Three years ago after a major health scare, I decided that I wanted to be a full-time entrepreneur.
I yearned for the freedom of doing work I was passionate about while still picking my son up from school every day. It was overwhelming to think about how I would maintain a six-figure corporate income while still being a mommy, a wife, homemaker, and build a small business from the ground up. I didn’t even have a clear idea of what business I wanted to start!
A few business ideas and a lot of hard work later, I’m finally a full-time entrepreneur who can support my half of the family budget on my business income. I’ve learned a lot along the way and here are a few important things that might help you along your journey from employee or stay-at-home mom (SAHM) to entrepreneur.
Accept yourself as a business owner.
When you are working a full-time job (even if that job is called Mommy), there is a tendency feel as if you aren’t a legitimate business owner. As if your business isn’t serious or isn’t a “real” business because it doesn’t support your family yet. Throw those feelings out the window! They will seep into your body language and your decision making, sabotaging your ability to succeed.
Every business has a beginning and a period of time when the business isn’t profitable. Holding another job, called a “bridge” job, is the smart thing to do if you need an income or money to fund your business (Yes, even a six figure corporate job can be a bridge job). The other alternative is to take out a business loan and put your entire family in to debt for a business that isn’t making any money. If that doesn’t sound like a good option for you, bridge job it is. And that IS savvy business.
Do at least one thing for your business every single day.
Trust me, I know how tired you are. Starting a business when you are working full-time, being a full-time mom, a wife, a homemaker, and still finding time for yourself seems impossible. That’s because it is. You can accomplish a lot in 24 hours, but you can’t be everything to everyone. The business often has to go on the back burner. However, make sure you do one task that moves your business forward every single day. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction.
Putting out a webinar or an online course, or an ebook that nobody buys isn’t failure. It just means you need to try a different marketing tactic. I see so many entrepreneurs put out their first product and then abandon their business idea because it didn’t sell.
I know it’s hard. I know that you spent your very limited time putting your heart and soul into this product. You’ve taken time away from your family and given up sleep, food, and personal time to build this product. And now you feel like hanging your head in shame and walking off the field and eating a pint of ice cream and…
If you truly put your heart and soul into this product… If this product fills a gap or solves a pain point for your ideal client… then don’t give up. Don’t give up until you’ve tried every technique under the sun to get it out the door and into the hands of the people you created it for. If your first marketing campaign didn’t work, then move on to the next. This kind of failure is simply pushing you closer to the path that leads to success.
Get clear on your goals
You don’t have time to spin your wheels. You want out of the full-time job and into full-time business owner as quickly as possible. You need to have a clear understanding of what that means financially, to your relationship, and for your own personal needs.
Financially, how much money do you really need to make in your business? Do you need to replace your full-time income or can you get by on less? How much savings do you need in the bank to feel comfortable quitting your job? If you are a SAHM mom, do you need to make enough money for extra child care so you can have periods of focus during the day?
Is your significant other supportive of your efforts as an entrepreneur? I can say from personal experience that having a supportive spouse has been key to keeping me going when the self-doubt hits. You may need to do some work in your relationship to get this element in place.
Going from full-time employee or SAHM to full-time entrepreneur sounds like a lot of fun, but it requires a real shift in your thinking. Is it scary to think that you have no boss to whom you can escalate your problems? Or that you’ll be expected to feel as comfortable in a pitch meeting as you do at the homework table? Figure out what scares you the most and find a way to put structure around it. For example, are you worried about customers paying late? Write down a payment policy and include it in your customer contracts. Being a small business doesn’t mean you can’t have structure and policies to lean on when issues crop up.
Transitioning from your full-time job into your own business is possible. It takes patience, planning, and a heck of a lot of hard work. The payoff? PRICELESS!
About the Author
Kelly Phillips is the CEO of Boost Interactive Media and the creator of WP Plugin Coach, the web show and training program to help you hit it out of the park with your WordPress Website. After discovering an early talent for mastering technology, she found a way to help others master it as well through a 20 year career in corporate training. An expert in all aspects of training including stand-up facilitation, instructional design, elearning development and training management she now provides her expertise through consulting, speaking engagements and online training at boostinteractivemedia.com.
“Technology has changed the game once again. These new tools provide SMBs a way to streamline processes and complete with the big guys in operations, marketing, customer service, and just about every aspect of business. Getting a handle on the systems and process that will accelerate your business is essential to success. That’s where I come in.” Kelly says.
At Boost Interactive Media, Kelly and her team focus on building WordPress websites and helping Do-it-Yourselfers learn to use WordPress better. She teaches WordPress Essentials and Advanced classes at Wake Technical Community College.
“Companies are just beginning to understand how powerful their digital presence can be, and how technology is key in moving their business forward.” Kelly says. “Using social media to educate, establish expertise, and build trust in your customers is becoming an essential piece of every business plan.”
Kelly lives near Raleigh, NC with her husband and son. In addition to teaching WordPress and elearning at Wake Technical Community College Continuing Education program, is an organizer for the Vend Raleigh Illuminate conference for moms and the Digital Marketing for Business conference, and a sponsor of the SEO What you Need to Know Meetup group.