Walking the Plank: Time to Sink or Swim

- May 15, 2012 3 MIN READ


Not many of you would know this but for the past year whilst I have been building up our readership on Shoe String and forming Shoe String Media Group, I have also been working for the same company I have for the last 5 years as a National Sales Manager, managing a whole team of account managers, reporting to a Managing Director in Australia and Regional Directors in Singapore. How the hell, you ask? Well let me assure you, when it comes to time keeping these days I am like a bloody surgeon. Every minute of every day is allocated – including lunch and sleep.

Now I don’t for one minute think I am the most amazing person in the world because I had a full time job and started a business on the side, I am also not the first person to work for 20 hours a day most days when starting a business either, there are thousands of people out there right now moonlighting on their own projects whilst still working for an employer, and the transition of removing yourself eventually from the safety and security of that regular income, is a hard one.

A couple of months ago I came to that fork in the road, that realisation that much to my disappointment, I am not super human and to build my own business beyond what it currently is – changes need to be made. I need to shift 100% of my focus to my business 100% of the time. Consistency, Stability and Growth would not be achieved otherwise.

So I have done it – I am walking the plank and it’s a bloody scary thing to really get your head around. At the end of the day it’s a sink or swim situation – what is the worst thing that can happen? For me it would be looking back in 10 years time and thinking I wonder if I had taken that leap of faith back then if things would be different today? At least if I fail – I get to do it now and learn from it.

If you are in the same boat at the moment and also feel that you are at that fork in the road about wanting to do your own thing, here are a few things I have learnt in the last 12 months that have given me the motivation to say goodbye to a pay cheque and hello [hopefully] to financial freedom.

I know how to Sell, and I am Passionate about my Product / Service

There really is no such thing as a bad product, just bad sales people that don’t put in activity. If there wasn’t a market the product or service wouldn’t exist in the first place. If you are passionate about what you do and your passion translates to you rolling your sleeves up and working hard – you will make money. In my case I have spent the last 5 years bringing in around 3 million a year for my company, time to bring that in for my own business!

Working 20 Hours a Day is not the healthiest thing to do for long periods

Burnout is a bitch, I don’t think I have reached that point yet – but I can feel it is getting close. You need sunlight, exercise and plenty of sleep in order to remain at your mental and physical peak at all times. For this reason I wish I had walked the plank 6 months ago. Personally I have put on weight and very seriously lacked a social life in the last 12 months, something that I now realise can start to affect the success of your business, you need to make time to see friends, eat healthy and rest.

Be Open and Honest with your Employer

I have been very lucky that my employer had an entrepreneurial mindset, that allowed me to have an open and frank discussion about what I was doing outside of the business. The most important thing to know that if you can not maintain or exceed the results that you need to achieve for your employer as well as build your business, then one has to go. To allow someone else’s business to suffer while you grow yours is not fair and lacks integrity – and you will find that this will get you a reputation. Be honest with everyone, the fact is at the very least it creates some accountability and a burning platform where you HAVE to start making things happen.