Do you have a vision for your future? If you do, are you working towards it or is it something that you hope might eventually happen without you putting in too much effort?
I was recently involved in a 14 day business building challenge where the participants were encouraged to think about their goals and where they eventually wanted to be. The responses were amazing. Some people simply wanted to keep their business going and be able to afford a reasonable standard of living with a few treats thrown in. Others had much grander plans.
Me? I love writing. I’ve always thought of myself as being pretty introverted but I still enjoy asking nosy questions. When I was advising clients on the law I used to be able to poke around factories asking about working methods and how they handled employee communications. You wouldn’t believe how many personal injury claims can hinge on whether someone understood an instruction properly and if anyone checked.
I could happily spend my days getting to know people and their businesses so I can ghostwrite their blog posts for them. If anyone needs a book ghostwriting I’d be delighted to help. Yet the dream is even bigger than that. In my spare time (I know, what’s that?) I’m working on a crime novel. It’s still a work in progress. However, whilst it progresses it allows me to imagine myself as this generation’s answer to PD James.
What are you building?
Are you working on your dream business now? If not, is the work you’re doing related to your ultimate goal? I might not be spending all my time writing fiction but I’m still honing my skills. Plus, I enjoy it.
Be realistic; you need to pay the bills. It can be tempting to throw in your day job and run off in pursuit of your dreams but your family won’t thank you if they have to live in a tent. Unless, of course, it’s your dream to take up residence on a glamping site, in which case go ahead.
Building your business vs the 9-5
If you’re in a job that you want to escape from, welcome. That was me a year ago. I loved dealing with claims but the business had changed and so had I. It just wasn’t the right fit any more. I was financially stable enough to be able to resign then focus on my business but that isn’t the case for everyone. If you need to stay in your job and build your business on the side at least you’ll have financial stability. You could even start finding potential clients if it won’t tread on your current employer’s toes.
What if your job is making you really miserable? You could consider running two parallel businesses.
I have self-employed friends who also sell Neal’s Yard Organics, Arbonne and Phoenix cards. It’s a familiar brand so people are more likely to buy. There’s also support so you’re not entirely on your own.
You can build your entire vision on freelancing if your business model enables you to work for clients whose vision chimes with yours.
Equally, you could take on work that uses your skills and pays the bills but that you wouldn’t want to do forever. Your dream business might be handcrafting tiaras for beautiful brides, but you could consider making disposable costume pieces for the high street if it keeps a roof over your head.
However your business is building, you need to plan your time. This is particularly true if you’re unable to focus solely on your own goals. Decide how much time you’re going to spend on your side business and block it off. Don’t let it seep into the rest of your life.