Guest post by Nicole Ouellette
Having your own business isn’t all rainbows and unicorns but I personally wouldn’t have it any other way.
When I quit my full-time job with health insurance a few weeks ago, more than one person thought I was insane. Of course they never actually said that: “Wow, you’re gutsy! I’ll give you that!” – “How is un … I mean self – employment going?” – “Your father is probably rolling over in his grave…” (To be fair, Mom followed up that comment with lots of support. Still I know she’s right; my father would’ve never approved of this.)
Then there are the people who think I sit around all day eating bonbons and flitting around my apartment in a bathrobe. Man, if someone would pay me to do that, that would rock! (Aside: It’s hard to flit in 220 square feet of space shared with a dog.)
I’m here to tell you the truth, friends. The truth of quitting your job and going it alone.
1. Plan like hell.
No matter what, you still will not have planned enough but plan as much as you can. Who are your clients? How much do you have to charge to pay your life? In my case, not every hour I spend is billable so I planned 15 to 20 billable hours a week when I calculated my prices. Make a business plan (which you will probably hate doing), but in the end, it may save your butt.
2. Have some money to back it up.
I have been saving money and living frugally for almost 2 years. In addition, my father died and left me some money, which gives me more of a cushion than the average 28-year-old has the luxury of having. (For the record, I would give up this entire business in about 1 millisecond to have him alive again. (J: of course, that is so sad!))
So start saving now and with your business plan and nest egg, you can probably get yourself a small business loan, whether it be from people you know or a bank. I’m getting my stuff ready in case I want to do this at the end of the summer.
Also be prepared to transition, moneywise if need be. Right now, I’m working a part time job this summer to keep paying my rent and food as I ramp up my full time workload. My savings are only to be used if completely utterly necessary.
3. I won’t lie, it does rock in a lot of ways.
On a roll at 5 o’clock? Sometimes I work until 11 at night. Lunch with a friend? It can happen. A flexible schedule is fantastic and something I’ve always wanted.
4. But I’ve never been so worried in my life.
I am a super laid back lady (to the point of almost being annoying) but lately, I’ve been having nightmares, worrying, and crying way more than normal. Doing this is scary because there is no guarantees that it’s going to work. And while I will try not to take failure personally, I’m sure I will on some level if it comes down to that.
5. Oh and I’m totally operating in the negative.
I did some math last week and freaked out. I know there is bound to be some ebbs and flows in the business but I guess naively, I thought I’d be different. Good news is those two years I lived below the federal poverty line awhile back may have been some good training for me for the months to come.
6. If you don’t believe in it, no one else will.
Is it hard to get up every morning and be ready to sell sell sell? Is it weird to do something my now-dead father (whom I held in very high esteem) would completely hate? It sure is. But I will tell you that the only person who needs to believe it in their heart of hearts is you. If you can believe it, it will translate. (You know, unless you have mental delusions or something.)
So before you quit your job, really dig down deep and ask yourself “Can I really do this?” The answer may be more obvious than you think. It’s you who will have to work 12 hours a day or make personal sacrifices to free up business cash. No one is going to hold your hand or make you get up at 7 every morning. It’s all you, for better or for worse.
Know thyself. Know thy customer. And know that no matter what, you can reinvent yourself whenever you want with a little planning and a lot of hard work.
Nicole has been a personal finance blogger since 2007, and helping bloggers and business owners since 2008. She recently quit her newspaper job in May to take her company Breaking Even Communications full time. Nicole would love it if you read her blog Breaking Even and love it even more if you subscribed to it via RSS or email.
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Nicole at Breaking Even