I received this email from Jeff, a coach in Colorado – see if you can identify:
I am currently trying to build my coaching business; it’s taking longer than I hoped and I need to bring in money soon so I’m looking for a regular job. I thought I left that world a while ago and the thought of working for someone else again is revolting. It feels like a race to make money one way or another, which puts pressure on the coaching business. Any advice? – JeffHere are some tips for him – and for you too, if you’re wondering how it’s possible to balance running a business with bringing in money through employment.
Embrace the job: it’s temporary
It’s important to recognise that having a job does not equal failure. I found that a level of stable, regular income supported me in growing my business in the early days. It meant I could be completely in my integrity when I said “yes” or “no” to taking on a client and I didn’t need to cling desperately to people I wasn’t the right match for because I needed to pay my mortgage.
I was only willing to resign from my job when my self-employed income had reached a relatively reliable level. So, rather than seeing the job as a never-ending prison, decide your “leap” point. What profit do you need to be bringing in through your business before you can focus fully on self-employment? Get realistic with an actual number (go on, write it down now) and that’ll put the end (and hope!) in sight.
With limited self-employed hours, and part of your thinking time dedicated to other work, it’s even more important to be deliberate when choosing which activities to devote effort to. Plan your day the night before and work as efficiently as possible.
- Go for vertical marketing rather than horizontal
- Don’t work for free
- Raise your prices when it’s time
- Choose marketing methods that get you visible
- Make sure the right people know about you
- Check you’ve chosen a financially viable niche
Ration your email time
Most of us spend way more time in our inbox than we really need to. I can run my business on an hour of email per day; I’ve yet to meet anyone in the early stages of business who needs longer.
How to cut down? Unsubscribe from mailing lists. Like physical mail: implement a “touch once” policy. Don’t reply if no reply is needed. Keep emails short and sweet.
These efficiency practices apply to social media too. Hours spent on Facebook is rarely the most profit-friendly use of your time.
Check in with yourself – could you save time here?
Lean in to Connection
If you’re in a panic about growing your business quickly, you won’t be enjoying the journey – and with that rabbit-in-the-headlights mentality, you’ll be missing opportunities. You won’t catch eye contact with the person on the train who would actually decide to hire you. You’d reply to an email too hastily and miss the chance to ask for business. You’d freak out in a consultation and botch a sale.
It’s vital that you remember you’re not doing this alone. You are supported. You are unconditionally safe and your security does not depend on how rapidly your business takes off. If you’re struggling to put a daily Connection practice in place, check out this quick tip – and you might also love this Creating Safety Toolkit.
Over to you
Are you balancing a day job with going self-employed? Any great tips to share with Jeff and others who are wondering how on earth it can be done? Leave a comment below, let us know.
Tea break, anyone?
Throughout this blog post, I’ve linked to a number of short videos. Didn’t spot the links? Fear not – here’s the full playlist of Quick Business Tips – bite-sized inspiration, each digestible in a 3-minute tea break.
And if you want even more inspiration, come along to one of the upcoming Live Events and meet others who are transitioning from their day jobs to the self-employed life. It’d be great to meet you.
© Corrina Gordon-Barnes 2013