In the early stages of creating a business, or even before you’re at that point, you probably want to take a good look at the job and the work you’re doing and the money that’s coming in.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is quitting your job and your income completely to build your business.
(I know, I’ve done it multiple times, on different businesses!)
You can do it, absolutely, especially if you’ve got some cash saved up.
You have all your time to focus on your business BUT you’re putting pressure on your business to replace your income, and you’re chewing up all your savings.
Your New Business
Your business doesn’t have to just generate your income – there’s all the overheads like marketing, software, registrations, rent, product creation and delivery.
So, depending on what it is, it’s likely your business has to actually generate 1.5 to 2 times your income, or more in the first year.
Consider An Alternative
An alternative is to maintain a job while you’re creating and building your new business.
Not only do you have your current income, but you’re adding to it in a second income stream, and the time pressure is removed.
And, if it doesn’t happen as fast or as big as you might have hoped, you can take a long as you like without the financial stress.
And, probably most importantly, you don’t end up grabbing some crappy job at the last minute to save you from financial disaster, if it doesn’t work fully to plan. (Yep, been there too, more than once!)
The Problem With Maintaining A Job
This may go against a lot of gurus out there-telling you to take a risk, a leap of faith.
That’s great, and you can still take a leap of faith and move forward with this thing, without throwing every thing away, and placing huge financial stress on your self.
Chances are, if you’re the sort of person who is intent on building a business, you’re pretty ambitious and driven, and most likely holding a job with demands.
The biggest challenges that can arise with building a business and working a job are:
- Time – You just can’t find the time to do YOUR stuff, and you end up working to other people’s agendas.
- Energy – You give ALL your energy to your job, and there’s nothing left for you.
- Stress – You’re stressed, and you just feel like you’re working ALL the time.
Interviewing The Job
In my working career, I’ve spent a lot of time contracting and consulting on projects for shorter periods of time from 6-24 months. The problem with this is that you often don’t take the time to set up the next gig, and end up taking what’s available – not the best process.
The thing to remember with any job, is that…
You are interviewing them as much as they are you.
Sure, they pay you the money – but you are giving them not only value in your service, but your life.
Your time – the one thing you can never get back. How much is THAT really worth an hour?
So you want to make sure you’re spending your time in the very best way possible.
The Ideal Job
Before you get started, you want to figure out what your ideal job is. How you would like to work while building your business – how many hours, how much money you need coming in.
Do you want to keep doing the work you are currently doing? Will it work? Is there a different type of work
Is there a different way of working? Part-time? Contract? Form home?
Get creative and start to think about what’s going to work for YOU, and what needs to happen for that to evolve?
Here’s my “Big List” of job considerations – in no particular order. They’re going to hold different weight for different people.
(To be honest, this is more about what I learned what NOT to do and wished I’d done the whole way. Don’t make my mistakes!)
Most of them you can figure out through the interview process or searching online – which I highly suggest you do before any interview – Search the company, their work, the clients, the interviewers, and any media publicity.
- The place – What’s the vibe and the energy of the work place? Is it a bright, modern, space that you would love to work in, or is the décor drab and depressing?
- (The energy of the space is often a reflection of the energy of management and how they look after their staff. If you’re working off old, mis-matched, second hand furniture, it’s possibly a good indication that there’s not a lot of love or care for staff. When I worked as an architect, this mattered a lot, and actually said do much, but may not matter so much for say, a not-for-profit organization.)
- The values + philosophies – What are the values and philosophies of the company? Does every thing seem congruent with that?
- The hours – What are the dedicated office hours? How long do people take for lunch? Are there any out-of-hours expectations (like interstate travel or networking events?) And will you get extra pay, overtime or time in lieu?
- The people – What is the energy of people who work there like? The people who interview you? The people working? Is there an energetic buzz, do they seem happy, interesting, vibrant? Are they people you would want to spend 8 hours a day with? Or do they look bored, tired and depressed, and waiting for retirement and death? (Yes, I one took a job for a place that I swear architects went to die…)
- The work (and projects) – What exactly will you be doing every day? What tools and software do they use? Is the work something you would enjoy (regardless of whether you can do it all?)
- The team – Who will you be working with? How many people? How does the team work and communicate? Do you want to work with these people on a daily basis? Is it possible to meet them, if only briefly?
- The clients – Who do they work with? What type of companies or clients? What are THEIR values and philosophies and do they align with you? Do you want to work and deal with them on a daily basis?
- (As a practicing architect I did a lot of work for a particular client many years ago. Based on my current views, I would not take a job if the work I was doing was with that client.)
- The role – What do they want you to do – specifically? Is there any thing you’re not that interested in, or does not excite you? Is there any thing that you want to do specifically, that you can ask for? Can you mould the role to you?
- Flexibility – Is there flexibility in the hours? Can you work from home at all? Can you work part-time, or a 9-day fortnight? What is going to suit YOU in creating YOUR business?
- The salary – What do you want to earn? What do you feel you are worth? Add 20%. Does the salary on offer align with this?
- Is it fun? – Probably the biggest question of all. Taking the money out of it completely, when you think about this job does it feel light and fun and something you’d like to do. Or does it make you feel heavy and full of dread?
Remember, you don’t have to be grateful for the opportunity. You are interviewing them as much as they are you.
YOU have a tonne of experience, value and knowledge to offer, so this has to work fro you as much as them. Don’t compromise, or say yes to any thing that you’re really not going to enjoy, or doesn’t work for you in the scheme of creating your new business.
Creating Your Job Boundaries
Once you’ve chosen your ideal job and you’re getting started, you want to set YOUR boundaries from the start.
You want to teach people how you are going to work and what works for YOU.
Some things to think about are:
- Prioritise YOUR work – Figure out when and how you want to do the work on your business. When are you at your mental best? Morning? Late night? What works for YOU?
- If morning, can you start and finish work half an hour later?
- If evening, can you start at 7 and finish at 3:30?
- Can you go in early and wok on your stuff at a cafe for a couple of hours each day?
- Work paid hours only – As discussed and agreed, work your paid hours and work them well. I you’re asked to do extra work for a deadline, negotiate the terms up front – how will the overtime pay or time in lieu be calculated?
- Learn to say no – When you’re asked to do something over and above your job description, say no, and explain why? The minute you take on extra work, people will keep giving it to you.
- Take your breaks – Take short breaks and your full lunch break as a time to refresh, recharge, feed your body some good food, rest your mind, maybe take a walk or get in some exercise. Utilise the time, but for YOU!
- Take holidays – Take holidays to recharge. Don’t take 4 weeks off to work full time on your business. Some if it needs to be a complete break, or you will burn out.
- Do what you love – Create time for hobbies and things you enjoy. Write a list, and incorporate as many of these into your day, and especially your lunch and breaks.
- Have fun – If it stops being fun, any of it – your job, your business, the work – take some time to look around and figure out what’s not working. Do your best to renegotiate and change it, and do not be afraid to start looking around for something that is more fun, and works for YOU.
There’s a lot in this post, but at the end of the day, this is YOUR life. It’s nota dress rehearsal and it only happens once.
If you’re not happy in your current job, and/ or you want to start a business and need to rethink how it’s going to work, hopefully some of these pointers are going to help.
There are tonnes of jobs out there, and there are people who will value who you are and what you do.
Don’t settle for less.
Look after YOU first, and your finances, so you can grow your business.
Because the world needs YOU.