Hey hey friend, does the thought of starting your own business feel exciting or overwhelming? I’m coming back to you today because I’ve been talking to so many amazing women entrepreneurs in the last few weeks. Starting right around the Christmas and Jewish holidays, I started interviewing successful black women who have awesome and passionate side hustles. I wanted to know all about what they were working on, what was holding them back and why they were still in corporate. I asked them what would make the biggest difference?
And you know what they told me?
They said that there’s a tremendous amount of overwhelm that goes with starting your own business. Never mind the fact that you’re still working a nine-to-five, and you’re probably there because you have others who are depending on you for that consistent income and the security that most of us think of corporate American job provides. So today I’m sharing with you a key resource and tool that can help you.
You need a 6-month transition plan to go from leaving a corporate job right into starting your own business and running a full-time entrepreneurial venture. This is perfect for service-based businesses.
I know everyone likes to think of starting your own business as the same for everyone but it’s not. If you’re a coach or consultant and have an expertise based business that you run on the side, (that is you give people advice, you help people by sharing your knowledge skills and expertise) then this resource is going to be perfect for you. If you have tangible products or manufactured goods that you sell, I’m going to be honest and let you know right now that not everything’s going to apply to you in this article. But what I would like to share with you is what to do in that first month of trying to get your business off the ground.
I know it can be overwhelming and here are some foundational things that everyone should have set up. So let’s jump into it: month one if you’re just starting a business.
Set yourself up online
Now in the first month of business you are laying some foundational groundwork around building and establishing your brand. This is where I like to make sure that you first and foremost own your name. What do I mean by that? Anyone can go up on numerous websites and lay claim to a domain name. If you haven’t Googled yourself recently, you may not even be aware that someone else already owns yourname.com. And yes I’m using .com because that is the most common extension that people are going to search for when you tell them your website.
Some of you might think that getting something cheap like a .org or a .biz is a good idea. It’s not. This is the one place where you don’t want to differentiate yourself. Getting a .com makes sure that people actually go to the right website when they’re searching for you. But the easiest way for them to find you is if you just buy yourfirstnamelastname.com. Do a quick domain search to see if it’s available.
A word about domain and web hosting services:
Now of course GoDaddy tends to be the resource people think of because they pump tons of advertising dollars into making sure people think they’re to go-to place for domains. Speaking from personal experience, they are not the best when it comes to customer service. And because you’re just starting out, and building your brand I want to make sure you don’t run into some of the crazy roadblocks and challenges that come with having to switch your web host later. Now you can go ahead and buy your domain name from GoDaddy or any number of other online sources but don’t buy anything else they offer you. Just secure your name and walk away.
Get your budget in order
Next up on the list is doing some basic money assessment. Everyone knows I’m crazy for a budget but when you’re still working at a full-time job, one of the benefits you have is consistent revenue coming in. Do a quick budget check and run some numbers to see what it would take for you to save enough money to quit your job and be fully sustainable as you build your business out. This is going to depend on how many existing clients you have in your side hustle, how much money you have saved up, and what your salary looks like currently. If you’ve never done a budget, this is critical. Take a look at your living expenses and start to determine what is absolutely essential knowing that if you do quit that full-time job you may run a little bit leaner than normal for a while.
Beef up your skills
Next up on the list is beefing up your knowledge. Start learning about online businesses. Being able to be seen and heard in a digital world is not a by-chance kind of thing. You’ll want to understand what search engine optimization is, how to write for the web, and different ways to create content that will attract people to you and to your brand. A great resource for understanding all things online marketing is Amy Porterfield. She has hundreds of podcasts on the topic of getting yourself known in the online space and as you grow, having her in your ear is something I would highly recommend on the regular. For a quick and dirty crash course on online marketing and digital businesses, I recommend taking a quick course on lynda.com or Udemy around writing for the web and actually reading a couple articles on the topic.
4. Start writing it out
The fourth thing that I’m going to recommend to you is that you start writing. At some point you are going to have to position yourself as an expert in your consulting or coaching business. That means you need to be communicating about what you know. If you haven’t picked up a pen or sat down at the computer in a while it might take a little bit to get those juices flowing. Consider a daily morning journal practice (models off of Morning Pages) where you push yourself to write 750 words everyday when you first wake up. This could be free form writing stream of consciousness, or it could be challenging yourself to write on a specific topic or area of expertise that you hold. In any case these early writings can be your first steps towards content for your yet-to-be-launched website.
5. Seek and get Support
Last but not least in month 1 is seeking out and getting tremendous support for your ideas. If you’ve been thinking about quitting your job, you’re probably thinking about your business a lot. But if you’re the only one who knows about it, it’s going to feel super lonely when you finally make the jump.
1. Speak to your partner
Use this first month to speak to your partner or spouse about your idea for transitioning and start to get the temperature check on how supportive they’re going to be and what challenges they foresee on the horizon.
2. Go on virtual coffee/lunch dates
You’re also going to want to pick up your networking skills. Again as a consultant, the internet is your friend so make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized and you’re starting to really leverage the connections already in your network. Spend time each day connecting with new people and setting up coffee and informal lunch dates where you can talk to people more about your area of expertise and what you’re passionate about.
3. Find a mentor
Finally consider tapping into a mentor. Look for someone who’s done something similar either in your space or in an adjacent industry. Do you have any influencers in your immediate circle? Can you tap them on the shoulder and ask them what it was like when they first started, and what words of wisdom they have to share with you as you’re considering this transition? Making sure you’re plugged into an immediate support network is going to pay tremendous dividends down the road so start now.
A complete checklist to go from Corp Exec to Fulltime Entrepreneur
Now I’m going to pause there because I just gave you five nuggets to do for just one month in your entrepreneur transition Journey. But believe me, there’s a lot more. If you stretched out your transition for a full six months we would get into things like building your website, writing and receiving your first contracts, and building out a full content strategy. But I can’t share all of that here (remember overwhelm is real). So instead, I created a tremendous action-packed ebook where you can get all the goodies, put them on your calendar, and go to work work work work work. Got to love Rihanna Right?
Let me know if this first month of to-dos help you out. Get that download and drop a comment saying “yes, I’ve got this!” Believe me, being overwhelmed is no fun. If you can map out a clear strategy and plan to get down to the baby steps month by month, and week by week you’ve already taken your first steps towards your entrepreneurial dreams of starting your own business.