I’m so stressed. I have this horrible 9-to-5 office job that I hate. In what little free time I have, I’m trying to get my “dream job” off the ground – designing custom handbags and selling them in my own online shop. My day j.o.b. is so boring and tedious, all I can think about is my bag business, but by the time I get home (I have more than a one hour commute each way), take care of the family, kids, dinner and house, I’m so tired I can hardly get any work done on MY company. I’m wondering if I should just bite the bullet and quit the day job to focus full time on my dream. I just know if I had that 8 hours a day to work on my own thing, I could make it a success. What should I do?
-Too Stressed to Stitch
Nearly 50 percent of American women say they don’t have enough free time, according to a recent study by the Families and Work Institute. With all that you have to do, your stress is certainly understandable. Couple that with a fledgling business you are trying to get off the ground and I can see why you’d want to bail on the office job.
Before you Leap
I totally respect your entrepreneurial dreams and I WANT you to do it, but before you leap, be sure to take a thorough inventory of your financial resources.
- Do you have enough buffer to continue to run your household for at least 6 months without the income generated from your day job?
- Do you have money for daycare or other support infrastructure to help you with the children so you will have time to work? Tip: If you think the kids are going to play happily at your feet while you build your empire, you can just disabuse yourself of that notion right now. I have had 3 kids, trust me. Think daycare, baby-sitter, even the mother-in-law… you are going to need something.
- What about money you will need to fund the business? Do you have enough for supplies, web hosting, shipping and other expenses? Nothing will kill your business faster than being cash-poor. If you can’t afford to run it, or you can’t afford groceries because of it, you are going to get sent packing back to corporate America faster than you can say “back-stitch”. And you thought you were miserable before.
Steps You Can Take Right Now
Do the smart thing. Start taking action TODAY. Here are actionable steps you can take RIGHT NOW to start moving positively in the direction of your dreams.
- Start living as if you did quit your job, and by that, I mean “on the cheap”. Give up eating out, buying new clothes, junk food, Starbucks and anything else that isn’t an absolute necessity. Have you ever been unemployed? Remember how that was like? Yeah, live like that… on purpose.
- Squirrel away every penny you can until you have your 6 month buffer. It might take a year, it might take several years but you CAN do it if you fully dedicate yourself to the sacrifice. Maintain a spreadsheet of your progress to keep yourself motivated.
- and most importantly, keep a positive attitude about your heinous day job. Remember, it is funding your dream! Respect your employer, do a good job and be happy to go there every day (even if you have to fake it) because you are getting something out of it: seed capital and eventual freedom!
For more information on turning your crafty endeavor into a successful business, see Kari Chapin’s helpful book: The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-LineWarm Stitches,