Here are a few lessons I learnt when I quit my day job.
Like with everything new that you take on, you often learn lessons along the way, regardless of how much you plan and prepare. When I left my job we spent a lot of time researching and my husband had spreadsheets for his spreadsheets, we had meetings and we had plans but despite all of that the first venture I tried out didn’t work out. It was obviously very stressful but learning how to cope with that stress and bounce back was actually one of the biggest lessons we both learnt.
I am still learning as I go but these are a few of the lessons I have learnt over the past 5 years.
Plan to fail. This sounds extremely negative but it is not really. We never had a backup plan and when we found ourselves with a business that wasn’t working, we had no idea what to do. So I am not saying spend a whole lot of time focused on this but add a backup plan into your business plan, especially if you are starting a business that has a large initial cash outlay.
Be flexible. Starting your own business rarely runs to plan. Working from home can be a huge adjustment and it may not work out like you had planned, so be flexible in the beginning until you find your groove.
Have a plan. Don’t just resign and hope it all comes together when you wake up in a month’s time. It may but it probably won’t. Having a plan provides safety and security and most importantly it provides focus. Once you start working for yourself, there is no boss setting goals and telling you what you need to do, all that is on you now, so you do need to have it figured out.
Don’t see failure as the end. I have tried so many things over the last 5 years, some have been more successful than others but I have done a lot of failing. It can get demotivating but it can also bring you one step closer to doing what you really want to. So if you aren’t doing as well as you had hoped or maybe you aren’t enjoying it as much you thought, that is ok. Change the direction of your sails and head in a new direction. Failure is how we learn.
Surround yourself with people like you. This is a lesson I have only learnt recently but find people like you, entrepreneurs, women working from home, moms who work from home etc. These women will understand your challenges, your fears and will support you because they have been there or are there. My network of fellow female entrepreneurs is literally what keeps me going every day.
Keep track of your income and expenses! Initially you can probably do this yourself but if you are going to do it, then do it properly. You may think you aren’t earning enough or your business is just starting so you don’t have to worry about it but you do!
Set boundaries. Working from home is harder than you may think. It is easy to quickly reply to an email between dinner and bath time but before you know it you are sitting next to your laptop for 15 hours a day. Make sure you set up some boundaries for yourself, set working hours for yourself and stick to those.
Take yourself seriously. This is also a pretty new lesson for me and for years I shyed away from telling people what I did but now I tell everyone (ok not everyone). I am proud of what I do and I am starting to view everyone as a potential client. If you take yourself seriously so will other people.
Venturing out on your own can be so scary and the fear is often what holds us back but it can be the most liberating thing you can do.
The time to make the leap is now! It may not always be easy but I promise you it will be worth it.
About Laura-Kim Le Roux
Laura is a work from home mom to four kids. She runs a Social Media Consultancy that works with small, owner-run businesses, is a partner at SA Mom Blogs and runs a personal parenting blog, HarassedMom. When she isn’t playing moms taxi, she enjoys scrapbooking, eating her hidden stash of Lindt chocolate and finding her zen in yoga class!
You can contact Laura-Kim through her social channels and by email.
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