Should you leave your day job for a side hustle?

December 12, 2020

When is it a good time to leave your day job for a side-hustle? Hmm, that’s a tricky one, so let me rephrase it – is it ever a good time to leave your job for a side hustle? In my case it was an easy choice because when I decided to start Barre Body, […]

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When is it a good time to leave your day job for a side-hustle? Hmm, that’s a tricky one, so let me rephrase it – is it ever a good time to leave your job for a side hustle? In my case it was an easy choice because when I decided to start Barre Body, I had already quit my job and was a new mum. Let me paint the picture for you.  

After my own Eat Pray Love story in my late 20’s where I had left (more accurately been left by) a long term partner, been made redundant from my high-paid marketing gig, gone to India to do yoga (if there was an emoji for cliché, I would insert it here), gotten Dengue fever and sold my house – essentially leaving me homeless, jobless and newly single at 29.5, I took role in a start up – Urban Remedy Cleanse – and worked for a group of investors to popularise juice cleansing in Australia. It was one of the most amazing roles I’ve ever had as it gave me so much exposure to the how-tos, why-fors and what-nots of starting a business. I love it, but when I accidentally fell pregnant to the man of my dreams (my now hubby), we decided to move to Melbourne and start a recruitment agency. He would be the recruiter and I would be everything else.

And then we had the idea for Barre Body and the plans all changed. I knew it was a magical, perfect-timing, fairy-dust kind of idea and that the time was right in Australia to bring the barre method to life. But I was very nervous and there were so many reasons and inner objections that I had to overcome.

Let’s workshop some of them together and I’m sure some of them will apply to you.

What if I doesn’t work out?

I asked this of my dad in the early stages when we were thinking of opening Barre Body and he said to me, “what’s the worst thing that can happen? You’ll lose some money and have to get another job. You will always get another job. So I recommend you ask the same question of yourself? What’s the worst that could happen and can you get another job if things don’t work out as planned?

What will people think if I fail?

I have a very short answer to this and you need to be able to say this to yourself if you are going to be strong enough to cope with the challenges of being in business for yourself.

Who. Cares.

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what other people think. Just you.

How will I support myself financially?

I listened to a great audiobook the other day and the founder, an entrepreneur said you should work out what you’ll need for the first 6 months of business and then double it. I tend to agree, but that’s not how we did it. We put every dollar of savings we had into opening the first Barre Body studio to the extent that we had no idea how we would pay the second month’s rent or the rent on our apartment, but luckily it all worked out for us and my husband’s recruitment business was able to support us for a little while to get established.

If you are a risk-taker like us, that approach might appeal to you and if not, maybe you should consider continuing to work on your business while still working in your full or part-time job. I know lots of people who do this in the beginning until they feel confident (or at least hopeful) they can support the business and themselves financially.

At some point if you want to make a real go of it, you have to dive in.

There are so many other people more qualified than me to do this. I don’t know what I’m doing.

You can always find someone who is more qualified or experienced than you. In my case there were so many more experienced teachers than me in the world. At the time I opened Barre Body, I had only been teaching yoga for two years and had only just learnt the barre technique. I knew very little about opening a studio – only that I wanted to create a space infused with love and joy. So that’s what I did. There was a very healthy dose of “fake it til you make it”.

What if I lose my (or other people’s) money?

You might. It’s a risk that every new business has to take and the counter question that I offer you to ponder instead is “if I don’t do this, will I wish that I had?”. I also encourage you to try to keep your costs as low as possible. In the beginning, I did everything for Barre Body – I designed the logo, I built the website, I did the customer service, I taught ten classes per week, I cleaned the studio, I did the books (somewhat questionably). I did everything and what I didn’t know how to do, I googled and soon learnt. 

What if no one comes? (or buys my product/service etc)

This is a very common fear with a new business. If you’ve done your research (and you must do your research), you should have a good idea as to the likelihood of people wanting what you are selling. It’s natural to feel nervous and worried, but in my experience, fear means that you are being brave and if you weren’t fearful, you probably haven’t considered the risks. As the saying goes, feel the fear and do it anyway.

What if people think I’m a fraud?

This was HUGE for me. A little-known secret is that I had never ever taken a ballet class in my life before opening Barre Body, except for a few when I lived the US at 6 years old. My dad recounts the story of going to pick me up from ballet class and seeing all the little girls lined up at the barre in their tutus obediently doing plies while I was twirling around in circles on the other side of the room looking at myself in the mirror. Such is the extent of my ballet career.

I was very worried that people would think I was a fraud, but I proved by my actions and results that I wasn’t. I learnt how to be an exceptional barre teacher (and businesswoman) on the job, all the while pretending I already was. Again, fake it until you make it. It’s a tried and tested path to success for many.  

It’s not the right time OR I’m not ready.

If that’s your mantra, you’ll always find excuses to wait. At some point, you must dive in come what may. I did and it was the very best decision I have ever made.

Helpful? I hope so!

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