Many women dream of starting their own business but stay stuck in employment because they fear the unknown. Leaving a secure job can be a scary. What if you are unable to make enough money to pay the mortgage? What if you fail?
The fact is, job security is an illusion. That’s why people often take the plunge when they’ve been made redundant. The decision has been taken out of their hands and starting a business no longer feels like such a big risk.
But you really shouldn’t allow fear to hold you back from setting up your own business. There are ways you can minimise the risk and manage your fear, by taking baby steps into self-employment.
Here we outline seven steps to how you can transition from employed to self-employed without risking everything.
You don’t have to quit your job and security to start your own business. Make it a project you do on the side. Ask friends and family to spread the word about your product or service, and try to find someone who will pay you for it. You don’t need a website or business cards or anything else at this stage. Once you start making money from it you can start to build and grow your business until you are ready to work on it full time. By this time any fear would have dissipated and been replaced with excitement and eagerness to grow your business.
Later down the road you can look into reducing your hours at work, or perhaps find a less demanding part-time job to help maintain your finances until your business takes off and starts making money.
Get your finances in order. Work out how much your outgoings are and try to downsize and scale back where possible. Once you are clear on how much you need to make to cover your living expenses, you can figure out whether you are in a position to give up your job or how many hours you can scale back to, or how much you need to make in order to fully go self-employed. Well done If you do save, invest, have an emergency fund and an asset wealth pool. You’ll in a better position if you do decide to leave your job.
If you’re concerned about your lack experience in the line of work you’re planning on moving in to, consider contacting people in your chosen industry and asking for their advice, or perhaps you could offer to help them out a couple of hours a week to get some hands on experience. You could also look into doing an evening or online course to give you a little context.
Don’t outsource things you can do yourself. When you go into business for yourself you will become a jack of all trades and will learn so much about so many things. There are lots of easy tools out there to help you create your website or blog, edit images, schedule your social media posts, create infographics or anything else you could want to do. Do it yourself until you are in a financial position to outsource to a reputable company or freelancer.
Don’t work harder, work better. Manage your time effectively by setting daily goals and forget everything else. Choose three things you want to achieve at the start of each day and ignore anything that will take you away from achieving them. It’s easy to get bogged down or side tracked with other things such as emails. Research apps you can use that will help you to save time and work more efficiently. There are apps for absolutely everything these days, allowing you to access your desktop from your phone, schedule meetings and organise documents.
Sleep. You’ll need it. Look after yourself, eat well and try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day (even if it means walking instead of taking the bus). Starting your own business is challenging and down days are to be expected and are totally normal. Visualisation is great for getting you back into excitement mode, but do also seek out time with friends from time to time to just switch off.
Get a support system around you of people that are in the same industry as you, or who are in the process of setting up their own businesses. There are communities of entrepreneurs just like you who are waiting to help and support you. Joining relevant Meet Up groups is a great way to meet new like-minded people within a relaxed and social environment, and it’s important to build these networks and relationships.