Pull up a pew and let me tell you about the people I know who’ve fallen victim to lost opportunities. From fashion designers, to tech stars and writers – my circle has seen ambitious and inspired entrepreneurs stay imprisoned in their 9-to-5s because they never knew when it was time to cut the cord. This wasted skillset and opportunity goes on to manifest itself in burnouts and a future spent agonising over unfilled potential.
Of course, this is not to belittle the bravery that comes with leaving a steady (albeit unpredictable) job. Before I jumped into business ownership, I also procrastinated – made excuses that pivoted around my responsibilities (mortgage, family) and basically let fear become a decider. However, my corporate job (as a Fashion Buyer) was threatening to be engulfed by the monster that was my ‘side-line’ (content and marketing services) and it became impossible to run the two in parallel and be good at either. I leaped (not quite with as much wild abandonment as it sounds) buoyed up by some great clients who had my back.
If you have been fostering a flourishing ‘side-line’ for a while now, and wonder when it’s time to promote it to business – read on and see which of these signs resonate.
1. Time is stopping you scale
If you’ve brought your potential new business to life by working weekends and evenings glued to People Per Hour, then a big bravo! However, it’s going to reach a critical point when this limited time is simply not going to offer the opportunity to scale a business. Business building goes way beyond the simple act of doing and encompasses creating long-term sustainability. If you have reached a point where time has become a constraint to your vision, it’s likely you are ready to start letting go of those apron strings.
2. You have enough cash to survive
Of course, we’d all love to jump ship when our new business was widely profitable but it’s more realistic to know that you have enough cash flow to survive your new vision in its infancy. Take stock of your current situation and make some projections on what you need to survive until you can start to pay yourself a liveable salary. Be careful to not compare this to your current full-time take home pay, I’m talking about you in maintenance mode, the most streamline you can be.
Of course, money shouldn’t hinder your dreams but it’s important to be realistic to avoid a trail of debt in a year’s time and no idea how it happened.
If you believe that you have a pot that can sustain the cross-over, it’s probably time to make the leap.
3. You just know
Much like my own experiences in parenthood, it’s never really ‘the right time’ to produce an offspring and this also holds true when the baby is a business. The idea of everything falling into place is (in my opinion) a myth. It’s up to you to create conditions that make you feel totally at ease with reaching for the next step.
With that in mind, think about what you need to take your business to the next step. For me, it was a portfolio of trusted clients and the drive to make my dream a reality. Once you determine the real factors that have to come together, make yourself accountable. Create a timeline and set a deadline – then jump, whether you really feel ready or not!
It’s always going to be a difficult decision to leave stability for a volatile cash-flow and hours that look more, well, 9-midnight but if you know in your gut that you want to get your venture of the ground, it’s probably already time to make that happen.
About the Author:
Victoria stopped working for ‘The MAN’ in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. She is Founder of Flying Free Media, a content and marketing agency for lifestyle brands including Unilever, Target, Wonderbra and Glamour Magazine.
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