Taking that big leap from a full-time salary to working for yourself is really scary, I know! I worked full-time while side-hustling for two years before making the choice to go full-time with my own business. There are a few things I did & set in place before making the decision, that you can do as well.
1. Pursue your side business with a full-time attitude
I didn’t see my business as a side-gig even though that is what it was, I did everything with a full-time attitude, whether it was pitching to a client, building a following, designing my website or developing my service offering. I was very transparent with my clients that I was also working full-time, but I pursued opportunities, ideas and projects knowing I was heading towards full-time.
This sometimes meant getting up at 5am, working late nights and working full days on weekends, but I knew that if I wanted to do this full-time I needed to treat it like it was going to be.
2. Build a safety net
When I started working I started saving, not really sure yet whether it would be for a big trip or a house someday, but I knew saving had to happen. When owning my own business became a goal more than a dream I became a lot more serious about saving as much as I could each month from my salary and putting every penny away I made from my freelance work.
Having the equivalent of three months’ salary saved up as a backup, was something that made the decision less risky to me.
3. Book yourself ahead of time
Like I said, I was treating my business as a full-time pursuit and this lead to website bookings a few months ahead. So when I reached a point when I knew that Paper Planery was becoming a realistic full-time prospect I reached out to some of my current loyal clients and let them know that I was starting full-time soon and that I offer monthly design packages if they were interested or if they knew anyone who would be. I forwarded my packages and got referred to a few great clients with monthly design and social media needs. This was a game changer and helped me make the decision knowing that I could count on a set salary each month.
4. Talk to the right people with the right expertise
As creative as being a freelance designer can get, I knew that there were certain things that I needed to set in place. I spoke to an accountant who helped me set the right things up, I registered my business and set up client contracts with a lawyer. I had a professional photographer to photograph fake it till you make it portfolio designs. I made sure that I worked with the necessary people who knew the things that I didn’t yet.
5. Get your support structure on board
Starting your own business is a big decision and will have some obstacles and adjustments waiting for you, so it’s important to have those people who have your back.
It was no secret to the people in my life that I dreamt of owning my own business, but there came a point where I had to have the serious talk with my (then) boyfriend and family to inform them of my decision and ask their advice and support.
If it wasn’t for the people in my support structure I wouldn’t have been able to achieve points 1 through 4. Make sure you have your tribe who you can talk decisions over with.
I know this is scary, but if this is something you want then it’s definitely something you can do! You have family and friends rooting for you, and I’m right up there with them because I truly believe that you have the ability to build your own life.