A lot of people have dreams of owning their own business, following their passion and going after what they really want in life. Instead many people find themselves stuck working at a 9-5 job that they’re not really happy with, while the possibility of realizing their dreams slowly slips away. About a year and a half ago, I made the leap of faith from working a corporate job to freelancing on my own.
While everyone wishes they can leave the corporate life, it’s one of the hardest decisions one can make in their whole career. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) my decision was already made for me. Budget cuts caused my position at work to be eliminated and just like that I was out of a job. I was scared and nervous about how fast I could get another job with bills steadily mounting. Weeks went by, with countless interviews that led nowhere, with my frustration and anxiety rapidly increasing.
Then it hit me, maybe this was the opportunity I was waiting for to try to follow my dreams, to finally start the businesses I’ve been dreaming about for years. To really have a job that I enjoyed and to live a free life. The problem with this mentality was that I didn’t have money to start a business and most importantly, I didn’t even have a job. At the time I was doing a few promotional modeling and brand ambassador gigs here and there but I really wasn’t making that much money. I started to meet people who actually made a living from doing promotional modeling full-time and they looked like they were having fun doing it. After a while of not securing any other jobs, I decided to give the promotional field a try.
Luckily I discovered a job that offered a very flexible schedule, and that’s probably one of the most important factors in helping me live the entrepreneur life. Not only do I meet so many different people, in all types of industries, but I make my own schedule, I travel all over the country, and I make twice as much as I did at my corporate job. The best part is that now I finally have the freedom and the time to focus on developing my business endeavors.
So how can you also take the leap of faith from your corporate job to freelancing? Or have you already taken the leap and now you’re stuck as to where to go next? Here are some tips that can help lead you to success:
1. Increase your network, and you will increase your net worth.
When I started in the promotional field I didn’t know too much about it, but I created contacts in the field wherever I went. I also started using Facebook as a networking tool, joining numerous Facebook groups to find more gigs and connect with more marketing agencies.
In terms of my personal business, I used a lot of face to face interaction to grow my network. I used Eventbrite to find fashion and business events in my area, and I attended as many events as I could. With NY Fashion Week being the biggest event for fashion industry professionals, I sent press pass inquiries and got tickets for as many shows as my schedule allowed me to attend. At the time my clothing line business wasn’t established yet but I made sure to have personal business cards so I could appear more professional. In business image is everything, so a small investment of $20 for business cards goes a long way.
2. Be persistent and stay strong.
There are so many times when I wanted to quit but remembering the end goal is what kept me going. There’s a saying that goes “There are 2 types of people: those living their dreams and the ones who are working for them to create it.” When I thought about it, I didn’t want to be another person working to help someone make their dreams come true, when I could easily put in a little more work to realize my dreams. Being an entrepreneur and freelancing is no piece of cake, but the end result is far more rewarding than being stuck at a dead-end job. There are many hard times as an entrepreneur, times when I didn’t even know if my efforts were making a difference, and many times when I considered getting a “regular” job. But when I think about it, knowing that I’m working towards creating my own legacy gives me the validation I need.
3. There is no “I” in “TEAM.”
You’re the average of all the people you hang out with, so if you want to be successful, you must surround yourself with like-minded people. I’m constantly seeking out other young entrepreneurs, people who are creating their own paths and pioneering their own businesses. We push each other, give each other tips and advice, and provide a strong support system to keep each other going. The struggle doesn’t seem that bad if you have other people going through the same thing with you. You can learn and grow together.
Also, don’t be afraid to collaborate! Seek out other businesses and work with them. It will help you learn things from a new perspective, and it will also introduce your network of followers to theirs, and vice versa. Each collaboration increases your network and creates new business opportunities. Of course there should be a limit to the amount of collaborations, but it’s never a bad thing to collaborate, at least in the beginning stages of your business.
Use these tips in your walk to becoming an entrepreneur and you’ll have a solid foundation for a successful career.
I would love to hear from you! Did you find these tips helpful and have you implemented any of these strategies in your career? Comment below!