Nine steps to get you out of your day job and into your business

Written by  //  April 29, 2013  //  Daily Juice  //  2 Comments

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We popped a question on our Facebook page last week from Gemma. It went along the lines of


I have been making cakes for 3 years at home, my plan was obviously to go global (no point in dreaming small) then I had a baby and I’m now working 25 hours a week behind a desk to have some sort of income and am struggling to make the leap back into the cake world. I have plenty of ideas and passion to do it just seem to be stuck making the odd few cakes at home trying to work it round bedtimes. “

It’s such a tricky situation and lots of you have emailed in with stories similar so I thought I’d pop my thoughts down on the blog.

I had a similar-ish start to my business. The quick version is that I was a partner at Deloitte (global consulting and accounting firm) with three small children and I desperately wanted out. I couldn’t just give up my sizeable salary and pay for childcare while I built the business so I did it bit by bit.

My starting point of all things was writing a book. Blimey that was hardwork! I wrote it in the evenings and we were all so incredibly sick of it by the time it was finished! Anyway there’s lots more to the story but the guts of it is that four years on I’m full time-ish (working around what is now four children) at The Business Bakery.

After talking to lots of other business owners, and reflecting on what worked (and didn’t work!) for me, I’ve sorted my thoughts into a nine step method to help you get out of your day job and into your business!

1. Decide you really want to do it


I’ve been trying to think of a gentle way of saying this but I can’t. So I will be brutal. Some of us like the idea of having a business more than the reality of actually doing it. That’s ok. It’s like people who want to write a book but have yet to type a single word. (Or exercise! See this article on decoy habits for more of what I mean.)

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about having a business unless the fact that you’ve not started yet is stressing you out.

So I think you need to consciously decide to start your business today or consciously leave it on the do-one-day list. Just making that decision will free you from a lot of angst.

 And starting doesn’t mean doing anything too onerous. We’re not talking about big investments of time and money. You can do as little or as much as you want, provided you do the next 8 steps.

 2. Have a goal

It really helps to have a goal. Not a super-detailed one but something that puts into words what you want to achieve.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to imagine what you would like the business to be in 3 years time. You goal could be as simple as “In three years time my business enables me to work school hours and earns me enough to pay for half our family running costs”. Or whatever. Goals are personal. Pick one that you really want to happen.

It also helps to have a mini goal too. Best way to do this is to do the same as above, but change the time period to one year.

3. Work out how much time you can give to your business right now.

Let’s be really honest. How much time can you give to your business each week? If you have a day job and kids, the answer is probably ‘not much’.

Have a think about how many hours you can reasonably spend on your business every week. So this isn’t about working 20 hours (in the middle of the night) one week and do nothing for the next month. It’s about what you can do every week.

It’s better to be practical and set aside a small amount of time than it is to be over optimistic and then find it’s all too much.

 4. Work out how much money you will need to be making before you can ‘buy’ more time

Ok the big problem right now is that you need to work on your day job to be able to pay the bills (and childcare). So the next step is to work out how much you would need to earn from the time you have in Step 3 to enable you to give up one day of the day job (or add one more day of childcare.)

In other words you need to make enough in your Step 3 time to cover either a day’s pay or a day’s childcare. I know this might sound like a stretch but you can do it. More on that in Step 4.

 Now you might have an all-or-nothing job. In other words you have to work 5 days or no days. There’s no scope for cutting back your hours. This is tricky but you can try asking. I worked as a partner in a big global firm that I thought didn’t do part-time. But it did. When I asked!

 5. Plan out the best use of your time in Step 3 to make the money in Step 4

This is the super-crucial bit. You need to plan what you are going to do in the time you have in Step 3 to make the money you need in Step 4. So let’s say you have 10 hours in Step 3 and need $200 in Step 4. The question is “What can I do in my business in 10 hours to make $200?”

So this means finding the customers AND doing the work.

Think about how many customers you would need a week to make your Step 3 money. This will  force you into thinking about the best way to get them. Nothing focuses the mind like this number!

Now there’s nothing wrong with working on a longer term plan of designing a nice website, writing a blog, joining networking groups etc etc, but if you really want to get out of the day job and into your biz you need to focus on getting money into your hands every week! Oh gosh, that sounds so bossy, but I think you know what I mean.

Finally on this point. You might just not be able to do it in your Step 3 time, in which case see if you can push the time up a little. Remember when you know you can make the Step 4 money you can free up another day to work on your business, so it’s worth it!

 6. Get started

Right you’ve got your plan in Step 5. Now get started. Today. No time is the right time so you may as well kick off now!

 7. Stick with it – be consistent, show up.


This is the bit that makes it work. And it’s really simple. Be consistent. Work on your business every week, do the hours from Step 3, the plan from Step 5 and keep an eye on how close your are getting to your money goal in Step 4.

 At first it will feel quite fun to do this. Then there will be the dip where you feel like nothing is working. Stick with it through the dip  – tough as it is – as you sort of need to go through the pain bit to make this work.

 8. Change the plan not the commitment


It’s quite possible that the plan you hatched in Step 5 doesn’t work very well. That’s ok and happens almost all the time! A plan is just a starting point. Once you’ve got a few customers you’ll know more about what works and doesn’t work.

So change the plan if you need to. But don’t give up. There’s often another way to get to where you want to go.

9. Unless you decide that it’s actually not so fun.

OK, you can give up. But only if you’re not enjoying it. Having your own business is meant to make you feel happy. If it feels like a drudge then this business idea isn’t the one for you. Maybe time to hatch another idea!

 10. Repeat!

And once you’ve freed up one free day you can keep doing the same thing until you can free up another. You’ll have more Step 3 time – one day plus your original Step 3 hours – and you’ll work towards paying for two Step 4 days.

 I promise, it does become more doable!

If you need to make a HEALTHY income from your business you might want to take a peep at our HEALTHY INCOME program and join our Kitchen!




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2 Comments on "Nine steps to get you out of your day job and into your business"

  1. Vivian@MOUSH September 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm · Reply

    Julia, is it just as valid to leave your day job, start a business, put all your time and energy into setting it up and tweaking it along the way etc, only to come to terms with the fact that it’ll be a longer road to fruition than you had admitted to yourself before the journey started, and therefore decide to go back to a day job and try and manage the business in parallel? Obviously, this is where we’re at with Moush at the moment. Some really tough times and decisions. From your insight into other businesses or your own experience, is this a recipe for disaster? is it an unrealistic way of going about it? does it more often than not mean the business fizzles out? or that one thing or the other gives along the way? Sorry, not asking for crystal ball answers here, just your insight on what seems to be the reverse scenario of what you talk about in your article above.

    • Julia Bickerstaff September 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm · Reply

      Such a GOOD questions Vivian! I think with a business like yours (and mine) there is a big setting up/developing part. It’s not easy to do that when you’re also working. It’s intense. It’s DEEP thought. It’s tough work. I think it’s super-tricky to do that bit at the same time as a day job as you kinda need to be wholly focussed in the business to get the depth. I tried both when creating the Healthy Income Program and it was WAY better to stop the other work and focus on just one thing. Once that BIG THINK and development is done I think it’s perfectly possible to keep working on the marketing of the business while also having a day job (for dollars). And it makes some sense. Marketing takes time and you can’t live on fresh air! Will the business fizzle? Depends on who’s running it. In your case, I don’t think so!!

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