Originally published November 02, 2011. Updated March 9, 2020.
I talk to many creative people who want to turn their passions or hobbies into consulting careers that will allow them to quit their day job.
They have big dreams fueled by the profound sense of unhappiness they feel heading into their day job day after day, but usually, there a 3 things they don't consider before they take the leap into consulting full-time.
I, myself, learned some of these lessons the hard way. 😂
When you first start planning to work for yourself, you may not have thought about all the extra work you will have to do that you DON'T get paid for directly.
There are a lot of behind the scenes tasks and responsibilities that have to be taken care of that no one is paying you for if you're a one or two-person show. For example:
Business planning - This can be a big timesuck if you do it right. You could spend hours and hours on branding and marketing plans or you could shell out money to have someone else do it for you.
Accounting - Keeping track of finances, even with top-of-the-line accounting software takes time and resources.
Technology - if you have a website, Facebook page, Instagram account, Etsy store, analytics accounts - who is managing that for you?
Prospecting - looking to add clients? Chances are you will spend lots of time in the courting phase before you even...uh, score with them.
Note: I type this at 5 o'clock in the evening and I've been up since 5 am. And will probably bank 11-12 hours of total work time today - much of which, isn't actually billable.
There's no other way to put this, but some people shouldn't work for themselves because their personalities scream "employee."
An employee personality is someone who constantly needs direction, approval, and permission.
If you're stepping out on your own, you are the end all be all. If you aren't a self-starter who can roll with the punches, make things happen and handle being the HBIC - rethink your desire to strike out on your own.
One thing to keep in mind is, you may start off with an employee mindset - simply because this is what you are used to. Don't let this discourage you. Keep working at it and break into boss-mode. If you screw up (and you WILL screw up), dust yourself off and try again.
If you're sitting on your hands waiting for someone to notice how truly amazing you are, you better pack it up, babe.
This is one of my favorite quotes - and I apologize because I don't remember who said it:
"Luck is half preparation and half opportunity."
If your big break comes and you're not ready to grab that big break by the short and curlies and take it for the ride of your life, then luck is just another thing that's passed you by.
Work, then work, then work some more and when the opportunity comes, you'll be ready to pounce.
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