“You need a Plan B” are the worst words ever spoken.
These days, a lot of peeps start side hustles aka “businesses” as their Plan B while working full time. They want an additional stream of income. They want more security. They don’t want to be at the whim of an employer who can let them go at any day, at any time. Fair enough.
But what if your business isn’t your Plan B?
Maybe you started your business while working for someone else because you have an idea you really believe in and want to bring it to life.
Maybe you identified a gap or a missing link in your industry and you want to fix it.
Maybe you have a product idea that you know could help thousands of people, if you could only finally get it out there.
Or, maybe your art has the power to change lives.
How do you move forward in making your side gig your main thing when everyone around you sings the same song:
- “Why would you leave such a great job?”
- “Don’t you think you should wait a little longer?”
- “Wait. You want to do what? How will that make money?”
- “But, you didn’t go to school for that.”
- “Aren’t you worried about not having a steady income?”
- “What if it doesn’t work?”
The truth is, people who are happy with their Plan B businesses just don’t get it. And, they probably never will. They won’t get your drive. They can’t relate to your sacrifices. They don’t understand why you literally eat, drink and sleep your “thing” and guess what? That’s fine…I believe that true entrepreneurs are born, and others…the Plan B’ers are convenient entrepreneurs (this concept was inspired by a recent conversation with a friend of mine).
By convenient entrepreneurs, I mean they are doing this because it’s popular. It’s “easy” because they don’t intend to rely on it, ever, for full-time income, and because of that they can experience the “glory” of entrepreneurship without the sacrifice of it. Cool.
The problem with being surrounded by convenient entrepreneurs is you two approach business differently because their end goal is completely opposite yours. In this post, I am sharing my tried and true tips for how to push forward with making your side gig your main thing despite what your convenient entrepreneur peeps (aka the Plan B-ers) may tell you.
I started my own business while working a 9-5 job. I know, first hand, that leaving the job and stepping into full-time entrepreneurship is possible. I was working a fantastic job in my field, making well into six figures, and my career progression was pretty much set in stone. I had it made… I suppose. Thing is, although I loved my job the tug towards starting my own law practice was much stronger. Sound familiar?
I remember calling my mom, at 4 something a.m. on a morning that I was supposed to go to the office, and telling her that I thought I wanted to submit my resignation letter that day. But, I also told her, that I was nervous. I didn’t feel 100% financially ready, and didn’t want to leave too soon. I’ll never forget what she said: “Patrice, you’ve been planning this for two years. You are very smart when it comes to making big decisions, and this one is no different. You will never feel completely ready to take this step. Go for it.” And, I did. Step 1: You need someone like this in your corner. Step 2: Embrace the truth that you will never, ever feel ready. Step 3: Keep reading.
Because you are building your business while working, your time and energy is limited. You need to be strategic. If not, you risk spinning your wheels, doing work that’s not important to really push you forward and staying in side gig mode longer than you want.
So here’s the deal.
Here are the five critical things you must know about taking your business from side gig to full time business:
Make a list of all of the things that you need to do that will have the greatest impact on your new business. This is a major impact list, not a regular to-do list. What are those big ticket tasks that will help take your business from side gig to main thing? Write down the task and the impact. That way, you can easily discern if things need to be removed or reprioritized on the list. Set a recurring reminder to re-evaluate the list on at least a monthly basis.
Set a quit date and reverse engineer your quit plan. Your quit date is the day you plan to say goodbye to your job security, boss and co-workers and journey into full-time entrepreneurship. Look at the calendar, pick a date and write it down. There is a huge difference between working towards some vague end goal, and actually saying “I’m leaving my job on X date.” Once you claim it, you will work that much harder towards making it happen. Start reverse engineering your plan by making a list of what absolutely needs to happen for you to quit on X date. Cross check that with your major impact list, and mark your deadlines on a calendar. I know some peeps love large, wall calendars for stuff like this, or you can use an electronic calendar with reminders.
Identify and join communities with like-minded entrepreneurs. I’m not just talking about networking with other entrepreneurs. I’m talking about finding a place (this can be in-person or online) where you can regularly connect with entrepreneurs. Ideally, you want to find a community that has entrepreneurs at every stage: newbies and seasoned. Joining a co-work space or identifying groups on Meetup.com in your area are a good start. Within that community, I want you to identify an accountability partner. You and your partner will help each other stay on task, bounce ideas off of one another and help one another stay encouraged. You can even have them regularly review and give you feedback on your major impact list. Hint.
Hire people who believe in you. Go beyond, what someones qualifications are on paper, but use your inner mojo to feel out whether service providers you intend to hire really believe in what you’re building. There are going to be some days when you feel discouraged and it helps tremendously when you have a team who wants to see you succeed and make ish happen.
Trust yourself. Entrepreneurship is a fine balance of knowing when to look to an expert and acknowledging that it’s okay to trust yourself. No one wakes up knowing how to build a successful business. But we all have heart, life and work experiences that make up our internal compass. We tend to ignore that compass when stepping out into new territories, and wrongly believe that someone else always has a better answer. Commit to the habit of trusting yourself early on so that you can confidently transition to full-time entrepreneur. (I can’t even begin to express how important confidence and self-trust will be in your journey).
Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t more than one way to kick your job to the curb and step into full-time entrepreneurship. In reflecting on my path, these are the consistent steps I took that I believe played a major role in me being able to leave my job. Of course, I had setbacks. I pushed my quit date back a few times because I was scared to leave. There were times when I got too many outside opinions on a business decision because I didn’t trust my own. You’ll have setbacks too. But when it happens, stay encouraged and keep it moving. And, drop that Plan B.
If you have a Plan B you will never ever put your all into building your business. And, guess what? You can’t build a successful business if you are half-assing it. Quote me on that.
What action are you going to take TODAY to accelerate your transition to full-time entrepreneur? Swing by the Creative Genius Society group and share your answer.