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I'm at the point where I could go full time with my coaching business. Instead, I'm hiring an assistant (in full transparency, it's my fiance) and keeping a contracting position in a completely different industry. Clients are often surprised that I have a contracting job that's not in the health and wellness industry. Also, why would I choose to keep a contracting job if I could make more money coaching and expand my business? I've actually gotten a lot of similar questions lately, so that's why I decided to address it.
I contract for a company that sells plumbing and drainage equipment. Not exactly in the industry I target, right? And not exactly glamorous. But hey, I've learned A LOT from this job. As a little background, I've been with this company for 3 years. I worked in the marketing department in the Alabama office for about two of those years. My position has evolved so much since I started, and I've been able to turn it into something I love. About a year into the position I wrote my own job description and title (content marketing specialist). I manage over 36 social media accounts, handle SEO, help with all of our website redesigns, help with copywriting, manage our monthly reporting and analytics (I'm SUCH a nerd for analytics), and have recently taken on managing a new marketing automation platform. Over the years I've planned huge events, was the Smartboard expert and a host of other random things. (The featured photo is one I took for a company I work with named Murdock Manufacturing.)
Why I'm keeping my position:
- I like what I do, and they treat me well.
- I get to travel and attend events I can't yet afford on my own.
- I like variety in my work. I don't want to get burnt out on any one thing.
- I contract for a B2B company, which is challenging. It keeps me on my toes.
- I like the stability. I don't have benefits or vacation time, but I have 40 hours a week if I want them.
- Working for yourself can be lonely. We have daily Skype meetings, so it adds some of the office interaction I don't get at home.
- Marketing for something outside of your industry (health + wellness) can teach you a lot and help you stay creative.
- We're always learning about new marketing tools. I feel like I learn more being part of this team than I would if I was solely responsible for my marketing awareness.
I recommend keeping a full time, or at least steady, job while building your business. Sometimes the stress of making ends meet can fuel you, but often it adds unnecessary stress and might lead you to make decisions for your business you wouldn't otherwise make. It also gives you a chance to explore what your business should feel like. Give your business room to evolve and become what it was meant to be. The other side to this, like my situation, is that if you like what you do and are learning from it, you don't have to give it up. (Quick tip: be open with your boss and coworkers, and if you're a contractor, make sure they respect your time.)
I'm frequently asked, "How do you know when to go full-time with your side gig?" It's different for everyone. Pay attention to your gut feelings.
I've come across entrepreneurs who feel guilty for hanging on to their jobs (or make me question why I do). Stop the guilt. Design your life + career however YOU see fit.
I love this post by Laura Sims at Create As Folk: Why I Took a Full-Time Job
How many of you have full time jobs and a side job? How did you make the transition?