In June 2020, I quit my stable 9-5 job in pursuit of creative entrepreneurship.
Several coworkers thought I was crazy and I was scared to tell family about my plans because I couldn't have any outside negativity or doubts.
But what nobody knew was that I barely viewed the leap as a risk.
I had carefully planned my exit for 2 years and knew exactly how I was going to make the transition and support myself if anything didn't go according to plan.
Luckily I did this because of course, almost nothing went according to plan.
The business launch was delayed causing me to burn extra savings, growth didn't happen as fast as expected, my car was stolen, I forgot how expensive car insurance was - there were many things that happened that weren't in my "plan", but that doesn't mean the plan was worthless. Without a plan, I never would've been able to take the leap because I wouldn't have had the confidence to do so.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about this transition from stability to the unknown, especially as more and more people begin to pursue their passions online, and I'm a believer that a majority of success comes down to planning (which enables confident actions).
A quick example from my own situation:
I knew I wanted to be a financial planner (how fitting) coming out of college, but I couldn't land a job anywhere because I didn't have a network of rich old people with a lot of money to invest. After doing my own research, I learned that it was possible to start your own financial planning firm. I read a blog from another planner that said she launched her firm with $12,000 in expenses in the first year.
This was phase one of my planning exercise.
I did research, figured out how much I needed to have saved, I came up with a rough timeline of when I wanted to start, and then I worked backwards to figure out how much I needed to save each month to reach that goal.
By doing just a little bit of planning, I reduced my risk of starting the business by a great amount because I would have enough savings to not need any income for the business for a year. This would give me time to figure things out and find my footing as an entrepreneur.
I then took the time to start business planning which included creating a marketing plan, a content plan, my value proposition, service models, etc.
All of that stuff was in motion before I even started the business or quit my job.
Then when the time came and I was ready to launch, I asked myself "what's the worst that could happen?".
I hated my job, I had done plenty of planning, I knew how I was going to go to market, and I had savings to support myself - it felt like a no-brainer. And it was. Nothing was going to stop me from starting because I had reduced all of the risk that usually comes with starting something on your own simply by creating a plan.
If you're starting a business, you may be pressed for income due to a lack of savings or you may struggle to find traction because you hadn't thought through your business model and service offerings. Even with planning a lot of things changed and I had to pivot many times, but having a plan gave me the confidence I needed to take the leap.
And that's all it comes down to, right?
You'll never know if you have the ability to succeed unless you take the leap first, and planning is the only way I know how to bridge the confidence gap.
The ultimate goal of planning is to create clarity that allows you to be confident in the next steps so that you can begin taking action.
Planning will force you to ask yourself questions that you may not have thought about before, and those answers will influence how you approach the next steps.