The Great Tran­si­tion: From Em­ployee to En­tre­pre­neur

Get­ting to that dream job takes a lot of sac­ri­fice and plan­ning, but long-term gains are worth en­dur­ing some short-term draw­backs.

Animation Magazine - - Opportunities - By Martin Gre­bing

One day, a busi­ness owner called his star em­ployee into his of­fice. He pointed out his pic­ture win­dow to a sprawl­ing sky­line of man­sions up in the hills. He said, “You know, if you do ex­actly what I tell you, work through the hol­i­days, make per­sonal sac­ri­fices for your job, put in over­time when re­quired, then some day there will be a house in those hills — with my name on it.”

The switch from em­ployee to en­tre­pre­neur is more about chang­ing your mind­set than your em­ploy­ment sta­tus. The days of tak­ing cues from your su­per­vi­sor and per­form­ing as a one-di­men­sional worker bee are over. You must com­mit to be­com­ing the butcher, baker and can­dle­stick maker all in one.

Goal Set­ting

There is only one guide­line for set­ting goals: think big. No — much, much big­ger than that. To para­phrase Michelan­gelo, the dan­ger is not in aim­ing too high and fall­ing short, but rather aim­ing too low and hit­ting your mark. You can shoot for the stars and hit the moon or you can shoot for the moon and risk not get­ting off the launch­ing pad. Keep in mind on this daily. Flood your mind and body with all the eu­phoric emo­tions that come along with your new­found par­adise. Per­form this rit­ual ev­ery day, sev­eral times a day. The more fre­quently and in­tensely you vi­su­al­ize your goals, the quicker they will be­come re­al­ity.

Sus­te­nance

The key to a smooth tran­si­tion from em­ployee to en­tre­pre­neur is hav­ing in­dus­try and client con­tacts al­ready es­tab­lished and sav­ings to live

How many months could you main­tain your cur­rent life­style with­out re­ceiv­ing an­other pay­check from your cur­rent job? It’s a rel­a­tively sim­ple equa­tion but will re­quire some ex­plo­ration to take in­ven­tory of all your re­sources. How much do you have in sav­ings? Will you re­ceive sev­er­ance? Do you have resid­ual in­come? Do you have any other sources of cash flow or liq­uid­ity?

If your cur­rent qual­ity of life costs $5,000 per month and with­out work­ing an­other day at your cur­rent job you can pool $30,000 cash, that gives you about six months of cush­ion while you get your new ven­ture up and run­ning.

To help fund es­sen­tial start-up costs (more on this soon), as a gen­eral rule you should be pre­pared to set aside one to two months’ worth of re­served in­come. This amount will need to be sub­tracted from the above to­tal, which will re­sult in one or two months less of a cush­ion. Plug in your own num­bers to see where you stand. If you don’t have at least six months net worth of pad­ding (12 months or more would be ideal), you will need to ei­ther come up with more cash or ad­just your life­style ac­cord­ingly to cover the nec­es­sary ramp-up time needed to start gen­er­at­ing sub­stan­tial in­come.

If you need to shift from a three-bed­room house to a two-bed­room apart­ment and trade in your BMW for a Kia, keep in mind this is only a tem­po­rary budget ad­just­ment to en­sure your fu­ture nir­vana. With knowl­edge, per­se­ver­ance and a crys­tal clear pic­ture of your goals, this can hap­pen rel­a­tively quickly. Martin Gre­bing is an award-win­ning an­i­ma­tion di­rec­tor and pro­ducer who has fo­cused his ca­reer on smaller stu­dios and al­ter­na­tive mar­kets. To­day, he pro­vides cre­ative con­sult­ing and is the owner-op­er­a­tor of Fun­ny­bone An­i­ma­tion, a bou­tique stu­dio that pro­duces an­i­ma­tion for a wide range of clients and in­dus­tries. He can be reached at www.fun­ny­bonean­i­ma­tion.com.

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