“Are you and Jacob doing ok?” That moment, when my sweet sister-in-law pulled me aside at Thanksgiving, was the moment in which I knew my current work situation needed to change. I was working full time in Human Resources and spent every evening and every weekend editing, virtual assisting, or building my website/workflow for my side-hustle. I had to utilize every moment of my time (including the time I should’ve been spending with family, friends, and my husband on the weekend!!) for my business, and I missed out on so many fun gatherings with my sweet nephews and niece down at the family farm. I was, for the first time since dating (when I used to bring all of my college homework down to the farm to spend time with his family), absent from family gatherings–and it had not gone unnoticed.
In all honesty, we were doing well! We were tired. Tired of being apart all the time. Tired of me always having my face buried in my computer. Tired of me running on empty, and giving what little leftover time and energy I had to my family. We talked about me maybe one day going full-time with my own business, thinking of how it could be whenever we decided to start a family…but this moment of honesty from our family made us realize that a decision needed to be made. I either needed to go full-speed into going full-time or I needed to scale back tremendously. Based on our family and where we are in life, we decided that that was the time for me to take the proverbial leap of faith and consciously search for more clients so I could expand.
Sadly, I wish I could say that there is a clear cut answer for you if you’re trying to decide if you should go full-time. It truly varies based on everyone’s life situation. However, today I will be sharing some of the “heart” of our decision as we considered if I should go full-time.
When I say the “heart” of our decision, I simply mean how we tried to decipher if it was the right decision for us/me mentally, emotionally, and if it was simply the right choice for our family. **Next week I will be sharing more of the “head” of our decision–the logistical aspects we considered before we knew it was right for me to go full-time.**
- The Future. I started working in an office building right after I graduated from Illinois College with a degree in English Lit and a minor in Entrepreneurship (I didn’t realize how much that minor would come in handy!!!). I was 21-years-old and my time in HR was the biggest learning experience I had ever had. The policies and procedures of HR did not come easily to me, and I spent the next 2+ years feeling like I struggled with that job while thriving at the the after-hours side-passion that I truly loved. I considered the big picture of every single day: how I felt working on every task, how I felt going in to work every day and how I felt leaving after 9 hours, would I feel like it was a sacrifice (when we have kids) leaving my children every morning to go into work to do this job? Then I considered how I felt about my work as a virtual assistant and editor: did I enjoy the work, did I look forward to working, (thinking ahead again) would I dread this job in the future if I had to give up time with my children to do this work? These were the BIG things I considered…the things that would weigh on my heart the most. We haven’t started a family yet, so this was clearly all projection and speculation on my part, but it was something that I really needed to consider!!
- Is Giving it Up an Option? I knew that something had to give, whether I dropped my virtual assisting gig or I left my job in Human Resources. I couldn’t (sanely!) continue to do both. Could I see myself going to HR to do “HR work” all day every day and not have a job with a creative outlet?? I would have evenings and weekends and the generous time off from the college…but I would be in a passionless job. Could I really just give up the 2 years of hard work on my side-hustle, of learning an entire industry (friends–for those of you who aren’t involved in it…the wedding photography industry is an SUCH an amazing, friendly, and creative group!! I had no idea that it truly is an entire ecosystem in and of itself!), and exploring a multi-faceted passion that I never knew I had?? Could I give that up completely?? For me, that answer was clear.
- Now or Never. My husband, Jacob, and I just celebrated our 2nd anniversary this past May. We don’t have children and been enjoying our time together as still-somewhat-newlyweds. We have a home and bills, but we are honestly in a phase of our life where our responsibilities are pretty minimal. We knew that this decision to throw out a full-time salary and benefits would only get more difficult as time went on and as we grew a family. The risk of it all (while still nauseating and terrifying!) was pretty small. Realistically, if my business flopped I could go back into the corporate world, but I would have this time to build up my business during the day, gain clients, establish a workflow, and see if it could really work before we have more responsibility. I was SO surprised how reinforced I felt after we made this decision when I spoke with my co-workers and explained the “it’s now or never” mindset. Several of my colleagues were proud of me for taking the leap, and mentioned that they had either turned down a similar opportunity (one that required a big leap of faith!) or they thought they would only spend “a couple of years in this job and then move on to something different…but 18 years later, here I am!!” I knew if I didn’t take the leap now, I would be saying the same thing to a younger colleague in another 18 years.
So, my friends, I wish there was a cut-and-dry formula that I could give you to help you determine if it’s the “right” decision to take your business full-time and kiss your corporate job goodbye! Sadly, there isn’t. But I hope that talking through the heart of our decision to go full-time can help you as you navigate this next season of big decisions in your business!!