Before I moved to France and started working as a Virtual Assistant, I used to work as a Risk and Internal Controls Manager for a large utilities company in the UK. I enjoyed my job, had a good income coming in, but something was missing. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen.
Once we had paid off our mortgage, that feeling got louder, I knew I wanted to do something different, but wasn’t sure what. We had bought a holiday home in France 10 years previously and had always dreamt of moving there full time, but had no real plan of when that might be, or what we would do when we got there.
We kept saying we should just leave our jobs and go to France. We knew people over there who had already did it, and survived…. So, we knew it could be done. But something kept stopping me. I would find all the excuses in the world to stay. I might get promoted, I just want to see this project through, I building relationships, maybe I could get a job in Paris through my work. Then my partner lost his job and the dream for him got a little closer, but I was still hesitant.
So, I had to ask myself why? What was keeping me in the job. The French side of the business was going through a dramatic reorganisation, so that opportunity had disappeared for the time being. Our team was being downsized, so that avenue was significantly narrowed and the big project I had been managing had been successfully deployed…. So, what was keeping me there?
THE REAL REASON
I was afraid…. I was worried about a lack of stable income, about not having a ‘proper job’ and scared I might be making a mistake. I didn’t want to come home with my tail between my legs, feeling like a failure, and maybe not being able to get the same level of job again. But, something was still calling to me. I kept thinking that if I didn’t do it, I would get too old and regret not doing it.
So, I hatched a plan and 6 months later we were on our way. If you’ve ever wanted to quit your day job but felt like this and want to know what I did to overcome the fear, then these 7 tips might help!
1. Get some savings
Having 12- months savings helped me with my mindset. I knew that even if I didn’t earn any money for the next year, we wouldn’t starve. I also figured that if it didn’t work out, we still had our house in the UK, so we didn’t need much. If needs be I could work in a supermarket, do cleaning, whatever it was that I needed to do to survive…. Of course, I knew I didn’t just want to survive…. But hey, it was still an option!
2. Do your homework and find your niche
If you’re going to start your own business, you need to at least know there is a chance of being profitable. Do some research, make sure that there are clients out there. The more specialised you can get, the more of an expert you become and the easier it is to truly speak to the hearts of your prospective clients.
3. Make sure you’ve got support from friends and family
Starting your own business is fun…. But it’s also really hard work. At first you are building the foundations so you may find yourself spending 10 hours a day, 7 days a week minimum. If you’re doing that, the last thing you need from your partner or kids is for them to be moaning that you’re not there for them. Explain upfront that you will be working hard, that you may be unavailable for large chunks of time, but that it will be worth it in the long run, for the freedom that you will all get from your business being successful.
4. Be clear about your reasons for doing it
If you are clear in your own mind the reasons why you are starting your business, it will be easier to explain to friends and family. It will also help you remain positive in the face of adversity! If you’re having a bad day, then its easier to recover from it, if you can remind yourself why you’re doing it.
5. Get some clear goals
Similar to number 4, set yourself some clear goals. Do you want to travel the world within the next 12 months, buy a sports car, go skiing etc. Is there a certain amount of money that you would like to make in the next year? Where do you see your business in the next 5 years? Set some real clear goals and try to visualise them. The more clearly you can see them, the better they will motivate you when the going gets tough, that way you won’t get going!
6. Find some online support from Groups and peers
As well as support from friends and family, try to find some online peers. People who are in a similar market as you, who have been in the same position as you, or who are going through the same thing as you are now. That way, if you have a problem you have a community of people to ask for help. If you need to rant in a way that your family won’t understand, then they are there for you. Just remember to be there for them in the same way. No one likes a Taker!
7. Be passionate about what you’re doing
You need to really enjoy what you are doing, otherwise you may as well stay in your 9-5. There may well be peaks and troughs in work, you may have good days and bad days and if you aren’t passionate about your work then you will find it difficult to get out of bed on those bad days, and picking yourself back up to put yourself back out there will be tougher. If you believe in what you are doing and are passionate about it, then others will believe in your business too. This is the only way to make yourself as successful as you can be.
So, I did it, I made the jump and do I regret it? Sometimes, at the beginning I felt like I should have saved a little more, did a bit more homework before I came, found my niche quicker, but would I want to go back? No thank you. I’m living my dream, what more could I ask?!
If you’ve enjoyed this article, then please feel free to have a nose around the rest. In particular, if you are just setting up your business, this might be of interest 10 things I’ve learned since leaving my corporate job
And if you need support or are feeling a bit demotivated and want to join a facebook group that offers advice and will be there for you if you need it, then why not join up below