Transcript: Dreaming about jumping into my side business full time

All Work, No Pay: a podcast that answers the real questions that consultants, freelancers and business owners have asked

Baz Baruah – host:

This is All Work, No Pay, a show that answers real questions that consultants, freelancers, and business owners have asked.

So, welcome to another episode of All Work, No Pay. I’m really pleased to be joined today by Anna Short from Boo! Marketing. What she does is works with business owners to get their vision and their strategy right so they can actually go out and make some money rather than running around like a blue-arsed fly in all sorts of different directions.

Hi, Anna. Nice to meet you.

Anna Short:

Hi, Baz. Thanks for having me.

Baz Baruah – host:

Fantastic. So, what we’re going to be talking about today – the question that I’ve picked out is from someone who is dreaming about jumping into their side business full-time but needs some advice. It sounds to me like they’re a bit scared.

So, they say that their day job beats them down emotionally. They hate being there. They feel like every day is a day wasted when they’re at work, and they’ve felt that way for a long time. But they’ve got a small mobile mechanic side business doing things like little bits of maintenance – travelling to you – and they want to jump into it full-time, but they’re afraid they can’t. And nobody in their family likes the idea either – they should keep it as a side business.

But the way they look at it is if they went into this full-time, then not only would they be making more money, but they would be feeling less unhappy.

So, given that situation – they hate their job, they’ve got a side business already, but they’re scared to go full-time, and they don’t seem to have any family support – where would you think they should start from, Anna?

Anna Short:

It’s very common this type of situation. Lots of people now do start up side-lines, and people – family, friends – will pull their faces a bit at that. But you’ve got to swim your own lane, as such, and blank out what’s going on around you. If it’s something that makes you happy, and you can do that side-line really well, and build it up into something, just focus on that and knock everything else out of the way.

So, when you’ve got a job that’s beating you down, there is nothing worse. And a lot of us that have worked as employees quite often do reach those moments in time. And they probably build more as you get a bit older, as well, because you just become less tolerant of it, and you’ve developed: you’ve perhaps done some of that career climbing; you’ve had kids; all that kind of thing; and then, it’s that next step. You’re looking for that something a bit more, and you don’t want to keep dealing with these difficult people, some of which can make your life hell at work. And when you reach that point where you just feel it’s gruelling and it’s really difficult to drag yourself in, it is just time to call it quits.

Baz Baruah – host:

Are you speaking from experience, there?

Anna Short:

Yes! Yes. Because you can only take so much of it, Baz, and sometimes it happens once; sometimes it can be more than once.

So, I think there is nothing worse and harder than dragging yourself into work where you’re just not happy, and that could be for lots of different reasons. Once you hit that point of not being happy, and it’s seriously unhappy, it’s past the point of no return. So, you have got to do something about it. You can’t leave it; it’s just going to get the better of you. It’s not worth your own wellbeing and that side of things.

Baz Baruah – host:

And certainly, when it comes to the family side of things, one of the things – I had a bit of revelation with this. So, when I chose – I went through the same thing: I had a manager who knew nothing about what I actually did, and I presented a business case for changing the way the company worked, and they said, ‘No.’ And I was like, ‘Right. Okay. So, you don’t know how this stuff works, and you’re making the decision for me.’ So, I left, and all I’ll say about that is my company’s still going and theirs isn’t. So, there you go.

Anna Short:

Yeah.

Baz Baruah – host:

But my wife didn’t talk to me for three days when I said I was leaving.

The thing I think about that is actually, not everyone’s cut out to run their own business. And the people who aren’t that way round – who like having the structure around them, who like being told what to do – don’t understand what it’s like for the people who don’t like things that way round.

Anna Short:

No, and some people are very good at being employees and, like you say, not business owners. I know people that are well and truly employees right the way through and should not be in business, but because of the way of the world now, and redundancies, and that constant cycle that goes on within businesses, people that are employees through-and-through are finding themselves in these different situations.

And you’ve got to be true to yourself; you really have. Some people have just not got in them, and there’s just something missing for them, and they’ve just got that preference to that structure, like you say.

Baz Baruah – host:

From my point of view, the thing that I would say is – so, for an employee person, they would say, ‘Well, actually, I’ve got this structure and this security around me because I’ve got this whole organisation that’s looking after me.’ Whereas, from my point of view, it’s kind of the opposite: I would say, ‘In my business, I’m responsible for my own success, and if I screw up, then it’s my fault. And if someone else screws up, then it has no effect on me.’

Anna Short:

Well, yeah, but you can quite often be at work, and somebody else screws up, and it’s your fault.

Baz Baruah – host:

Absolutely!

Anna Short:

You know, they love blaming other people; some do, don’t they?

Baz Baruah – host:

Absolutely. The whole cover-your-arse culture…

Anna Short:

Oh, yes. Yeah. I’ve seen too much of that. I really have. I’m very much about taking responsibility and ownership for things. So, when you get those people that can’t hold their hands up and look at where they’ve gone wrong, it drives me crazy.

Baz Baruah – host:

They’re always the people that bloomin’ climb the pole, as well.

Anna Short:

Well, they are, but it’s all for the wrong reasons. It just goes against me. I’m very – I knew in my early 20s that I would always work for myself, so why I put myself through it for another 20 years before I did take the jump, I will never know. But I wouldn’t be the person that I am now with all of that work experience. But I was always quite a strong character within the workplace, and when something needed saying, I would say it whether people liked it or not, and that doesn’t always go down too well.

Baz Baruah – host:

I can imagine, yeah. I’m quite surprised that you were a strong character!

Anna Short:

Because of that – take responsibility for your own actions, and be genuine, and treat people in the right ways – to me that’s just basic ways of living life and being around people. But not everybody’s the same, are they?

Baz Baruah – host:

No. So, we’ve got this person, here, who’s got their – their side-line is already started up…

Anna Short:

Fab.

Baz Baruah – host:

… they’re just scared to make – from the sounds of it – they’re very unhappy in their day job, but they’re scared to make the leap, and they don’t have the support around them.

So, what would you recommend their first steps would be?

Anna Short:

So, it is scary, and there’s no escaping that, no matter what. Taking that jump from having that monthly salary coming in to not knowing what you’ve got coming in when is a massive step for anybody, but there is never going to be a right time. The side-line business is never going to be to a point where it’s screaming, ‘I’m ready for you to go full-time at me, now. So, come on. Let’s go!’ Because nothing’s ever perfect or finished.

So, for me, I’m a bit like, ‘Hold your nose and jump in.’ If you know you’ve got a business, a side-line business, that you enjoy, that you know you can build up and – like this person is saying – can triple their income, it’s a no-brainer. So, you’ve got to find it within you to just be brave, hold your nose, and jump in because you are not going to start learning and finding out about your new business journey until you do that.

Baz Baruah – host:

Yeah, brilliant. Absolutely. Yeah, just dive in.

The only thing I would say to accompany that is it’s really, really simple. If you just sit down, and you go, ‘This is what I need to earn,’ ‘This is what I want to earn,’ and then, you look at your average price, and then you figure out, ‘This is how many customers I need each week,’ or ‘This is how many customers I need each month.’ And then, what you’ll find is most of the time, you need far fewer customers than you’ve got built up in your head…

Anna Short:

Yep. Definitely.

Baz Baruah – host:

… and that makes it all a lot easier. Okay, so, that’s a really, really – so, basically, ultimately, if you’re unhappy at work – if you can’t stand it, if you dread your Monday mornings, you dread every morning – then don’t put up with it because we don’t have to do that anymore.

Anna Short:

We don’t. Something’s got to change, hasn’t it, when it’s at that stage?

Baz Baruah – host:

And you can’t throw your whole life away on other people’s ideals and stuff.

So, basically, figure out where you’re going. You’ve already got the basis of the business, there. I do recommend – starting a side-line business is a really, really powerful thing to do because part of the – a lot of people start something up without realising if there’s any demand for it. In this particular case, this person has already seen that there is the demand out there; people are willing to pay them already. So, it’s just a matter of expanding it. The biggest risk is finding people that are willing to pay you, I guess.

Anna Short:

Yeah.

Baz Baruah – host:

I guess that’s part of where you come in, but…

Anna Short:

Yeah, no. Definitely. I ran a side-line for three years before I took the full jump, and I’ve been made redundant so many times. And it is that cycle of redundancies every 18 to 24 months – whether you’re happy or not – that redundancy cycle is pretty much a permanent feature wherever you work now. And I’d had enough of it.

And then, the last person that I worked for – I thought I’d come across the worst people ever to be dealing with – well, that last person put the tin lid on. So, enough was enough on the redundancy side, and dealing with people that I didn’t want to deal with anymore.

So, I’ve taken back the power. I’m in control. To me, it feels like the tables are turning, now, that you actually start to feel more secure in working for yourself than being employed, to be honest, because you’ve got more control over that situation.

Baz Baruah – host:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s entirely down to you: if you do badly, then it’s because you’ve not put the work in.

Anna Short:

Yep.

Baz Baruah – host:

Absolutely. That’s brilliant. Absolutely fantastic. So, if anyone is thinking of doing this and wants some help just getting their strategy right, how can they get in touch with you, Anna?

Anna Short:

Um, on – oh, I’m always saying ‘Um’. I’m so sorry, Baz. It must be an Oldham thing. So, I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Facebook. Um – um again – on the social media channels. Yep.

Baz Baruah – host:

Perfect. Right. I’ll put links to all of those in the show notes. So, anyone listening, you can get in touch with Anna straightaway. This has been absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much, Anna. That’s a really, really strong insight into starting off a new business.

So, that’s it for this week’s show, and we’ll see you next week on All Work, No Pay.

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