I was you. At 25 I was counting down the clock every day until 4 pm (pharmaceutical sales rep gigs are pretty cushy!) and just dying on the inside. Does this sound familiar? Sure I had PTO, weekends off, and health insurance! Ahh, health insurance!!! But the trade-off just wasn’t adding up for me. I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life like that. And maybe that’s you! Or maybe you have mastered your trade by working under someone and you are ready to pave the way as a #girlboss! Maybe you have a side hustle you are ready to make legit?! But you are scared to leave the nest that is the comfy 9-5.
Girl, I get it! I was you! Scared to stay but scared to leave. As you should be! It’s a big deal to quit and head into the unknown. But I am here to help! I have done it and I am here to share some pitfalls to avoid, some things to think through, and to encourage and empower you before you take the leap so you can say Hasta’ la’ pasta’ to “the man” for forever and hello to being your own #girlboss!
Here are some steps I took before quitting “the man!”
DO YOU REALLY LOVE IT?!
As an entrepreneur its pretty easy to get me excited about any business idea. I love learning about the process of selling frozen pizza and getting picked up by Whole Foods just as much as I love watching Teen Mom (guilty!). But over time I have learned to really take the time to think about what the day to day would be like of doing that grind.
Try to decipher passion from energy. I am a doer, and if you are reading this then I am sure you are too! Don’t mistake having the energy to start a business for the passion to run that business. Running your own business is a marathon, not a sprint and it will take passion to get you through the roadblocks.
I would suggest writing down what the day-to-day tasks are that you already do if it’s your side hustle or brainstorming what day to day tasks would likely be involved if this is a new venture and ask yourself if that’s the lifestyle or job you want?
IS IT YOUR PASSION?
Now, this may seem a little contradictory to what I just said but another thing to think about. I thought for sure when I was growing up that I wanted to ride horses professionally. I spent basically my whole waking life at the barn! It was even my first entrepreneurial venture. But at 20 when I got a taste of what that life would really be like, I hated it. You can read more about that here. It stole all the joy that I had for riding because there was so much pressure to perform.
I L.O.V.E. my job now. But it’s different. It wasn’t a hobby first. So I hope I am not being a buzz kill but if your new entrepreneurial venture is currently a hobby I would implore you to just think about that. Let it marinate. And be really sure before you take the leap.
Girlfriend I didn’t want to bring it up but its one of the nasty details of being your own boss. A whole new set of expenses. Health insurance is surely not one to be forgotten! I went from paying $30 a month for wonderful insurance to $450 just for me. But since we have a family and are both self-employed we pay $1100 a month for health insurance. With a high deductible. Just let that sink in. My wallet sure has!
Are you maybe married and can get on your spouse’s plan? Can your parents carry you and you pay them? Obamacare? These are all options and there are plenty more. #NotAnInsuranceSalesMan. But this is definitely one item not to forget!
Before you give anybody at work the middle finger and hop on the #girlboss train make sure you have money for a ticket! I suggest AT LEAST 6 months of savings but maybe even closer to a year depending on how much ramen you can stand and how successful your side hustle currently is.
This is the most important step! Make a spreadsheet of all your expenses, add in your new health insurance cost, try to scale back your lifestyle, and budget for taxes! Which leads me to my next point
There are only two things certain in life. Death and taxes. Make sure you are saving for the latter! Being an entrepreneur comes with a lot more taxes than you are currently used to and you will have to learn to set money aside on your own for when taxes come due. Again #NotAnAccountant. But I would suggest getting one.
We have one that specializes in real estate. We have 6 maybe 8 LLCs? It’s hard to keep track lol. I can’t imagine what filing would be like for us without her. If you are going to be selling things on Etsy and monetizing a blog or just starting a brick and mortar store, I would suggest getting an accountant. She is worth every penny and saves us thousands of dollars in the end!
Speaking of LLCs, make sure you know the steps to take your idea from scratch paper to where the rubber meets the road. Back to the accountant thing. She files all our LLC paperwork and helps us with that side of things as well. I would definitely contact an accountant to see what steps you need to take to set up your business correctly the first time!
Take the time to write a business plan. Write it like you are asking for money from the bank. And DON’T lie to yourself! It’s really hard for me to not fluff numbers. I don’t know why. Its probably the optimist in me but it’s taken me years of practice to budget conservatively and my husband would tell you I have a long way to go. haha.
But don’t skip this step! Even if you aren’t needing a loan you still need a plan! Fail to plan and plan to fail. That saying has always been true in my life and in my business. This is an easy step that will help you also make your budget!
Don’t let those girls on Instagram who are blogging from a yacht in Tahiti fool you into thinking they skipped this step and went straight to being mega-famous for posting selfies. It takes time for any business to take off. The old adage “if you build it they will come” always made me feel like people should be running through the floodgates if my idea was any good. But that’s not true. Even brands like Facebook and Instagram took LOTS of time to take off.
If you don’t believe me or even if you do but you just need some “me too” moments, listen to “How I Built This” podcast by NPR. The podcast interviews founders of brands like Rent the Runway and Wedding Wire. They share their entrepreneurial stories and after what feels like listening to 50+ episodes I can tell you. No one made it overnight. It has gotten me through so many dark moments where I felt like everyone else had overnight success.
PULL THE TRIGGER
If you have taken all the steps above to prepare and still feel terrified. That’s normal. Sometimes you just have to jump and know that if you fail, that’s ok. I remember trembling as I called my boss to tell him I was resigning. Trembling! But I am so glad I did. If you don’t, you will probably always wonder what if.
Girl, you can do this! No one has it easy to start out but with a little planning, a lot of “fake it ’til you make it” moments, and a lot of days of uncertainty, you will prevail! You deserve more than to just survive the work day! If you want to live the life you always dreamed of you have to make it happen for yourself! So get out there and get to it!