Small Business

Jump, then build your wings – Solopreneurship and balancing risks

If you’ve made the move of taking your small business from a ‘side-hustle’ to your full time work, leaving the ol’ day job behind, then you too will know the feeling of free falling!

It’s both terrifying and freeing in equal measures.  But not everyone with a business dream makes it this far.  And why?  Because of the perceived risk.  Although with that said, it’s not like employment doesn’t carry risks either.

Nothing is ever 100% guaranteed in life.  In fact, life without risk is impossible.  So I really believe that finding the bravery to make the jump into your own business is actually about PERCEIVED risk.  It’s whether or not we can consciously decide to see things in a balanced way, well-planned with eyes wide open… or not!

Some people never do it – preferring instead to keep the dream as just that, a dream.  The thing about not going for it, means that you do absolutely get to keep your dream in tact.  If you don’t try to manifest it into reality then it can’t go wrong and die on you – am I right?

But if you do make the leap, then I think a really important thing to take with you is a balanced approach to risk taking.  Hollywood movies and motivational quote cards on Instagram tend to come with these rocket-fueled shouts of encouragement:

“Jump first, then build your wings on the way down!”

“No guts, no glory!”

You get the idea.  And fine, I get it.  And I’m all for guts, AND glory for that matter.

I know that making the leap into supporting yourself financially from your small business alone is scary, it truly is a risk.  I also know that it’s impossible to completely avoid or bypass the riskiest part – that first year without a salary.

If there were enough hours in the day, or if we didn’t need the luxury of sleep, then ideally we could work around the clock.  Attending the day job during the daytime, and so paying our bills and saving our money. And then working on our side-hustle at night, putting in enough effort to grow an impressively large mailing list, and a loyal customer base that makes regular purchases.  That, surely, would make the transition from day job to business totally seamless.

But alas, we need to sleep sometimes!  You really cannot build that list and engage that tribe to a high enough standard while 40 of your best hours per week are invested elsewhere.  Something has to give.  There is inevitable that scary period between leaving the day job and the business having enough customers, and we all have to go through this.

So it’s a calculated risk.  And I’m not here to discourage you – I’m here to make sure your eyes are open, and to ask you to check in with yourself if this is the right path for you.

In summary, I’d like to suggest an add-on to “jump, then build your wings on the way down”… that might be something like this:

“Do your homework.  Know your numbers.  Have some resources handy.  Then jump.  Then build your wings with the prep you have already done.”

It’s less snappy, and looks a bit weird on an Instagram quote card (see above).  But I think it’s much better advice.


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