What I Learned When I Left My Job To Start My Own Business

There will be low days
There’ll be good days and there’ll be bad days. Sometimes you’ll wake up and you’ll know automatically which one it’s going to be and sometimes the bad days will creep up on you around 2pm when you realise you have no income, no (fixed) plan and no guarantees this will work.

You will feel like a failure...
....before you’ve even started! A tiny part of you will wish you were one of those people who are happy to work 9-5pm for someone else and may not love their job but it’s money and that’s enough. Content with what they have. You’ll feel like you’ve failed at being ‘normal’, run of the mill. That beautiful fire/spark within that made you quit your job in the first place to pursue your dreams will feel like a curse and not a blessing.

Fear and folly
What have I done?? And why did I do it?? You left a well-paid, stable, secure job without another one to go to by choice?? Are you insane?? If the more risk averse members of your family don’t ask you this, the little voice inside your head will. Moments will creep up on you where you’ll feel like your staring down a dark abyss and you have no idea how to get back up or out and you’ll feel like a fool for going down there in the first place.

You’ll feet cut adrift
It’s funny how it’s the little things that make us feel part of the human race. Getting on the tube every morning, topping up your oyster, having to get out of bed, idle office chit chat etc. Banal as they may seem, it’s like the stitching on a piece of clothing; unremarkable until it’s unravelled. There’ll be times you’ll feel lonely as hell. You may not speak to another soul for the whole day and it’ll feel like life is going on around you but without you.

Your passion may wane
This is the kicker and definitely, for me, the scariest one. All those dreams that seemed so delectable, so attainable when it was only your mundane office job keeping you apart. Now there’s no barrier other than the graft you’ll need to do to get there and suddenly it all seems like a bit too much effort, a bit too impossible. But it’s not laziness. It’s fear. If someone asks you to build a wall, points you to the bricks and mortar and says ‘get going’, it’ll take some muscle and sweat but you know the task at hand. This is a different type of task; there are no bricks or mortar and you don’t even know what kind of wall you want to build or whether you want to even build a wall at all. Or whether, if you do, it’ll even be of any use to anyone.

You’ll question your worth
What do I know? Who am I to do this? I’m not (insert adjective) enough. Every single step you take, every thought, will be punctuated by this. And you’ll feel shame, like your punching above your weight or you’re at the big boy/girl table and you’ve got nothing to contribute.

So what do you do?

Have faith
It’s all you have really. There are so many variables and there are no guarantees but if you’re someone like me who ordinarily plans everything to the nth degree and takes 10 minutes to even decide which toothpaste to get, to have got this far is a miracle in itself. To have jumped this deep, feet first with no harness is no accident. It is no small thing. Have faith that whatever made you take that leap is a calling, your ‘gift’. The world needs what you have to offer. They say ‘genius is a whisper and not a shout’. So listen. The steps may not always be apparent but you’ve taken the first one.

Take pride...
You did what many people only dream about. If everyone’s got a book in them then everyone also has something they’d love to do and you’re doing it. Unless you’re Richard Branson, I’m also guessing there’s some risk involved; mortgage, rent, bills, livelihood yet this hasn’t deterred you. Be proud. You may feel terrified and silly for even dreaming so big but you’re one of the chosen few. You wanted more and you’re doing something about it.

...but not too much
It may be a while before your business launches or you are in a position to make a living. You may need to work part-time and take on flexible hours that only lower paid, perhaps more junior roles can offer. It will be humbling but swallow your pride; it is purely a means to an end. If you can get a job that at least covers your bare necessities but gives you the flexibility and freedom to build your business it’s a win-win. It won’t be easy and you will need to tighten your belt but keep your eye on the bigger picture.

Embrace the bad days
Like I said above, there will be some. There will be moments when you’ll feel like the most worthless, lonely and incapable fool there is. And these moments may last hours but try not to give it a whole day. Don’t try and eat or drink (or whatever your poison) out of it either. Trust me, it doesn’t work. Feel it. Let it floor you if it needs to then pick yourself up and do something; exercise, journal, go for a walk, complete a task – however small it is – just do something.

Enjoy the ride
You are awake. Your senses, that inner part of you where all your creativity comes from is awake. A life without colour is numbing at best, heart breaking at worst. Stepping out on your own won’t be easy but there is freedom and fulfilment and colour to be had in abundance. Yes, you’ll miss that pay check every month but you’ll become savvy with money and it’ll go a lot further because it has to. Sure there’ll be sacrifices. Maybe you won’t go out as much. Maybe you’ll drink and eat out less. But that will do as much for your health and waistline as it’ll do for your bank balance. View this as the time to focus on you. Exercise, get fit, nourish your body and soul. Read, learn expand your mind. Grow. You will make mistakes, you may fail but we are each more infinitely powerful than we could ever imagine.

I’ll end on one of my favourite quotes by the author Marianne Williamson;
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?'
Actually, who are you not to be?”

Written by Josephine Ijeh

The ConveHERsation is the digital platform for Women Of Power UK

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