Business Breakdown
with Anne Samoilov

Follow Your Passion and Keep Your Day Job

There’s lots of talk online about quitting your day job and following your passion. How do you start a business and manage having a day job? When can you quit? How do you make both work?

How do you follow your passion, start that business, live your dream life all while spending the bulk of your day at a J.O.B.?  How do you get started on your own dreams when you’ve got a full-time commitment and responsibility to your family?

I know this struggle well. I’ve never really fit into a normal job environment.  I always seemed to have something else developing on the side.  I wrote, produced and recorded a 5 song cd.  I got certified to teach pilates.  I wrote screenplays and teleplays.  I worked on short films.  I’ve always had passions brewing on the side.

Each one gave me the “why” I was working at the day job.  But in the past – even knowing my why never quite satisfied me.

When I started to work for Laura all of that changed.

I won’t lie – my initial interest in working for Laura was simple.

Think about how much I will learn just by being in her business. Think about the opportunity to see how a real successful business runs. My brain was in a meltdown. I was so excited for the potential learning.

But as I dove in and really LOVED what I did and do for her, I realized 4 things.

Get ready, because here are 5 ways you can happily keep your day job AND pursue your passion.

1. Take Ownership.

Let your job become your business.  You don’t work for the company. You own a piece of it. Don’t be shy, start functioning immediately as if you are the owner of the company.  Everything you do benefits you and your company. So take it.

This was the biggest, most natural thing I did when I started working with Laura. Notice I say with. I’m very careful with the language when describing what I do at LKR. I work with her. In fact, I task her with everything she has to do, so some days…she works for me.  And she even apologizes when she doesn’t get things finished on time.  Taking ownership of my role in the company has made the work I do as important as the projects I do myself off Roeder-time.  And the great thing is…I don’t have to do it alone when I’m working with LKR. It’s me, Sarah, Myreen, Stacey, and Jules too! I’ve got a complete support team.

2.  Learn from success and failures.

So you’ve taken ownership, now look at what works and doesn’t work in your company.  Start implementing similar procedures or systems in your own business.  If you manage a team of people, perhaps you know now what should and shouldn’t be outsourced.  If your company uses social media to promote itself, does that work? Do they get more leads on Facebook or Twitter?

Use your day job as your testing ground for your own business. There is SO much to learn from the running of every single business.  Even if your dream is to have your own crochet and weaving business, I bet you can learn a thing or two about operating that business from your more corporate environment.

For me – I see what works with Laura’s business and I think of unique ways to implement them into my own.  Sometimes it’s not a fit for me, but just watching the constant testing and decision making, I have something to start with — for my own work.  Recently, I released my first ebook and decided to do what I call a Backwards Launch.  For me it was more important to have an actual product on my site before I started guest posting.  I didn’t want to do a 3 video launch..it didn’t feel right for me.

Now, was that the right thing to do? Maybe not, but learning from Laura, I looked at my goals and knew that having the book on my site for sale was the most important marker that I’d completed something for my own business.

3. Remind yourself that your day job is your financial backer.

Use your income from your day job to hire an assistant, to outsource your product creation or design, to fund your trip to conferences that will help you network.

Let’s get real, it’s a lot easier to join a busy, thriving, growing business than it is to start your own.  Laura’s business has roots and I love that I’m a part of it’s growth. But don’t let that fool you, I’m also working so that I can afford the graphic designer for my ebook or to have a little extra money for business coaching and of course to afford my daughter’s preschool!

4.  Use your job to keep you clued in to the world around you.

Your ideal customers might be in the office next door or your next accountability partner might be your best friend at work.  Staying connected with real people is important.  Many of you are starting online businesses and believe me it can feel very surreal to be working all day at home and then to go out into the world. You feel like a bit of a weirdo trying to be social and interact with actual humans.

Real people keep you grounded. It’s that simple.

5. Keep your time management skills sharp.

Having a day job means you are required to work a certain number of hours a day.  It gives you structure.

Create your overall schedule – your day job is a huge chunk of that but will remind you that you need to schedule work time, down time, creation time, email time.  Think about your entire day from start to finish and schedule out when you’ll work on work and when you’ll work on your own work.

Keeping your work ethic strong will come in handy if you decide to quit your job to start your business (but I don’t think you have to….).

Work will keep you structured, thinking clearly and really give you a leg up on other creative entrepreneurs that run around from idea to idea.  Believe it or not – this structure is also giving you just the right amount of white space.

I’ll admit I’m lucky to be working a job I’m passionate about while also developing and building my own business and projects.  But I believe you can do it too.

I’d love to hear from you now. How would you change the way you work if you knew it was actually supporting your dreams and passions? Would you struggle through it, enduring each day like you were being tortured? Or would you embrace each day, knowing it was bringing you closer to your goals?

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About Anne Samoilov

Anne Samoilov is the creator of Fearless Launching - a program teaching entrepreneurs how to pull off their first launch. Each month, she’ll come in here and write about managing launches, teams, and setting up systems to keep you productive and your business growing. Check her out on Facebook!

Comments

  1. Alyx Falkner says:

    Anne, this was by far the most powerful and uplifting post I read in a few weeks. After coming back from a long extended sabbatical from writing, I felt I really needed to push my own business more and step away from my day job. But you single handedly changed my perspective! I really like the part about working the J.O.B as if you own it. Thanks a bunch.

  2. Alyx,

    That is awesome!! Honestly, writing this post even renewed my own gratitude for my role here at LKR! I think we all just need to step back from the situations we think we need to escape and ask, “what am I learning here? what is this job allowing me to do?”

    So glad it helped change your perspective!

    -Anne

  3. I think point 4 nails it for me. My dayjobs keep me grounded gives me time of and it gets me out of the house. Working from home can sometimes feel like being locked indoors with my own work and nothing else.
    In my case it also surrounds me with other peoples art which makes it an inspiring place to work.
    Thanks for your great posts. You wrote down good reasons to not focus too much on quiting as fast as you can but also apreciate the proces more. Definetly one to read again.

    • Each one of these points have been huge themes for me throughout the last 2 years especially, but I realize now that they would have been handy when I was moaning and groaning about past jobs. Working on a team is great – and even when you feel like a hermit somedays, you know you can pick up the phone and chat as if by the “water cooler”.

  4. Anne, great post and insightful observations. I like the way you discuss having an outside job and working in your own business as a both-and proposition. It doesn’t need to be either/or and each can inform the other. I started my own business two years ago and think the two areas I struggle most with are not having a team to vett ideas/track collective progress and time management. Of course, technology poses challenges as well (which is why I follow Laura!). The way I see it, these are all opportunities to try new things and learn about myself in the process. Thanks for sharing your learnings with us.

    • Laurie – my pleasure! I always try to find the lesson in every situation I’m in – and love the a-ha’s I’ve had while on the job with Laura. I’ve had too many jobs in the past where I dreaded going to them — it’s unfortunate I didn’t take the time to gather more intel from those positions! -Anne

  5. Anne, the timing of this post is very relevant for me, on so many fronts. I work as a leadership coach and trainer to high level corporate and government clients, as part of a small consulting business. I have been struggling with not only my JOB paying my bills, but also serving an important function in the world that I believe I have the gift to be able to do, with a team of very committed people who I consider my friends. AND I have my own creative passions I am pursuing in terms of my writing and blogging about finding calling, doing what you love, stepping into your life’s purpose. I have been in this holding pattern for a while, struggling with the either/or and am now starting to feel I can live with the AND without having sacrifice one or the other. I also LOVE your comment about your backward launch. I have been doing so much self-training in social media and launching products, but I don’t really know that I have a product to launch right now. Lately I have been thinking maybe it is time, given the season, to back away from the frantic Facebook/Twitter/ I-need-to-produce-and -sell-something mode and hunker down to write – an e-Book? A book-book? and use that as a platform from which to move forward. Thank you for this great and inspiring post!

  6. Anne! I love this post, and I have SO been there. I recently DID quit my day job, but only after months of working hard to transition my business and making sure that, when I did take the leap, I didn’t fall flat on my face. And shortly thereafter, I joined you on Laura’s team and I am also sooo proud to say that I work with you all. =)

    It sometimes is easy to get trapped in a place of ungratefulness and dissatisfaction when we’re working to fund our dreams – but all we need to do is shift our attitude and perspective! You’ve brought up some super helpful tips that are actionable, simple, and really do make a world of difference. Brava!

  7. Anne, L O V E #3 I tell clients all the time to do this. I did this so many times… Did PR + taught yoga, Taught yoga + coached… it’s a building block and when you see it as a body of work and that you are gaining experience it’s the WISE road.

  8. Great article. I have had my own buisness 1 year now beside my daywork and I love it. Ok, it is somedays very long days but it my buisness grow every single month and If I keep this growth in the future also I can leave my dayjob in 6-7 month. Love it!

  9. Anne! Thank you so much…this is exactly what I needed to read as I feel I am in a very similar situation to you! Good advice about organizing your overall schedule too – something I need to improve on. Loved it! x

  10. Danika,
    Glad to hear my post connected with you! Love to chat about this anytime you’re up for it, so hit me up on Twitter!
    Anne

  11. Great post and thank you for this! I, too, have read many blogs touting the benefits of quitting your day job and doing work you love. While I applaud anyone doing work they love, quitting full time employment just isn’t the right option for everyone.

    I often blog about loving the job, and the life, you have while working towards the job and the life you want. The greatest truth I have learned in my work-life is life is truly what I make of it, and every job is an opportunity. My focus is on growing personally and professionally, and living my best life today.

    My external circumstance does not define or determine my personal happiness or professional success- I do. By taking ownership and responsibility for my work-life, I can follow my passion outside my job, and explore new ways to relate that passion and purpose in my day job.

    Chrysta