Ed’s note: This post was written by guest editor Jemimah Ashleigh of Tangs Design.
Last week, I started working full-time for my business, Tangs Design.
Let me be clear here and say that I have not resigned from my current full-time government job. My workplace has been polite enough to grant me leave for a eight-month period. This time will be spent setting up a more effective website and building the business within Australia and an international platform.
Since I made my decision, so many people have been asking me for advice on how to do this. If this is you, firstly: CONGRATULATIONS! I am excited for you. However, before you throw caution to the wind and decide to take the leap of faith, here are the things I recommend really thinking about.
Money, money, money
This is, by far, going to be your biggest obstacle. Do you have enough money to support yourself for a few months while the business makes money? Do you have enough savings to get you through? Do you have someone else to help assist in paying the bills?
Have you considered other costs, such as health insurance, car insurance, your rates, dental emergencies? Within the first week of going into business for myself, my laptop died and my car was damaged so severely in a hail storm that it was written off. These had not been in my budget.
Figure out your expenses, decide what you think you can get by on and be realistic about when your business will turn a profit. The majority of things we do cost us money. However, there is always money to be made. Having said that…
“Would you like your receipt, ma’am?”
I was recently moaning about the money predicament to someone who reminded me I was once a university student who worked behind a bar to make extra cash. The ability for me to pour a beer didn’t disappear now that I am 10 years older.
If money gets tight, are you willing to work at your local pizza shop or supermarket should you need to tide yourself over? Mostly, this question comes down to, “Can my ego handle this?”
Social life and friendships
For the whole time you’ve had friends, you have likely attended events/movies/cocktails/matches on the regular. You had a great time, your friends had a great time – and who wouldn’t want that to continue? The invites will continue and there will be expectations on you about this. “Hey, it’s my birthday, so let’s go to lunch at this new expensive place, and then to the movies, and then we shall have cocktails on a boat I’m hiring?” Goodbye $300. When you make the plunge, it is likely that you will mostly need to rein in this kind of spending.
But I still have a job?
People are already calling this time “my holiday”. Yes, I am moving away from the status quo, but I still have a job. Also, I’ve already had a few friends who have made “jokes” about me being able to help with running errands, babysitting their sick kid while they go to their “real job”. Recently a friend said, “Oh, this will be great! You can come and meet me for lunch all the time!”
If your dream is to have a job where you can be flexible and do these kinds of things for people, then great! That’s brilliant. However, if you are like me, I like structured time working. I will be screening calls at different times and throwing myself into working for blocks of hours. I’m also preparing to say no a lot more than I have previously.
Anxiety, stress, panic…
In my experience, leaving your full-time job is not for the faint-hearted. When this was all “just an idea”, it seemed like the best idea I’ve ever had. When the planets aligned and the dates were all set, it was great. And then it came. The realisation that you are now your own boss. And the accompanying panic. I had, after all, recently locked myself inside my house. Seriously. Should I really be at the helm of a business? And to make matters worse…
People are scared for you
Not only are you terrified for yourself, but other people are worrying on your behalf. And for some reason, other people will be pissed at you. Be prepared for this because I was not. Mostly, this comes from genuine concern for your wellbeing and mental health, but sometimes it comes from people who have not followed their dreams and there is envy.
Are you willing to sacrifice your dream?
If all of this seems a bit heavy, I get it. It’s not an easy step, so why on earth would you do it? For me, it came down to imagining myself at 80 looking back on my life. I couldn’t imagine wondering what could have happened. You need to consider what would happen if you never made this jump. I decided that my life was more than a sequence of waiting for things to happen. But come see me in eight months.
Jemimah is the creative director of Tangs Design and the founder of Epic Social. This enforcement intelligence officer come jeweller and comedian is passionate about breaking through the many myths and misconceptions about being an entrepreneur. jemimahashleigh.com.au