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.
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.
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.
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.