Just last week I gave notice at my day job to go back working for myself full-time. Even though it’s been pretty casual over the past year, this will give me the ultimate freedom to work in and on my business. I’m excited and nervous because you never can tell when you’re ready to work for yourself, right?
I don’t know about that. I feel pretty ready this time. I have a good team in place, some great systems for managing payments, invoices and tax (gross). It’s ONE HUNDRED per cent time I moved on. I’m ready to work for myself
For the past few years, I’ve worked part-time with an organisation as part of my ‘I need structure to run my business’ story properly. But it’s just that, a story. One I told myself because left to my own devices I tend to get distracted and procrastinate. Not something that works particularly well for someone, like me, working for myself.
Time to face my fears of screwing everything up, and go for it. Again.
I’ve been here before. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long to get on with it this time. The first time I was 21-years-old and bravado took the place of any anxiety. I just leapt and planned on figuring it out as I went. Which, I 100% had to do when during that stint of business ownership Kel lost his job, and I was hustling for both of us.
Then I did it again when I was in my late twenties when it was more of a necessity than a choice. I left a job that was sucking my soul via a method that was hard to determine if they fired me or I quit. Either way, it was precisely the shove I needed, and soon I was doing it! Until I got an offer I couldn’t refuse and here we are.
Those situations it got me thinking about when and how to KNOW if you’re ready to make the leap and work for yourself. Full time. And maybe it won’t be forever, but I genuinely feel this time it will be. Everything I’ve done leading up to this point has prepared me. The mistakes and missteps especially.
How I knew it was time to start working for myself;
Ready or not, here I come.
I mentioned this already, but I feel ready for this. This has been a great indicator for me that it’s time to go. And sure, not everyone is going to feel that way because of nerves or whatever kind of apprehension. If you feel ready, I think trust that, then it’s time to start putting those wheels in motion to step down from your current role. Just rip that band-aid off, commit and book a date. Having a date on the horizon will get you there; ready or not.
This is the time to put your self-guided time management skills to the test. Which, let me tell you, are something that it took me a while to develop. During this notice period start to make sure you have everything in place to start. Do you have somewhere to work? Do you have an idea of what hours you’ll be working? Is there anything you need to finalise the set-up of your office or workspace? Now is the time. Homestretch.
I know, I know, it’s not all about money. It’s about following your passion and doing something you love. BUT the reality is that as an adult you need money to pay for the essentials, so you need a plan. Make sure at very least you have a bit of a cushion. At worst, have an idea of the current income you’re making from your side-hustle.
As far as money goes, maybe you’ll have to streamline your bills to make this work. Before you make a move, pay down as much debt as you can and make sure you’re on the best deal for your cost of living basics (mortgage/rent, phone, internet, electricity etc.). Can’t see a reduction? Maybe you need to do what my friend Blaise did and move home for a while to make it work during the startup phase. A great option if you have it.
My final point on money is to work for yourself you’re going to need to know how to manage your money. To make it work through famine and feast. To make sure you’re saving enough money for tax time and not getting yourself in a hole. Been there, done that. Get advice early from a small business accountant and get set up correctly from day one. Less than day one, day zero point something.
Have a plan, Stan.
Seriously without a plan what the heck are you doing? This is somewhere I see small businesses and freelancers fall downtime and time again. They have no idea where they’re going, how they’re going to get there and what it’s going to take. Not just related to money either, that’s why we’re in a new section. I’m talking about planning everything.
Start with a budget. What do you NEED to earn to live and be a functioning (tax-paying, sorry to harp on it, flashbacks) human? Break that down into monthly then weekly chunks. I can’t give you this figure; you need to take a genuine look at what it costs for you to live and work, and find your number. Then figure out how many services/products you need sell to get there.
Then the fun starts.
Now you know that you need to sell five website packages a month to make ends meet, you get to figure out how to do that. Taking into account the sales and decision making process time frames. That’s the foundation of your plan. Where will your leads come from, how will you generate them? What will it COST to get them to the point where they buy? Do you see how the plan starts to come together after that?
Get serious about a business budget and plan. I have this free download if you need a bit of guide of the questions you’re asking yourself. Sure it says new year business planning, but it’s still good in September. Easy. If you’re going to go for it, you have to take the time to do this first; long before you leap. Maybe you’re not there yet. Maybe when you’ve done the planning, you need to spend some time generating more business on the side. That’s okay too. That’s part of this whole process.
Which brings us to, maybe you’re not ready to work for yourself.
Maybe you started this post, and you were ready, you felt ready, and now you’re like, hmmm. That’s okay. For some of you that ‘notice period’ will be all that you need to get you ready. If you’re close, maybe this is nerves and let me tell you, that won’t change. I’m nervous. I think that’s half the fun. I’m a crazy person. Haha. For some, maybe now isn’t the time. Maybe you’re not ready to work for yourself. Genuinely. Not nerves, not taking the leap, and not a tiny bit of planning and shuffling. For some of you, maybe there’s more to be done. Awesome! We like a challenge, and the best part about not ‘having’ to do this now is that you’ve got time.
Chill, my friend.
If you’re not generating the income and you’d just hoped it would come. Trust me, don’t do that to yourself. Have regular earnings/clients happening; it’ll save you a world of pressure when you go full-time working for yourself. I’ve seen many people who are new to this work for yourself life burn themselves out (quickly!) because they thought more time would immediately equal more money. That’s not always the case. Spend some time either building up your clients or your cash cushion before you leap.
That’s my advice. Take it or leave it. If your problem is that you don’t have all the information you need or you’re starting from scratch, seek out a mentor or business coach. Invest some of the money you have into working out a plan to count down to your business. Boxes to tick and ducks to get in a row. Having someone else support you and cheer you on in this process will mean you’re not right where you started in a year or two.
There we go team, phew. If you made it this far ten points for you! I hope that in some way this post has helped you make a decision (or provide some clarity) about if you are ready to work for yourself. I know you can do it. You can make this work. If I can clarify anything, let me know in the comments, via email or whatever. Taking this step with some of you guys along for the ride seems a little less daunting. Don’t you think?
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Hi! I’m Melissa Walker Horn. Around here, they call me Suger. I’m the Chief Blogger and doer of all the things here at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; I love a casual ootd, taking photos, and writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet over at Chalkboard Digital. You know, living the sweet life.