Making Your Passion Your Profession
Some of today’s most successful corporations began as passion projects. How you make the leap from a side hustle to a full-time career will depend on several factors, but ultimately some degree of risk will be involved. Doing your research and beginning preparations well in advance is essential to making the transition smooth and trouble-free. In this article, we look at a few tips that will help you get started on the right foot.
Know What to Expect
Working exclusively for yourself is a big change, both in obvious ways and in ways you wouldn’t initially expect. Be prepared to rethink the way your work affects you:
- Financially: The principal difference between working for yourself and being an employee is that you can no longer depend on a steady paycheck. Add to that the initial expense of setting up a business, and it’s easy to see why many entrepreneurs fail to make their main hustle a financially sustainable one. The best thing you can do ahead of going out on your own is to set aside a reserve of cash — ideally enough to cover your personal expenses for at least three months. As for your business, put together a detailed financial plan that accounts for all your initial and ongoing costs and leaves you enough room to breathe if you don’t meet your sales projections.
- Professionally: As a business owner, you’re responsible for much more than you are as an employee. It’s easy to overlook the amount of time and mental effort involved in running your own operation — whether it’s big-picture stuff like keeping the books or nuisances like keeping your software up-to-date. If you’ve never run your own business before, consider taking a course in office management or administration. Look into whether or not it’s worth it to outsource your receivables and other more time-consuming tasks that take your focus away from sales.
- Emotionally: The stress and uncertainty of launching a new business can take its toll. While you’ll no doubt find yourself working longer hours, there are things you can do to prevent burnout. Practice self-care by eating well, getting fresh air, and taking time off regularly — even if it’s as simple as going to a yoga class or seeing a movie by yourself. Knowing when to step back and spend some time away from the business will make you more productive when you are at work and keep you healthier, too.
Ultimately, the key to running a successful small business is to have the right attitude. Be cautious, but not afraid to fail. Be hands-on, but delegate when necessary. Be dedicated, but know when to take time for yourself.
Create the Right First Impression
With the right outlook internally, it’s important to project that positivity outward. Just because you’re a new startup doesn’t mean your operation shouldn’t put its best face forward to the world. There are lots of ways to do this — from renting to an office to designing a great website — but one that’s easy to overlook is your telephone presence.
Even if your operation is just a single employee working from home, a business phone system can make you seem more established and polished. When potential clients call in, your virtual phone system can create the impression they are reaching a professional office with multiple extensions and departments. It will also make you more accessible so that even when you’re tied up on the road or negotiating with a contractor, your customers can reach you and you can respond quickly.
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