For three years, she formulated the concept, poured her savings into samples, and officially launched her clothing line in July. Now, she spends her days marketing her line to South Florida’s resorts. When you have less time, you have to make it count, she says: “When I come home from my night job I have to turn the switch off and focus on getting one or two things done.” Eden has found positive thinking is critical to building a startup. “You just have to want it badly enough.” Adding yoga to her day helps her complete two tasks at one time: working out and positive re-affirmation. “It keeps me sane and focused.”
Clearly, there’s a financial benefit to initially launching a startup as a side project.
“Lots of entrepreneurs make a mistake in winging it. It’s better to do due diligence while still bringing home a paycheck,” says Nicole Shelley, founder of a Miami modeling agency/events and public relations company. “But after a while, it’s like dating one person and thinking about someone else. You start thinking you should be where your heart and mind is.”
Entrepreneur Tonya Seavers Evans found this to be true. For two years, she worked as communications director for a university while she tried to start a business as an image/style consultant. She found it overwhelming and fraught with conflict. “I would use my lunch hour, my vacation time, my sick days trying to network and build my business. I found myself stressed and exhausted.”
About a year ago, she transitioned full-time into running Style Strategist Inc. with a new focused commitment. The move took buy-in from her husband and acknowledgement that it could take years before her former salary is replaced. “When your hobby becomes your business, that takes a mental shift as well,” she says. “I think there’s a much greater fear of failure because the excuses are gone.”
Sproul works with women all over the country trying to get their businesses jump-started. She gauges that about half are started by women still employed. In the beginning, it’s not always practical to quit your day job, she says. Eventually, transitioning to a full-time entrepreneur requires nailing down funding, successfully testing your hypothesis, and being prepared to live for a period of time with zero income. At some point, you have to jump off the cliff.
The good news is momentum for young firms has been good. While a majority of startup business owners do not believe the economy will grow in the next 12 months, 83 percent are confident that their own profits will, according to Kauffman/Legal Zoom Startup Confidence Index.
“It’s not going to be a stress-free ride,” Sproul says. “But when it’s time to transition, you will be pulled in that direction and it will be an easy decision.”
Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. She can be reached at email@example.com. Read her columns and blog at http://worklifebalancingact.com/.