Last week, after 5 long years of working on my “side hustle’, I finally jumped in with both feet into a full time role with my company. For the record, it’s March 2021 where we’re still in lockdown due to a pandemic, and the company we’ve built is a retail company. I’ve been called crazy by a few people, have received job referrals from a few others, and been asked more than a few times if my company will make it. On the flip side, for many who have a passion for work, and who have already made the leap to full time entrepreneurship themselves, there came many congratulations and praises for finally being all in on my company.
As someone who has spent the last 4 years working at a Financial institution in the small business financing and advisory space, I can say for certain that not every company makes it. In fact, the vast majority of businesses don’t make it to the million dollar mark - only 13%* of small businesses in America last year made more than $500,000. In my successful, yet short career in small business financing I witnessed the launch and failure of a number of businesses that by all accounts, look like they had everything figured out. However, for a myriad of reasons they weren’t able to make it through. When I moved into the small business advisory space, my job was to provide the best advice and guidance possible in order to ensure these entrepreneurs were able to navigate through these challenges and best prepare for business success.
While this work was challenging, it allowed me to take some of these learnings and create our own strategies and tactics to mitigate or avoid these struggles and failures. Now, that’s not to say we haven’t made mistakes because we certainly have. We have a very long laundry list of mistakes we’ve made, but they were not catastrophic mistakes that cost us the business. While they could have been, our actions in building the business have always been intentional to ensure our longevity. As we always say, we want to build a 100 year business, not an overnight success - patience and perseverance win the game. As you probably guessed, laying the foundation for a 100 year company takes time, and quite a bit of money.
So when you make the decision to quit your full time job and instead, replace your income with cash flow from the company, it’s a big decision. You contemplate if that money could be better spent elsewhere, such as on a new product, or deepening current inventory, or marketing / advertising dollars to grow sales, etc. There’s so many places you can invest that cash to grow the business. However, one has to contemplate the capacity that exists within the organization. If that money is being used to grow the business further, does the current infrastructure support the expected new growth? Can it handle the increased orders, customer inquiries, admin support needed to facilitate it all. So while there are many areas a founder can invest that highly regarded cash flow, human capital is a crucial factor to consider. As the owner, there’s no-one better to be stepping into the ring than you.
So, in saying all of this, I’m really proud to say that after 5 long years, I’m finally full time. There certainly was a lot of sacrifice over the years, which included a lot of evenings and weekends of unpaid work. While this was challenging at times, in the first week of working for the company I spent years helping to build, it all paid off. I learned about the meaning of TGIM, and truly felt what that meant. I find myself excited on Sunday evenings to get started at work on Monday, and genuinely find it hard to close my laptop at the end of the day because there’s so much important work ahead to be done and you’re just excited to start working on it.
So with that, it’s time to get back to work! I look forward to contributing more to the blog over the course of the next short while now that my transition to full time is complete.