It’s been almost exactly a year since I left my full time job.
Notice, I didn’t say “…since I left my full-time job to start my own company.” The truth is, I didn’t leave my job with the intention of starting a business and building it into a full-time deal right away. I left my full-time job as a designer at a local retail marketing agency with every intention of continuing to expand in my career as a designer by seeking employment elsewhere, in another industry, company size, etc. I felt I was in need of exploring more to really figure out where I wanted to be and grow as a young creative, and so I immediately started researching, applying and interviewing for new opportunities.
It wasn’t until I had turned down a couple of new opportunities offered to me that the light bulb came on.
Clearly, I was turning down these opportunities for a reason. You see, I was and still am at a stage in my life where I simply don’t have a lot of commitments, financial or otherwise. My fiancé and I are currently in a rental property, my car is officially paid off as of a couple of months ago, we’re both fairly young and healthy. We have guinea pigs, and as much as I joke about them being little humans…I know I’m in for quite a life shift when we do finally expand our family. Overall, I didn’t have an extremely pressing reason to say “yes” to any of these opportunities if it didn’t feel like a totally perfect fit.
Then I realized, I don’t have a plan.
I knew that someday, in the far-off distance, down the road that MAYBE one day I would make the leap and run my own company. Wake up, go to my office, meet with clients, develop new products…it all felt like such a dream. But when I didn’t feel great about the next-step career opportunities staring me in the face, it was apparent to me that this was going to be a pivot in my life. This was one of those fork in the road moments that could define the next few years (or longer) of my life.
So I made a decision.
While I didn’t have a totally defined plan, I did have this instead:
• Support from family and friends
• At least six months’ worth of living expenses
• A fire inside me that was ready to take my dream to the next level
I decided to take this little blog and the few freelance clients I did have at the time and elevate it to a real, full-time business.
Now, that’s not to say I wasn’t terrified at least once a day, thinking of what I’ve just committed to and letting the “what if’s” run wild through my head. However, I’ve found that it helps to look at the scenario dead on and face the worst possible outcome. In my case, it was exhausting the six-month “make it work” allowance I gave myself, and looking for a new job where I could continue to grow and build more money to help fund my dream on the side, again. Knowing that, it was much easier to pour myself into the business day after day and not look back or feel frightened by what could be. Besides, when you look at the opposite end of that spectrum and what could be in the best case scenario? It made every frightening decision and scary task WORTH IT.
If you’re thinking about taking your business to the next level by going full-time with it, whether that’s next week or three years from now, hear me out: it doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to be planned to a t. But having a financial safety net, a timeline to work with, and the drive to make it work are key ingredients to making that first step. Maybe for you, like me, it’ll happen much sooner than you think! Or maybe, the right answer is to ease into it by taking a part-time job, working toward goals for your business and making the full-time leap later on.