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?