The 3 worst times to starting your own business:
You may be thinking that this whole employee thing is for the birds. Or maybe you have been dabbling in consulting for a while and are ready to make a go of it. Remember expertise as a practitioner, doesn’t mean you will be an awesome business owner. But, when you are ready to jump into starting your own business, there are some logistical land mines you may want to avoid. These are my three worst times for starting your own business and the impact of each.
1. You just got fired.
Now on the face of it, just getting fired means you have an abundance of free time. It also means that you’re free from a boss that probably didn’t appreciate you. And quite honestly the term “let go” does sound a lot like “give us free”. I have a tool for that by the way: bit.ly/GiveUsFree
But the truth about just getting fired is that you’re probably feeling guilty about not achieving some type of nebulous goal. When you work for someone else, the challenge is that the goals and intentions are always coming from on high. You don’t get to self generate what the end result is meant to be. So when you get fired, it’s easy to blame yourself or to see yourself as a failure in some way.
When I got let go from my last corporate job in 2016:
- I found myself with an abundance of free time
- I slept in (past 6am) and went for a run every morning
- cooking home cooked meals became a habit
- there was reduction in stress like I’d never seen before
When I met up with former colleagues a couple weeks later, they all remarked that I was glowing. Yes there is such a thing as the “just got fired glow.”
The other beautiful thing of being let go is, in some jobs, there’s a financial cushion of a severance package. Or if not that, there’s always good old unemployment. In both cases you’re provided with just enough money to buy groceries, but not enough so that you’re not hungry for more. This is an ideal place to be when you think about starting a new adventure. You want to be able to eat and you also want to create space to create new dreams. And this time you get to decide what the end goal is – starting your own business.
2. You just had a baby.
Yes, having a kid can be a tremendous strain on finances. I mean college isn’t getting any cheaper, and neither are diapers, formula, car seats, strollers, or any of the rest of the accessories that come with itty-bitty human life.
You’re also probably feeling a little bit sleep-deprived because newborns have to be fed every 2 hours. And in between that, they’re napping all the time – and then pooping. This is the circle of life, my friend. The first time I went out on my own as a full time entrepreneur, it was just after my son was born. I found myself at home working on an online Master’s Degree. And with the help of my mother, I took advantage of some free childcare so I could build out my first crack at consultant.
My strategy was to be an independent grant writer and fundraiser. I had oodles of time at home with a newborn cuz remember they’re sleeping all day. Yes. I was nursing, but I enlisted help for the diaper duty. So it left me tons of time to sit around on the computer doing market research and canvassing for clients.
You start thinking about the kind of role model you’re going to be.
The other nice/horrifying thing about having a kid is because of the financial strain and lack of sleep. (realizing there are several horrifying things here). Once you realize that this little human is looking to you for how life should be, you realize that you have a choice. You can either teach this young person to be resigned with the life that they’re given. Or you can be a model for how to create the life that you want. I’m down for the creation process all day.
There’s also going to be this nagging need to be a way better parent than your own parents and create a childhood that was way better than your own. Speaking from experience here. This doesn’t mean extra trips to Disney and family vacations to Hawaii (although those sound awesome). Instead, consider what it would look like to be the kind of parent who’s actually happy with their work, and who’s present and supportive emotionally and mentally for the young lives that have been trusted in their care. Huge responsibility? Yes. Ginormous opportunity? Double yes.
3. Your partner is not aligned with the whole business owner thing.
If you don’t have support at home, starting your own business is not just an uphill battle, it’s practically upside down. When I told my husband that I wasn’t going to get another corporate gig, and that I was going to bet all my chips on myself, he nearly had a heart attack. Because remember, I just got fired and at this point we had two young kids. This meant that this business was not only going to be a massive trust exercise, but also an opportunity for us to play team.
It’s been 4 years since I’ve been in business and I have to say for the conversations my husband and I have had (some of which have been aided by our annual partner reviews) there’s been ample opportunity for us to be each other’s “number two”. We go to each other for advice, and because we each set goals and visions around the businesses that align with the goals and visions that we have for the life we’re creating together, it’s a special kind of synergy.
The Perfect Time To Starting Your Own Business
So there you have it, the three worst times for starting your own business. If you just got fired that abundance of time and lean paycheck is ripe for you to start something new and put a lot of heart and intention behind it. The danger? That hunger in your belly leaves you looking like a thirsty hobbyist.
If you’ve just had a kid there’s going to be new pressures for you to be a role model for what life can look like and how to create and manifest your dreams. The danger here? Not rising to the occasion means you let down more than just yourself. . .+ sleep deprivation (a common side effect of entrepreneurship regardless).
And if your partner is not aligned, you’re going to have to do some work to strengthen your relationship so that the two of you can get on the same page about not just a business you want but the life that you want to live. Danger: partnership is hard. Relationships are hard. This will be a master class in relating and teamwork.
If you’re thinking that maybe these reasons and times not to start a business sound like the perfect reasons to start a business, you’re absolutely right. This is a very facetious post. I started my business under all of these circumstances and it forced me to create a sound financial plan, a supportive network, and a hunger in my belly that just won’t quit. My business has come to thrive. I know yours will too.
When’s the best time to start a business? When you’re ready.
And when’s the second best time to start? Right now.
So what’s it going to be?