The road to self-employment and self-sufficiency isn’t always paved in gold. In fact, it is often windy, dusty, and full of pot holes. When I decided to transition from my six years in the medical field to starting my own freelance company, I hit the pavement with the determination of a racecar driver. I had goals in sight, the knowledge to make it happen, and the drive you only find when you are achieving something you love. But as I kicked into high gear, I ran into five speed bumps that threatened my commitment, resolve and overall sanity in my quest to shake the nine-to-five monkey from my back and bask in the freedom of making my own schedule and doing work I’m passionate about.
The “Am I Crazy?” Syndrome
Unfortunately this speed bump is around every corner and it will never go away. Starting your own company is a risk. I had a steady job. I worked hard to get to my position. I had full benefits. Why would I give up this American dream? I must be crazy, right? Probably. And I still ask myself this question all the time. It is an important one. This bump slows your speed just enough to make sure you are in it for the right reasons.
Putting Your Butt in the Chair
Like many people, I started my business while still working 40 hours a week at my day job. Nothing slows your pace more than being tired and overworked with a beautiful day looming outside your window. News flash: There will never be enough hours in the day, and there will always be something more enticing than work. Set a schedule and stick to it. Set up a comfortable work space if you are working from home. Organize your space in way that inspires and motivates you.
All About the Benjamins
Passion and freedom are fantastic, but at the end of the day we all work to make money. I was lucky that my company required very little start-up funds, but it still took some finesse and prioritizing to avoid draining the bank account. Realistically, this speed bump can send you airborne, flying off a cliff to a fiery demise. Choose how to spend your money carefully. Start with the small but important stuff.
Who’s Coming With Me?
Telling your boss to shove it can be an incredibly satisfying feeling, but knowing when to break those ties is important. Embrace this speed bump. Chances are you will need these people at some point, or you can at least utilize them later. Timing is everything in this case. Before burning those bridges, make sure you’re ready to make it on your lonely island.
Pick Me, Pick Me
This isn’t so much a bump as it is a mountain. You don’t know self-doubt until you make that leap to self-employed. Explaining what I was embarking on to the people closest to me was one of the hardest hurdles I encountered. Overcoming the fear of being criticized, and not taken seriously can be soul-crushing. Finding your confidence is key. Believe it and others will too.
These are just a few of the many bumps in the road you will find when starting your own business, and what looks unsurpassable to me may look like a crack in the sidewalk to you. Prepare for everything, and adapt to anything. The road will take you where you want to go. It just may take some time to get there.