Whether you’ve lost your job, are underemployed, or were passed over for an important promotion, weathering a career setback can be incredibly stressful. However, career speed bumps also present an exciting opportunity: they allow you to refocus your efforts and pursue a business that truly excites you.
But making that leap will require serious strategizing and hustle. You’ll need a plan, fortitude, and a lot of coffee. Read on for tips to make your dream a reality, one step at a time.
What Are You Good At? And What Do You Love?
Most successful businesses are built by people who’ve been able to do two very important things: determine the place where their interest and skill set intersects and then capitalize on it. When you create a business in that magic space, incredible things begin to happen. Your brand will feel authentic because it is authentic.
In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need talent and drive to sustain you. Because striking out on your own requires a wealth of time and energy. And on days when you’re not feeling particularly inspired, your skills – in communication, art, negotiating, you name it – will help you power through your funk and stay the course. So take stock of your areas of expertise. Truly assess your strengths and pinpoint your passions. As the idiom goes, pick something you’d gladly do for free, and then find a way to get paid to do it.
Crunch the Numbers
Once you’ve settled on an idea for your own business, it’s important to take a look at your financial reality. Starting your own business is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s important to be honest with yourself about your current financial standing.
Sit down and determine how much startup capital you’ll need. Some common start-up expenses include the cost of creating an LLC, website hosting, any specialized equipment, gas money, travel expenses, marketing, and design. Create a spreadsheet that details all of these expenses.
Next, in a separate spreadsheet, detail your monthly living expenses. This includes rent, food, gas, utilities, and any entertainment. (Remember that if you’re using a room in your home for your own business, you can often deduct a percentage of your home mortgage or rent on your taxes.)
Look at the numbers. Do you have enough in savings to start your business? If not, you might need to find a side hustle (or two). This will allow you to build enough capital to start your new venture.
When the Side Hustle is Your Dream Job
Not everyone is happy living life behind a desk. In fact, more and more people in the work force are opting to enter the gig economy because it can offer flexibility and work/life balance.
When accessing the different skills you bring to the table, remember to think outside the box and consider what truly makes you happy. When was the last time you got lost in what you were doing? And what were the circumstances surrounding that experience? Experts call the concept of getting lost in your work, “flow,” and by recognizing these moments, you’ll be better able to determine the kind of work that’s personally fulfilling to you. For many people, hobbies provide that kind of release. Consider making the jump from an amateur to a professional.
If you love hanging out with family and work well with children, explore the possibility of becoming a nanny or childcare provider. If you adore animals, professional dog walking or working at an animal shelter pairs a steady income with your love for furry creatures. And if travel is what brings you joy, look into becoming a driver for a ride-share company. The flexibility of determining your own hours will free up your schedule and allow you to take control of your life in a tangible way.
Remember, Starting Your Own Business is a Process
Be patient with yourself as you make the transition from one career to another. Make a list of of your goals, and take steps each day to achieve them.
And remember to celebrate your hard work. By becoming your own boss, you’re allowing yourself the time and freedom to do something that excites and challenges you. With self reflection, financial discipline, and a lot of gumption, you’ll be able to pay your bills doing something you love.