6 Tips to A Successful Transition
First I want to start with a caveat. I am not going to tell you how much money you should have saved nor will I suggest you move back in with your parents. That’s just too easy. What I will present here is a way to get aligned energetically, bulldoze beliefs, which say, you can’t do this and will relate my personal experience. Meaning, things I didn’t do but wished I had…
I wrote an article for Medium a while back called, 14 Things I learned going from Employee to Entrepreneur, which you can read here. I also wrote one called 6 Common Fears of New Entrepreneurs and the Underlying Beliefs Behind them, which you can find here.
As you can see, I’ve spent a lot of time dissecting this lifestyle shift and have used my own experience to assist others. I am a Life Coach and PSYCH-K Facilitator so I work with clients who are struggling with this major life transition. As I reflect on the few years since I made this decision (and there was no going back for me) I discovered some insight, which I will share here.
1) Get clear on what you want to do and whom you want to serve.
I know this sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people really don’t consider this and then wonder why they don’t get it. I mean, how can I go after something if I don’t know what I want? It’s not enough to say I want to help people or do something creative. If you are retiring or looking for a hobby, great, experiment around till you “find that thing”. If you are looking to create a livelihood to replace your 9–5, you had better figure out what you want to do AND who you are going to serve, because the second part of this is figuring out what they want and then know their challenges so they can buy a solution from you.
2) Discover why you want it.
Why is this important? This is your go-to when you want to give it all up and go hunting for a job. And trust me, you will have those thoughts. When you can tap back into why you are doing this in the first place, it’s much easier to stay the course whether your reason is wanting to have a greater impact on humanity or being able to set your work hours and work in your sweatpants. Your particular “why” is your holy grail and keeps you going during those 2AM wake-ups saying, what the fuck am I doing?
3) Create a picture of what you want your work/life combo to look like.
Part of getting aligned with any new creation is to have clarity on what it will look like. This activates the energetic part of attraction as the emotion magnetizes your vision into your reality. Does a few hours each day and having a flexible schedule excite you or are you someone who loves structure? Do you love the idea of working from home and if so, what does that look like? The most important thing to remember here is that since you are both employer and employee, you need to supervise yourself. There was a time not too long ago when I found myself resentful for having to rely on my clients in order to get paid. It felt no different than relying on an employer. In a sense, it’s not, only that you are in control of how and how much money comes to you. This means not only is the sky the limit, but so is your weakest employee — which can be you. You will have to wear different hats for these roles and you may find yourself making deals with your employer so that you can go out for that drink but will work till midnight to get those client recaps out.
When you are clear from the get-go how you want to work, it’s much easier to get your priorities straight than when you just wing it and realize this was not what you bargained for. In the beginning, unless you have significant start up funds, you will be doing the admin work as well as the marketing and promoting of your business which always takes longer than you thought. If you are not okay with that, better to know now and hire any necessary assistance than resent it or worse, not do it at all.
4) Make a list of what you’d be willing to give up (even temporarily) to get what you want. THIS! Most don’t consider this till it’s staring you in the face, but it’s the real test to how badly you want it. While it’s so easy to focus on the sparkly new things we are dreaming into our new lives; not having to commute in bad weather, working when and where we want, or even sleeping late and working till midnight if those are our best creative hours, we very rarely consider what we are willing to give up. And, they can sometimes smack you in the face like a bug on a windshield. Things like having the “security” of a paycheck every two weeks appearing in your checking account, having co-workers for the downtime banter or to ask for some tech assistance, having set hours that you “need to be there” so your mindset automatically makes the transition between home and work.
Without that transition, it’s easy to stay in sweatpants which keeps your mindset in the relaxation, I-can-do what-I-want mode. This makes it challenging when trying to put on your best professional voice whether it’s via a zoom call or even just writing a proposal. Then there are the other more tangible things like; that $6 daily latte that suddenly is glaring at your monthly spending totals, spending lots of intermittent time in the “unknown” of your next customer or client, confirmation from an outside source (other than your mom) telling you how good your work is and probably the biggest one…your pride. Yup. Trading in the little luxuries like sending your laundry out and now doing yourself, ordering food in and now you are steaming veggies most nights and maybe, just maybe getting a side job/hustle/income steam — whatever you choose to call it, just so you can sleep at night. Those can range from digging up an old skill you haven’t used in a while and polishing it to look “all nice” for the potential hirer, to getting a part time sales job. Been there, done that. When you’ll do whatever it takes, you’ll do whatever it takes.
5) Have some support to hold your hand during the transition. This can be a friend who has made this move before, a super smart colleague or a professional coach. There will be times when you feel like calling it quits, feel you “can’t do this” or other forms of discouragement when your efforts don’t seem to be paying off. I cannot stress how important it is to have someone you can turn to who’s been through this and can talk you off the proverbial ledge. If it was smooth sailing and easy you would have done it much sooner and the muscles you developed in perseverance and determination would not be there. The ebb and flow is part of the process and brings you back time and again to your “why”. When the why is your beacon across rough waters, you will continue.
6) Be aware that if you are not self-motivated you will have a hard time keeping self-imposed deadlines. It’s very easy when you work for yourself to move deadlines and put things off as other more interesting things are offered. There is no one to check in to see how that project is going or when it will be completed, unless of course you are launching a program with paid customers. You’ll find the most fascinating bird outside your window that you must know the species of. Once you’ve spent 30 minutes reading up on their mating habits, it’s time for lunch.
What I have found to be really helpful is the give yourself realistic deadlines. If you know your writing process is long and drawn out with lots of edits, give yourself plenty of time to complete it while adding other less creative and more administrative tasks to fill on that gap. You will feel less like you are procrastinating and more like you are honoring your unique creative process AND will get those other tasks done.
And a few “Non-negotiables”:
Your desire for what’s next must be stronger than the familiar. This will bring you out of your comfort zone and will create resistance. Yes, there are those who thrive on adrenaline but I am referring more to the average person who likes to stay with what they know. Not only consciously do we prefer this but our subconscious does as well. Let me briefly explain. We have a process in our subconscious that alerts us to any change (change = danger) and many times prevents us from taking action. It’s only doing its job; so don’t blame it for causing you to retreat under the covers. Knowing that this is a normal part of the process will make it easier to keep going or get some assistance in working through the resistance by shifting beliefs and any subconscious programming you might have.
You must understand that you have a relationship with your business. This was probably the biggest lesson for me. Since a business is dynamic in nature, it does in a sense, have its own consciousness. It is a give and take relationship which I did not fully understand until I wasn’t getting the results I wanted and realized I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain. It’s helpful to get really clear on what you expect from your business and what you will provide in return. It is an energetic exchange that needs nourishing just like any relationship would. What might this look like if you don’t? You make a list of everything you want in your business; how much money you’d like to make, the number of clients you want per month, how many enrollees for your new program and then still treat it like a hobby which you can work on “when you feel like it”.
There is a huge disparity in the energy you give to something when it’s an equal partnership and your livelihood vs. something that doesn’t take front and center stage. When you understand and appreciate the importance of this relationship it becomes a precious ally that has your full attention. What really opened my eyes to this was creating a declaration of what I expected from my business and what I would provide for it. I typed it up on pretty paper and it become sort of a manifesto. It suddenly felt sacred and I didn’t want to let it down. Try it. I’m sure you’ll have a similar revelation.
Focus on consuming less content and creating more. If you are anything like me, you love to learn, gather information and share with just about anyone who will listen. While it’s great to have alternative perspectives and see how others are doing things, there is a downside to this that can get you tripped up. There are a few reasons for this. First of all you are comparing yourself to others (it’s natural, we all do it) and if someone is further ahead than you, has more followers or clearly is making more money than you, there is a tendency to feel inadequate. Not a great creative starting point. When you consume other people’s content more than you create your own, you are adding to your knowledge bank but are not providing much for your customers/clients and nobody is going to pay you for the advice that you read.
If you can get inspired and create something new and unique use it, but ideas that come from your own experiences and observations will light you up from the inside and magnetize you. Keep in mind that consuming lots of content from a “I’m just looking” perspective is a great distraction and procrastination tactic. Be mindful how much time you are spending scrolling and clicking. So, what’s my biggest takeaway in all this? Doing your thing can provide a freedom that you only dreamed of but there are huge tradeoffs and the more prepared you are for them, the easier the transition will be for you. I write this as someone who craved the freedom and autonomy but didn’t prepare much before other than know I was going to do it, how it would feel to not have to be in an office at a certain time M-F and that I would do whatever I had to in order to make it happen. It’s a wonderful journey and you will learn much about yourself along the way.