Do you dream of being an entrepreneur? Here are the 5 questions you need to ask yourself first
I've been a part of corporate America since I was 22, keeping my head down and working hard to get the type of experiences that will allow me to climb the corporate ladder towards new successes. And by all measures, I would consider myself successful - I receive a paycheck that helps support my family in a lifestyle that we've become accustomed to and helps me plan for my future, I do work that I find interesting, and I've achieved a level of credibility and trust that allows me to partially create my own job description. In short, I've achieved the holy grail of corporate America, and I consider myself very fortunate to be in this position.
And yet.... in my mid 30s, I felt like there was something missing. You see, I've loved jewelry since I was a young girl, and I took that love to the next level by opening my online jewelry boutique, Bombay Taxi, in 2015. I did this in part because I thought it would be fun, and in part because I wanted to see if I could actually do it - grow a brand and a business that was not just self sustaining, but profitable.
When you're an entrepreneur, it starts to get easy to believe that the only way your business can be successful is if you quit your day job and only work on your venture. And while this may be true once you get to a certain size, what happens if you're like me, and you don't really WANT to quit your job? Is there no hope for you or your business?
Well, over a year into Bombay Taxi, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to quit your day job, at least not until you feel like it might be the right move for you. But if you are pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams as a side hustle, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Your growth trajectory in your business and your job will not be the same: Meaning that it is very difficult if not impossible to have the same growth in your career and your business - there just aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish both, and besides, most people don't have the brain power and stamina to fire on all cylinders for an extended period of time. And that's ok!! There will be times where your business will grow faster or slower depending on the demands of your job and your life, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
- Outsource the things you're not good at in your business and your life: Now this is somewhat cashflow dependent, but you need to save time wherever possible, and outsourcing your weaknesses is one way to buy yourself more time. For example, I outsource the cleaning of my house because (a) I suck at it, and (b) by paying someone to come clean my house every two weeks, I save myself at least 8 hours a month. 8 hours is real time - that's a whole day of work! I'm also outsourcing some aspects of my business like taxes and PR - things that are important but that I either don't want to do, or simply are not my strength. Could I figure them out? Sure. But its not worth the time that would go into it when there are other things like inventory and social media that I'm frankly just better at.
- Put yourself first: This is an important tip for entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike- YOUr family, YOUr business, YOUr career - YOU are a critical part of all them. And without both your physical and mental health, NONE of these can thrive. So put yourself first - rest when you need it, work out to keep yourself physically strong, meditate or do whatever you need to do to keep yourself mentally strong. Sleep. Do things that are fun simply because they are FUN! Or do nothing if that's what you need. Without YOU, none of this happens.
As your business grows, you will inevitably have to make some tough decisions when it comes to the balance between your business and your day job, and I know that at some point I will have to do the same. But the thing is, I'm not letting some undefined point in the future determine what I'm doing NOW. For now, I plan to kick ass at both.
If you're contemplating an entrepreneurial journey, I hope that this post has given you some assurances that you don't need to quit your day job to build a business, if that's not what you want to do. Now go kill it doing that thing you do!!
Disclosure: This post first appeared at SheInTheCLE.com in January 2017. I am a founding partner at She In The CLE, a blogger collective that seeks to amplify and elevate the voices of the women of Northeast Ohio.