Published June 2012
Four months ago I took a full-time job.
Part of me hesitates to share this part of my story. I'm an entrepreneur, and I coach other emerging and established entrepreneurs. Some people may see taking a j.o.b. as a weakness or hypocrisy. Other people will get it and appreciate my honesty. Either way, it's really none of my business.
It is my business to make a palpable difference for people who do or want to do purpose-driven work. And the best way I know how to do that is to tell the truth and pull the curtains back where most people draw them tighter.
I want to tell this story because it's one we seldom hear.
We hear all about how great it is to have your own online business, but who's really talking about what it looks like to go from Point A to Point B? Only a few notable exceptions. I'd like to thank Kate Swoboda and Michelle Ward for openly writing about the fact that there's a transition into entrepreneurship for most of us. These remarkable women lead with a transparency that's rare, and I think we need more of it.
I'll be totally unorthodox and just cut to the moral of my story:
In fact, taking the right job could be one of the best things you ever do for your business.
Let me 'splain...
When I started my business about a year and a half ago, I had a part-time job. This was nice because I had a little dough coming in from the day job, but still had time to grow my biz. About 9 months in, my part-time position was eliminated. This gave me more time for my business, but I was missing that no-brainer income.
I knew that I wanted another non-entrepreneurial source of income, but I didn't want to do just any ole thing. As I often encourage my clients to do, I made a hell-no list of things I was just not willing to tolerate from a day job. It was a long list. I thought it would be hard to find something that met all the qualities I was looking for.
Here's what I learned: when you get specific (or picky, if you like), you're no longer playing the numbers game; you're playing the needle-in-a-haystack game. A much better game if you ask me.
So instead of papering the city with resumes and cover letters for jobs I knew I'd hate in a couple months, I very sparingly submitted for positions that made my heart race. In 5 months, I replied to maybe 12 postings. One I got an interview for but wasn't hired. One I got an interview for but passed on. Nine I never got a response from. And one was an amazing opportunity I couldn't turn down.
When you get picky, the pickings get good.
I was offered a full time position as the Editorial Manager for a brilliant career coach who has a very robust business and makes a big difference in the lives of her clients. So for the past four months, I've essentially had a paid internship, learning first-hand about coaching and running a small business in the best scenario I could imagine.
THE PERKS OF HAVING THE RIGHT FULL-TIME JOB
I've done the e-courses, but nothing compares to being a collaborator in a established, highly successful business.
- I use skills I have or am interested in developing.
- I'm valued and valuable.
- I enjoy my co-workers.
- I'm eligible for health insurance.
- We do yoga in the office on Friday afternoons. On the clock.
- I have an amazing mentor.
- I learn something I can apply towards my business every single day.
- I've seen what can be outsourced and have started doing it in my own biz.
- I've witnessed that it's possible to have a $10,000 or even $40,000 day; that was not part of my reality before this job.
- I know the bare minimum I have to do to maintain my business.
- I have a clear sense how just how big (or not) I want my business to get.
- I've been a part of very successful launches.
- I show up, I get money, it feels easy.
- Financial security.
- Husband has been doing all the dishes since he's home more :)
THE DRAWBACKS OF HAVING THE RIGHT FULL-TIME JOB
For all the good I've gotten out of this position, I'm still working for someone else, which is not ultimately what I want.
- The time I have to spend on my business is extremely limited, making growth difficult.
- Some days I feel like I'm building someone else's dream at the expense of my own.
- I've experienced burn-out.
- I feel disconnected from my tribe due to limited access to social media.
- I'm eating more junk because I have less time to prepare real food.
- Weekends are pretty much non-existent.
- I don't have much time to apply all the stuff that I'm learning.
I'm extremely grateful to have had the experience of working for this small company. I also know I couldn't keep up this pace forever; as fate would have it, I'll be leaving in two months as my hubby and I move for a new job he's accepted.
And while this job has put the pinch on the time I could devote to my business, I've also had some of my most profitable months during this time. In the end, I'll have had 6 months of excellent hands-on training from an outstanding businesswoman, and I'm eager to see what that means for my business in the long run.
TAKE THIS TO HEART:
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Come out of the woodwork, all ye entrepreneurs with other sources of income! This is a shame-free zone. Own your story of other-employment in the comments--because truth-telling is a full-time job.