That’s how everyone describes it and it’s absolutely true. The day I put in my notice to leave my full-time, well-paying job to start my own company, I was both terrified and excited; I was confident, except when my heart would start pounding and my inner voice would start screaming at me, “Are you CRAZY?! What on Earth do you think you are doing?” Reactions from friends and family were mixed. My family remains skeptical, while some friends and acquaintances told me they were inspired and impressed by the fact I was able to take such a step. Others simply smiled and said, “Oh, that’s so interesting. I hope everything works out.”
So, how did I get here?
I’m a planner and I’m a list-maker. Like many women, I’m also fairly risk-averse. I’ve always planned goals and worked my entire life to make sure I could pay for what I needed and wanted. Never have I found myself without backup and emergency plans, which is exactly how I approached transitioning to self-employment. I have a few suggestions for those who are considering jumping off their own cliff.
Make a Plan
It may seem like the obvious first step, but deciding you want to live your dream takes a bit of time. Whether your dream is to travel, take time off to volunteer, or start your own business, life-changing decisions involve careful thinking and planning. Outline a budget. List out all of the components that need to be accomplished. Come up with a basic timeline of how long it takes to get these things done. Finally, make milestones for yourself to keep you on a path for success. As you continue to reach milestones and accomplishments, you will feel more and more ready to tackle your next big thing.
Save, Save, Save
There are lots of great programs and tools these days to learn about finance, budgeting effectively, and saving properly. Following your dream likely means that you cut back in some areas so that you can take the big leap without having as much financial fear. Additionally, identify limits in your budget. These could be a maximum amount of money you want to spend, when you want to evaluate if things are going well. Having these limitations outlined before you jump into things helps to evaluate your actions once you are fully invested in your dream.
Before you jump off that cliff, try to ensure a soft landing. If you are looking to go into business, test the idea. If you are traveling, talk to people who have traveled. If you are looking at programs for learning or volunteering, talk to alumni to make sure it’s the right fit for you.