As a young girl, I had an innate desire for business ownership. By the age of 12 I took a 4 week babysitting course and started my own babysitting business soon after. In 6 months, I was the NEIGHBORHOOD babysitter! By the age of 14, I was making over to $200 every two weeks babysitting! By the age of 15, I picked up a camera and photography workbook gifted to me and fell in love with photography. I knew that one day I wanted to be a photographer and have my own photography business.
I spoke to people, even family members, and my dream became a “that’s nice, but starting photography business is too expensive…also you can’t make a living that way.” So I went to college and studied mass communications and psychology. It was the safe thing to do just in case my dreams of becoming a photographer fell through. I would be able to get a job that paid well, have a 401k, health insurance. You know, all the fabulous perks of working for someone.
Well, I went down that path. As I was going through college I ended up taking a part time job at a photography studio and my passion for photographing the beauty in people grew even stronger. However, I still was on the road to pursue my “career.” After a couple of months, I became really good with photographing people and many customers started asking if I owned the studio. There were even a few occasions where people would encourage me to start my own photography business.
This was when the idea lit back in my soul to venture on my own and start my own business! At this point, I wanted to act. I wanted to quit my job and go full force with my own business. However, I let that burning feeling burn down, because it was extremely hard to look at my income stream being cut off. Even if it was a trickle and far from a stream.
One night at dinner, I randomly mentioned this to my husband. Immediately, he pulled out his calculator, and went calculating away. Pushing a bunch of numbers and thinking to himself. Then he looked at me and said, “We just need to cut back on a few things. In a few months you will be making that money back with your photography.” We were dual income, no kids yet, and thoughtful about our money since it wasn’t a lot. So after discussing the idea for a few, we came to the conclusion that we need to make this jump.
It was scary to walk into work and quit. See I started working part-time, but worked my way up to being the Studio Manager. I was literally running the entire store operations for the owner. It was scary to give up the safety net of consistent income. Nevertheless, as I look back, I would do it over again without thinking twice.
So listen up you ambitious ENTREPRENEUR at heart! I know you want to quit your job and have a business of your own. To bring forth your ideas, work on something that you can call your own, help others, to create a legacy, and be your own boss. I know that YOU CAN DO IT.
You may be asking…
Where do I start?
How can I prepare for it?
What if it fails?
Is it even possible?
If you are like me, you may have a million questions, concerns, and fears. I get it, you count on that consistent paycheck, right? You must pay rent or mortgage, pay your car note, buy groceries, and a list of other bills that you don’t even want to think about.
Starting out for us on one income was a struggle because I was not making the income in my business that I excitedly thought I was going to make, but we made it through until I got there.
Consider these steps that I used to leave my 9 to 5 job and pursue my dreams. I do not want you to struggle the way I did, so I have included additional steps to get you ready to quit that 9 to 5 job!
I had my husband’s income, so the jump wasn’t as nerve racking. However, there was a point where my husband also left his job…that was a bit nerve racking, but we were prepared.
First things first: MAKE A DECISION.
You need to have a vision in mind and decide to pursue it. Chances are, you’ve had this vision for years now, just never decided to pursue it because you don’t know how, or someone talked you out of it. Keep this famous quote in mind, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” One of the first step is making the decision and committing to make it your reality.
If you have a few ideas or you want to create a business but unsure what to do. Begin by writing down the things you know or are good at. Think about what you get compliments on, any special training you’ve had, college degree, or things you create. What do you do effortlessly? From that list, what can solve a problem? Think of some of the most effective businesses, they excel because they solve a problem for people. If you think about it, if you just write children’s fiction; these stories often have a moral value that helps to solve the issue of immorality or help parents effectively convey a teaching to their child.
Your list may be just a few things or a whole list of over 20 business ideas. Out of everything you’ve written down, what are you most passionate about? What can you talk about all day, what do you think about constantly, and what sparks the most excitement? This may be the idea you need to pursue RELENTLESSLY.
Next things next: (is that something people say???)
What are current businesses that are successfully doing it look like and how can you add your style and differentiate? Research 3 to 4 other people doing the thing you made a decision to pursue. How are they doing it, what is successful for them, what do you like, what don’t your like, what do their reviews say, what are their customers asking for in addition??? Research is always a key part of differentiating and learning how to capture market attention. Remember, quality and authenticity will bring YOU attention and business.
What’s Next! Who are your customers? Be very specific, annoyingly specific. Where do they hang out online and physical locations?
What are their frustrations, fears?
Hopes, and dreams?
You may already know these people, they speak to you, you see them often, you see their social media posts. If you don’t know them, then it’s time to dig into some research. Additionally, dig deeper to answer the questions that really drive to the heart of their problems and how you, better than anyone else, can help those individuals. The key is to really narrow down who exactly is your audience. Truth be told, we desire to help many people. Reality is that it’s impossible to help everyone, as hard as we try. But there are those out there whom you were destined to help. You just need to be able to speak to those that can BENEFIT from you.
What Do I DO with all this information???
This information is an important part in determining how and if you can create a business out of what you are great at. When you are in RELENTLESS pursuit, the information helps you to work towards creating strong ideas that will have great impact and benefit in the lives of others. So, what do you do with the information…start by creating an outlet to get your service or idea to people. Could you create an ebook that you can sell, an online course, weekend webinars/workshop, or all the above? Write out 4 to 5 ideas on how you can create content that could be exchanged for money. In addition, think about other ways you can offer help for free. This will show your audience that you have value to provide and if the stuff you are giving away for free is GOLD, the purchased content is DIAMOND.
This is just the beginning, this process takes some work, but it’s the most beneficial process to your business success.
You’re already working, taking care of your home, and your family. How will you find time to get all this done, much less make it a business that can support you and your family? Remember, relentless pursuit of your dream means sacrifice up front to build your dream. Your path to success is only hindered by the roadblocks you create or beliefs that are in your way. Whether it takes you six months or a year, at the end of that time you can look back and say, “Wow, look what I built, look where my life is at, look where my family is at!”
When to Make the Jump:
So, I mentioned that we were prepared to make the jump when my husband left his job. This section will talk a bit about the financial aspects of how we were prepared to make the jump.
Months prior to this, we began by eliminating all debts except our mortgage. It took us a few months, but we paid off all our credit cards and then clipped them! We drank the Dave Ramseyjuice and decided to live the debt free, cash is king life. At the time, this wasn’t part of our plan for my husband to leave his job. We were just still cutting back on things and eliminating living costs.
Next, we worked hard to save about six months of living expenses as a safety net. We looked at where we were currently in terms of total living needs and saved whatever money we could. Fortunately, we already had a few months in savings, so it didn’t take as long to get the full amount saved up. Something that we didn’t do that I would really urge you to look at is to look ahead to the months and see if there will be any expenses that would increase your costs. For example, a dentist visit, car insurance renewal, etc.
A few things we cut out were cable, subscriptions services (had a few magazines), credit cards, eating out, and drinking juice (It adds up). These things are like leeches that just suck your monthly income dry. Plus, when you are pursuing your dream…you don’t quite have time to watch TV!
Once you have your actual monthly living costs or where you know you could be. Multiply that to have enough for three to six months. By the time you make your jump, you ideally would have your idea researched and even have your first few paying clients. By the time your three months to six months savings would be gone, you should be generating enough monthly to maintain your current living costs!