after being sent.
Preferring not to be tied down by a single company, the Freelancer is a bounty hunter who plays by their own rules. Preferring short-term gigs and generally charging hourly or fixed-bid, they find work through platforms, referrals, or direct sales/marketing.
Provides a high degree of freedom in choosing a workload and schedule that conforms to your lifestyle.
Often left competing in a race to the bottom, Freelancers may find it tough to win against competitors who charge lower rates.
Combining practiced skills with a platform or product with teaching, the Trainer focuses on leveling others up through courses, workshops, coaching, and informational products.
Can be a stepping stone to multi-classing into The Consultant as teaching others will build authority and expertise.
The Trainer's success is tied to the success of the platform or product they teach, for good or bad.
Dedicated to the crafting of specific expertise, the Consultant is the one you ask for by name when you are in need of someone with a particular set of skills.
There is less competition for your skillset and for that you may be able to name your price, after all, there are only so many Witchers in the world.
May take a lot of time, experience, and skill to unlock all the endgame bonuses this archetype can offer.
Taking their passion, hobby, or skill and transforming it into visual or written form, Influencers are skilled storytellers and synthesizers. They build audiences with channels like newsletters, podcasts, or YouTube and rely on sponsorship or advertising for income.
Can build a loyal following for your work who are willing to pay you for it.
There are many who follow this path and head home with very little gold in their pockets.
These are the archetypes I have come across or experimented with myself.
There are no hard and fast rules here – for example, I know people who are one or more of these things.
Or that use a combination of skills to create a Custom character.
Or that switch careers altogether after quitting (and therefore follow entirely different archetypes).
But it's fun to group them into archetypes. I've tried to use phrases that you'll actually hear in the wild (for example, I'm in the Indie Hackers community).
There are plenty of things to talk about for each one of these archetypes though, like possible subclasses or what specific abilities can be added to spice them up.
That's what I'll be exploring in the coming week.
What do you think, have I missed an obvious archetype?
If you're a Morrowind fan, you may recognize the headline as one of the first opening dialog lines in the game.
Now that you mention it, I HAVE seen a lot of strange folk in these parts. Wanna hear a rumor? They say that man in the corner used to be an adventurer like you, till he took an arrow to the knee. Now he's a coach.
For each archetype, try to name a few people you know either personally or in the industry that seem to fit the mold.
Bonus: See if you can discover their "origin story" or background. Were they once in Corporate America like you?