Runway to Hell

In the entrepreneurial world there’s this lil thing called a “runway”. The runway is the money you’ve saved to get you from quitting your day job to the day that your entrepreneurial endeavor is bringing in STEADY and SUPPORTIVE money. In theory, you should probably have like. . . 6 months worth of paying ALL of your bills (and feeding yourself) saved up before you quit your day job (or other steady income source) and make the leap into pursuing your passion full time.

Hi, my name’s Jessie and I sometimes act before thinking things out thoroughly.

I had a full time job last year that was paying my bills and on the outside seemed pretty good. But it was draining emotionally and creatively thanks to half of the management team. I tried SO HARD to work on my business during my employment there. . . and I did get a few things done. I got the ball rolling and that was good. I don’t think it was good enough though.

I quit in October with only two months’ worth of bills saved up and a few thousand dollars “wiggle room” left on my credit cards just in case.

Fast-forward 4 months and all wiggle room has now been exhausted.

This is the reality of going the entrepreneurial route and not being prepared “enough”.

I am forever the optimist and thought I could find success in starting a Patreon, launching a YouTube channel, creating wholesale order forms for my art and Art-to-Go Tote Bags, announcing my Lacuna Create fluid art classes in local FaceBook Groups, sending 9 paintings (with customized, heartfelt letters) out to members of the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers, promoting my feminist stickers on Etsy, telling everyone and their mom that I was creating and selling art, selling art/stickers/tote bags at local markets/events, and even trying to find other part time work (it’s sad when you can’t even land a job at a major craft retailer when they’re hiring and you’re like, PERFECT for the job).

I couldn’t have known what “enough” was. I still don’t know what “enough” is. . . because I don’t know WHEN I’ll actually turn a profit. Which is a very scary thing to realize, acknowledge, and write into existence.

Now, I’m not sharing any of this to invite you to my pity party. I know exactly what I did and how I could have avoided my current situation. I just know that personally, I experience hindsight as 20/20 and if I can help prevent anyone else from making the same unprepared leap, welp, consider this your WARNING!!! If I were part of a double-income household it may be another story, but it’s not. And I think a warning is fair in those situations too, because any income, whether your own or a partner’s, is never guaranteed.

So what do I suggest? The lesson I learned is BUDGET. Live minimally. Save up and prioritize your DREAMS over going out for dinner or buying that sweet new jacket. If you truly want to escape the 9-5 you have to be willing to sacrifice for it. And ya know what? I bet once you start looking at your expenses and what you’re REALLY spending your money on, you’ll soon realize that you’re not actually sacrificing much. That’s the hindsight that’s kicking me in my own ass right about now.

It’s another day in my entrepreneurial adventure and I’m learning first-hand tough lessons that I hope I can help others learn the easier way, by watching those who came before fall into the pit traps and learning how to side step them.

Cheers to creating (and avoiding pit traps!),

Jessie

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