Let me say this up front:
I’m calling BS on a lot of those “I quit my job and within 6 months I’m making 7 figures a fortnight” stories.
Who ARE those women? Some kind of entrepreneurial bandits?
And what kind of message are they perpetuating? That if we only TRIED harder, worked smarter, (invested in their program, perhaps), changed our mindset, BELIEVED in ourselves more, we could have that too?
We’re women. We’re glorious and clever and capable and full of brilliance.
But we’re not bloody circus performers.
And you, Femmepreneur of the Year, with your fabricated fairy tale pitching your online course and your husband who really works FIFO so you can write your passive income attracting content all day, you’re hurting us.
I’d like us to all embrace the idea that we are NOT failing at business if we take a moment, build a bridge between employment and small business ownership, and run a “side hustle” for a while.
Although the fierce female Facebook forums would have you believe otherwise.*
I’d like to encourage you to QUIT MAKING IT SO TOUGH FOR YOURSELF.
Yes, shouty capitals. They don’t happen much here.
Are you juggling a job, contributing to or paying a mortgage, supporting children, negotiating with a husbeast or significant other, and wanting to branch out and work your passion for profit?
Can you see how you might need to take a slowly, slowly approach to the entrepreneurial life rather than chuck yourself in the deep end (even with that fab program you purchased from the internet?)
And look, there’s nothing wrong with the deep end.
I know for me, the pressure of having to be a substantial provider (my husband would like me to mention a little less the fact I out earn him) to the costs of running our family ensures I am not taking any mental health days. Every work day is a work day, and I treat it as such. I am the toughest boss I’ll probably ever have.
The deep end works for me.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t build a bridge.
Here’s what my bridge between day job and queen of copywriting looked like:
- I negotiated less time and duties at work, with their support, because they wanted to spend my income on a Deputy Principal position.
- I figured out the numbers to replace my employment income, and how I was going to make that happen. (Turns out I was wrong about a lot of this, but I learned that fast!)
- I booked two clients at hugely reduced rates for 4 and 6 months, to ensure I had a stable income for at least half a year.
- I consoled my mother, who has worked in education since she was 22 and couldn’t imagine why I’d give up a steady income after 13 years of rocking private school administration.
- And I hit up all my business owning friends to keep an ear to the ground for good office jobs for me, in the case I needed one fast.
- Then I cut right back to 6 hours a week, which I still complete at my old job, directing all their community communications. My two “jobs” are now completely symbiotic. I try out new things at work, and implement them in my business, and I learn amazing things being a business woman, and bring them enthusiastically to my employee role. (And the Business Manager makes the best coffees!)
Now, I’m sorry if that seems a little less exciting than “I found my passion, quit my job, and now I’m a WonderMum with a perfect blow dry and good skin”. But with life comes responsibilities, and I wasn’t going to risk my sweet faced responsibilities without a good chance I was going to be able to make my small business work.
I don’t know how it is that I came to be the kind of person that suggests a sensible financial plan and adequate resources to quit your day job, because money and I kind of used to be allergic to each other, but I’ve gotta say; you’ve just gotta do it.
There ain’t nothing sexy about taking your 5 month old laptop to Cash Converters
because you couldn’t afford the never-ending insurance (you need PI if not PL as well to be a me), the web presence, the dosh to keep learning new skills, increased electricity, association memberships, start-up costs, stock and inventory, tech support… and the space to build a brand so that you can actually charge enough to cover all that (oh, and still feed your family in the way they were accustomed to when you were working for someone else).
And if you’re not going to fit in with the aforementioned FOTYs because you’re “side hustling” *gasp* – you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life anyhow.
There are plenty of women in business out there right now ready to be your biz buddy, give you guidance, help you when you get stuck, and steer you clear of business coaches with expensive hair dos. I found some in my wee corner of the backwaters of Perth, both locally and online, so you will be able to too.
Late last year I was invited to sit on the Committee of my local Chamber of Commerce. I was introduced at the AGM as “our local success story”. It gave me real pause because I am a one woman show figuring it out week to week who has so far been able to cover my costs.
Is that “successful”?
I guess so; 18 months after I started I am still in business and it’s growing. I know lots of small business folk that weren’t that fortunate their first time around.
Luckily, we’ve never been a FIFO family so my kids were used to baked beans for dinner and holidays in Mandurah, rather than Mauritius, so we’ve not taken a big step backwards for me to be able to follow this dream.
Because I am “our local success story”, I feel qualified to give you this advice:
Don’t give up your day job. Yet.
It’s perfectly OK to want to create something of your own. But do question the kind of CEO you will be. Perhaps you can launch something spectacular without telling the boss to go take a hike. Or, do what I did, and check out the possibility of getting a different job with no “take home” work – something simple and in and out you can do just to keep the dollars ticking over.
- Don’t give up your day job because you dislike your boss, or think you can’t craft an extraordinary business that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel good about your work.
- Don’t give up your day job because you think small business ownership is going to be glam. It’s not. And the superannuation is crap.
- Don’t give up your day job in terror you’ll never be able to go back. There’s no shame in trying, slipping up, and re-entering the workforce as an employee while you psych yourself into a position where you’re ready to leap again.
- Don’t give up your day job because someone trying to sell you their services bullied you into believing you have a ‘lifestyle’ or ‘hobby’ business because you’re not working it full time or earning over a certain amount of money. Hair flick to them.
- Don’t give up your day job until you are really, truly certain of your plan, yourself, and what you want to get out of the whole shin dig.
Consider the risks, minimise the dent, build a bridge and start making your way across to Business Owning Woman.
You might get half way across and find that sweet spot between part-time work and side hustle that is the exact right fit for you.
If you want to live there, go ahead and do that, bugger the business “should” FOTY. (And their hair. How dare they?)
OK, yes, I have hair envy.
It’s only a failure if you hate it, or the kids starve.
Whatever combination of hustle/job/empire building you need to wrangle to make it work for you, that’s the right one.
* I run a fierce female Facebook forum for women in business. My girls are smart, savvy, kind business women so I know I’m painting with a broad brush here. And not all business coaches are dodgy, not by far. In fact, if you want a recommendation of a couple of smashing ones, you can email me.
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name