Pre-Week 7: Focus and invest in personal development instead of an escape

I’ve decided to create full focus on my own business from the 1st October. Right now I’m working on a big freelance project, which is about to be finished. In the meantime I get requests for new ones. I thought it would be smart to flip freelance and my own business around. Change freelance from main activity to a side project, and make creating my own business my top priority. So I thought I’d take on some project request to combine but I immediately felt miserable on the perspective of lack of focus.

It’s a strange thing. While I wouldn’t advise anyone to totally quit any work they do for income, I do feel the need to try and see how much I can get done in a longer period of full focus.

This is how I made my decision

  • My top priority is creating my own business, so I should devote as much time as possible to it.
  • Although I like freelance design, it is taking away focus of my top priority, so I stop doing it
  • I do need to pay rent, and have saved up enough money to not need extra income for at least 6 months
  • Because it’ll take a bit of time to kickstart myself back into freelancing, I will start looking for projects again when I have 2 months of savings left.

So for now I won’t have time to do any freelance work apart from some after sales service on my current project. I’m not doing any design side projects either.

When to make the jump?

Last year, after working full time, I took 1 month off to start creating some small projects and play with lean principles for the first time. It felt like a small test drive. I liked the concept of investing time into my personal development. In the meantime I’ve heard others save up 6 months or even a year to get their own startup going. I’m sure there are many ways to do it.

After my month of not working, I really needed some income. So I had to start working freelance again, but I did want to do it in a way that allowed me to work on my business as well.

So what are the options?

– Work fulltime and save money until you can spare 1 month
– Work fulltime and save money until you can spare 6 months
– Work fulltime and save money until you can spare 1 year
– Work fulltime and save money until whatever feels safe…

There is no such thing as ‘the jump’

I don’t believe there is a thing such as ‘a jump’ from working as employee or freelancer to working on your own business from then on. There is absolutely no guarantee that after this certain period you will make enough money. You’re more likely to work slower because you have created a deadline but this deadline is not very close. Parkinson Law will make you spread out the stuff you’re supposed to do, out over the entire period.

So it’s important to not postpone important work and learning and not wait until you’ve created this free time.

  • Work part-time, and work on your business on the side
  • Work part-time, and work on your business on the side, and save money until you can spare … months

Until you can flip them around:

  • Work on your business, and work for extra income on the side

Or even:

  • Work on your business (full stop)

Invest your time for the right reasons

Whatever length of period of free time you choose, you should see it as an investment in your own personal development. Do it because every single month will pay back itself in every decision you make in the months after. When you can create one day a week to invest, do it. Two days, even better. A month? Perfect. Six months or a year? You’re going to learn an insane amount. Don’t do it because you expect to make a jump or escape your working life. Do it because you deserve maximum learning in that period and will benefit from it for the rest of your life. The business will come, earlier than expected.