Fifty-one percent of Americans are interested in being self-employed, however most don’t start their own business, largely out of fear of what would happen if they don’t succeed. I was part of the 51 percent and feared remaining part of that statistic forever, never taking the leap to go out on my own.
For a decade, I worked as a Division I college athletics marketer and sports marketing professor. Then, during what should’ve been one of the most joyful times in my life, I almost lost my life. A near-death experience during the birth of my daughter prompted me to realize it was time to take action towards building a life and career I would be happier with.
I started working on launching my business while I was still employed full-time, doing things such as building my website after I’d put my daughter to bed for the night and while my husband was working the night shift. I was working towards my goal, but burning myself out and trying not to give in to the mounting pressure. I kept wondering, “How would I know when it’s the right time to make the big leap?”
The truth is there is no life script that tells you when it’s time to start your business and live your dreams. You can map out each step of your next move, organize all of your business plans and strategize every last detail, but none of this tells you when to flip the switch and go. What I learned, firsthand, is that there will come a point when you know there is no turning back and only then will you be ready to make the change.
Looking back three years, when I finally made the decision to start my business and make it my full-time job, my fear was overtaken with my joy of knowing that my world was about to open to something that I’d never experienced before. At the time I left my collegiate career, I was a mess of emotions — happy, scared, joyful, worried, more free than ever before. In retrospect, there were four things I knew then that helped me realize the time was right to make the big leap.
1. Know your numbers.
Two of the biggest reasons people don’t start their own business are financial fears: lack of a steady income and enough personal savings to start a business. If you’re ready to go out on your own, be crystal clear on how much money you have going in, how much money you need to make to live at a level you’re comfortable with and how that all translates to client numbers, immediately and for the future.
2. Decide it’s happening, no matter what.
Regardless of the reason you’re starting your own business, be it for the love of what you do, freedom to control your work experience or to build a legacy, it’s important to dedicate yourself to making the business happen. For me, it went from being “what if?” to “when?” I decided I was going to make this transition in my life, without question, and it took the guess work and the over analysis out of the equation.
3. Trust your intuition above all else.
There is no one who can tell you, ultimately, what’s right for your life and your business but you. Trust your gut. Research has shown how our bodies are able to speak intuitively to our minds when it comes to making decisions, big and small. The wisest parts of me knew that it was time to make the shift in my life in the pursuit of what I was ready to create.
4. Make the leap.
There comes a point where you have to make the investment in yourself and your businesses and walk away from what’s no longer serving you. It doesn’t have to all happen in the same day, but the quicker you start creating your business plan, the sooner you can start putting it into motion and starting your own journey. After all of the preparations you’ve made to get to this point, don’t be afraid. I had one client when I made that leap, but somehow I knew I was doing the right thing.
It’s your turn. Think about what you want the most and how your life is supporting those desires. If your life isn’t supporting those desires, it may be time to make the leap. Don’t feel like the life you want is too far from reach. Quite often, it is just one decision away.