How many people do you know have started a new job, launched a new company or started a new career in the last year? I'm betting you can name quite a few off the top of your head. According to Forbes, there are over 28 million small businesses/startups in the US, another 22 million people who are self-employed, and over 540,000 new businesses started each month (note--more businesses close than open each month). Maybe it's the economy. Maybe it's the endless flood of posts and tweets promoting do-it-yourself, celeb-affiliated, get-rich-quick plans. Maybe it's Dan Bilzerian. Whatever it is, there's been quite a movement recently towards "making the jump."
Now, I'm no expert, but I have switched jobs, launched a business and embarked on a new career, all in the last 4 years. NOTE--ideally you don't want to have to go through ALL of this before you settle on something. It's been challenging to say the least. But I'm confident I've found what I'm extremely passionate about, good at, AND can make a living doing (more on this in another post).
So what I want to leave you with is some genuine tips on making the jump. There's a lot of garbage online about chasing your dream, launching a startup, switching careers, becoming insta-famous, etc...but this is my personal take having been in the trenches. If you're in the midst of making the jump, or thinking about it, or know someone who is, hopefully I can help just a bit.
- GET USED TO HAVING THINGS UNRESOLVED. If you're thinking of launching a new venture, you're probably already prone to taking risks. This is a good thing. The more comfortable you are with risk the more successful you'll probably be. But having things unresolved and up in the air is a different story. The answers don't always come quickly, and when you're waiting to hear back from that first client, or a new job offer, it can take time. And sometime they go AWOL. Be prepared for this over and over but don't sweat it, if you keep hustling things will come.
- SHIP THAT SHIT. Build your product to completion. Whether it's a new song, a new website, a new campaign, whatever. Just build it and finish it, even if it's not 100% how you think it should be. A shipped product at 90% completion is ALWAYS better than a project that hasn't shipped. Then keep moving. On to the next one. Don't dwell on unanswered emails, you're wasting time.
- DON'T QUIT YOUR PAID GIG UNTIL YOU HAVE TO. As dreamy as it is to quit your job and walk out the door with a kiss my ass sign taped to your back, don't do that. You'll burn bridges and you won't get paid anymore. A good rule of thumb is to at least keep working until your new venture brings actual dollars in the door.
- DON'T LOOK BACK. This is one I wish someone had told me a while back. If you've found an idea that you really think has legs, if you've found a partner you think you can make big things happen with, and ESPECIALLY if you've found something you love, GO FOR IT. Jump in and don't look back. Jobs, projects, and other opportunities from your old career can tempt you to go back...if you didn't like that in the first place, don't wait until you don't like it again.
- HUSTLE. ALWAYS. Work late nights, work weekends, talk to people who can help you, make a goddamn plan about when and how you're going to accomplish your goals. And then execute. ALSO, note that not everything you do will go towards your new venture. You're probably going to be in a situation where you're short on cash--do what it takes to make that cash (no guys, not like that) and keep going. Finally, on the hustle note, don't tell me you have to wait for X in order to work on Y, or that there's nothing you can do right now to progress your venture. There's ALWAYS something you can do to make progress.
- HAVE FUN. If you're not doing this, you're doing it wrong. How the hell do you expect to be successful, happy, productive, fulfilled, engaged, and dedicated to the work you're doing if you don't enjoy it?
Ok, I'm gonna get back to making music. Go get em champ.
Cover image via @NYONAIR. Yea, I know that's a girl in the pic. Her kicks are dope.