Dear Aspiring Entrepreneur,
You're Doing It Wrong You're an entrepreneur. A go-getter. A world changer. A starter upper. The only problem is you’re still working for someone else, for now. You’re saving money, trying to cut expenses, getting up at 5 am, sharing the “master plan” with friends and family. You watch the minutes tick tock by, put in as little effort as possible, and then sprint home to get back to work on your side business. Many, if not most, entrepreneurs start hustling while still employed for someone else. That’s not the issue. The issue is that successful entrepreneurs realize that no matter where they are employed, they are working for themselves.
If you really want to achieve your goal of going out on your own, it’s time to figure out a way to leverage your current situation. Even if you have reached the ceiling at the company. Even if your boss is worse than Darth Vader. Even if you're surrounded by complainers, coasters, or haters.
From now on, your day job is:
1 - Your Step Ladder.
I know how hard it is to stay motivated on projects at work when your heart and brain want to be shaping your business into reality. But what if you saw every challenge at work as a potential resume builder in order to land a better job. Yes, another job, but a better one. A raise would allow you to put more into savings and pay down your debt faster. A company with a better reputation or higher visibility gets your name in front of more eventual-potential-customers. Plus, establishing yourself as someone who is moving, shaking, and getting promoted in your industry easily translates into momentum for the launch of your own brand.
2 - Your Practice Field.
When is the last time you went over and asked a friend in accounting what they were tackling that day? Or if you're an accountant, when is the last time you went and asked someone in marketing how they come up with creative content? Remember you will be ALL of the departments when you launch your venture. Learn as much as you can all day everyday. If your boss ticks everyone off, what can you learn for your future employees? If the company loses a large client or giant product order, why? How can you make sure you don’t make that mistake?
3 - Your Personal Gym.
I know, I know, similar to practice field, but hear me out. Practice fields are situational, but you, at the gym, that’s personal. Even though working on our passions is the most fulfilling, we don't have to let our entrepreneurial muscles atrophy for 40 hrs a week, we can use that time! Take a look around your workplace and try and find holes to fill or problems to solve. Creativity takes practice. Staying laser focused takes practice. Innovation takes practice. Effective problem solving takes practice. The more you “work out” at your job, the more prepared you’ll be to do the heavy lifting for your own brand.
Remember, you're working for you now. Make every hour count, and soon you’ll no longer be counting down the hours!
Kelsey Humphreys is the author of GO SOLO: How to Quit the Job You Hate and Start a Small Business You Love and an emerging authority on the subjects of branding, marketing, entrepreneurship and personal development. After starting her career as a graphic designer, her passion for those subjects led her to become the Associate Creative Director at one of Oklahoma’s largest advertising agencies. She then landed an international client and was able to quit her dream job for her dream, starting her own business.
Now she speaks, consults, coaches, and writes to help other multi-passionate entrepreneurs avoid her mistakes and launch a solo business they'll truly love. Humphreys lives in Oklahoma City with her high school sweetheart husband, their daughter, and two feisty dogs.
Follow Kelsey on twitter @kelseyhumphreys.