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SOHOwners Practical ideas for leading your business

Practical ideas, inspiration, and answers for leading your business

When can I afford to start working in my business full-time?

Are you working your SOHO business part-time and wondering, “When can I afford to go full-time?” Everyone’s situation is different, yet consistent patterns exist that can guide you with making this very important decision. My simplest and best advice is this: Make the decision with your heart and your head.

Ultimately, your decision will be one made with your emotion and faith (heart). Back it up, however, with clear thinking and thoughtful planning (head). Here are a few practical tips about this FAQ:

• Protect your downside by making sure your heart is truly in your business. No matter how attractive you imagine being your own boss will be, you’ll invariably face tough times. Expect doubt and despair to wash over you in these low times. If your SOHO business isn’t meaningful, then you’ll be too tempted to pack it in and quit just before the real lessons are about to begin.

• Having your heart is in your business also protects your long-term success. The best predictor of enduring business success is meaningful work. Know your cause–your way of making a difference for others. When your life purpose informs and integrates with your work purpose, you’re on-purpose. Enthusiasm, passion, and commitment are signs of what I call “The Tingle Factor”–this amazing joy and sense of calling your work can bring to you. Your customers, vendors, and employees will feel it, catch it, and it feeds them… and your business will grow by good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing.

• Plan to make money, but don’t let “I’m gonna make a ton of money” be the sole basis of your go-for-it decision to take your job and shove it. Money clouds most people’s judgment. Preoccupying dreams for making lots of money becomes blinding. It is called greed–one of the seven deadly sins. Preserve your soul by checking to make sure dollar signs aren’t the sole driver of your business decision.

• Keep your day job just a bit longer! This advice isn’t stirring, dramatic, or daring. It is simply prudent. Make a to-do list of the “getting ready to get ready” once you’re in. I can’t tell you how many newly launched small business owners confuse setting up the business with being in business. Wasting your first month(s) in full-time business getting things like designing and printing business cards; learning to use business systems such as SOHOos.com; or buying office supplies, computers, and printers are examples of tasks you can complete before you make the leap of faith. Do your research before the big step and then hit the ground running.

• Don’t go full-time in anger or to prove a point to someone. Negative motivation may compel your early success, but it rarely sustains you. It is a bad seed you don’t want to plant into the cultural DNA of your enterprise. Carrying forth an angry gene may compel your launch, but it will eventually eat your lunch. Put the negative emotions behind you and focus your energy on making strong forward progress.

• Make your business pregnant with profit potential. Figure out ways to line up paid customers before making the full time jump so the leap of faith isn’t so large. It makes sense on many levels. For example, let’s say you want to open a restaurant, get some catering clients first to test everything from food, to budgeting, to marketing, to production, and then some. Use SOHOos.com to build your database of leads and clients until you’re so overwhelmed with opportunity, you can’t afford not to go full time.

• Sales are your lifeblood. You may have built a better mousetrap (and website) but don’t think you’ve earned the right to have the world beating a path to your door. Learn how to sell, period!

Kevin, how will I really know when I’m ready to go full-time in my SOHO?

There is rarely the perfect time to “afford” to launch. It is much like getting married. There will come a moment in a season when you will just know-in-your-knower that now is the time. You’ll have this intelligent, settled peacefulness even if the circumstances surrounding you are not. The means to take that step in faith to make your full-time SOHOwner commitment will feel neither premature nor like you’re overly prepared. When that moment arrives, press into it with gusto and diligence. What began as a dream is becoming a reality. Yes, you can change the world!

Have a question about being a SOHOwner? Contact Kevin W. McCarthy through his SOHOme profile: http://www.sohoos.com/me/onpurposepartner

© 2012, Kevin W. McCarthy, Winter Park, FL

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