Giving up a good job to start your own business can be hard even at the best of times. When the going gets tough, you'll succeed if you just do these 7 things.
As someone that jumped ship from a pretty solid job five years ago to become my own boss, I’ve discovered for myself that pushing through the not-knowing, the messing-up, the plans-not-panning-out is a growth experience, whether it ends in success or failure. I have gained new perspectives, new insights about myself, and skills and wisdom for the next adventure!
I am not naturally someone who is comfortable with change, so when I put my mind to starting a business, I became a research ninja.
Before I committed to the change, I read up on websites dedicated to small businesses, HMRC, and relevant blogs. I explored certification programs for my field, so I stood out to potential partners (as well as furthered my knowledge). I researched the competition. I updated my LinkedIn profile. I talked to trusted colleagues in the industry, and let them know my plans, because I wanted referrals almost immediately! If I’d thought about it, I probably would have started blogging and set up a Twitter account for my business.
It took me 9 months of crap coffee to build my safety net, but it was worth it.
Money was a concern, because I had a mortgage and a young child. MAS and most financial advisers will recommend having 3-6 months’ worth of expenses saved up for a rainy day, so I had to give up on the daily coffees and other small treats that added up to a whopping amount by the end of the month.
Did you realise saving just £3 a day adds up to £1,095 over a year? It took me 9 months of crap coffee to get my safety net in place, but it was WORTH IT.
So once you’ve figured out your passion and what you REALLY want to do, here’s how to power through the change, big or small:
1. Understand there will never be a “perfect” moment
You’ll never see a perfect set of circumstances that allow you to leave your job/start exercising/change your diet/etc. etc. You might want to save a little more, wait for your next review, wait for (fill in the blank). Action is always better than inaction, and perfection is the enemy of progress. The first step to success is the step that plants you firmly outside your comfort zone. Pull a Nike and Just Do It.
2. Remember it’s about people, people, people
Even if you’re raring to go, it’s going to mean little without the right people supporting you.
Hold yourself accountable, and get someone else to support this. Get people behind you, get people writing you referrals on LinkedIn, get people writing testimonials on your blog, get people talking about your product. Instagram, Pinterest and hashtag yourself, if relevant.
This is a give-and-take. You need to be doing the same for other people. What goes around, comes around.
3. Stop looking for the big win
Making one HUGE step can mean having to sit back and wait to see if it worked or not. This makes the action more of a gamble and less of a consistent step in the right direction. Small actions built on another can lead to a big win further down the line.
Testing the water can give you invaluable feedback to tweak or develop your product or idea. (This is my opinion and experience – some of you reading will be perfectly happy to just go for it, and if it feels right in your gut, do it!)
4. Let go of self-limiting beliefs but know your plans won’t always work
Your thoughts and beliefs can be the biggest obstacle to overcome. Many of us carry around beliefs about ourselves that need to be removed or improved. If you believe you can’t, you probably won’t even try. Start by recognising your negative mind-set and taking action to overcome it.
Time and persistence are key to sustainable changes. You have to believe in yourself and your idea or product before anyone else does. A one-percent improvement isn’t note-worthy (or even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run, when you factor in the compounded effect of a thousand small adjustments and corrections. There is power in small wins and slow gains. This will help you accept the fact that no matter how well you plan, and think through, your plans will never work out quite the way you expect!
Vera Wang failed to make the U.S. Olympic figure-skating team. Then she became an editor at Vogue and was passed over for the editor-in-chief position. She began designing wedding gowns at age 40 and today her business is worth over $1 billion.
Be flexible and allow your plans to evolve. You never know what might happen!
5. Accept that it’s ok to fall
Some people choose to let failure get the better of them and abandon their goals or dreams, but the truly resilient accept and understand that failure is perfectly OK, sometimes unavoidable and usually a great opportunity to learn and grow. If you keep this front and centre, it’s easier to accept failure and move on with a clearer vision.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore, where she said she faced sexism and harassment. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
6. Persist even when it gets challenging
Millions of people set goals every day, but not all of them follow through, or give up when the situation becomes challenging. Persistence and heart are the keys to achieving your target. When the doubts pile up, when you’re hesitant, and when you’ve lost the initial spark, persisting is the only way to see your ideas through to fruition.
Focus on how you’re going to feel when you make it. Have faith in your own abilities to keep you moving forward even when you face massive obstacles along the way. If this is your passion, nothing else is going to match up.
7. Stay in balance
When you’re aiming for something, it’s easy to be totally consumed by it, but this momentum is difficult to sustain. I’m trying to eat healthier, but I have never been able to stay on any diet longer than 3 hours (the time between breakfast and lunch). So my new take on this is Monday to Friday healthy cooking for the family, and I allow myself goodies on the weekend. No, I don’t go overboard, I just revel in the fact that I don’t have to cook and can even try something new.
To maintain balance, reflect on why you’re starting this adventure. You control how you achieve this goal, so be purposeful about maintaining balance on your journey. There will always be challenges to overcome but they are part of the fun when you can compartmentalise them.
Keep climbing that mountain, but stop to enjoy the view!