Are You Ready for Self-Employment?
Recently someone asked me the question, “How did you know when it was time to take the leap into solo-preneurship?” After replying to her email I realized this could be good for others considering the leap, as well.
First let me say I don’t believe there is a universal answer. Everyone’s life circumstances are so different. Also, coincidently this happened for me around what I’ve named the “four year mark.” A lot of my peers and counterparts who graduated college at or around the same time as me also made shifts in their careers right around this four year mark; whether they were branching off into independence or getting new jobs with new companies. Again, that’s not a universal truth either but it is a pattern I noticed.
The last year or so I spent working in my traditional job, I went in and out of thoughts about resigning on a regular basis. Situations would come up that made me feel needed and essential to the success of the company I was working for. Those feelings of responsibility, alligiance and vitality compelled me to stay. Also, receiving regular paychecks was especially comfortable so those feelings of comfort also compelled me to stay.
All the while I was juggling outside projects more in line with the type of work I had always wanted to do. And the truth was, I wasn’t giving them the energy or attention they deserved or needed to really flourish.
So, I was aware of the fact that I was one foot in and one foot out of all my projects. What it came down to was deciding that leaving my traditional job would create an opportunity for me to be independently successful. And I realized whether or not I achieved independent success, I would never know unless I completely tried. If I didn’t go all in, I was never going to find out. And I realized the best case scenario was that I’d quit my job and be really successful on my own and the worse case scenario was that I’d quit my job and for whatever reason have to return to the work force. And once I decided I was okay with either outcome, things got so much easier.
I knew that once I resigned from my job, even though it was on really great terms, more than likely if I had to return to work it wasn’t going to be for the same company because the odds of my position or a similar position being available were slim. I knew if I was okay with that, then there was no reason not to try.
I should also give the disclaimer I recently married my partner and he is all the support I could ever ask for, and more. We always discussed goals, intentions and aspirations so he was my final nod of approval. Before making my decision I consulted with him and he let me know that during a time before having a mortgage and beginning to grow our family with children, this was the time to try. We were in a place where I had a little breathing room.
I should also give the disclaimer that my first four years of independent work, though I was only doing “side projects” afforded me the opportunity to get comfortable talking about less sexy topics like business taxes, company budgets, contract ratification and personal finances.
You have to be honest with yourself about where you are in life. I had about three months worth of savings, enough to pay for my personal bills and expenses. I was also already working with a client in a contract so as I transitioned out of my traditional job I dove into the work we were doing. Next thing I knew more projects were appearing and more leads were coming in and ideas were happening and here were are.
It hasn’t quite been a year. My network is growing and I went to my first industry conference in 2016 [Heyyy ComplexCon!]
The moral, I suppose, is that I knew it was time for me because I set some check points for myself. Did I have some money in the bank? Yes. Was I comfortable knowing I would more than likely never have that same traditional job again? Yes. Did I have the support of my husband and ultimately my entire family? Yes.
So I did it. And I am so happy I did.
If I can be a resource for you as you embark on the ever-winding road of finding personal and professional fulfillment please please please email me and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers to timing, preparation, and a little luck,
Victoria Rae Moore