I have been talking with a lot of coaching clients recently
who are looking at their job prospects, looking at the possibility of unemployment, and looking at launching their business.
Virtually everyone asks whether I think they can run their business on the side. My quick answer is, "It's really hard to get that word-of-mouth marketing machine going". However, I think I have finally identified that magic something that enables some people to move from a part-time business to full-time (or as full-time as they want to be) within a year, and without which others have trouble building their business into what they want it to be.
Making that transition from full-time employment to full-time business owner isn't easy for most people. As my sweetheart the therapist reminds me, "You're either in the pool or you're out of the pool." I stood on the edge of the pool for a year, thinking about how cold it would be and how deep it was and how far away the stairs were. Then I set a launch date for my business, held my breath, gave notice at my last job, and did a great big cannonball into the pool.
Other folks, however, would prefer a more gradual approach. Fair enough. The question, to carry this pool analogy way too far, is whether you are taking it one step at a time so that you can turn around when the water's up to your knees, or whether you intend to fully submerge yourself. In more business-oriented terms, the way to start part-time and build your
business into a full-time position is to change your perspective and see your part-time job as "supplemental income" that is supporting your business.
If you look at your day job as your "real" job, or if you identify yourself as "an employee at XYZ Corp" rather than as a business owner, or if you assume that
you'll never have a business that can support you, then you will find it extremely difficult to put in the time, energy and focus to make your business successful. If you see your business as a sideline, it will never grow to more than that.
If, on the other hand, you can look at your day job as something that supplements what your business brings in, then you will start instinctively making decisions that will bring your business to a point where you can work on it full time. What is required is a change in where you put your heart. Once you define yourself as a business owner, even if it's someone who is currently holding down a side job until the business becomes more profitable, then you will find that you push yourself further. You will make your business your priority, and you will find ways to fit your work around your business.
Once you make the shift from seeing yourself as an employee to seeing yourself as a business owner, you are getting ready to do that cannonball into the pool. Come on in -- the water's fine!