For the past five years, I have been employed full time while growing my own business. I know that seems like a long time - a lot of stories told are about people who just take the leap when the business begins. But sometimes the reality is you, your business, your finances, or your personal situation need you stick it out a bit longer.
In April, I’m finally taking my own business full-time, but I’ve learned quite a bit through my five years of “double duty”. If this is where you are, my hope is that you utilize these to help with the impatient, but important task of building your dream outside of your 9 to 5.
- Be unapologetic about your prioritizing.
Remember that when you are away from your day job, it is not the boss of your time. That e-mail you got as you walked out the door? Does it desperately need to be addressed now, or do you just feel obliged to do so because it’s from your boss? Likely, it is the second, so reclaim your time and devote it to building your dream. Make the time to work on your purpose a non-negotiable on your calendar, and be just as unapologetic about it as you would making sure you keep a doctor or therapy appointment. It’s just as necessary for your well-being and long term health to be able to live out your true calling in the future.
- Use your PTO.
Not taking a vacation this year? Use those days to work on projects, take meetings, or whatever you need to do to free up some mental space. Doing so will allow extended time to do something you love without using up an evening or weekend.
- Remember to rest.
Pick one night a week and/or one day a weekend where you don’t work. This will energize you more than anything else to be productive, knowing that rest is planned and coming.
- Reframe your introductions.
Instead of telling people your specific job title where you’re at, reframe yourself as who you’re working to be. Be more general, and allow it to explain the direction you’re heading. Potential new clients will keep you in mind, and you can create business connections in a way that truly aligns with your dream business.
- Be wise, but brave.
Know that it’s okay to take the time you need before making the leap to your full time dream job, however, you will still need to be brave one day. As you take time to build your business and prepare your life for business ownership (brave people still need to pay rent!), you may find along the way that you’ve built too comfortable a situation. When the time is right, you might feel guilty or impractical for putting in your notice, but do it anyways. We don’t always hate the job we’re leaving, but remember it is nothing compared to the feeling of waking up to do your calling every day.
Whether you’re fast or slow at this jump, remember you have a support system behind you. The people who love you and really matter in your life don’t care what job you have - they just want you to be happy. Continue learning, and seek out other professionals who share their wisdom. Feed your mind, stay wise, and when it is time, follow your gut.
Photos by: Cacá Santoro