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Have you ever wondered how to go full time in your business? It’s that scary leap that so many of us want but are too afraid to take the leap. In this post I am going to give you insight on how I was able to work for myself full time at age 18 and never look back.
The other way I was sitting on my front porch and it was a really nice day outside, there was a breeze, it was warm, just the perfect temperature in my opinion. I was staring out at the horse pastures and watching my furry babies walk around and pick up any bits of snacks they could find
Which if you don’t know I live in the desert so they don’t really get big beautiful green pastures like they used to in California but hey one day I will get those back – but anyways that’s beside the point.
I had just finished all of my morning work tasks and this was what I considered to be my mid-day lunch break.
While I was sitting there it hit me. It hit me that while so many people in the world are waking up and going to a job they absolutely hate for 9 hours a day, I get to be here, working on my own schedule, staying home to hang with my dog and horses and someday kids.
All of that hard work I have poured into for YEARS and still continue to pour into everyday has finally paid off.
How Did I Get Here?
To be honest, it’s a God thing. Plus a lot of time, dedication and hard work.
The bible says that God will provide. And that he did.
I had plenty of moments where I wondered where my next paycheck would come from. But it always showed up. And there was a season where I was living paycheck to paycheck but I pulled through.
I don’t know that I would recommend doing what i did, but if you are starting a business, or maybe you have had a business for a while now and are wondering when you should take the leap to full time, I want to help give you some things to consider or think about first.
I am going to break down the top 5 things you should do before going full time in your business and how to know when you are ready for the plunge. Let’s jump in.
1. Think About Your Finances
One of the very first things you need to think about when deciding to go full time or not are your finances. Money is a huge reason people fail or never make it in business. So many business owners do not even understand how much money they are actually making or spending because they do not keep track of it.
Your finances are so crucial to having a successful business but also for your own peace of mind. Most experts recommend having 3-6 months saved up for any possible emergencies that could arise. Especially in your first couple of months, it is nice to have a little cushion you can fall back on if needed.
If you are looking for professional advice on your finances I would highly recommend speaking with a financial advisor if you have the means to do so.
Follow some of my favorite money strategists:
Know Your Expenses
Another thing you need to know are your expenses, both personal and business related. How much do you need to make each month to be able to afford all your bills? And don’t forget you need to be saving for taxes as well!
One thing I used to do is keep track of any weddings I had booked already (those non refundable retainers are very helpful!) and even split up their total cost into payments. That way each month I could see what payments I had coming in and give myself a rough estimate of how much I would be making that month. This also helped me figure out how much more I would need to make to get by.
Obviously the goal is to be more profitable than living paycheck to paycheck but at the bare minimum you need to be able to cover the necessities.
2. Have A Backup Plan Before You Go Full Time
I’m no negative Nancy over here but I do believe that it is always a good idea to have a backup plan in case the worst case scenario happens. I have full faith that with hard work you can be successful and run your business full time but life happens to the best of us and things can get messy when we least expect it. Having a backup plan written out will also help you feel way more confident when taking risks.
Ask yourself what would happen if this fails. And be specific. What would you do if you go full time in your business, quit your 9-5, and failed? Would you be able to get your old job back? Would you have to find a new one? Where would you apply?
If you can think of all the things you would need to tackle in case things catch fire, you will be so much more prepared if that day ever did come and possibly avoid a lot of panic.
And remember, failure is all part of growing. The most successful people in the world are some of the biggest failures. The only difference is, they were not afraid to get back up and try again.
3. Supply And Demand
One of the next things you need to think about before deciding to go full time is do you have enough clients or customers to take the leap? Are you already booking consistently? Do you see that changing in the next few months for any reasons? You also need to think about the industry you are going into. Is it something that has been done before or are you creating an entirely new business model? How do you know that the industry you are in is going to have enough customers for you?
It is also a good idea to be aware of any slow seasons throughout the year. As a wedding photographer typically May and October are my busiest months of the year and November-February are my slowest. This can vary depending on what your own personal industry is but it is good to know what months may be a bigger struggle to make income.
When you know your slow seasons in advanced, you can start prepping for them in the busy months by either putting aside a savings or figuring out different ways to book more clients/customers in those months.
4. Get Legal Before You Go Full Time
Before deciding to go full time you are going to want to make sure your business is 100% legit and legal. This means becoming an LLC or sole proprietor, paying taxes, getting insurance, and setting up bank accounts, and anything else you may need for your specific industry.
Far too many times do I hear horror stories of people waiting way too long to get this done and then it bites them in the butt. We all hate taxes, but it is a part of owning a business and you need to be paying them otherwise you could get slapped with some hefty fee’s.
A misconception is that you need to be making a certain amount of money to have to pay taxes on it, but the truth is, in the eyes of the government you are a business if you accept any kind of money in exchange for a product or service. I’m not a professional at this but I have heard some people say the red flag comes at $10k per year but others say it comes at $400 per year.
Why even risk it at all? Get legit sis. Just freaking do it.
5. Create A Marketing Plan
If you are ready to take the leap and go full time then you need to make sure that you have a marketing strategy in place first. Being present and consistent online is key so people can find you. Personally I am a big fan of content marketing which is essentially what all of social media marketing is and then some.
I have done deeper breakdowns on this and will link them below but the key points are that you should be creating content regularly and consistently. I like to have at least 1 main platform such as a blog, podcast, or youtube channel where you are posting 1-2 times per week at least. Then, you use all of your social media platforms to build brand awareness and gain more traction onto your bigger platforms.
It is definitely a good sign if you feel confident in how to market your business well already but just don’t have the time to do so because of your 9-5 job. I really believe that while there are some things you can put into place before leaving your day job, consistent marketing is going to be the most successful when you have full time hours to work on it.
This brings me to another point. Taking risks. Being a business owner is all about taking risks from time to time. There are a lot of things that are out of your control and you will never be able to predict no matter how much you try to plan for them. Taking risks is also one of the only ways you are going to grow and take your business to new levels.
Marketing Strategy Episodes / Posts:
- 06. How to use social media to grow your email list
- 09. What to do when business is slow
- 023: Your content creation plan for the next month
- 028: 5 major mistakes that are costing you clients
- 029: The online marketing basic foundation
Connect with me & other listeners of The Branded Cowgirl Podcast by joining my community Facebook Group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/brandedcowgirlpodcast
The Branded Cowgirl Podcast Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brandedcowgirlpodcast/
I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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